My Struggle: Season 10 Episode 1
Written by Chris Carter, Directed by Chris Carter
First aired January 24, 2016
I debated whether to do the revival episodes as they aired, but waiting to do the new episodes seems silly. For now I’m going to share some notes and do something more formal when the season’s over.
My format for these is similar to Amy’s over at im here for the story. I highly recommend her blog in general and her “My Struggle” post in particular, not least because she can actually make sense of the plot! I…did not. I didn’t even try. My approach was a lot of excited scribbling and swearing, two of my favorite things. Have fun!
- I was a little let down by the opening voice-over. Without seeing Mulder’s face, it all just felt like trying to fit twenty pounds of shit into a five pound bag.
- Archival footage! At least Carter gives me something fun to look at while he re-frames history
againfor his alien conspiracy. He began this habit with that speech in “Redux,” and is still at it. Twice in this episode!
- The historical flashbacks featuring The Old Man are…I don’t care. I like TOM cuz he’s sassy and burdened, but I don’t need his backstory yet. I also seriously do not need to watch an injured alien get brutally murdered. I know the government is evil.
- Our Lady of Sorrows is just as apt a name for Scully as Our Lady of Skepticism.
- When I saw Mulder fidgeting with the duct tape over his webcam, I just gave a pained sigh and said, “Oh, Mulder.” My poor beautiful rumpled scruffy wonderful darling.
- So, is Tad O’Malley who Mulder would have been if he’d gone the “ranting on cable tv” route instead of the “FBI’s Most Unwanted” route?
- In the leadup to the revival, I was pretty worried. I thought they were going to pound on the old drums of unresolved trauma and romantic/sexual tension until the heartbreak of both lead to even more trauma. I stand by the legitimacy of that worry, but Mulder isn’t in as much trouble as I feared.
- They are not as estranged as they look. Nope. The tenderness of their first meeting really shines through. I believe his “I’m always happen to find a reason” a lot more than I believe his bitter jabs.
- Mulder was never one for open possessiveness the way Scully was, but he gets his point across. His “she’s shot men with less provocation” could loosely be translated to “my Scully mine mine mine.”
- I love how much Scully hates it when O’Malley calls her Dana—and the way Joel McHale punches that line.
- It looks like Mulder starts needling O’Malley a bit more off of Scully’s “fucking excuse you” look at being called Dana than any personal jealousy he feels.
- Scully on the other hand, looks like “Mulder, I can kill him with with one quirk of the eyebrow if I want to. You needn’t defend me.”
- What Bill O’Reilly knows about the truth could fit in an eyedropper: LOL. I hope O’Reilly was watching.
- “The Whosy-Whatsit Incident.” Mulder, I know you’re irritated but don’t be a gatekeeper! A gentleman never gatekeeps.
- So…wtf is Mulder’s “I think I’d remember” line to Sveta about? On paper that line would mean, “You’re hot I’d remember you.” But Mulder doesn’t say it that way, and I cannot imagine him being that much of a dick. He’s been oblivious before, but never crass. I guess it’s just a setup for Scully’s later jealousy? It’s clunky af.
- Tad, sweetie, we know about the screen memories. Shut up and never talk again.
- The scene between Sveta and Scully is fantastic.
- Scully doesn’t play well with others, especially women who like Mulder. It feels absolutely in character to me that Scully would stab Sveta with a needle when things got too personal. And the look that Scully gives her when Sveta suggests she can’t relate to being abducted: eep!
- Mulder’s a bit desperately bored if he’s willing to have a black bag put over his head. Younger Mulder would never.
- Dukes is right back in Mulder’s head though: just because he wants to believe (ugh, I’m sorry) doesn’t mean he’s gonna sit up and beg, or accept anything without asking condescending questions.
- The Asian physicist is a Vancouver actor who also appeared in “Firewalker” and “Synchrony.”
- Mulder’s smile when the ARV lights up and hovers I swear to God David Duchovny my heart is not a toy.
- Scully telling Tad that the other surgeons “do God’s work” feels forced. I still don’t fully understand Scully’s relationship to her faith, which is sad because I wish I did.
- ALSO CARTER STOP MAKING NAVAJOS A PLOT POINT YOU’RE BEING RACIST
- Other people have already mentioned this, but Scully opening up so quickly or at all to Tad is simply not believable.
- Mulder talking to abductees is always interesting, and it’s good to see him validating Sveta and gently drawing her out.
- You could not convince me that Mulder is sexually interested in Sveta OR that Scully is sexually interested in O’Malley OR that Sveta is sexually interested in Mulder if you gave me LSD, ecstasy, and tracker-jacker venom all at once.
- Sveta’s got a glass wall up between herself and Mulder until she breaks on the word “yes;” it’s a really heartbreaking sound.
- …doesn’t the episode acknowledge that the series has been here before, with government-not-aliens conspiracies and people who can read minds?
- …does Mulder call Scully only to say that he can’t talk?
- …is Scully drinking in O’Malley’s limo when she clearly can’t stand him?
- Because Carter wrote it, that’s why.
- Mulder immediately going after Skinner feels a little childish, and the last time that happened Skinner kicked Mulder’s ass. So.
- Mulder why the fuck are you kicking the poster?! Take a nap!!!
- Skinner saying that the country has taken “a big turn in a strange direction:” now there’s your fucking truth, and I love love love the exchange between Mulder and Skinner about policing and spying.
- So in the confrontation between Mulder and Scully, I would rather get shot than see Scully make that face when she sees Sveta in the door. Mulder has, as usual in these situations, no idea why Scully is upset.
- “Don’t tell me what’s important.” YES old school Scully is back cuz she never left!
- The only thing that makes this SECOND ridiculous history montage scene interesting is Scully’s face.
- Sveta meanwhile is listening to all this like “Whaaaa? Ooooo….”
- And Tad keeps looking at her hoping she’s impressed by him, not realizing that she just wants to throw things at Mulder’s head. Or engage an unsuspecting Sveta in a catfight. She’s weighing her options.
- Scully has a less than admirable habit of saying really brutal shit like it’s nothing when she’s irritated. Saying “your tests came back negative” to Sveta without even looking at her and then waltzing out of the room deeply and unfairly invalidates her.
- I love the intimacy of Mulder and Scully’s conversation by her car…even if it makes no sense. Why was he scribbling on her window? Why would he be surprised that her genome is altered? I thought we covered that in the cancer arc?
- Now playing The Phantom of the Opera…The Cigarette Smoking Man!! Okay so I know everybody wanted him to stay dead but…the CSM is the Moriarty to Mulder’s Holmes. The show would not work without him. Besides, I kind of love William B Davis.