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[Warning: This post contains spoilers for The X-Files premiere episode, “My Struggle.”]
The X-Files has returned, and with it came a familiar face: William B. Davis’ Cigarette-Smoking Man.
Though it was known that Davis would be a part of the revival, how he factored into the story was a big question mark — Cigarette-Smoking Man was killed on-screen in the show’s 2002 series finale. (CSM had been presumed dead multiple times during the show’s run. But in the finale, viewers witnessed him being burned alive via a missile.)
That same series finale also had the writers figuring out a creative way to bring back dead characters for the final hours: Mulder (David Duchovny) had visions of dead people as he was facing a trial. (The X-Files creator Chris Carter wouldn’t confirm or deny whether that will play a part in the revival, but notes, “I think we play with it honestly.”)
But it appears CSM is very much alive. In the final moments of the premiere hour, “My Struggle,” Cigarette-Smoking Man was shown to be sitting in front of a fire as he received the news (from an unknown person) that the X-Files had been reopened.
When it came to how CSM might be alive (or even if it was the same man viewers saw, seemingly, die on-screen), Carter was mum, telling The Hollywood Reporter only, “All will be explained once you see the show.”
Regardless of how CSM plays into the show, “I think people love a villain,” Duchovny says. “He’s a part of the show that’s fun.”
But it seems not everyone will be reunited with CSM. “I don’t know if Skinner knows in the six episodes that he is alive,” Mitch Pileggi (Skinner) shares. “I don’t think he’d be terribly happy about it if he did know. I think he’d want to rectify that situation, through unofficial channels.”
And that wasn’t the hour’s only shocking reveal. Carter, Duchovny and Pileggi weighed in on some of the episode’s biggest moments.
Mulder and Scully are still trying to navigate their relationship post-split.
The first hour of the revival did little to shed light on why exactly the longtime partners romantically split up in the time between 2008’s The X-Files: I Want to Believe and the revival’s premiere.
Sure, there was a pointed comment from Mulder to Scully about her saying, in the past, that she was done with UFOs, and “the stranglehold they put on [her] very existence.” Sveta (Annet Mahendru), who came to the duo for help, read Scully’s mind and surmised that Mulder has been depressed — but Duchovny admits he’s not sold on that.
“[Scully]’s not a psychologist,” Duchovny points out. “Just because you’re a doctor doesn’t mean you can diagnose everything.”
And though it seems the prophesized 2012 alien invasion didn’t go down, either, Duchovny dismisses that as playing into Mulder’s funk. “He’s a guy, at the age that he is, without a job,” Duchovny says. “He’s gone through [what’s akin to] a divorce, or at least a separation. It doesn’t have to do with the nonfulfillment of the [2012 alien] prophecy. I think he’s got more human things that are depressing him. And I’m not agreeing that he may be depressed. I think that’s a false diagnosis.”
Complicating matters for a potential Mulder and Scully reunion is the fact that Tad (Joel McHale) is being pretty overt in his interest in Scully when the two were alone… a move she hasn’t totally shot down. But since Tad and Mulder were also bonding — and now that Tad has been falsely discredited, publicly — Carter would only tease, “It’s short-lived.”
Scully has alien DNA.
Though Scully was skeptical about Sveta’s claim that she had alien DNA in her system, she ran a blood test on the young woman … and tested herself as well. (Scully was abducted in the second season of the original series.) The results were originally negative, but with expanding testing, Scully discovered they both had alien DNA in their system.
“I think it’s a watershed moment in the series when she finds that out,” Carter says. “It will change the way [Scully] looks at life.”
It might also serve to build a bridge in her relationship with Mulder. “Now they’re bonded together in a way they might not have been otherwise,” Carter teases.
Will the new mythology be wrapped up?
The revival series is seemingly opting to explore the human aspect of the mythology — and the notion it might have been humans inflicting all of this damage, using alien technology, but without alien consent. But since, so far, they’ve only glossed over what was supposed to happen in 2012 — and with talk already heating up about the series continuing beyond these six — will this mythology actually be wrapped up by the finale?
“I can tell you we answer a lot of those questions, but we pose new questions, too,” Carter teases. “I think we keep it open-ended.”
What did you think of The X-Files‘ premiere?
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