Thursday, January 4, 2018

THE X-FILES' Chris Carter Struggles to Explain "My Struggle III" Revelation

The truth is (hopefully) still out there.

Last night's premiere of The X-Files Season 11, "My Struggle III," delivered one of the series' most shocking and controversial revelations to date, dividing the fanbase of X-Philes into those either blown away or downright disgusted by the latest plot twist in the series' alien mythology arc.

The very moment "My Struggle III" ended at 9:00 p.m. EST, Entertainment Weekly posted an interview with X-Files creator Chris Carter, who wrote and directed the episode, and attempted to explain the revelation was 18 years in the making.

Needless to say, SPOILER WARNINGS are in play here, so consider yourselves warned...

Okay, so the episode's final scene features FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) having a conversation with Carl Gerhard Busch Spender (William B. Davis), better known as the Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM), who reveals his very skeevy connection to William Scully, the son of FBI Special Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).

The connection, as we learn, dates back to the Season 7 episode "En Ami" (French for "as a friend" and written by Davis), where CSM manipulates Scully into taking a road trip with him using a false promise of a cure for cancer.  We flash back to the footage of CSM creepily telling Scully "I confess I’ve always had a particular affection for you.  I assure you my intentions are honorable…My affection for you is special…"  CSM eventually pulls up to a house, with Scully asleep in the passenger seat, and puts on a pair of leather gloves.  Scully wakes up the next morning in pajamas that weren’t hers and accuses CSM of drugging her, which he scoffs at and denies.  And later, in the Season 7 finale "Requiem," Scully learns she's pregnant and believes the father to be Fox Mulder (David Duchovny).

Well, CSM tells Skinner he impregnated Scully with alien-assisted science to create "the first superhuman child."  Skinner demands to know who William’s father is, if it's not Mulder, and CSM replies, "I am.  William is my son."  At this point, everyone watching the episode officially freaks the hell out.  But let's keep in mind that CSM is a lying liar who lies, so is he just manipulating Skinner here?  More importantly, is Carter just manipulating fan expectations, only to reveal something else later on in Season 11?  For those who paid attention, the tag at the end of the opening credits said "I WANT TO BELIEVE", only to fade into the words "I WANT TO LIE", so maybe there's still more to CSM's story.  

And here's Entertainment Weekly's Q&A with Chris Carter, which includes some rather awkward comments that probably won't improve fans' opinion of Carter...

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First, the premiere reveals what we saw in the finale was all a vision Scully was having. Did you know that two years ago?

CHRIS CARTER: Yes. If you look at how I staged the scene in Mulder’s office, the way I staged the scenes on the bridge with the spacecraft hovering above Scully, you can see that was part of a plan. The camera pushes right into her eye at both ends of the show, and it was all of a piece.

EW: Are you concerned that fans will feel like they were denied real resolution on that scenario?

CC: You know, it’s playing with the story, the characters and the history of the characters I hope in an interesting way that will be satisfying — not necessarily in the immediate future but it will make sense once we get to this season’s finale.

EW: Likewise, back in Season 7, did you know at the time what was really going on when CSM drugged Scully?

CC: Yes.

EW: So William’s parentage reveal has been part of your plan for the show since 1999?

CC: Yes. But, of course, if The X-Files never came back, we would have never gotten to explore it.

EW: When CSM says he’s William’s father, is he literally his father, to some biological extent? Along with alien DNA?

CC: No. He’s the figurative father if he’s not the actual father. He didn’t rape Scully. He impregnated her with science.

EW: I suspect fans are going to have some strong feelings about Mulder not being the father and Scully being impregnated by CSM while she was drugged. What led you to this move?

CC: It adds to the characters in an interesting emotional way. And because the audience is now in on this truth, and Mulder and Scully are not, these revelations are huge for this show because they’re huge for the characters. Mulder and Scully’s life history, both professional and personal, are the heart of the show.

EW: How does this impact the storyline moving forward?

CC: It does impact it in a big way and you’ll see that in the arc of the series… This fact is hovering over them and everything they do and say to each other is kind of loaded as they’re walking in the dark. It makes for interesting storytelling to put the audience in a privileged point of view that could ultimately explode in the end.

EW: Gillian Anderson has said this might be her last season. You’ve hinted it might end on a cliffhanger once again. Are you concerned about the show possibly ending with things still unresolved?

CC: I always end it as if it were the last one. It’s become a thing you come to anticipate with this show with “The Erlenmeyer Flask” in season 1 — we closed The X-Files and killed off a beloved character [Deep Throat played by Jerry Hardin]. Things are often sacrificed in the finale. That’s the interesting thing for me. There’s a vertical corner in the final that I think will get people’s attention…

The X-Files Season 11 continues Wednesday nights on Fox at 8:00 p.m. EST.

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