The X-Files season 11 episode 10 preview: My Struggle IV


The last episode of The X-Files season 11 centers on alien DNA, government conspiracies and at least one psychic teenager. How will Mulder and Scully deal?

Season 11 of The X-Files has largely focused on monster-of-the-week episodes, those tales that center on one-off villains and beasts. This is in contrast to the longer-running, alien-focused “mytharc” episodes. Depending on the kind of X-Files fan you are, you’ll probably have a very particular reaction to either variety.

Perhaps you groan at the thought of another goofy monster, or you may instead appreciate the shorter-form storytelling in these episodes. They certainly give The X-Files a more anthology-type feel, though the central pair of Scully and Mulder keeps things from getting too episodic.

But what about the other side of the coin? How do you feel about the mytharc episodes? When done right, they’re good examples of longform television. They’re spooky, generating a sense of something larger and more frightening surrounding Mulder and Scully. The best of these episodes make “the truth is out there” sound like a rallying cry.

Alas, they can’t all be great. At their worst, mytharc episodes can be nigh incomprehensible. That’s the peril of long-running arcs. Things can get stale. Who wants to see another meeting in a parking garage, or another person in a rubber alien suit? As fans of any long-running series can attest (Lost, anyone?), it’s hard to hold down these kinds of stories through a variety of episodes, writers, directors and actors.

So, how will “My Struggle IV” fit into this? Remember that “My Struggle III”, the season 11 opener, was one of the weakest of the season. Both episodes were written and directed by X-Files creator Chris Carter. As much as we owe Chris Carter for starting the series, he does have a bit of a George Lucas problem. With all respect to Carter, he works best when supported by other creators.

So, what happens when Carter gets the reins more or less to himself? Well, it’s not as bad as a computer-generated bantha or lines like “I don’t like sand” — but it’s not that much better, either.

There are a few rays of hope, however. Carter has written and directed genuinely good episodes, like “The Post-Modern Prometheus” in season 5 and “Triangle” in season 6. Both of those episodes have great stories and a unique visual style that made them stand above the rest of their respective seasons.

Next: The X-Files season 11: Grey Gardens with a taste for gore

Also, Mulder and Scully are tracking down their son, William. Introduced in “Ghouli,” the fifth episode of this season, William appears to have mind-bending powers. He’s currently on the run, but chances are that our favorite FBI duo will track him down eventually.

While “Ghouli” wasn’t the most even of this season’s offerings, it was an interesting intro to the near-adult William. Perhaps he can help move things along, especially compared to the rather stodgy “My Struggle III”.

“My Struggle IV” airs this Wednesday on FOX at 8:00 pm ET.