It's hard to believe this hugely anticipated run of new episodes of The X-Files has already come to an end, but WOW, what an end! The season 10 finale brought us the most ambitious and cinematic episode yet with a classic outbreak scenario laced with a hefty dose of government conspiracy and alien origin. This episode is The X-Files at its best and a fantastic reminder that a revival can be done right!
We've seen an incredible cast of guest stars in these six episodes but the stand-out performance has to be Joel McHale in the season finale. His role as a conservative conspiracy nut evolved into a heroic and emotional voice of hope in the darkness proving his chops as a dramatic actor. So let's get to the recap, shall we?
The episode opens as we revisit the past with Dana as she explains through voiceover and a series of pictures how she came to be involved in the X-Files and Agent Mulder and how the experience has shaped her life and her faith. She reminds us what led her to test her gene sequence for alien DNA and as we see her walking through a lab, she stops in front of a mirror and looks at her reflection. Scully's face suddenly morphs into the image of a grey alien looking back at her. Whoa.
Dana arrives at the office she shares with Mulder and discovers it empty but finds his laptop open to Tad O'Malley's (Joel McHale) internet conspiracy show. She presses play and O'Malley begins to explain his belief that they have discovered proof of alien DNA present in virtually every American citizen. Mulder's office phone rings and it's O'Malley calling. When Dana answer's, Tad says she needs to get over to Mulder's place. And when she arrives, O'Malley is in Mulder's house and it looks like a fight occurred and Mulder is missing. Tad was supposed to meet Mulder but he arrived to discover the house and no Mulder. He said Mulder was excited by the new DNA evidence. Dana kicks into high gear, calls the police and begins her search for Mulder.
Dana arrives back at the FBI office to a concerned Skinner and Agent Einstein. No one has heard anything from Mulder. Dana thinks Mulder is avoiding talking to her because he doesn't want to hear that she might think he's crazy. Dana explains O'Malley's theory about alien DNA in all Americans to Einstein and Skinner. Einstein scoffs but Skinner warns her to take Scully seriously because she is a scientist.
Scully and Einstein arrive at a hospital. Einstein is willing to help Scully find Mulder inspire of her skepticism on the alien DNA theory. The two are approached by a young man who seems confused and feverish. He has a large legion on his arm and Scully gets a doctor to aid him.
Mulder is on the road, driving to Spartanburg, South Carolina and looking pretty bad. His face is all bruised up and he's looking tired.
Scully takes a blood sample from Agent Einstein and explains the anomaly she'd discovered in her own DNA. Dana talks about how the science they are taught only scratched the surface of the explainable. She's suspicious of the small pox vaccine given to everyone as children and Einstein, again, seems skeptical.
Agent Miller arrives, sent by Skinner to aid in the investigation. Miller explains that O'Malley's conspiracy show is sparking concern among the public. He opens the laptop and O'Malley is talking to a doctor talking about a complete breakdown of the human immune system.
Dana checks in with the doctor treating the young man. She says the legions are from anthrax because he's military and was given an anthrax vaccine. And the vaccine is what is turning on the young man and making him ill. Scully warns that anthrax is only the first in a long line of illnesses treated with vaccines that will suddenly pop up and start killing people. Dana insists it is only the first sign of what will prove to be a global contagion.
Mulder is sleeping in his car on the side of the road. He's awakened by a siren on a passing emergency vehicle. Scully calls, but he forwards her to voicemail and continues on his drive.
Miller returns to Mulder's office in search of clues. On the laptop, he finds a GPS tracker for Mulder's phone and discovers he is on the highway to Spartanburg. He takes Mulder's laptop and heads after him.
Einstein is arguing with Scully, saying her theories are too far-fetched and there's no real evidence to back up a mass contagion. She points out there's only one class of people infected. She points out that shutting down the immune system requires something being taken away from the genetic sequence, not added to it. Scully's phone rings and it's a voice from the past, Agent Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) asking for a meeting. She says she knows what's happening and can help.
Scully meets with Reyes and she proceeds to tell Scully about her time after leaving the X-Files up until today. Reyes had been summoned to meet with the Cigarette Smoking Man. CSM was hospitalized with horrible burns over most of his body and his face being reconstructed, but expected to make a full recovery. CSM insists that he may look frail, but he's the most powerful man in the world. Reyes explains to Scully that he made her an offer she couldn't refuse. She tells Scully about the DNA conspiracy and how everyone but "the chosen" will be wiped out by what they are calling the "Spartan Virus." And CSM was offering to save her in exchange for her service. Cut to years later, we see Monica more recently with CSM holding a cigarette to a hole in his neck and looking disgusted as he takes a pull. Ugh, creepy.
Monica informs Dana that she's chosen, that the extra genome in her DNA is what's protecting her. Dana asks about Mulder and Monica says CSM loves Mulder and sent a man to offer him a deal. And now we see the knock-down, drag-out fight that left Mulder bruised up. The man sent to "make a deal" looks more like a hitman, but Mulder handles him. The fight ends with Mulder asking, "Who sent you?" And then we see Mulder now, in South Carolina, in CSM's house, holding a gun to the back of his head.
Mulder's condition is deteriorating quickly as it becomes clear that he's not just hurt from the fight, but he's ill. He is not one of "the chosen." Mulder and CSM have a back and forth as Mulder questions him and tries to force him to stop what's happening to the world. But CSM says it's too late. However, CSM says he wants to save Mulder's life. CSM makes a pretty convincing argument that mankind was on a collision course with its own self destruction, citing climate change and the drop in bird population and megafauna. CSM argues that he only changed the timetable for human extinction but he offers Mulder a position among the chosen.
O'Malley is the only one reporting what is really happening as he continues to broadcast the evolving illnesses and how they are being transmitted.
Meanwhile, the hospital is being overrun with the sick and Scully meets up with Einstein. She explains what she discovered from Reyes and has a theory about how to save everyone; with her own DNA. She takes a swab from her cheek and tells Einstein that she must amplify Dana's DNA and create a vaccine with it.
CSM tells Mulder that he needs to give in and let him save him because time is running out. Mulder says CSM will miss him when he's gone and CSM says yes...he will miss him dearly because Mulder made his life worth living. And you really do believe that CSM loves Mulder in the only twisted way he can. And then CSM TAKES OFF A PIECE OF HIS OWN FACE and it's a classic X-Files "holy shit" moment.
Scully and Einstein look at her DNA in the lab but they don't find the alien DNA. They are interrupted by a doctor who says the doctors are now starting to get sick and something needs to be done quickly.
O'Malley is reporting that the elderly and frail are beginning to die but he vows that they will continue to broadcast for as long as they can as long as there is hope.
Scully and Einstein race to figure out what is wrong with the science and why they aren't able to figure out how to stop the virus. Einstein realizes that the sample they took from Scully was too small and they head back to the lab.
Miller finds Mulder at CSM's house and takes Mulder with him to get back to Scully. Miller's condition is also quickly deteriorating.
Einstein takes a larger blood sample from Scully to run the DNA sequence and create the vaccine but Einstein is beginning to get sick. With the larger sample, they are able to see the extra DNA and Scully begins work on the vaccine while Einstein begins to fade.
Miller calls Scully and tells her they are on their way to her but they might not make it because of the run on gas. Scully tells him to keep his phone charged and she will come find them if she has to.
Scully works up the vaccine in some IV bags and tells Einstein to administer the vaccine to other doctors and then to patients.
O'Malley is becoming increasingly ill on his broadcast as his news is becoming more and more dire. He is reporting that systems, communications and infrastructure are beginning to fail because people are too ill to man or operate them.
Dana takes two IV bags and hurries out of the hospital to her car to find Mulder.
O'Malley says he got a text from Scully on his program, that there is a vaccine and not to give up.
Scully races over sidewalks and up the wrong sides of the road to get to Mulder, finding herself on a jammed highway, packed with people trying to escape the city and the illness. She's on the phone with Miller and he's talking her to his position on the same highway with Mulder. Scully gets out of the car and runs to him on foot. She hurries to Mulder's side whose condition is so deteriorated she fears she can't save him. Mulder is to the point where he needs stem cells and the IV vaccine won't save him. The stem cells she needs are those of their child and she doesn't know where he is.
Suddenly a spotlight appears from above, surrounding Scully, Miller and Mulder...it's an alien craft, the large, black, triangular ship the government had in the hanger. Scully and Miller stare up into the light and the episode ends.
And now that we're left with one of the most intense cliffhangers in X-Files history, we remain in limbo until new episodes are officially announced. But rest assured my fellow X-Philes, there is hope:
— Gillian Anderson (@GillianA) February 23, 2016