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The X-Files Season 11 Finale: Dana Scully Deserved Better

(This article contains spoilers)

Update: I have been severely let down by The X-Files season 11’s finale. I am more disappointed than I even expected to be, which is really saying something. Honestly, at this point, I’m more angry than anything. Let me tell you why.

1. I suddenly had the realization that The X-Files has just been Chris Carter’s way of projecting the man he always wanted to be (Mulder) and his most ideal woman (Scully). Unfortunately, this means that even after 25 years, these characters have not been allowed to properly grow. Carter was sure to include as much as he could about our favorite characters aging. He dedicated a whole scene to Scully expressing a completely out of character insecurity about her age, fertility and attractiveness. He allowed a running joke about Mulder’s reading glasses to go too far in “Nothing Lasts Forever” (I already explained why I think that’s ridiculous here). But in actuality, all this means is that Scully must remain entirely insecure because she is a woman and that is in her nature. As for Mulder, he is as stubborn and asshole-ish as ever. I supposed it’s fair to keep Mulder mostly the same, but he could have at least grown up enough to be able to use words to navigate his feelings. 

2. This is sort of an extension of number 1, but why is Chris Carter so obsessed with Scully’s fertility? It’s kind of getting creepy. I was skeptical when Cigarette Smoking Man confessed that William is actually his child, and that he was created as an experiment with alien DNA. I thought Carter would be smart enough to save us from this storyline. Surprise: he wasn’t. William is apparently not Mulder’s son. For some reason, this realization affects Mulder more than Scully. Scully, the one who had an entire storyline about her want to be a mother and having to confront her infertility. Scully, the one who miraculously became pregnant and was forced to face her reality without Mulder by her side. Scully, the one who has been adamant about finding her son and protecting him. Mulder laments, “Who am I if I’m not a father?” and I literally cringed. Since when has Mulder taken on the responsibility or understanding of being a father? Oh, right. At the beginning of the finale when the storyline seems the most forced. Scully didn’t even get to actually talk to her son. Every time he talked to her, he was disguised as someone else (due to his alien abilities, which would have been an amazing storyline to explore for more of season 11, by the way). After Scully comforts Mulder (I mean, c’mon…), she reassures him that he is a father and puts his hand on her stomach. I feared Carter would resort to this bullshit in place of good writing, but I had convinced myself that he wouldn’t stoop that low. Surprise: he did. Of course, the season was left on a cliffhanger, and with the news that Anderson isn’t returning to her role as Scully, I’ve written season 12 for you, Carter: Scully dies in childbirth because she’s fifty years old and Mulder becomes a single father at fifty-seven and spends the whole season looking for his not-son William because somehow Mulder just knows that he’s still alive. There you go. More money for you, Carter. Enjoy.

3. In my opinion, Carter single-handedly destroyed 25 years of potential character development. Throughout the series, Duchovny and Anderson tried their best to insert their own interpretations of their characters, and I will appreciate them forever for that. But they were always stifled by Carter’s irrational need to create suspense. The creator has control. In this case, the creator has taken that control to the next level and has completely ignored the actual progression of his own characters. I hate to be that fan that thinks they know Carter’s characters better than he does, but honestly? I think any fan who has an understanding of or love for these characters could have written a better finale. They could have written a better season 10 and season 11.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that another season does not get picked up. I love this show, I love these characters (and actors), and I love this story, but even I know when it’s time to let go. The truth may be out there, but Carter is determined to tell the story of his own false truth instead. 

(Gillian Anderson’s own response to the fan complaints she received via Twitter. Thumbnail photo credit: sta-ri via Tumblr)

writer & editor | Pennsylvania native | coffee & fictional characters | fiercely intersectional feminist
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