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Goodbye Mulder

I was all set to write up a review of tonight's series finale of the X-Files, but I don't have the energy. No, not because the final episode was taught and gripping, but because I spent the whole two hours griping to Heather, "Holy crap! Did monkeys write this? Drunk monkeys?" I plumb wore myself out.

I do have enough energy and invective still in me for just a few comments. The two hour finale breaks down like this: 70 minutes of pointless, nonsensical, ridiculous "trial," bulleted by occasional flashbacks; 10 minutes of Mulder chatting with deceased enemies and allies who counsel him for no apparent reason; 20 minutes of somber moments of opaque emotional "no, I'm doing this to protect you" between Mulder and Scully, a theme that has occupied no less than three-fifths of the past three seasons and never risen to any kind of genuine emotional urgency; 10 minutes of potentially salvagable chase, the kind that used to make the X-Files pretty exciting; 5 minutes of mindless story arc resolution, bringing a mystifing end to the chase (black helicopters who let everybody escape while they blow shit up? WTF?); and 5 minutes of strained soliloquy between Mulder and Scully, who, while speaking of struggle against the decade-away alien invasion, emote more honestly with their eyes: "Cash me out of this cow and roll the credits already."

Hint to aspiring writers: Resolving plot points by making them a sidebar in a set of stilted dialogue does not advance your story. It ends your story, and not very satisfactorily at that. When given two hours of prime time, try to avoid the Seinfeldian clip-show-reunion. Nobody liked it then, and the idea hasn't grown on us. In two hours you can show a movie, for god's sakes. This conclusion to a complicated story could have been really good if someone had managed to tie it all together without resorting to Mulder taking a leak while speaking to the ghosts of the Lone Gunmen. That's the real disappointment: It could have been so good, but so many things about it weren't: The script, the stale photography ... the script.

One might think that I should have better things to do than write a review of the last episode of the X-Files, my being in graduate school and all. Wrong-o!