The truth is out there, and you’re going to like it: The X-Files is back—again—and this time in true fighting form. Yes, it appears second time is the charm for Mulder and Scully.
Fox’s second (and possibly last) event series for the iconic show starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully is 10 episodes this time, and it seems Chris Carter and Co.—which includes new writers and directors—have found their footing after the 2016 run of six episodes. Without spoiling key plot points, The X-Files tackles the modern landscape—both technological and political—and propels the show and characters forward. The first return felt like the show was relearning to walk; now it’s off and running.
Of the five episodes made available to review, the season 11 premiere is by far the weakest. There are some questionable story choices, but I want to believe Carter and his team of writers know what they’re doing here. While “My Struggle III” was a bit of a stumble, the other four episodes are strong outings in The X-Files lore. The standalone episodes serve to further both the overarching conspiracy storyline and the dynamic between Mulder and Scully in a way the first revival season failed to do. These episodes successfully built on the stories before them while feeling original and timely.
Just wait until episode four, “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat,” airs. It’s a Darin Morgan offering and that means it’s truly bizarre in the best way possible. The episode may or may not include the phrase “leprechaun taint” and several mentions of the Shaquille O’Neal flick Kazaam. Need I say more? Well, this specific episode also tackles the new times we live in, the era of “fake news.” President Donald Trump‘s presence is felt throughout the episodes and his stance on the FBI is wisely used to the show’s advantage. Now Mulder and Scully are federal agents on the outs for other reasons besides being assigned to the X-files.
The force that keeps The X-Files buoyed is the same thing that made it a hit the first place: the chemistry between Anderson and Duchovny, and that translates to the spark between their characters. The two seem more engaged with the material this time around, from an intense action scene to the comedy aspects that have always been a part of the series. Who knew Mulder using slang, like the non-word “adorbs,” and Scully calling somebody “bro,” both somewhat ironically, would work? The series also changes the dynamic between Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) and our two heroes in a nostalgic way that works.
If this is the last time The X-Files comes back for either a while or ever, which seems to be the case based on Anderson’s comments, and the remaining five episodes remain solid, the series is poised to go out on top.
Be sure to come back to E! News for more on The X-Files, including interviews with Carter, Duchovny and Anderson.
The X-Files returns Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. on Fox.