Spoiler Alert! Here it is, the final recap for the final (?) episode of The X-Files, "My Struggle IV." Spoilers - and tears - ahead.
Well, this is it. The last episode. Possibly ever. And frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about "My Struggle IV."
First - and most important - I was right! Scully is hella pregnant. This was something that I decided was likely in "Plus One," when Mulder and Scully had that weird conversation about getting old before they have sex. Then last week, in "Nothing Lasts Forever," I feel like I made a pretty strong case for a pregnancy. And boom! Tonight, Scully drops the bomb. "But Mulder... you are a father!" I know a lot of Philes will be freaking out because there was no kiss, and yeah, a kiss would have been nice, but Scully is pregnant. With a baby that is definitely Mulder's. If she is only telling him about the baby now, though, what did she whisper to him in the church last week?
Outside of the Mulder/Scully happy ending (and yes, I see that as a happy ending), this episode was a mess. I wish I could say I was surprised, but it follows in the footsteps of three other "My Struggle" episodes that were a struggle (haha) to get through. There was nothing connecting this episode to the episodes that came before it. "My Struggle" should have been a third X-Files movie - it sure felt like a movie, chopped up into four pieces. Tonight's episode was also weirdly constructed. It started in one place, went back a bunch of hours, jumped forward, then reversed again. It was schizophrenic.
The episode opens with William's voice-over, and we learn about his life after adoption. He knew he had "super powers" from a young age, but he doesn't seem to have one specific power. Over the course of the series, we have seen William with telekinesis, a glamour ability, and the ability to cause people to literally explode. After spending time in a reform school and speaking/lying to multiple therapists, he finally straightens out... and pranks his two girlfriends, which is where we pick up with him in "Ghouli." What is most interesting about William's opening is that he "sees" his father - and his father is CSM.
I'm going to try to put the events in order - not the way they were ordered in the episode.
Scully bursts into the unremarkable house with a phone call from Reyes. She says that William will be landing in Maryland in a couple hours, from Tennessee, and this may be their last good chance to get him. Mulder is halfway out the door, but Scully doesn't think William is on that plane. Having no proof, nothing other than a sinister psychic vision to go off of, Scully just tells him to "come back alive." Mulder starts to take a step forward, and you know that he wants to kiss her, but now is not the time. Instead, he nods and leaves.
At the airfield, Mulder watches Mr. Y and his goons get off the plane. There is no William. Mulder slips into the hangar, shoots all the guards, then finds Mr. Y in his office. Mulder has never been as big a bad-ass as is in this episode. Mulder shoots a goon coming through the door, then spins around and shoots Mr. Y in the head before he even has time to level off the gun he keeps under his desk.
Scully finally gets Mulder on the phone. He had some "payback to... pay back." He tells Scully she was right, William was not on the plane, and Scully explains she found a cluster of lotto winners in northern Tennessee, which she thinks is where William is - and how "they" found him. Mulder turns around and drives.
A gas station attendant tells Mulder that the kid came in, bought a lotto ticket, and returned this morning to split the money with the attendant. And of course, they have video. Mulder calls Scully back (who was hovering over the sink, possibly dealing with morning sickness?) and tells her William hitched a ride with a trucker. He thinks he knows where he is heading. "I'm gonna find him. I'm tired of looking at him on video," Mulder assures her.
Meanwhile, a man places a tracker on Mulder's car. Mulder doesn't notice this and drives off, in pursuit of the truck.
While Mulder is chasing the truck (which he catches, but by the time he does, William has already pulled a Ghouli, scared the s*** out of the driver, and run off to hide), Scully calls Tad O'Malley and gives him his conspiracy theory. "There is going to be a contagion. A virus will be unleashed and people's immune systems will be decimated." It is a man-made contagion made from an alien pathogen. There will be "death in the streets." Scully is not prepared to go on air, nor will she consent to being used as the source. "A federal agent is your source," is all she will say. He asks if Mulder will go on record. "Agent Mulder is our only hope," is all she will say.
Scully next calls Mulder, and warns him that he is in grave danger. Mulder is too close and won't give up. "You're not listening to me!" Scully shouts, borderline panicked. "I've seen how it ends, Mulder!" She almost looks like she wants to tell him, so he has something to come back for, but she doesn't.
The tracker guy sees Mulder pass him on the highway and he pulls over. He sees William emerge from his hiding spot and picks him up.
In Norfolk, Mulder knocks on a door - and William knocks on a door. I like that, in this scene (as well as a few others) there is a symmetry between what William is doing and what Mulder is doing. It is almost to show that, even if CSM is William's biological "father," Mulder is his spiritual father. Anyway, William goes to Sarah, talking suicide and begging her to go on the run with him (after having gone to Brianna, which is where Mulder starts). Brianna gives Mulder nothing, and Sarah agrees to meet William at a nearby motel when she can sneak out. When Mulder shows up at Sarah's, she reluctantly gives William's location.
Erika Price finds the tracker man's car. Tracker man is dead, an explosion of blood and guts inside his car. His face peeled off his skull and is now stuck to the window. But amid all the gore, Erika finds the tracking system and knows where Mulder is.
Mulder is at William's motel room. Here it is folks, the reunion you have all been waiting for. "My name's Mulder," he says through the door. "I'm your father." I love that he introduces himself as Mulder. Not Fox, or even Fox Mulder. Just Mulder. Anyway, William opens the door, somewhat hesitantly, and Mulder immediately embraces him. He is surprised that William is taller than him (you've got an old-man hunch, Mulder) and explains he held him as a baby. William does not return the hug, and Mulder understands that he is angry. "I have a lot to explain. Trust me and I will protect you." Mulder tries to convince William that he can keep him safe, and tells him that his mother has the same visions of the future. This seems to surprise William, who asks why Mulder hasn't had these same visions. Mulder can't answer that, but it doesn't matter. Erika and her team are here. Mulder plays the big man and goes to the door, but is knocked over and the goon squad gets William. William explodes each agent, individually, with his mind. It is quite a fantastic image, the entire motel room sprayed with blood and guts. He looks to Mulder, as if he might be his last exploding victim, but instead runs.
Back at the FBI, Kersh is livid. Tad O'Malley claims the quote "Death will hunt us down" is from Mulder, and news footage of Mulder at the scene of a "bloodbath so insane, it could only point to a conspiracy the likes of which we've never seen" seems to confirm Mulder is the leak. Kersh tells Skinner he is shutting down the X-Files (again) and wants their badges. Skinner, always playing devil's advocate, asks what if it's not just a fake news story. "Not my problem," Kersh says. Outside of Kersh's office, Skinner gets a call from CSM who is "about to deliver on the global contagion. All I asked is that you find me the boy." Skinner hangs up as Scully approaches. (Scully, by the way, has changed from her sweats to a suit. Even in the middle of a catastrophe, she still feels the need to dress up to go into the office.) Scully tells Skinner that Mulder needs his help, "we" need your help. She owns up to making the statements to Tad, and Skinner seems to soften towards her. If Scully is making those kinds of comments, you know shit is serious. Mulder calls to tell Scully he lost him again, and Scully decides she is coming down there. "He will listen to me. I know he will." Scully tells Skinner she has to go, this isn't about the FBI, it's about our son. "I'll drive," Skinner says.
Mulder calls Sarah, but instead gets her friend, Maddy (fun fact - she is played by David Duchovny's real-life daughter) who suggests that William might go to the old sugar factory at the docks.
In the car, Skinner finally decides it is time to tell Scully the truth about William. It is unclear how much she is told, as Mulder drives by and they give chase. When they get to the sugar factory, Scully goes inside to look for her family. Skinner stays outside to contend with a car. Reyes is driving, CSM by her side. She tries to back up, but CSM forces her forward, full-speed. Skinner shoots Reyes dead, but this doesn't deter CSM. With few options, Skinner dives under his car. CSM slams into the car. He gets out and sees Skinner's lifeless legs beneath the car and decides he is dead enough. (I would just like to point out that there was no blood, and no evidence that he was crushed. I don't think Skinner is dead. But Reyes is dead dead dead.)
Inside the factory, Scully chases William. Instead, she finds Mulder, who explains that William doesn't want to be found. "I'm asking you to let him go. There's nothing we can do. We can't protect him, no one can. He knows that you love him." Now, I don't know if everyone else felt this, but as soon as Mulder starts speaking, I just knew that it was William with a Mulder glamour. Duchovny did a great job playing this scene. Real Mulder runs around the corner, and they both give chase after William.
There is a lot of running. Like, a lot. Mulder bursts out of the building, onto the docks, and is caught by CSM. "I need the boy. The boy is mine." Mulder insists the boy would rather die now that he knows the truth. "That I made him? That I am William's creator?" Mulder looks at the water at his back and knows what he has to do. He doesn't believe that CSM has it in him to shoot him, his "first born son." "Then you don't know me very well." CSM shoots Mulder, square in the head. He tumbles into the water, very dead.
But of course, we all know that wasn't really Mulder - especially when Mulder runs around the corner and doesn't even wait to fire several rounds into CSM's chest. Mulder pushes him into the water, where he floats away. But if CSM didn't shoot Mulder... yep, he shot William. Scully finally catches up with him, and Mulder is inconsolable. "He's gone Scully. He's gone. He shot him. He shot me." Out of frustration, hurt, guilt, anger, Mulder throws his weapon into the water. "He wanted us to let him go. He wasn't meant to be," she says, but Mulder won't listen. "He was our son! He was our son!" This really got to me. It is almost like Mulder seems to think that the only reason they are still friends/partners/together/whatever is because of William. It's like Mulder is afraid that losing William will mean he'll lose Scully, too.
"William was an experiment. He was an idea, born in a laboratory," Scully explains. "I carried him. I bore him. But I was never a mother to him. William wasn't..." She can't form the words. "What am I now if I'm not a father?" Mulder wails.
"You are a father!" Mic drop. She grabs his hand and puts it on her stomach. "That's impossible..." he murmurs. "I know, it's more than impossible," Scully says through tears. He pulls her in... not for a kiss, but to hold her close. They stand like that for a long, long time as the camera pulls out and we fade to black.
Then we fade in again, just for a moment. We see William come up from the water, a bloody scar where his headshot was. He is very much alive.
As far as endings go, this is wrapped up pretty well... for an X-Files episode. Scully and Mulder know the truth about William, and they are going to have a true baby together. It's safe to say they are living together again, and it seems doubtful that Scully will flee again. We don't know if Mulder and Scully are still FBI agents, though it doesn't seem likely. Kersh wants them out, has shut down the X-Files, and Mulder throws his gun into the river. Seems like he is out - at least for now.
We know William isn't dead - hooray for super powers. I do not believe that CSM is dead, nor do I believe Skinner is dead. All we saw were feet. No blood. In all likelihood, he dove under the car and was protected in the crash. He might be injured, but I feel like he will get up soon enough and ask about Reggie. Unfortunately, it seems that Reyes is dead. She had very little to do in this season, so it was disappointing. Similarly, why did they hire Barbara Hershey only to kill her off after just a few scenes?
As is a common thread with The X-Files, there were lots and lots of threads that were put into this mytharc. It wasn't so much that they were left hanging as they just were ignored. I feel like there was a lot of set-up, with this whole contagion thing, and in the end, everyone ran (a lot), people died (a lot) and nothing was resolved. But Mulder and Scully got their happy ending, and that is the most important part.
What did you guys think? Was this a happy ending for you? Are you satisfied?