“My Struggle” and “Founder’s Mutation”: X-Files Reviews are back!

This one is a 2-fer, with the first two episodes of the revival covered.

Cast and Crew Information

Both Episodes

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully
David Duchovny as Fox Mulder
Mitch Pileggi as Walter Skinner

My Struggle

Joel McHale as Tad O’Malley
Annet Mahendru as Sveta
William B. Davis as the Cigarette Smoking Man

Written and directed by Chris Carter

Founder’s Mutation

Doug Savant as Augustus Goldman
Jonathan Whitesell as Kyle
Vik Sahay as Gupta
Christine Willes as Sister Mary

Written and directed by James Wong


Agents Mulder and Scully are pulled back to active duty by TV personality Tad O’malley, and start facing off against a completely new type of government conspiracy.

High Point

The production is still remarkably ambitious for a TV project, helped in large part by bringing much of the original production crew back.

Low Point

There comes a point where it’s hard to believe that characters with these histories and ages would be active field agents.

The Review

It’s hard to do well in originality when the goal of the series is to bring back past greatness in a new era. That said, they do push the overarching conspiracy in new directions, and are using old characters to speak to new audiences with new concerns. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects are great. The last 20 years have been good to genre TV budget stretching, as CGI gets more common and cheaper, and it shows. 6 out of 6.

The stories are both well told, even if Wong’s Founder’s Mutation gets a little more abstract than I’ve been used to. It’s not unprecedented on the show, but it was rare enough that I’m surprised to see it this soon. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting from our leads is still great. They slip right back into these familiar roles without missing a beat. (In some cases, without missing a Botox appointment. Furrowed brows should furrow!) The new guest actors also do strong work, partly because the series has enough of a reputation that it can draw in some great talent. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is where the series has always shined, and this is no different. Sweeping crane shots, moody lighting, and all of the other hallmarks are back. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is mixed. On one hand, I love seeing the series return, and the episodes are just as compelling as they’ve always been. On the other, I’m not sure I’m happy that they open by writing the ending that our characters spent nine years earning. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s easy to recommend to anyone with an interest in returning to the series, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to the uninitiated. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, My Struggle and Founder’s Mutation receive a total of 36 out of 42.