“This” – X-Files Review

We knew Mulder, Scully, and Skinner were back, but now… Langly?

Cast and Crew Information

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully
David Duchovny as Fox Mulder
Mitch Pileggi as Walter Skinner
Barbara Hershey as Erika Price
Sandrine Holt as Prof. Karah Hamby
Andre Roshkov as Commander Al
Dean Haglund as Richard ‘Ringo’ Langly

Written and directed by Glen Morgan


Mulder gets a message from Langly on his phone, which is weird, because the TV series is completely ignoring the official, approved X-Files: Season Ten comic books that revealed the Lone Gunmen had their deaths faked and went underground. Before they can find out what’s going on, they are attacked in Mulder’s home by a private security firm working directly for the Executive Branch of the government, and we ultimately learn the next piece of the puzzle in the new conspiracy.

High Point

Scully is finally being treated as the action lead that any FBI field agent has the potential to be.

Low Point

You know how upset Star Wars fans where when Disney announced they were rejecting the expanded universe after the change of ownership? There’s been no change of ownership, yet the comic season ten has been rejected outright anyway.

The Review

This is not a particularly original idea. In fact, they name check Kill Switch, the original episode co-written by William Gibson that addressed uploading minds into a computer simulation during this episode. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects seem minimal, and involve a lot of stunt work, squibs, and other physical effects that have been in use for decades. Maybe that’s why they work so well. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is well constructed, but has a couple of snags. I don’t understand why you have to die to enter the simulation, though. That caveat seems to exist for the sole purpose of attributing celebrity deaths to this faction, but it also serves to demonstrate that Langly really is dead, and not just presumed dead. I also wonder how long that QR code could have been there and not be found. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is great. This is a well honed and practiced cast, and the guest stars step up as well. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is solid, as always with Ten Thirteen. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was mixed. I was very happy with Scully, but very upset with the slap in the face to the comic team. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s an episode worth seeing if you are following the season, but I don’t know that I will ever plan to rewatch it in isolation. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, This receives 32 out of 42.

2 replies on ““This” – X-Files Review”

  1. Thanks for the review. I was so, so pleased with how much better (mainly less cringe-inducing) this was than the season opener. It also felt a little less stupid about technological matters than other cyber-y episodes from the past, though that’s admittedly not a high bar.

    Is there any reason digi-Langly couldn’t have existed and yet the original Gunmen still survived, as in the comics?

    • I see no reason whatsoever that they couldn’t coexist. The only reason not to seems to be to attribute the deaths of Steve Jobs, Michael Crichton, etc. to this group. It’s a “because the script needs it” thing, not a “because it makes sense” thing.

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