The X-Files mythology usually did a good job of setting its ducks in a row before the big season finales. A mystery was built up piece by piece, to be knocked out in an “answers episode,” which either resolved the mystery or spun it off in a new direction.
So how did Chris Carter and his team set up the Season 9 finale? What was this last big mythology two-parter, titled “The Truth,” going to resolve? Considering that the alien-Syndicate conspiracy was completely resolved by Season 6, and its role in Mulder’s family was fully explained by Season 7, where was the new trail of breadcrumbs through Season 8 and 9 leading us?
I am going to withhold editorial comment until later. But it is important to consider the headspace of the writers at this stage in the show’s lifecycle. They knew the show was ending with “The Truth.” Like any series, they certainly must have felt the need to send it off on a positive note that was representative of the entire series. They were also confident that the franchise would continue in films (similar to what Star Trek: TNG had pulled off eight years earlier). But unlike TNG, and unlike the first X-Files film and the Season 5 finale that preceded it, there was no film script and no film deal on the horizon due to Carter’s lawsuit with 20th Century Fox. And we cannot discount the effect of burnout in the writer’s room. Frank Spotnitz said about Season 7—two years earlier: “There was a pretty strong sentiment inside and outside the show that it was time to call it a day.”
But with this series, hope springs eternal. They made the decision that the finale had to be a mythology episode that was open-ended, with the promise of more to come.
Which brings us back to that episode’s title, “The Truth.” The truth about what? The writers are saddled—I realize that is an editorial term, sorry—with what they gave us in Season 8 and 9. The various mysteries of the last two seasons—if they can be called that—are all the writers have to work with.
Below is a list of the top 3 open questions of The X-Files just before “The Truth” does its job of closing out the series—I mean, closing out Season 9:
- There is a “new conspiracy”—according to the third episode before the finale—that evolved after the Syndicate was destroyed, which involves alien/super soldiers, who are humans transformed into indestructible alien-human facsimiles who have infiltrated the U.S. Government, from the FBI to deep within the ranks of intelligence and national security.
- The alien colonization plan is still underway—despite the rebels attempt to thwart it in Season 6—but they need Scully’s baby, William, to succeed—for reasons that have yet to be explained.
- Mulder is in hiding because his life is in danger. He had to hide because if he stayed with Scully and raised his son, he would raise his son to fight the aliens and not allow William to be their messiah (my phrase—but this connotation is strongly implied in several episodes). In any case, William is no longer carrying whatever special powers would allow him to aid the aliens, and through the anonymity allowed by Wyoming’s closed adoption laws, he is no longer able to be found by all the various forces out to get him.
This is where “The Truth” picks up. I have never seen it, until this week. My editorial comments will follow shortly.