ello and welcome back to Sci-Fi and Technology hour… Wait, sorry wrong show. Where in reality you wouldn’t be too far from the truth. So yes this in fact episode 2 from season 11 of The X Files.
I had great things envisioned for this season and what better way to start than an action packed first episode. It had all the nostalgia from seasons past in one episode, making links and connections to the present day.
What the fans wanted was closure. Doors closed that were left open potentially within the first nine seasons. I feel that they’re doing this brilliantly. Anyway, let’s get on with the show.
As the episode opens, Mulder and Scully are asleep at Mulder’s residence when his phone activates with a distorted image of Richard Langley (Dean Haglund). The agents find his appearance to be somewhat strange but that will soon be the least of their problems, as three armed men break into Mulder’s home causing a shootout.
One of the three men survives and escapes, shortly followed by another group of armed men. When Scully calls Skinner for help, he advises the agents to surrender, however, they decide not to listen and when the second group enter, they handcuff the agents, who manage to escape into the forest behind the house, where they meet Skinner. He explains that the men are a group named Perlu and have Russian connections.
Mulder and Scully travel to the resting place of the Lone Gunmen in Arlington, Virginia. They discover that the birth and death dates are off and that Langley’s tombstomb is in fact, facing the wrong way. After a bit of discussion, they try solving a convoluted puzzle, finding that they are now at Deep Throat’s tombstone, revealing his name as Ronald Pakula.
They find a chip with a QR code in the tombstone and take to investigate it. Then, the Russian man who escaped at the beginning of the episode appears, but is tackled to the ground and knocked out by Mulder.
After scanning the code, the agents find images of the Long Lines Building in New York City, the home of an NSA programme called Titanpointe and a project codenamed Blarney. Skinner then gives them access to the X Files online, as that’s where they’ve been stored in the years they were closed. They learn that the files concerning Langley were hacked and removed. They then come across a file in some of the other folders concerning the Lone Gunmen, leading them to Karen Hamby.
She explains that her and Langley’s consciousness were uploaded into a simulation that would come to life when their physical life ended. She then adds that the messages on Mulder’s phone were sent via Langley’s consciousness, then before she can tell the agents how to contact Langley, she’s shot and killed by the Russian soldier, who in turn, is shot and killed by Scully.
Mulder uses Hamby’s algorithms to communicate with Langley who conveys the horror of virtual heaven. He also reveals that the great minds of the world who have entered virtual consciousness, have been reduced to digital slaves, thus the agents need to shut it down.
The agents enter the Long Lines Building and are attacked on the stairwell. Scully escapes while Mulder is taken to a room with Erika Price (Barbara Hershey), revealing she’s the one responsible for the simulation.
Meanwhile, Scully breaks through the glass barriers protecting the servers turning off the simulation. She reunites with Mulder and the pair escape. They later return with additional agents to find an empty office and no servers.
The episode ends with Langley attempting to contact Mulder again, insisting that he “destroy the backup”. However, before he can reveal the location, he’s cut off by the Russian soldier who is now a part of virtual heaven.
Overall, I liked the episode generally, but it was always going to be a tough one to follow up from the first episode in the season which was fantastic. It was a good attempt with a good concept but nothing more really, so I give ‘This’, 6 out of 10. Stay tuned for episode 3 – ‘Plus One’.