Everything Mulder was told in 'My Struggle, Part I' was a lie. Colonization has begun. Tad O'Malley is a Syndicate Agent. The Old Man is a fraud. Cancer Man is an impostor. Scully is the new Cassandra Spender and everything was orchestrated to get her to create a vaccine using her alien DNA. William is the final key to creating the hybrid slave race, just as was prophesied. Scully will use his stem cells to perfect the vaccine. Everything is proceeding exactly as was first laid out in Season One with 'The Erlenmeyer Flask'.
Do I have your attention yet?
The X-Files miniseason is over but the controversy has just begun. Fox had been promoting the last episode as a "season finale" and not a "series finale," a fact that seemed to be overlooked. And although Chris Carter announced the season would end on a cliffhanger, no one was quite prepared for the cliff he was going to hang them on.
From the start I thought doing standalones was a big mistake. Sure it might play well with the extremely vocal minority on message boards and in the media but I think most fans would have preferred a continuous story. The producers split the difference by incorporating elements of the Mytharc into the standalones (and 'Founder's Mutation' is by any reasonable definition a Myth ep anyway, even if it felt and looked more like an episode of Fringe), but for me that served only to throw the contrast into greater relief.
I blogged on the very extensive use of classic moments from past X-Files episodes in 'Founder's' but was puzzled by them; why was James Wong referencing a bunch of storylines that ran long after he left? Why did we see so much of William? After watching 'My Struggle II' it became clear to me that it was all foreshadowing of what was to come, all the more since Founder's was originally scheduled to run immediately preceding 'Struggle II'.
Some fans are complaining that the Mythology was dispensed with in a cavalier fashion after promising so much for so long. But those fans seemed to forget many of the X-Files ground rules, particularly that the aliens change tactics, everything you hear may be a lie and that nothing- and more importantly, no one- is ever quite what they seem.
The hype for 'My Struggle, Parts One and Two' was that the Mytharc was going to be retooled, that what was thought to be an alien conspiracy was in fact a conspiracy of men using alien technology. This theme was pushed in the media, even by unlikely suspects like Alex Jones.
But the preponderance of the evidence shows that this was all a fake-out, that viewers were being lured into the same con-game that Mulder and Scully were, the object of which was to gain access to Scully's alien hybrid DNA, that being what the aliens needed to begin colonization (see 'Two Fathers'/'One Son'), Scully being the final survivor of the hybrid tests performed by the Syndicate.
There are numerous precedents for the big fake-out in The X-Files. This fake-out storyline directly references the three-parter 'Gethesemene'/'Redux'/'Redux II', in which a Defense Department operative named Michael Kritschgau tells Mulder that aliens don't exist and that everything he believes has been orchestrated in order to cover up a military program involving abductions and human experimentation. The parallels are very clear and direct.
But importantly, Mulder is then told by the Smoking Man, his real father, that he's being deceived.
MULDER: I spoke to one of your men.
CSM: And you know that he's not a liar.
MULDER: I've seen enough to know he's not a liar, yeah.
CSM: You've seen but scant pieces of the whole.
MULDER: What more can you show me?
CSM: This man you spoke to, Michael Kritschgau, he has deceived you with beautiful lies. He's told you that everything you've ever believed about the existence of extraterrestrial life is untrue.
MULDER: What are you saying?
CSM: As I said, I'm offering you a chance to know the truth.
The other element the aliens needed to begin colonization was William (see 'Providence'/ 'Provenance', 'William'), who was sired by two humans with active alien DNA, though Mulder's was turned off after his resurrection (see 'DeadAlive'). As a baby, William was directly linked to the aliens telepathically (see 'Providence'/ 'Provenance'). Now Scully needs his stem cells to complete the vaccine.
With Scully's DNA and William's stem cells the vaccine will be complete and will be used to create the hybrid slave race for the colonists.
I was first put on this trail by a rather brilliant post on Facebook.
"My husband and I were having a lengthy discussion about my disappointment that the alien colonization mytharc was dropped for this new Spartan virus, take over the world mytharc. But his take is that alien colonization is now happening. If people willingly inject themselves with the vaccine, then they willingly inject themselves with alien DNA.
"This whole time we've been looking at the virus to begin colonization but really its been the vaccine."
And there it is. We know that Colonization was meant to begin with a worldwide plague that only alien-human hybrids would survive. So those who receive Scully's vaccine of alien DNA- which will probably be also need to be augmented with William's stem cells- will morph into aliens, exactly as we saw Scully do in the teaser. A pretty big clue there. Here is Syndicate operative Marita Covarrubias telling Mulder of the importance of Cassandra Spender- whose place Scully has now taken- in the episode "One Son."
MARITA COVARRUBIAS: No. No, Cassandra Spender is part of a program that's been going on for 25 years. A hybrid program.
MULDER: Then what were the tests on you?
MARITA COVARRUBIAS: I was infected with the alien virus - the black oil. My tests were on the vaccine against it... being developed in secret.
MULDER: In secret from the alien colonists. The hybrid program was in cooperation with the aliens but the conspirators never intended to succeed... to finish the work.
MARITA COVARRUBIAS: They were buying time.
MULDER: To make a vaccine and build a weapon.
MARITA COVARRUBIAS: But Cassandra Spender happened.
MULDER: She's the first, isn't she? She's the first successful alien/human hybrid.
MARITA COVARRUBIAS: If she is... and the aliens learn a hybrid exists... colonization of the planet will begin. With no stopping it.
But with Cassandra dead, Scully is now the only test subject left from the hybrid experiments, a fact made crystal clear by the parallelism of these two images, from 'Struggle II' and from 'The Red and the Black'.
And EXACTLY as we see happen in 'My Struggle, part II', alien colonization has been preceded by a plague. From 'One Son':
MULDER: And now you've succeeded?
CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN: Quite... in spite of ourselves. The plan was to stall, to resist.
MULDER: To work secretly on a vaccine.
CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN: That was your father's idea. To use the alien DNA to make a vaccine. To save everyone. The world. It's the reason I come along. But it's too late now. Colonization is going to begin. There will be a sequence of events. A state of emergency will be declared because of a massive outbreak of the alien virus delivered by bees. And the takeover will begin. I have only to hand over Cassandra.
And apparently all Mulder and Scully have to do is hand over William. And from Fight the Future, Mulder's meeting with conspirator turned whistleblower Alvin Kurzweil:
KURTZWEIL: When we were young men in the military, your father and I were recruited for a project. They told us it was biological warfare, a virus.
MULDER: What killed those men?
KURTZWEIL: What killed them I won't even write about! We have no context for what killed those men, or any appreciation of the scale at which it will be unleashed in the future.
MULDER: A plague?
KURTZWEIL: The plague to end all plagues, Agent Mulder. A silent weapon for a quiet war. The systematic release of an indiscriminate organism for which the men who will bring it on still have no cure! They've been working on this for fifty years!
How is the outbreak described in 'My Struggle part II'?
O'Malley: So what are we looking at, Dr. Rubell-- the scale and scope?
Rubell: A scale we've never dreamed. A scope that quickly becomes global.
O'Malley: A massive contagion, then?
Rubell: Not one contagion, but a variety of contagions. If the flu doesn't kill you, then something else will.
O'Malley: You're describing it as a fast-moving AIDS without the HIV.
Rubell: Our immune systems decimated by the same tampering to all our genomes.
RESOLVED: Colonization has begun. The process was set in motion in 2012 and is reaching critical mass in 2016.
The only difference is that with the old Syndicate's infrastructure gone, the new Syndicate has devised a new delivery system (explained at length in 'Struggle II').
Some people also seem to be acting like the storyline with alien DNA the smallpox vaccine came out of nowhere. But that only shows how little attention they actually pay to the series. Injecting people with alien DNA technically began with 'Erlenmeyer Flask' but also the tests on children and cattle in 'Red Museum'. The smallpox vaccine scars were seen on the hybrids in 'Anasazi' and the science was explored in 'Herrenvolk'.
SCULLY: Actually, it's an image created by what's called a confocal microscope. You're looking at a three-dimensional picture of the location of a protein. In this case, cowpox structural protein number six. It's one of the inoculants used in smallpox vaccines.
SENIOR FBI AGENT: Where'd it come from?
SCULLY: From me. I had a biopsy taken from the smallpox vaccination scar on my upper arm. Through a process called immunohisto chemical staining and through the addition of an antibody for the cowpox virus six, I was able to get this picture of the location of a protein... a single, non-random, protein pattern.
SKINNER: I'm not a scientist, Agent Scully, and I don't know that many people in this room...
SCULLY: What I'm saying is that I think this protein is a tag... some kind of genetic marker that was applied to me when I was inoculated against smallpox as a child.
SENIOR FBI AGENT: Why you?
SCULLY: Not just me... all of us... quite possibly anybody who's been inoculated over the past fifty years.
And bearing in mind that teaser in which Scully morphs into an alien, remember then the scene where Mulder discovers the aliens with smallpox scars in a traincar in 'Anasazi'.
MULDER: But these aren't human Scully. From the look of it I'd say they were alien.
SCULLY: Are you sure.?
MULDER: I'm pretty damn sure. Wait a sec...
MULDER: This one... has a smallpox vacination scar.
MULDER: Oh my God Scully, what have they done.?
But why would aliens have smallpox vaccinations? Answer: they were hybrid experiments, humans turned into alien-like creatures by Axis scientists:
SCULLY: Whatever is on that train is not alien.
MULDER: You're wrong, Scully.
SCULLY: Mulder, Ishimaru Zama...He was experimenting on innocent human subjects.
He'd been doing it for years. Operating out of a leper colony.
MULDER: Well, whatever his name was, Scully, he's dead. I don't think this has anything to do with lepers.
SCULLY: The leper colony was just a front. The tests weren't just on lepers. They were on the homeless...On, on, on the insane, they were brought here and they were subjected...
...to diseases and radiation tests.
Smallpox was also used in the trials seen in Zero Sum, just as they are with the soldiers in this episode. So in other words, the delivery system has changed but the agenda has not.
RESOLVED: Scully is being manipulated into developing a vaccine that will activate the genes which will turn those with the correct profile into hybrid slaves. She is doing so while under extreme pressure trying to avert a mass pandemic, which clouds her judgment. Hence the frenzied pace of the hospital scenes.
Now to the issue of Tad O'Malley being a Syndicate agent. This subplot references endless theories in the Conspirasphere about this or that popular host being a plant or a shill.
How did he know so much about the X-Files, about Mulder and Scully, 14 years after it had been disbanded? He never says. Why is a conspiracy host making accusations about 9/11 being a false flag making contacts with the FBI? How did he get in touch with AD Skinner?
How does an internet conspiracy talk show host have money for a bulletproof limo and a helicopter? Why does Sveta remember Mulder but Mulder doesn't remember her? Is her memory of Mulder a screen memory?
Note how the ARV and its team are destroyed as soon as Mulder gets a look at it and that Sveta is killed as soon as she imparts the necessary information to convince Mulder. Note how interested O'Malley is in Scully and her DNA and how intrusive he becomes when Scully is trying to have a private conversation with Mulder.
The goal of this plot is to convince both Mulder and Scully that the conspiracy is a false-flag alien invasion devised by a conspiracy of men. O'Malley is there to lend credibility to the plot but also to seduce the depressed and destitute Mulder with his wealth and access. O'Malley is also there to make sure people take the vaccine- having earned Scully's trust, she texts him with news of the vaccine and he broadcasts the information on his show.
RESOLVED: O'Malley is a Syndicate plant.
The Old Man is an interesting case. He contacts Mulder ten years ago- which we'll see is crucial- and feeds him information about the reverse engineering of alien technology and genetics. He claims to have been a doctor at a crash in New Mexico in 1947. This would make him nearly 100 years old.
Would a 100 year-old man be wandering around Washington, DC by himself in the middle of the night?
He also makes an important slip, pointing to the crucial storyline that makes the crucial connections between the past and the present: "'Cause you weren't even close. Warring aliens lighting each other on fire and other such nonsense."
When did that happen? In 'Patient X'/'The Red and the Black', where we saw Cassandra Spender taken up into a UFO on a bridge, exactly as I believe we are going to see happen to Scully. Why else is this storyline so important? Because it's when we first meet Jeffrey Spender. What does Jeffrey Spender have to do with the Old Man?
RESOLVED: The Old Man is a fraud.
Now the reappearance of the "Cigarette-Smoking Man". The last we saw him, he wasn't just badly burned. Every shred of flesh and sinew was incinerated from his bones. Not exactly something you recover from. But in keeping with the twin motif that runs through these last two episodes we should remember that Ol' Smokey had two sons, one of which was- you guessed it- Jeffrey Spender.
Jeffrey likes to impersonate people. Seeing that William is such an important part in this whole storyline we should also remember that in the episode "William" that Jeffrey Spender tried to get Scully to believe he was Mulder.
SCULLY: I have seen my share of the hideous of the disgusting and the repellent, but you, sir, are the most perfect expression I will ever see of all that is vile and hateful in life.
JEFFREY SPENDER: That may well be, but for a moment, you believed it -- that I was him.
SCULLY: I never believed it.
JEFFREY SPENDER: You wanted to believe.
SCULLY: You are as false as your face.
Jeffrey in fact got Doggett, Reyes and Skinner to go along with the deception- that he was a badly burned Mulder. We also find out that he had been going around collecting evidence and information about the Syndicate trying to get revenge on his father and his men for subjecting him to the tests that burned and disfigured him.
We should also remember that the actor who portrayed Jeffrey Spender was first seen on The X-Files playing a younger version of the Smoking Man. So is it out of the question to imagine William B. Davis playing a surgically altered version of Jeffrey Spender?
This is where Monica Reyes enters the picture. We find out that she is now working for the Smoking Man, whom she met- wait for it- ten years ago. That's right, Monica meets the alleged Smoking Man at the same time Mulder meets the Old Man.
There are a lot of questions here that lead us to question this man's identity. Why is he alive at all? Why is he still in the hospital four years after, looking very freshly injured? Why is he in a hospital at all (if the alien medicine explanation holds any water)? Answer: he was undergoing cosmetic surgery.
Why does he summon Monica Reyes, whom he had no contact with at all? Jeffrey Spender, on the other hand, did. And there's an important clue in the dialogue.
Monica Reyes, My Struggle pt II: He'd been near death, so badly burned they were having to reconstruct his entire face.
This is a direct echo of what Monica said of Jeffrey in 'William'.
Monica Reyes: If you saw him in the light, you'd understand. Something's wrong with his face. He's been severely burned by fire or maybe acid.
There are all kinds of clues in the dialogue. Monica says CSM "loves" Mulder. CSM quite clearly hated Mulder at the end of 'The Truth'. Jeffrey Spender on the other hand went out of his way to have Kersh reopen the X-Files, protect Mulder's child from the supersoldiers and then risk his life by testifying at Mulder's trial, all because Mulder- his brother- was trying to show him the truth and protect his mother.
The Smoking Man also takes a rather passive, resigned, un-Smoking Man stance towards the colonization agenda, in direct contrast to his soliloquy in 'Two Fathers':
Smoking Man: I didn't set out to destroy the world, Mulder. People did.
Mulder: You can't justify your actions.
Smoking Man: We have just had the hottest year on record on planet Earth. I didn't do that. I'm not responsible for the 40% loss of-of bird life or the decimation of the megafauna.
Mulder: So just murder all the people?!
Smoking Man: Aliens predicted all this. They saw it happening to themselves.
Mulder: And you kept it a secret.
Smoking Man: Look at world history, Fox. Neither you nor I could save mankind from self-extermination.
Mulder: So you plotted your endgame.
Pay close attention to Smoking Man's response:
Smoking Man: I just changed the timetable. Everyone still dies in the end.
Then comes the crucial clue, as Smoking Man removes his fake nose:
Smoking Man: I once cheated death.
Mulder: Oh, I wish Scully was here... see what a monster you've become.
The visual cue relating to Scully refers to this scene in 'William', when Scully removed Jeffrey Spender's prosthetic nose.
And if he had all this reconstructive surgery, why didn't they repair his tracheotomy? Surely that would be possible. The only reason would be to maintain the illusion he was CSM, as do the extraneous quips about smoking.
Most tellingly, Smoking Man has cheated death three times; after the assassination attempt in 'Redux II', after Krycek's murder attempt in 'Requiem' and then if we believe him, the incineration in 'The Truth'.
Who cheated death once? Jeffrey Spender, after being shot by his father.
Even the scene where the gunman comes to get Mulder on CSM's behalf is basically a revved-up version of the scene when the Well-Manicured Man sends Krycek to give Mulder a message in 'The Red and the Black', the same storyline we meet Jeffrey Spender, the same episode that seems so incredibly crucial to this new episode.
The gunman is basically a ringer and is even dressed the same as Krycek from 'Red'. Keep in mind again this was meant to follow 'Founder's Mutation' with all its tributes and replays. And why not send Krycek? If Smoking Man can recover from incineration surely Krycek can recover from a simple gunshot to the head.
Going by Chris Carter interviews is always a tricky business (and he's not about to give up a major spoiler) but this quote grabbed my attention in light of the links to Cassandra Spender, about Smoking Man's view of Mulder:
He respects Mulder. He thinks Mulder is a great man. Because of his relationship with Mulder’s mother, with Mulder’s father, he feels a kinship with him; he doesn’t want to see him die. One wonders, though, why he didn’t give Mulder the same alien DNA. There are questions.
"Great man." Where did we hear that before?
KRYCEK: That's why he put you on the X-Files. That's why your father sent you here tonight. You're protecting the project, Jeff. Making the sacrifices. So that you can be a great man, too.
SPENDER: I'll be my own great man.
Why didn't CSM give Mulder the alien DNA? Mulder refused it. Which CSM knew he would. Because that requires Scully now to get stem cells from William to save Mulder. But we may well find out that Jeffrey is impersonating his father to destroy the Syndicate from the inside.
RESOLVED: "The Smoking Man" is a surgically-altered Jeffrey Spender, whose role it is to cause Mulder to be sickened to such a point that Scully now has to find William to save him.
So now we see why there were so many references to past moments in 'Founder's Mutation'. The original idea was to prepare us for the clues and references to past episodes in 'My Struggle, Part II' that tell us that after 23 years of waiting, the long-prophesied alien colonization has finally begun. I guess I should have expected as much as soon as they began saying that it wasn't going to happen in the run up to the miniseries.
The repeated references to 'The Red and the Black', 'Two Fathers'/'One Son' and 'William' can't be coincidental, just as the even more-incongruous references throughout 'Founder's Mutation' are not. All of those episodes reference Jeffrey, who has literally taken his long-dead father's place. What The X-Files takes shape as is a family saga, that of the Mulders, the Scullys and the Spenders.
UPDATE: A Secret Sun FB member asked about the Supersoldiers. Their job is to stamp out the last vestiges of resistance. From "Essence"
MULDER: Tell us about Billy Miles.
KRYCEK: There are others just like him. You can call them what you want. They're human replacements, alien replicants. They're virtually unstoppable.
SKINNER: What do they want?
KRYCEK: They want to knock out any and all attempts by us to survive the final days- - when they come back to retake the planet.
NOTE: Now I know some people will chalk all this up to Chris Carter just being sloppy but having read all of these so-called criticisms for decades I can say that they are without exception either trivial or flat-out wrong. A perfect example? Scully's so-called year-long pregnancy in Season Eight. Only the most oblivious viewers banged this drum because they missed the fact that 'Without' takes place the very next day after 'Requiem'.
The criticisms about the Mytharc similarly come from "fans" or "journalists" who don't pay attention, not from the storyline itself.
I should also clarify that my posts on the revival are about the symbolism and the themes, not the actual execution of the series itself. That's an entirely different discussion. I'm hoping this was the OnOffOn and that we're still going get our Obliterati. I think having Frank Spotnitz back in the fold could go a long way in bringing that about.