Last Saturday, after having a whole week to process the fandom’s reaction to “My Struggle II”, I sat down with Annabeth Gish to fangirl, I mean, talk… about the episode and the aftermath of such shocking revelations. Especially one that left the whole fandom in shock.
Click after the jump for more.
“What were your thoughts when Chris Carter came to you and presented what was to be Monica’s story?” I ask.
“It was concerning to me when I first read it,” Annabeth begins. “But as an actress, you know, my job is to play the elements or the colors that the creators write for me.” She considers and then adds. “And it’s been such a long span of time that it’s not like I could say: “Chris, Monica wouldn’t do this.”
“Because there’s nothing that could tell us what happened throughout…” I suggest, knowing that this will always nag me. The fact that we don’t have a backstory.
“Exactly.” She agrees. “So I had to make up my own justification, because I’m still loyal to my character, whether she makes right or wrong decisions. My job as a professional actress is to portray with feeling and commit to the character that the writers have created… But who knows? The mysteries of The X-Files are as intricate as Chris Carter’s ideas.” She laughs but there’s admiration there.
“When I talked to Chris,” this interview happened after my interview with the writer/director about the finale that you can find here. “I mentioned that part of the deal with CSM made Monica similar to Scully, because she’s been given the vaccine, or so one infers. At the end of the day, she’s protected and part of this elite. So you’re both now sort of immortal…” I suggested.
“I will say this,” Annabeth explains. “I made the decision as part of the preparation for the character, that Monica decided to side with CSM to save Scully. That’s what I had to do, I don’t know if I’m kidding myself, but… that’s what I had to do. Because I believe in her, in Monica. I don’t think that she was looking to have immortal powers, I think she just thought that she could save William and Scully. That’s what I really believe.”
She also laments that Robert Patrick couldn’t join them this time around, as she missed the relationship between the characters and having Patrick on set with her.
We couldn’t skirt around the reaction that the fandom and the general audience has had about her character’s shift. Some of the fans have been very vocal about their dislike of Monica’s deal with CSM, and the reactions vary in intensity. Reviewers of all kinds have taken a fair amount of lines to explain their disagreement as well. Some reactions were perhaps misguided, unable to separate the character from the actress at times, others just addressed what many thought it was a character betrayal.
“Of course, I’m not immune to those kinds of criticisms or things, so... of course I felt sad by some of the comments.” She shrugs. “But on the other hand, it has been really lovely to see how much #TeamReyes support has been had. It was really uplifting on that level.”
The writing is on the wall about what will become of Monica Reyes in the continuation of “My Struggle II” or if we will learn the truth behind her deal with the devil, but in one way or another, despite my grievances about how the character came back, I was elated to have the team almost complete.
What did you think about Monica Reyes’ return to The X-Files? Did you create a backstory for yourself as well? Read the whole review for “My Struggle II” here. And don’t forget to catch Annabeth Gish at Scandal every Thursday on ABC.