Take Two: THE X-FILES' I WANT TO BELIEVE and Season 10 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Take Two: THE X-FILES’ I WANT TO BELIEVE and Season 10

September 9, 2023 by  


Credit: Fox

On Friday, September 10, 1993, Fox debuted THE X-FILES. Now, ahead of the show’s 30th anniversary, Give Me My Remote is looking back at all 11 seasons (and the two feature films) in a new daily series Take Two.

If you’ve read About Last Night, this will be formatted in a similar way: Each episode will get its own subsection/reaction, though in this case there may be slight spoilers or alluding to what comes ahead in the series. In the event a major spoiler is discussed, there will be a warning to be extra safe. Each Take Two will cover approximately 5 episodes and will wrap up the Friday before the show’s 30th birthday.

(I’ll also note how I’m watching the episodes, because some of the streaming platforms have utilized syndicated cuts of this show.)

Today, we’re going over the 2008 film I WANT TO BELIEVE as well as season 10!

(I WANT TO BELIEVE was viewed on the Blu-ray release. Season 10 was viewed via iTunes. The episodes are also streaming for free on Freevee or with a Hulu subscription.)


If you’ve listened to the Big Kid podcast I did with my friend Chris Hayner, you already know perhaps my most controversial XF opinion is I don’t hate the second film. It’s not my favorite XF movie, it’s not my favorite XF case, but it’s an interesting enough case and was a chance to see Mulder and Scully six years after the show ended…something that felt quasi-like a miracle. (Chris also pointed out during the podcast the film is basically an episode of SVU, and, well…clearly I enjoy that show, so maybe that helps explain my feelings about this movie.)

For better or worse, the movie is exactly what it is. You get some history on Mulder and Scully in case you only barely know their history, but there isn’t a lot of explanation about where they went post-”The Truth.” The upcoming alien invasion is ignored. Scully is a practicing doctor, while Mulder is a recluse…and they’re at a breaking point. 

Some of their distress feels earned: Mulder is so used to being a rogue agent, even throughout his partnership with Scully, and we literally and figuratively see how he’s going a little, uh, unhinged with being confined to that house. Does it suck to have our limited time with them at odds? Sure. But we also get to see them, again, choose each other. We get to see their domesticity in a way that we never saw before—and never will again. 

If this was just a normal episode of the show itself, I’d admittedly be underwhelmed. There’s a bit of a supernatural leaning with a psychic, but it’s largely human-centric. On paper, it’s an interesting conflict for Mulder and Scully, because they’ve had complex (and varying) reactions to psychics in the past; it’s not a topic where they clear-cut fall on one side of the debate. But you’d also think if this could be the final chapter in their story, get the time and (admittedly limited) money to devote to a story, maybe it would be something a bit more monster-based? I don’t know.

The fact is, even 15 (eesh) years removed from the film, I’m thankful for this bit of them. Knowing what we got in 10/11, it’s a little bubble of pretending Mulder and Scully are still out there, occasionally being called in when they’re needed, but able to live their lives, happily, together. It’s probably my second-favorite ending they got. Alas.

  • While I appreciate the “XF theme over the Bush photo” gag, it also kind of feeds into the near-erasure of everything from the final seasons except for Mulder/Scully/William. The show was on during Bush’s first administration…and immediately post-9/11. There’s zero questions from Mulder and/or Scully about Doggett and Reyes, who were running the X-Files unit before everything went to hell?
  • “And his sister was abducted by ET.” Look, I forgot Xzibit was in this movie until I pressed play, and he is very good at deadpan humor. (Mulder may not have appreciated it, but I did.)
  • I’ve never loved Whitney being kind of flirty with Mulder, because clearly he and Scully were involved. Also, calling him Fox? Yeah, she was doomed.
  • For as vague as the franchise can be about Mulder/Scully, we get straight-forward terms about their relationship here: Scully says she’s in love with Mulder; she’s clear he’s not her husband; also, “we are two people who come home at night. To a home.” While I do find some of her pushback to him throwing himself into the case disingenuous (she told him about it, to begin with), I do get on a basic level why she’s protective of their bubble. She’s also lost him, lost William to this quest for the truth. She just wants to protect what she has left.
  • (Mulder and Scully talking about William in the film, though…my heart.)
  • “If you were a mother you’d understand”…do you ask your doctors about their families?? Also, I’m pretty sure if these idiots (okay, worried parents, but idiots) had asked Scully, she would have acknowledged her son, so it feels like a whole lot of inconsiderate reaching.
  • Mulder apologizing about Scully’s car after nearly getting killed is so funny.
  • I do love that Skinner is in this film; Mitch Pileggi’s the only one in every single season and both films alongside David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
  • I have mixed feelings about the very, very end tag with Mulder and Scully on the boat, but it’s mostly harmless, so…have fun, kids.

“My Struggle”:

Here’s the thing: The original series ended with the tease that there was a final alien invasion coming in 2012. This was the first bit of XF media we got since that date passed…and the show didn’t dive into that.

I would understand if it was different showrunners, or if they opted to solely focus on something else set-up, but instead they started a whole new mythology.

As it is, it feels like it’s a wild disservice to the show and Mulder/Scully…after spending so many years bracing for that, what was their reaction when the invasion didn’t come to pass? We get mentions here that Mulder is depressed, and it led to the end of his romantic relationship with Scully, but…was it because of that? Who knows! (We also have no clear idea of when Mulder and Scully split up in the eight years between IWTB and “MS.”) 

And, yes, I hate they split up Mulder and Scully. Forget the fact that I love them together (clearly), more importantly, I don’t think them being romantically split added a single thing—beyond a couple of biting jabs in this episode—to the series. If you watch episodes 2-6, you wouldn’t know they broke up. If you’re going to make a move that big, that consequential, it should have ramifications that justify it. Otherwise, it just feels cheap.

  • The change in technology truly is insane. The ship in the cold open looks absolutely incredible.
  • Oh, old credits. I missed you so much.
  • The use of the Kimmel and Obama clip about aliens is very funny.
  • It did not feel great then, feels even worse now, but…don’t love a conspiracy kook media figure being a central part of the season.
  • This is the longest break Duchovny and Anderson had in playing their characters, and, uh, it showed. This is really the only time in the entire franchise where it feels like they’re not quite there, both with their respective characters and how they might relate to each other. It’s jarring to see.
  • “Intense,” “challenging,” “impossible,” Scully? It’s honestly sad she seems so resentful and bitter about her relationship with Mulder.
  • (The fact that she seemingly was charmed by Tad and agreed to quasi-go out with him? Scully, WTF. Forget Mulder, this guy is a DANGEROUS LOON, good lord.) 
  • Mulder insisting a random stranger he didn’t know about until like a week ago was the “key to everything”…A) How many times have we heard this in the past? B) It doesn’t hold any weight when it’s not like he knew this information was out there. Even for as much as he jumps at things, the leap he takes here is extreme.
  • If you play a drinking game with the word “believe,” you will be dead. RIP, you.
  • I said this before, but CSM should not be alive. All due respect to William B. Davis! But…hello, CSM very much died. Dead, dead, dead. (Saving the Davis “guest star” credit for the end of the episode was at least smart, though.)

“Founder’s Mutation”:

This is, arguably, the second-best MOTW of the season, hindered most significantly by too much being thrown at the wall. The core element of the kids with powers is interesting, and allowed both Mulder and Scully to reflect on William in a significant way. But it takes too long to get to the core of the story, and not even in a way that’s wildly interesting or engaging; once it gets there, then you are drawn in.

  • “This could be dangerous.” “When has that ever stopped us before?” I missed these dummies so much.
  • “You’re never just anything to me, Scully.” Ugh, kill me.
  • Loved, loved, loved seeing Rebecca Wisocky here.
  • (So, uh, Scully’s whole other career just went away? Suddenly, Mulder and Scully are agents again? TV magic!)

“Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”:

Well, this is by far my favorite episode of season 10, and I’d argue the best episode of both revival seasons…and it always blows me away that it was written for NIGHT STALKER and never actually intended to be an episode of THE X-FILES.

Mulder having a mid-life crisis, having to cope with how things had changed in his absence, with so many fakers out there? Fantastic. And paired with the twist that the monster’s “turn” was actually him shifting into a human—and Guy was despondent about his everyday existence, minus his dog, Dagoo—it’s a brilliant look at humanity.

  • Tyler Labine and the stoners returning for another Darin Morgan episode? Perfect.
  • “Mulder, the internet is not good for you.” No truer statement, Scully.
  • Mulder having problems with his phone app is both entirely believable and perfectly ridiculous.
  • Scully saying “I forgot how much fun these cases could be” feels really important. So much has been taken from her, but it was not all misery. 
  • Mulder having the fight with himself while saying what he thought he and Scully would say, while she sits on the bed and amusedly watches him? Chef’s kiss.
  • “Yeah, this is how I like my Mulder.”
  • The Kim Manners gravestone makes me emotional every time. 
  • I love that Pasha tries to give his villain speech and Scully is like, nah, we’re good. 
  • “Besides, you forget, I’m immortal.” Morgan has acknowledged Scully’s immortality has been overblown, but this was a cute wink at the fan theory that she can’t die. (The cruelest thing would be to keep this poor woman alive forever, alone, let her have a nice, happy, healthy life, please.)
  • And, of course: DAGOOOOOOOO.

“Home Again”:

The frustrating thing about this episode is that it feels like there’s a core of a good episode here, but it doesn’t come to fruition.

The case-case itself is simply there. They’re trying to tell an important story about unhoused people, but it’s instantly overshadowed by Maggie’s health issues. (Which…Mulder loves Maggie. He’s known her for more than 20 years. How does he not go with Scully, too?)

We get to see Scully struggle with all of the things she didn’t know about her mom—her change in care wishes, why she’s calling out for Charlie, the mysterious quarter. As she grapples with that, she’s also, naturally, reminded about William and all she doesn’t know…and vice versa. The episode would have been stronger if it simply focused on that. Or paused for that and then when Maggie passed, Scully threw herself into work. Alas.

  • “You’re a dark wizard, Mulder.”
  • “My son is named William, too.” Well, these were some of the most painful final words possible. 



Look, SOMEHOW I managed to brain-bleach Mulder’s drugged-out fantasy from my brain (despite the fact I’ve seen this episode at least three times, most recently in October ‘17), but when I saw the cowboy hat as he and Einstein were walking into the hospital, I remembered what was to come and…well…I regretted my life choices in this whole rewatch thing.

It’s easy to be flippant about this, because it’s an absolutely mortifying, awful sequence, but it’s also couched in an episode that was problematic in its own ways. (The show has never handled diverse stories well, and trying to tackle terrorism….yeah. It’s not good.)

It’s also a baffling decision, in the penultimate episode—in a season that only has six hours!—to keep Mulder and Scully almost entirely separate. I actually like Miller and Einstein, but this is the kind of thing you can do in a 22-episode season, not one this short.

  • Scully getting to do the “Nobody but the FBI’s most unwanted” line was very cute.
  • “She’s clearly in love with him.” Well, at least Einstein figured out Mulder and Scully’s deal very fast.
  • I cannot imagine the cost of music for this hour.

“My Struggle II”:

Here’s the thing: It’s extremely difficult to talk about this episode with any kind of depth knowing what we know about what’s to come in the season 11 premiere. Even the things that work suddenly don’t with the context of the twist ahead. So…we’ll keep this short.

  • The vaccine paranoia was cringe-worthy then, but it feels downright irresponsible now. 
  • (It’s also chilling to see a global contagion given what was to come a few years later with COVID.) 
  • “There’s talk on the internet.” (Just needs to be preserved here, because my experience of hearing that line for the first time…well, it was unforgettable.)
  • It’s silly to think Scully wouldn’t recognize Reyes’ voice on the phone. It’s one thing if it was, like, Leyla, but this woman DELIVERED HER CHILD. They worked together for over a year.
  • (I hate the Monica-is-working-for-CSM of it all. Hate.)
  • CSM talking about climate change…well, he wasn’t wrong.
  • I’ve said this before, but one of the show’s problems is how good Davis and Duchovny are together. They’re great in this face-off, but it’s not something that can or should be repeated frequently because Mulder or CSM would have killed the other by now.
  • It would have been interesting if they actually did need to find William’s stem cells to save Mulder. If. Only.

What did you think of these THE X-FILES episodes?


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