To depict big themes, the advice to writers is to focus on small items and moments. If disease is the theme, the moment in a global pandemic is how a medico might be motivated by the sight of a toy box in an eerily empty children’s hospital ward. Emotional, concrete, and reasonably relatable.
Conspiracy to commit writing
In conspiracy narratives, the focus is on the relationship between the believer/debunker and the conspirator. The big picture is implications of how the conspiracy plays out, while the small focus should be on the price paid by the main characters. In the X Files finale we learn (one of the) end game(s) of the Big Conspiracy. To save the world by depopulating it using alien-medical science against unsuspecting humans. As always, I deplore the Smoking Man’s methods, and motivations, but he makes a point. In a world of shadowy conspiracies, he has always been working to save (a portion of) humanity from itself, even if it means most people become a slave race to aliens or accidental incubators to them, or die of illness. He thinks he is right to do so. I think this is what happens to thwarted writers (who start out as assassins).
In the personal quest department Mulder got to put a gun to the head of the Smoking Man, while Scully manages to combine science, a dash of faith and all of her experiences to save the day. But the price was already paid by our heroes when they forfeited their child. So that was a bit of a fizzer.
It was typical X Files in that it included the personal journeys, and the big conspiracy but did so with a tonne of frustration, and flaws.
Scully uses her blood, but she should have drained Agent Reyes (almost) dry to, to manufacture more of the cure faster, since they were both protected. In fact, if so many people were immune or carried the right safety gene, any member of the conspiracy could have caved and made a cure for the Spartan Virus at any time and just handed it to Scully. Or something. There were probably issues with the science, as well as the story, but I can’t be bothered Googling them.
What is it with writers ending series where they could have begun? All we have are questions: Are Scully and Mulder completely blown up? Or are they abducted by aliens? Or are they abducted by humans in an alien designed machine? Is Mulder cured with stem cells from their son? Is that William flying? Is he old enough for a pilot’s licence? If it took minutes for Scully to find Mulder using GPS, how did an alien aircraft turn up right when Mulder was about to die? Arrgh.
Vibe of the Times
I get that conspiracy stories only work when there are layers, but I’m unsure as to whether this was mocking anti-vaxers, experiments on soldiers, and our general ignorance of science and genetics in particular or something else. Perhaps that something else was just taking a proclivity to conspiracy and anti-intellectualism to a kind of conclusion. Alright, it says, don’t believe in vaccinations, worried about the climate, follow a tabloid conspiracy theorist? We’ll make it all true, explain why and insert into the mythos. But that’s what X Files does, sweeps up the zeitgeist and makes it all about aliens and the tragic love story of the people chasing them.
I guess, for all of the cultural vibe of the times references, and the science, I really wanted more significant and emotive specifics. And I’m not surprised by this. It’s the reaction I predicted for myself, no matter the plot.
And yeah, the other thing I want. Another season or two, but not with Agents Einstein and Miller looking for their older dopplegangers.