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X-Files: Mulder’s new conspiracies could mean disaster for the rest of the season

Fox Mulder has always lived life a little too close to the mysterious edge. With Sunday night’s The X-Files reboot, it seems his mental state is finally paying the price, because he just pulled a conspiratorial 180 that left everyone — even Dana Scully — spinning.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

The X-Files built nine seasons of nail-biting entertainment on the fact that David Duchovny‘s tortured Fox Mulder believed (or wanted very much to believe) that aliens were in charge of a plot to take over the planet. Every season he pulled at threads, uncovered new clues, and fought harder to uncover the truth…

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But tonight, after an intense meeting with right-wing conspiracy nut Tad O’Malley (played by Joel McHale), Mulder threw all of his hard-won alien theories out the window and traded them in for an alien-technology-driven takeover plot he now believes is helmed by Big Brother.

The fact that Mulder’s taking such a drastically different approach to the issue of alien plots and government surveillance made him sound less the reliable FBI agent we’ve come to know, and more like a rambling mental patient. At one point, when he outlines his “epiphany” for Scully, the look of concern and dismay that crosses her face makes it pretty clear that she’s convinced he’s stepped off the deep end as well.

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But — to be fair — the world is a much different one now than it was in 2002 when The X-Files went off the air. There are so many government conspiracies out there right now, and so many prominent conspiracy theorists on the air, that it was probably impossible for the show not to consider a government-led plot and still feel relevant.

So what does this mean for the rest of the series’ (short) return season? Maybe quite a lot.

Perhaps Mulder’s mental state could spell trouble for Scully and the Bureau. Will he be able to keep it together? Or will he melt down before he can save the world? His newfound convictions could spawn a new investigation that finally unravels the truth that has so long eluded our two favorite agents. That’s if there is actually truth at the bottom of this new rabbit hole — the final episode of the original series left more than a few fans frustrated, since it seemed to tie up so little of the show’s original mythology.

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Speaking of that final episode though…

Fans will of course remember that the series ended with the long-awaited (and seeming irrefutable) death of The Smoking Man… that is until the final moments of tonight’s episode which showed that the chain-smoking SOB is actually still alive and just moderately disfigured. He was even smoking through his tracheotomy hole (ew!) and still very much involved in whatever nefarious plot is in place to destroy the world.

Mulder may feel a bit more unhinged than usual, and the new “The government is using alien technology to take over the world, not the aliens themselves!” plot line may feel a bit forced, but overall we’ve got to admit, the reboot feels like it’s off with an appropriate X-Files vibe. Especially because, whether Big Brother is behind this or not, at the end of the episode, Scully found out she has alien DNA!

So, with Mulder’s renewed drive to uncover the truth, and Scully’s reignited rage at all she’s been through, our favorite alien-hunting duo is back and ready to deliver a few monster-of-the-week episodes that will surely ease us further into Mulder’s new theories as he and Scully embark on another quest to uncover the truth…

Because the truth is out there! The question is, will Mulder and Scully uncover it with just five more episodes?

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