The Truth is...The Ninth Season of the X-Files Sucked.
Written: Aug 14, 2010 (Updated Aug 14, 2010)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:A few good episodes, Doggett's one of the best things about the last few seasons
Cons:Weak climax, poor delivery, bad story lines, acting, music, not enough stand-out episodes
The Bottom Line: The ninth season of The X-Files is a mess. Aside from a small pinch of good episodes, it's largely forgettable and disappointing.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
When David Duchovny left the series that virtually created his career from scratch in 2000 after the conclusion of the seventh series, most people thought that The X-Files was dead in the water. While Duchovny had some guest spots throughout the eighth and ninth seasons he was "replaced", if you will, by Robert Patrick as the new male lead Agent Doggett. Gillian Anderson who played Agent Scully was still in the mix, but she had emotionally vacated her role it seemed in the last few seasons of the show.
Truth be told, I really enjoyed the eight season as it brought about a ton of interesting episodes and movement for a show that was struggling to stay relevant. However, the ninth season--the one you are currently reading about--proved to be too much and was cancelled after it's airing in the 2001-2002 season. Whereas the eighth season showed there was still spunk to the series, the ninth one is so halfhearted that it would appear the filmmakers weren't even trying any longer. Long running story lines were written off abruptly, dull episodes make up the large portion of the 19 episodes represented in this box set, and the entire running story line of the alien invasion (aka the "mythology") is lost in a heap of spiraling logic.
After finishing the series--despite the point-by-point final episode, which sought to explain everything--I couldn't even begin to tell you how it all affected me. I've long been under the belief that the stand-alone episodes were more exciting than the mythology/alien ones--and one proved my hypothesis. The X-Files is definitely one of my favorite shows, but they dropped the ball so badly here that it left a sour point for everyone about the end of the series. It's pretty bad when all of the fans are clamoring for their beloved series to stop because of how much the creators have messed it up. But alas, the ninth season still has some good qualities to it. Keep that in mind as we dive into the end of the series.
Nothing Important Happened Today Parts One and Two are the starting few episodes and they are pretty solid--starting the series off at a good pace. Annabeth Gish, who was introduced in the eighth season, mainlines herself as Agent Reyes to lead status along with Patrick as Doggett.
Assistant Director Brad Follmer played by Cary Elwes is introduced, who just so happens to be an ex-boyfriend of Reyes (drama!) and plays bigger part in the final season. Then you have the larger story at hand about out of control water that somehow has been killing people. Lucy Lawless guest stars for both episodes (gotta love her) as Shannon McMahon, a super soldier who's part of the conspiracy. This episode delves into the internal investigation of the FBI by Doggett and company as well as more info on Scully's kid, William. Tons of stuff is happening in the first two episodes, believe you me.
There's a stand-alone "monster of the week" episode called Daemonicus which has Reyes and Doggett investigating by themselves as the new team on the X-files (the paranormal stuff that the normal FBI cadets won't touch). This also shows Scully relegated to supporting cast member while she's out of the field on mother duties while teaching at an FBI academy. This is a pretty good episode with some creepy stuff relating to demons and murders, but I felt that the concept, as it goes along, became weaker and weaker until the ending.
4-D is a pretty good episode with an original plot behind it that twists time and logic as Doggett faces one of the biggest challenges of his life and you see Reyes and him warming up to one another finally. This is probably one of my favorite episodes of the entire ninth season. Lord of the Flies, which opens pretty lamely as a manufactured hand-held camera showing of a daredevil guy doing some stunts when something weird happens and he dies. The bad guy of this episode is all about the bugs and there's some creepy imagery. Heck, even Jane Lynch has a part in this one for all of you Glee fans to see her in a new light.
Provenance and Trust No 1 are two Scully-centered episodes, which deal with Agent Mulder's disappearance as well as the mysterious circumstances about her son. I found both of these ones lacking in the excitement department as they felt like filler material trying to answer some questions...but only cheapen things down more. They're sort of dull and don't capture my attention as much as they should've. Oddly enough they were both co-written by series creator, Chris Carter.
John Doe is a pretty interesting X-Files episode with a great premise: Doggett wakes up in a Mexican town without any memory. He gets into some trouble with the locals while Reyes and Scully try desperately to find him. This is light in the paranormal department and almost doesn't feel like a part of the show, but it works--and it's probably one of the most fun episodes available here. Underneath is also a good Doggett episode with a mystery behind it relating to a serial killer. Doggett has honestly been this series' saving grace the past two seasons. I don't care what anyone says--Robert Patrick is one of the most capable actors and he makes this season watchable.
As that one's centered mostly on Doggett, Reyes gets a few episodes surrounding her from the forgettable Hellbound about a man skinned alive where we learn more about Reyes' past and the pretty ambitious Audrey Pauley where Reyes is caught in a kind of limbo after being hit by a car with a nefarious plot behind it all. Gish as Reyes is okay to watch and she's not bad--certainly against other ladies we've seen on the show over the years, but she's definitely no Scully and this season Scully's absence in the field as well as her dynamic with Duchovny as Mulder was felt.
Agent Mulder's partners in crime, the Lone Gunmen return here in Providence episode (which is the second part of the Provenance one relating to some crazy stuff regarding her child), but their big one is Jump the Shark where they really show their true heroics in the face of danger. That said I didn't like this episode because it was unrealistic to everything they were all about and I thought that the filmmakers really did their characters an injustice at the end to write them out of the show.
Scary Monsters is another "monster of the week" one where Reyes and Doggett are snowed in at a house with a father and son hiding a deep, gross secret that could very well be the most dangerous situation of the ninth season. This episode was fun and all, but not highly original or innovative and the special effects aren't very good. That's to say that a lot of the special effects throughout the entire series aren't THAT good, but the ninth season is so manufactured and lame that you'll be laughing through the entire thing wondering how in the hell they've aged so poorly. I could see myself back in the early 2000s scoffing at this stuff.
Improbable and Sunshine Days are two of the wackiest offerings this season and I am so bewildered by their placement that I don't even know what to say about them other than I think they are among the franchise's worst. Burt Reynold's guest stars in Improbable (written and directed by Chris Carter) as a mysterious trickster whom the agents run into along their investigation into a series of deaths relating to numerology and the like. Its tone is so wild and colorful that it feels awkward.
The music is ridiculous as well--which I have to say hurts the entire show overall. Many of the episodes have the most sentimental, sappy dramatic melodies that I've ever heard in the entire series and they weaken every facet of each show. Sunshine Days guest stars Emerson (from Lost!) as a guy obsessed with The Brady Bunch who makes his house up to be that and can control things with his mind. The guy that played Bud Bundy on Married...with Children guest stars and holy crap was this one such a displeasure to sit through. It was boring and so laugh-worthy that I honestly wasted my entire forty minutes watching it.
There are two more good episodes here. One is called William (directed and co-written by David Duchovny!) and features a disfigured man who comes into Scully's life to protect (or hurt) her infant son. This one's a big mystery as you're wondering who this guy is--but one thing's for certain: he cannot be trusted. This one had me floored despite the awful script and performances. The other good one finally shows us some closure for Doggett's character relating to his deceased kid and the man responsible. We see Follmer's exit (Cary Elwes...I love you, but you felt forced in this series) as well as a great performance by Patrick as a student of Scully's offers some deep insights into his son's case that he cannot look away from.
Lastly we have the two-parter The Truth, which is the last episode of The X-Files. Personally, I was expecting more, but this really left a bad taste in my mouth. There's some good drama and tension--Mulder returns and kills a super soldier, but is incarcerated for it, so Assistant Director Walter Skinner has to be his lawyer in military court while the entire thing is covered in the conspiracy they have been fighting since day one. No real questions are answered and I'd imagine the filmmakers' reaction to that would be that ambiguity is the more philosophical and interesting approach, but I felt like they had no idea where they were going and couldn't come up with a suitable answer to us fans. It tarnishes the name of The X-Files and gives us a boring climax to a series that grew too long in the teeth.
All of my other X-Files DVDs are in the slim-packs, but for some reason I bought the larger version of it. This one has seven discs with the last two discs being the bonus features. There's a documentary titled "The Truth About Season Nine", which I haven't watched yet as I don't know if I can handle the filmmakers lying to my face just yet as well as over three hours of other behind-the-scenes features. There are some deleted scenes spread out through some episodes with commentary by Frank Spotnitz (who wrote a large portion of the crappier episodes here) as well as a few other episode commentaries by Chris Carter, director Kim Manners, and Vince Gilligan (one of the writers). There's a few other bonus features, but they're a little on the lame side like television spots and character profiles.
There are maybe four or five good episodes here that I'd watch again--the others are all throwaways with botched story lines and mediocre performances. The guest stars aren't too thrilling and I felt like all of the enthusiasm of the series was gone by this point--even Gillian Anderson seemed tired. I can't say I'm surprised that everyone bashes this season--it truly messed up everything that the series had been working up to and while you can blame it on a multitude of things, the simple fact is that the filmmakers gave up and that's a sad state of affairs regarding one of my favorite series'. I'd say that this is important to watch in order to get some kind of closure on the series if you're a die-hard fan, but any other fan of the show should stop after the eighth season. Nothing to see here--moving on. Oh, yeah, they also made a second X-Files movie about five or six years after this--THAT wasn't too good either. R.I.P. X-Files.
© Jason Haskins, 2010
01. Nothing Important Happened Today
02. Nothing Important Happened Today II
05. Lord of the Flies
06. Trust No 1
07. John Doe
11. Audrey Pauley
14. Scary Monsters
15. Jump the Shark
18. Sunshine Boys
19. The Truth
The X-Files: The Complete First Season
The X-Files: The Complete Second Season
The X-Files: The Complete Third Season
The X-Files: The Complete Fourth Season
The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season
The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998)
The X-Files: The Complete Sixth Season
The X-Files: The Complete Seventh Season
The X-Files: The Complete Eighth Season
The X-Files: The Complete Ninth Season [you are here]
The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older