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X-Files: The Truth is (Far) out there
Feature Column by Andy Grieser
May 17, 2001


Recovering from a thousand-hour gaming LAN party at ESCMag Tower, Editor-in-Chief Andy Grieser takes you on a brief detour to another media to answer all those nagging questions you have about the excitingly paranoid world of the X-Files ...


The truth is still out there. Throughout the eight seasons of The X-Files, Chris Carter’s once-touted "mythology" — the core story of Fox Mulder’s quest for the truth about his sister’s disappearance — has grown so convoluted that the writers seemed as confused as the viewers. Yet this Sunday’s season finale promises to answer all the questions. To prepare you for the truth, here are a few questions already answered.

What happened to Samantha Mulder?

This has been the driving passion for Fox Mulder (David Duchovny). He’s convinced his younger sister was abducted by aliens while they were children. Over the past few seasons, her fate has changed. At several points, it even seemed Samantha was alive and under the Cigarette-Smoking Man’s care. Unfortunately, the final answer is still a bit of a mystery. In season seven, Fox learned Samantha was abducted by someone, and tests were performed on her, but she disappeared from a hospital room soon after. Think of it as an ascension: She became a spirit without really dying, and joined others like her under some form of supernatural protection.

Are there really aliens?

Several varieties. We just don’t really know who’s who. There are the classic Greys, for example, with their big heads and black eyes. They are far less common than the Alien Bounty Hunters, who can change shape and kill with an icepick to the neck; the Black Oil, which has been on Earth since prehistoric times and can take over human bodies; the Rebels, who fight the Bounty Hunters and seal their eyes and mouths against the Black Oil; and now the Simulacrums, which grow inside a human body and then slough it off without changing appearance. And let’s not forget the alien-human hybrids, who bleed green, toxic blood.

Poor Fox has been exposed to both the Black Oil and the Simulacrum virus. He and Krycek were inoculated against the former while captive in Russia — both escaped the testing facility, but Krycek lost his right arm to Russian rebels fighting the experiments. Fox was abducted by a Bounty Hunter at the end of season seven, and implanted with a Simulacrum. Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) saved his life by cutting life support during Fox’s post-burial hospital stay. That stopped the alien from growing; Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) found the right combination of medicines to kill it.

This season, we’ve started to see people with spiky necks, which could be yet another alien race. They’ve been helping protect Scully’s unborn child, to the point of killing off a near-unstoppable Simulacrum.

Who was the Cigarette-Smoking Man?

The series’ greatest villain never considered himself as such. If you believe the Lone Gunmen, the CSM was a frustrated author who just happened to be part of the U.S. intelligence service. He and Fox’s father investigated the 1947 Roswell UFO crash, and after that it fell to the CSM to keep the public unaware of the coming alien invasion. The CSM was part of the Consortium, a group devoted to both helping and fighting said invasion. More on that later.

For a while, Mulder was carrying some mysterious biological deterrent to the alien invasion in his head. Literally. The CSM removed it and placed it in his own head.

There was some confusion as to whether the CSM was actually Fox’s biological father. He definitely fathered Agent Jeffrey Spender (Chris Owens), and then killed him in season six.

What was the Consortium’s master plan?

Think of this as the second heart of the X-Files’ mythology, after the search for Samantha. The Consortium was a group of nameless men who ran a sort of shadow world government from New York City. They were in league with the aliens, who planned to infect humans with a virus that would take over their bodies, giving them control of Earth. (The reason for this is unclear. Most of the aliens already look human, so maybe it’s more host bodies that they need instead of world domination.)

In return, the Consortium and their families would be allowed to stay uninfected. Apparently, this plan involved infecting both corn and bees. The plan also involved keeping the truth away from the public, and so Fox was often a Consortium target.

The X-Files is all about paranoia. The Consortium, fearing a double-cross, was working on antiviral medicine not for humankind but for their own use. Before they could finish, almost the entire Consortium was burned to death by the Rebels. Only the CSM managed to escape.

Who is Alex Krycek working for?

The slimy but much-loved (by fans) FBI Agent Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea) was brought in to replace Scully during her first abduction. He was, of course, a Consortium spy sent to discredit Fox. That seemed to end when Krycek was trapped in a locked missile silo. His role was indeed supposed to end there, but the character was so popular he was brought back (without explanation for his escape). He and Fox were eventually captured in Russia and inoculated against the Black Oil, but human rebels took Krycek’s right arm in the process.

Krycek served mostly as exposition after that, dropping in to cause minor havoc or guide Fox closer to the truth with no discernible reason. He also implanted Skinner with tiny robots that cause the assistant director pain; thus, Skinner must often unwillingly do the former agent’s bidding. Krycek eventually killed the CSM by pushing him down a flight of stairs, and now seems to be working against the alien invasion by protecting Scully and her unborn baby.

What about Scully’s baby?

Poor Scully. Since being assigned to the X-Files (by forces hoping to discredit Fox Mulder), she’s been abducted twice. The first time left her barren; the Consortium stole her ova. One was used to "grow" a daughter, who later was killed. Fox stole back the eggs, and Scully tried to use them to get pregnant, with Fox as a sperm donor. The first attempt failed.

This successful pregnancy has not been explained, except for Krycek’s opinion that the baby is some sort of superhuman, like the next step in our evolution. Apparently, the aliens are afraid a superhuman race could thwart any future invasion, and so are trying to kill the fetus. Even Fox doesn’t seem to know the father’s identity — Krycek swears it’s a miracle, akin to the Christian Virgin Birth — and Scully ain’t saying.

What happens next season?

Who knows the truth? Chris Carter has promised that the Mulder mythology will indeed end with this season’s finale, because Duchovny and Anderson might not return next season. Even if they do, it’ll be much like Duchovny’s extended cameo this season. No matter what, the show’s creators promise an all-new plot centered on Agent John Doggett (Robert Patrick).

Discuss it here!


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