All of the X-Files Mythos That Was Retconned by the Revival

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 - 5:05PM
Tuesday, 23 February 2016 - 5:05PM
All of the X-Files Mythos That Was Retconned by the Revival
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Last night's disappointing, muddled finale of The X-Files delved deeply into the show's mythology, and arguably made it even more nonsensical than it was before. To be fair, it wasn't intended as the last word on the mythology, as Chris Carter and Fox clearly plan to make more episodes, but we'll try to muddle through and make sense of the new mythology arc anyway. Here are all of the aspects of the X-Files mythology that have been effectively retconned by the revival, and how the new explanations might fit into the original series:

The Syndicate

In the miniseries premiere, Mulder discovered that there is no alien conspiracy per se, but a government conspiracy that plans to use alien technology against the populace. The Cigarette Smoking Man tells him in the finale that the advanced aliens foresaw humans destroying our planet just as the aliens had destroyed theirs, and that they gave the Syndicate the means to decimate the population in order to rectify that problem.

I admire the attempt to tie the conspiracy to timely social issues, and to breathe new life into the mythos, but this makes no sense in light of the original series. We've seen enough evidence of the colonists and the plan for alien colonization that we would need a better explanation than we were given if it were really a hoax. If there were no Colonization, then why was Samantha taken? Why was Cassandra Spender turned into a hybrid? What the hell was up with the Black Oil? I guess I would understand if we were just supposed to forget the original mythos, since it wasn't very popular and didn't make very much sense, but conveniently forgetting about huge parts of the canon feels very sloppy.

Smallpox vaccines and the endgame

In the original series, Mulder and Scully discovered that the government used smallpox vaccines in order to catalog humans and "tag" us for the alien apocalypse, in which the Colonists would infect the unsuspecting populace with the Black Oil virus.

X-Files Mythology Timeline | Outer Places

In the miniseries, it turns out that the smallpox vaccine actually contained the lethal virus that would eradicate the vast majority of the human race. As Scully explains in the finale, the smallpox vaccine tampered with our DNA and placed a "virus within a virus" within our genome, which, when activated, would destroy our immune systems and leave us vulnerable to diseases from the plague to influenza. Scully was saved as a result of the alien DNA that she found in her own genome in the season premiere, which was given to a select group of people by the conspiracy. As a result, the activation of the tampered DNA will "kill everyone but the chosen."

The alien DNA aspect makes some sort of sense, as Monica Reyes says that the government acquired the DNA "in the 50s," which is consistent with the original X-Files mythology, in which the government retrieved alien DNA samples from the Roswell incident in 1947. But aside from that, this doesn't make any sense, either. Not only is it incredibly irresponsible to portray vaccines as part of a deadly government conspiracy in this day and age, but once again, if that was the Syndicate's plan the entire time, then why were they ultimately destroyed by rebel aliens? Why would the aliens care about the Syndicate using alien technology against their own species?

The 2012 apocalypse

Reyes makes a vague reference to the pandemic apocalypse seen in "My Struggle part 2" being "in motion since 2012," without any further explanation. This is a nice callback to the original finale, but doesn't make a lick of sense. If people have been "chosen" for the alien DNA treatment for decades (evidenced by Scully's abduction in the 90's), and the rest of the population has been doomed since the smallpox vaccination program in the 70s, then it was in the works long before that. And the activation of the faulty DNA doesn't begin to happen until the events of this episode, so I don't understand which aspect of the conspiracy would have happened in 2012. If this is meant to be the big explanation for why that promised apocalypse didn't happen, it's a poor one.

Scully's abduction

Aside from the specter of Samantha, Scully's abduction was the first real instance of the X-Files mythology, and it was never fully explained. So of all the retcons in the revival, this one is the easiest, because we never knew for sure whether Scully was abducted by aliens or the government. According to the new mythos of the revival, Scully's abduction led to the implantation of alien DNA in her genome, which makes her one of the "chosen ones" who will rebuild the human race.

This new explanation might make a tiny bit more sense than the others, but still has glaring plot holes left and right. First, CSM was heavily involved in the choosing, as he says that he wants to remake the human race "in [his] image, instead of God's," and Mulder tells Scully that CSM "saved" her. But if that's the case, then why wouldn't he have tried to save Mulder before the pandemic hit? Reyes claims that CSM "loves" Mulder, but if that's true, then why didn't he just give Mulder alien DNA against his will like he did for Scully? And if Scully was given alien DNA during her abduction, then why wasn't Mulder given the same treatment during his abduction? Is it because he was actually abducted by aliens, while Scully's was a hoax?

The Hybrid Program

We know that Scully's abduction was involved with the disappearance of her ova, as we met her biological alien hybrid daughter, Emily. So if the Syndicate were trying to save Scully from the pandemic, then why take her ova? Why attempt to create a human/alien hybrid at all? I suppose that we could retcon the entire hybrid program as an attempt by the Syndicate to create a race of people who would survive this pandemic. In that case, CSM was actually trying to save Samantha when he abducted and experimented on her, and was trying to save his ex-wife, Cassandra, until she was killed by the alien rebels (again, why??). But then again, we also know that Scully got cancer as a result of the experiments performed during her abduction. Why would they have given her cancer if she were one of the "chosen"?


Again, William's true nature was never confirmed in the original series, except for the fact that he was "part-alien." In the finale, Scully mentions that William's stem cells could save Mulder from the disease, because he's apparently too sick for the cure she spent the entire episode creating to work. (What??) But she says that William "inherited" her alien DNA, and wasn't the result of some experiment, so I guess we're supposed to believe he was never part of the conspiracy at all, even though she was supposed to be infertile and the supersoldiers were convinced that he was some kind of Christ figure. If there's another season, will William be some kind of literal savior for humanity in the pandemic? And will I ever stop expecting this show to make any sort of coherent sense, or is the revived X-Files going to be the next Lost? We'll have to wait and see!
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