The title for Season 11 Episode 7 of The X-Files is “Rm9sbG93ZXJz,” which is “Followers” in Base64 code. “ZGlzYXBwb2ludG1lbnQ” is “disappointment.” And that’s what this episode is. A giant disappointment. I had more fun turning swear words into code on that Base64 encoder site than I did watching this episode.
Join me while I try to decode my intense dislike for an episode that contains MSR handholding. Or don’t. I understand how repetitive these rants are. Believe me, writing them has lost its luster as well.
“Rm9sbG93ZXJz” takes all the things you hate about technology and makes you watch those things play out in frustrating detail. Although Exasperated!Scully is adorable at times, at other times, I’m just confused. I’m supposed to believe that skeptical Dana Scully (probably the most skeptical TV character of all time) would accept a package she didn’t order from a drone, and let it start vacuuming her floors with no more than a quirky amused expression on her face? YnVsbHNoaXQ. That’s Base64 for “bullshit.”
Most of the episode is me going “Yes, I hate that aspect of technology,” and “Yes, that is how frustrated I get when that happens.” Why are you making me go through this right now? I’m just trying to relax and watch television at the end of my day. Why does this show keep finding new ways to torture me?
I think all of this — how robots and machines can take over our lives and turn against us — is supposed to be scary, but it just ends up pissing me off. I did not get weirded out while I was live-tweeting. I wasn’t actually even planning on live-tweeting, but I got so bored I ended up needing supplemental entertainment.
It is all a bit preachy, in my opinion. You realize that thousands of viewers are watching and live-tweeting on their phones and computers, and you have the moral of the story be “put down your devices.” Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, know what I’m sayin? (By the way, that’s not the only moral of this story. There seem to be several because apparently this is an after-school special.) I don’t watch The X-Files to learn a “lesson” like some 90s family sitcom. I watch it for cool mysteries and to see if Mulder and Scully will touch or have eye sex.
The no dialogue gimmick is The X-Files trying to be daring and edgy. Well, you tried too hard. It doesn’t work. It feels forced and unnatural, and is actually pretty dull. You know what would liven it up? Some cheeky MSR banter. Remember how awesome it was when they talked about bran muffins on 11×02 “This?” Just think of the gems we could’ve gotten about the blobfish!
I’m Sorry, Scully Lives Where?
By the end of Season 10, I believed that Mulder and Scully were on their way to reconciling…because I was led to believe that. It wasn’t just something my deluded shipper mind came up with on its own. Things from this season like “our home” on 11×02 and them having sex (twice) while on the clock at taxpayers’ expense on 11×03 made me think that they were not only back together, but living together. Enter a multitude of irritating moments from “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” to become the television equivalent of someone pointing their finger and laughing at me for being so stupid.
All these rationalizations and elaborate head canons I saw on my Twitter timeline were fans trying to justify why the heck Scully lives in that sterile as fuck, high-tech cube of Hell is depressing. I’m sick of having to do mental acrobatics to make sense of the utter nonsense this show keeps throwing my way.
Y’all. I’m tired.
They gave Scully a haircut with no explanation, so why not have her move back in with the love of her life without one as well? Trust me, we can handle it. Even a NoRomo (are there any of you still out there besides Chris Carter?) probably would roll with it without a second thought because of how much sense it makes. We certainly don’t need to blow up Scully’s hoity-toity SmartHouse just to justify her moving back home.
Could’ve saved a little in the special effects budget, too.
I really wanted to like this episode because it was written by two women — a scarcity in The X-Files writers’ room. I do appreciate that Scully is portrayed as a human woman (an immortal human woman, but I digress) who unabashedly owns a vibrator and wears comfy clothes and shoes on her time off.
Man, that vibe is really the MVP of this episode. But, it takes more than one funny visual gag and a handful of sweet MSR moments to win me over.
- Scully/Gillian’s laugh is the best sound in the whole world.
- Mulder wants the tracking info on that vibe so bad.
- Karma has come for Mulder after years and years of bad tipping.
- “Old-school, pre-Google” Scully has all this technology in her life. Nope. Not buying it.
- “Why is your house so much nicer than mine?” I hate this so much. These reminders that they’re not living together are a slap in the face every goddamned time.
- EXPLAIN THE FUCKING HAIRCUT, YOU JERKS!
- As annoyed as I was, I have to admit I choked up at the handholding at the end. But, also, let me point out: We could have still had that even if Scully and Mulder were a couple living together. Just ask my husband if I’m on my phone when he’s sitting right next to me.
- Next week’s episode looks pretty cool and scary…and there I go getting my hopes up again.
The X-Files airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on FOX.