I don’t know about you, but I got Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” stuck in my head after watching The X-Files Season 11 Episode 9, “Nothing Lasts Forever.”
Life is a mystery (X-File)
Everyone must stand alone (Trust no one)
I hear you call my name (Scullaaay!)
And it feels like (our) home
As you can see, I’m having fun with pop songs from the ’80s because I’m not in a crippling rage spiral like I normally am after an episode of this God-forsaken show. No one is more surprised than me, but (drum roll, please) I did not hate this episode. I even think I can go as far to say that I…liked it? It’s a refreshing feeling, although a little unsettling, to be honest.
Grab a smoothie and join me for an anomalous positive review.
Fountain Of Youth
The fountain of youth is apparently not found in a fountain at all; it’s in a blender and/or a naive cult disciple surgically attached to your back. Yeah, this story is pretty out there, but that’s one of the aspects I like about it. At the head of this cult is Barbara Beaumont, former child actor and Hollywood starlet. This character is so campy, very much like Bette Davis’ Baby Jane from What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Let me tell you: Jane Hudson would have for sure been a part of this cult if given the chance. (Although, she and Barbara would’ve gotten into some crazy cat fights.)
I think that’s why this beauty-over-age plot works well for a modern television story — because the villain is not of this decade. She is from a time gone by, as well as an industry where looks are life. It’s an ode to those films of the psycho-biddy subgenre of horror, like Baby Jane and Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte. As a fan of these films myself, I immediately took a liking to this episode. It was well done, considering the amount of time they had to tell this story, and it also fit as an X-File. I mean, their disgusting bloody organ smoothie did actually kind of work, which is unexplainable. Barbara did look pretty good for 84.
The religious component could’ve felt out of place if it weren’t for the discussions of faith between Mulder and Scully. However, these exchanges were so well written and acted that it stitched together the vampire-esque cult and the righteous avenger elements cohesively and poetically.
At first, the organ theft aspect got me into my I Want To Believe feels, but with the introduction of Barbara Beaumont and Dr. Levenis, I started to think more along the lines of The X-Files 04×06 “Sanguinarium.” This behooved me and allowed me to enjoy to the outrageousness and appreciate the gore factor. “Sanguinarium” is entertaining and fun in the way slasher films are entertaining and fun, but as an X-File, it fell short. You can read my review of it here. In “Nothing Lasts Forever,” the story is intriguing, it’s X-File-y, and the MSR is off the charts. So, to me, it’s an updated and well-rounded “Sanguinarium.”
An interesting side note: “Sanguinarium” was written by women writers, sisters Valerie and Vivian Mayhew. “Nothing Lasts Forever” is also written by a woman, Karen Nielsen.
The throwbacks don’t end there. The cannibalistic nature of the cult that feeds on humans to remain youthful is reminiscent of 02×24, “Our Town.” After Mulder fishes Scully out of the trash bin (the symbolism of this, by the way, is astounding) he tells her, “You stink.” On 03×12, “War Of The Coprophages,” Mulder says, “You know, I never thought I’d say this to you, Scully, but…you smell bad.” These callbacks are nice.
“You stink” echoes a humorous line from The X-Files’ past, but there are also traces of some of Mulder and Scully’s more heartfelt moments. On this episode, Scully tells Mulder, “You always bear North, Mulder. No matter how hard or which way the wind blows against you.” This made me recall dialogue from 03×15, “Piper Maru:”
Scully: I’m just constantly amazed by you […] You’re in the basement because they’re afraid of you, of your relentlessness, and because they know that they could drop you in the middle of the desert and tell you the truth is out there, and you’d ask them for a shovel.
Mulder: Is that what you think of me, Scully?
Scully: Well, maybe not a shovel. Maybe a backhoe.
All these years later, she is still amazed by him. (See also: “You’re a dark wizard, Mulder” and “Wonders never cease with you.”) Which brings me to the most poignant of juxtapositions that take place on this episode: the final conversation. This is “touchstone” level shit, people! They are openly and honestly talking about their feelings and their fears, their regrets and their missteps.
At “I will relight your candle and extend your prayers through mine,” I stopped breathing. But then the beautiful sentiments kept coming from both characters, and I started to get light-headed. I had given up on seeing anything remotely close to this between them after Season 10. Every moment between Mulder and Scully on this episode, from the funny to the sincere, is a gift with this last one being the best of all.
The Whisper (Not) Heard Around The World
The fandom seems pretty divided on this — people are either okay with it or are furious over it. I am not actually bothered by it. I was not expecting a kiss, even though the trailer teased us with that possibility. What I didn’t expect was the conversation surrounding that lean in. What they said to each other and the way they said it was metaphorically kissing with words. No, wait, an actual full on make-out sesh of words. You know how they have eye sex? This was verbal eye sex.
There will always be mystery in The X-Files, and I can live with the whisper being a part of that mystery. What I wasn’t able to accept was Mulder and Scully not ending up together or never defining their relationship. This exchange at the end put those fears at ease. I have never stopped thinking about the whisper in Lost In Translation, and I know I will forever wonder about this one between Mulder and Scully.
What an interesting way to end the series. This is it, right? No more “Struggles?”
- The curtains in that warehouse look like giant Fruit Roll-Ups.
- Mulder in Gillian’s glasses. Iconic.
- “No need to get defensive.” Gillian and David nail the delivery of every line of this exchange.
- “God help me. Sorry.” David is really recapturing that Mulder humor.
- “You don’t eat the seeds, you eat the fruit from the trees.” This is so gross considering they are talking about people.
- Mulder IMDbs Barbara with his (Gillian’s) glasses on. I love this.
- Juliet finding her sister’s cross bracelet gave me Fight The Future feels.
- Could Mulder go look for Scully with a little more urgency, please? You know, of the “SCULLAAAY!” variety? He is taking his sweet ass time, and she fell, like, four stories. Put some scoot in your boot, Foxy!
- “I may not believe in God, but I believe in you.”
- “Are we together?” Mulder seemed a little hurt by that, and to be honest, same, bruh.
- “I don’t know if any god is listening, but I am standing right here, and I am listening; right beside you, all ears, by choice.” These are basically wedding vows.
- “That’s my leap of faith forward. And I’d like to do it together.” I now pronounce you man and wife. Amen. Go in peace.
The X-Files series finale airs on Wednesday, March 21 at 8/7 on FOX.