Christopher William Carter, You’re Grounded

Christopher William Carter*! What in conspiracy’s name are you doing?!? You stop it this instant, mister!

Because of you, I had to call a friend after watching episode 6 to keep myself from doing harm to others. Do you understand what you put me through? I was up nearly all night worried about what happened to you! What the hell you were thinking?!

The thing is, I believed in you, and part of me still wants to believe. But you lied. You said this was a standalone 6-episode “event.” Do you understand what an “event” is? Let me explain. It has a beginning, a middle, and an END.

And before you dismiss me, know that I’m not some newbie bandwagon joiner who wants all the answers tied up in a bow. I helped bring you into this world, Christopher, and I can help take you out. Maybe I don’t go to Comic Cons dressed up as Scully, but I was there in 1987 watching Tracy Ullman on this upstart new network calling itself Fox. I was mesmerized in 1993 with your creation, and I was on the edge of my seat, first on Friday nights and then on Sundays. Sometimes I was still sitting on my couch after the show ended and the TV was off, my feet up because I was too scared to put them down on the floor in case the monster of the week was lurking under my couch. So don’t tell me you don’t know how to tell a story with a good ending.

Yes, X-Files kind of got ridiculous at the end, and the movies were a mixed bag, but I understand that level of excellence is hard to attain, never mind sustain. I’m a fan, and a fan’s love is unconditional, but I can love you and still not trust you any more.

I sucked up the announcement of 6 measly episodes — christ, even British and YouTube web series are longer than that. But it’s been 20 years, so I was willing to endure the exquisite pain of 6 episodes. I’m adult enough to not bicker over the details. Scully and Mulder were coming back.

But then I read that episodes 1 and 6 would be the only mythology episodes. Hmmmm. That made me as uneasy as when Cigarette Smoking Man appears in a scene. You know that’s not going to end well. But, as a true fan I still sucked it up. I wanted to believe you wouldn’t lead me down the alien primrose path. And I fully admit I enjoyed each episode, even though it was also terribly painful knowing there were only 5-4-3-2 episodes left.

And then there was 1.

I actually waited a day before watching it, trying to hold onto it a little longer. But I couldn’t stand it. All that focus on their child, Scully’s pain, Mulder’s angst. This was deep stuff and good stuff. I wanted to believe you would tell me a story. A good story. You’ve done it before, and you’ve had 20 years to refresh yourself to tell me an even better story.

But I knew we were in trouble the first 20 minutes into the episode. It wasn’t moving along fast enough for much of anything to be resolved. I will give you credit that you gave us one big answer. But since we’ve survived 20 years without that answer and have found ways to move on with our lives, that actually was the cheapest, least important, least relevant answer. So actually I take back the credit. That was bullshit.

You did, however, stir up the pot, and then left 100 other things unfinished and untouched. Until the episode ended, I truly didn’t believe you were capable of such a piss-poor performance. I even admit to my own idiotic optimism. When there was about one minute left of the episode — oh, believe me, I was watching the time throughout the episode like a junkie counting the minutes before the fix will arrive — Scully says the only thing that will save Mulder is William’s stem cells, I thought, “Oh my god, that Mulder look-alike, Agent Miller, is William!” I still believed, even though it would have been a horrible, hokey rip off of a Star Wars “Luke, I am your father” thing, but, hey, there was only one minute left. How else could we wrap up this “6-episode special event”? I was that desperate for any kind of half-assed closure. I would even have settled for Mulder getting a cure of some kind and not knowing if it would work.

But the episode ended like a 7th grader writing, “…and then he woke up from his dream” because that’s the only way a child can end a story that has worked itself into an impossible corner. You did the sci-fi equivalent — dropping a UFO out of nowhere and shining it’s unilluminating light on Scully.

The end.


In an interview with TV you stated, and I quote, “I can tell you this: Fox owns this show. I can’t imagine, with the ratings that we’ve got and the way we ended this season, that there won’t be more X-Files. They will find a way to get that done.” Um, are you 5? And have you never seen The Player? There are even fewer guarantees in TV and Hollywood than in real life, so I think the only conclusion here is that we’re effed.

There are no guarantees, but there can be good finales. And one good finale in the hand is worth two conspiracies in the bush.

For squandering that opportunity and for unnecessarily tormenting long-time X-Files fans, Christopher William Carter*, you are grounded. You go back to your room and think about what you’ve done. You’re not to come out until you have a deal for another season. And no movie making. You’re not even close to earning our trust for that.

And that Truth Is Out There.

*I don’t know if William is his real middle name, but it’s always more effective for a yelling parent to use a middle name, so that’s what I’m calling him.


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