The season finale of The X-Files was an event bigger than anything I've seen in the history of the series. I'm really very impressed that took it where they did.
The episode sees the return of Tad O'Malley, the online conspiracy theory show host from the first couple of episode. It also sees the return of Agents Einstein and Miller from last week's episode.
When Mulder comes up missing, the search for where he's gone turns up, according to O'Malley, the existence of alien DNA in every American, put there by the injection of vaccines. This DNA, he says, is meant to facilitate the widespread outbreak of a virus that will destroy the immune system.
But Mulder isn't missing. We see him driving out of Washington, visibly ill. In fact, lots of folks are getting ill. The hospitals are soon pushed to capacity and beyond as more and more people fall victim to "The Spartan Virus." Scully and Einstein desperately seek a vaccine. As they try to figure out how to immunize the nation, former agent Monica Reyes calls Scully to request a meeting.
Turns out Reyes knows exactly what's going on with the Spartan Virus. She was recruited by a badly injured Smoking Man to aid him in his recovery. In return, he promised to make sure she and Scully are among the elite few to survive. Because of this, Monica agrees and promises herself to use this to learn how to stop the Smoking Man's plan. And she does. She knows how to create the vaccine.
Scully rushes back to the hospital to work with Einstein on the vaccine using her newfound information: the alien DNA in her body isn't the catalyst for the Spartan Virus, it's the immunity. It's the reason she isn't sick. She and Einstein set out to use her blood to extract that DNA and make a cure, but not before Einstein finally falls victim to the virus and begins to get ill.
At the same time, Mulder shows up, near death at this point, to kill Smoking Man. Smoking Man reveals that the entire reason for the virus is merely to cull the heard, to speed up what he sees as the inevitable destruction of the human race at their own hands. His way, he reasons, at least a select few can survive and slow, possibly reverse, a lot of the damage being done to the planet, thereby ensuring that humans live for much longer. He offers Mulder a place among those elite. Mulder declines. He tries to leave, but is too sick. Luckily, Miller has found him and rushes him back towards Scully and medical help.
The episode ends on a total cliffhanger, which I didn't expect given that those involved have been pretty cagey about saying there will be a next season. Mulder, on death's door, needs more than just Scully's vaccine. He needs stem cells, which Scully reasons can be harvested from the child they had together, William (finally that season-long plot point comes to some use). The problem? They're stuck on a bridge in DC and Scully has no idea where William actually is. Enter an alien spacecraft and....cut to credits. The truth is still out there somewhere.
It was a strong and scary episode over all, but it had a few problems. Robbie Amell as Miller and Lauren Ambrose as Einstein are really bad. I honestly hope, if there is a next season, that the focus doesn't shift to them. The other problem is the overly large story for an episode that might not get a follow up. Carter and Duchovony have both expressed interest in doing more, but Anderson has stated publicly she feels as though she's done as much as she can with Scully and feels the character has nowhere else to go. I have a lot of hope based on the ending that there will be a next season, but I can't honestly say I have a lot of hope for what that season will bring based on this episode and Anderson's very public reluctance to continue being Dana Scully.
On it's own merits, though, this episode gets a final grade of a B+.