"The Beginning" reminded me why I love this show. It got me excited, it filled my head with all sorts of questions, conflicts and connections and it made me want more...much, much more. I'll admit, I was worried about the sixth season. Would the movie ruin the show? Were they trying to do too much? But I can put those questions to rest. "The Beginning" was a tight, well-crafted, beautifully-filmed episode that advances the mythology.
So let's get to it:
The sixth season begins in the Arizona desert where a van of low-level Roush Technology (see "Redux II") employees have stopped to take a bathroom break amidst the cacti. The mini-van of conspirators is jovial in a men's locker-room sorta way, but one passenger -- Sandy -- is feeling under the weather; WAY under the weather. He sweats, he shakes and when he gets home he jacks the thermostat to high and prepares for a night of hot flashes and shivers.
The next morning the Roush Magic Bus pulls up to Sandy's house to take him to work. In walks a smart-mouthed manager-type who quickly realizes that something in Sandy's abode is seriously amiss. Could it be that Sandy is sprawled on the living room couch, suffering from an enormous hole in his chest? Or could it be the full-grown, angry alien that's hiding in the hallway? Regardless, the alien attacks and within a matter of hours Roush has lost two employees (thank god for the cloning program).
Back in D.C. a spiky-haired Mulder and a concerned-looking Scully are being grilled before yet another FBI board. The board has assembled to judge Mulder's report on the alien happenings in Antarctica (see "Fight the Future") and also determine who will be in charge of the recently reinstated X-files. Mulder rightfully believes that he and Scully will regain their previous assignment, but the board doesn't see things that way. Mulder's report reeks of science fiction and the definitive scientific evidence Scully was supposed to possess isn't so definitive. Toss in the enormous expenses Mulder racked up during his summer trip to Antarctica and you've got a scenario for disaster.
A few hours after the meeting, Skinner finds Mulder tucked in an FBI lab, painstakingly recovering his charred X-files. Skinner has the unfortunate job of telling Mulder that he'll no longer be involved in government conspiracies, paranormal investigations and flukeman hunting trips -- his days with the X-files are over. Skinner doesn't agree with the board's decision to reassign Mulder and Scully so he's arranged for a certain "file" detailing a certain "incident" involving a certain "alien" to be left behind in Mulder's previous office.
Mulder finds the file in the remodeled office, but he also encounters Agent Spender and Agent Fowley. Tension stifles the air so Mulder departs, clutching Skinner's mysterious file and scolding Fowley for stabbing him in the back.
Skinner's file contains graphic pictures of the dead Roush employees. The story leaked to the press by Cancer Man claims that a homicidal Indian committed the murders, but once Mulder and Scully scan the crime scene they know that's a bunch of bunk. Mulder finds a piece of the alien's Freddy-Krueger-like nail embedded in the plaster and within minutes he concocts a scenario. Mulder thinks that Sandy (the Roush employee with the shakes) was infected with the alien virus, which gestated in him during the night and sprung from his chest in the wee hours of the morning. When the other Roush employee stopped by to check on his co-worker he was greeted by a newborn alien that was ready to party. It's a believable scenario, but Scully doesn't buy it. Outside the house/crime scene she reminds Mulder that her "strict rationalism" has made him a whole person and saved him countless times. She grasps his hand and for a moment it looks as though the movie's thwarted kiss will come to fruition, but Mulder chooses a different path, telling Scully that this time her science is wrong.
There's little time for the two to argue the merits of science because wicked things are happening at a local nuclear power plant. An engineer at the plant named Homer (an obvious wink at "The Simpsons") has had a run-in with an alien hiding near the reactor. Unfortunately, Homer didn't survive the encounter. Mulder and Scully get a tip from Skinner (who is taking on a Deep Throat-esque role) and rush to the scene, but their investigation is stopped by Agents Spender and Fowley, who have already sealed off the crime scene. Mulder is within an inch of pummeling Spender, but once again Scully calms her partner down and the two return to their government-issue sedan. In a stroke of remarkable good fortune, Mulder and Scully find a gift waiting in the car. Gibson Praise -- the little chess genius and paranormal "missing link" seen in "The End" -- is curled on the backseat. Gibson is unconscious and sporting a nasty head bandage from an attempted lobotomy, but he's still alive.
Mulder and Scully take Gibson to a motel where he gains consciousness and explains where he's been for the last six months. His kidnappers (the Syndicate) initially wanted to lobotomize him for fear he would ruin their well-laid colonization plans, but now that an alien is running loose they need him for a different purpose. It's his job to find the AWOL EBE before it terrorizes suburbia. His captors had brought him to the nuclear plant to track the alien, but Gibson seized the day and escaped when their minds wandered. Mulder and Scully are both impressed with the little guy's guile, but they disagree on what to do next. Mulder wants to use Gibson to regain control of the X-files, but Scully insists that he be admitted to a hospital. Fortunately, Scully wins.
As the threesome prepares to leave the motel, Agent Fowley arrives and demands to speak with Mulder. While Gibson languishes, Fowley tells Mulder that she accepted the X-files job so she could continue his work, not stab him in the back. As a token of her friendship, she invites Mulder on an alien scavenger hunt. The feds know the alien is hiding in the bowels of the plant, but it has yet to be found. For some strange reason, Mulder buys into her half-hearted claims and agrees to join the search. Scully continues to the hospital while her partner goes huntin' for extraterrestrials.
Now we all know that Scully's intellect tips the scales and her investigative skills put Sherlock Holmes to shame, but her baby sitting abilities are sorely lacking. Within ten minutes of admitting Gibson to the hospital he's snatched by a red-headed Syndicate henchman and carried off to the power plant. Scully screams through the hallways, glaring at interns and searching for the little mind reader, but Gibson isn't there.
Mulder and Fowley have performed a quick investigation of the nuclear plant's inner regions where they've found a pool of ectoplasm and the molted skin of a maturing alien, but the being has yet to make an appearance. Gibson and the red-headed henchman enter the scene and Mulder tracks them to a sealed room where he watches as the alien emerges from the shadows to violently greet the henchman. After devouring the worthless assassin, the alien looks down at Gibson, Gibson looks up at the alien and the two perform a telepathic mind-meld that would make Spock proud. Mulder witnesses the entire scene through the window of a locked door, but any further investigation is prevented when a platoon of FBI agents storm the building. Mulder turns to see Agent Fowley pointing her gun directly at his chest. He glances into the room once more, but Gibson and the alien have both disappeared.
The debacle at the nuclear plant doesn't sit well with the FBI board so not only are Mulder and Scully removed from the X-files, but any further contact with paranormal investigations will result in expulsion from the bureau. Their new assignment also comes with a new boss -- Assistant Director Kersh. The scowl on Kersh's face doesn't bode well for Mulder's maverick tendencies.
Maverick indeed. Hours after the board's decision, Mulder returns to the charred remains of the X-files to continue his restoration project. Scully drops by and wastes little time telling Mulder exactly what she thinks of Agent Fowley. Scully says that Fowley has filed an "official" report that doesn't mention anything about a carnivorous, murdering alien hiding in the shadows of a power plant. Obviously, Fowley is out to discredit Mulder. Mulder thinks Fowley is one of the good guys and she's covering her tracks so the work on the X-files can continue. Scully thinks Mulder's full of it. The debate could rage for hours, but Scully has another important piece of information.
Scully has found a DNA match between Gibson and the alien, but Gibson's DNA isn't unique, it's the same DNA found in every human. So what does that mean? We're all aliens baby. The "junk" DNA found in all humans has been activated in Gibson, but other than it being in the "on" position there's no difference between the little guy and the rest of the populace. The universe just got a whole lot smaller.
Down in the basement, Agent WannabeMulder (Spender) is paid a visit by his dear-old cigarette-smoking Dad. Spender has placed Mulder in a precarious position and CSM is one proud papa. Amidst their familial gibberish CSM mentions something about crushing Mulder's spirit then killing him. Now this is a curious development. Wasn't this the same guy who clutched a picture of young Mulder and young Samantha as he lay dying in a motel room? Now he wants to crush spirits and kill? The plot thickens...
While Spender and CSM catch up on old times and Mulder and Scully ponder a new branch of the human family tree, Gibson hides in the rafters of the nuclear plant watching as his alien buddy takes a swim in the reactor's core. It's molting time for the alien so it shakes, it twists, it pushes, it pulls. Amidst bubbles and flakes of alien skin emerges a familiar face. Those almond-shaped eyes, that expressionless visage, that slight build. Krycek? Nope. It's a common grey alien, and it's ready to boogie.
So season six has begun with a bang. Mulder and Scully are banished from the X-files. Fowley and Spender are up to no good. CSM is feeling fatherly and somewhere in Arizona a little grey alien and a miniature mind-reader are hatching a plan. It looks like it's going to be an interesting season.
Note: This review originally appeared at Ontap.com. It's reprinted here for archival purposes.