Revisit iconic ‘The X-Files’ moments that feel uncomfortably real now
Writing about The X-Files in 2020 may seem strange, the show has been off the air since 2001. No, don’t mention the reboot seasons. We do not acknowledge the existence of the reboot – it was hot garbage . . . except for the episode “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” – we accept this one wholeheartedly.
Anyway, to get back on point, it may seem odd we’re bringing up The X-Files, but 2020 has been a very weird year, and we can’t help but start to feel like we’re in the middle of an episode. We’re just waiting for the real life equivalent of Mulder and Scully to pop up out of the woodwork at this point.
The X-Files is iconic for a reason. It might have been a supernatural, sci-fi, fantasy show, but it also occasionally looked at how messed up humans are, as well as what the future of humanity might look like. Some of these old episodes feel disturbingly prescient now and we’re dying to talk about it.
“Ghost in the Machine” season 1 episode 7
“Ghost in the Machine” is obviously one of the many sci-fi stories inspired by Hal 9000 from 2001: Space Odyssey. However, this episode from all the way back in 1993 feels much more accessible and imminently real than the aforementioned movie ever has.
This X-Files episode skips past the idea of smart homes and goes straight to the idea of a smart office. An entire skyscraper controlled by a single artificial intelligence. Okay, well the one in this episode may only be semi-intelligent – it did kill people after all.
The AI in this episode listens to everything through microphones, watches everything through cameras, and decides what to do all from a single computer. If that sounds freaky to you, well, you should probably be giving your Amazon Echo, cell phone, and voice activated lights & locks a really big side-eye right now.
“My Struggle II” season 10 episode 6
We know we just stated how much we loathe the reboot season of X-Files, but we would be incredibly remiss if we didn’t mention “My Struggle II” considering it’s literally about a worldwide pandemic.
What felt like an impossible world a mere four years ago in 2016, is now a mirror image of our current state of being – albeit a very overly dramatized carnival mirror’s image, but still.
The episode follows Scully’s frantic attempts to develop a vaccine to save the population as a severe illness spreads, infecting Mulder in the process. Scully does her best as she watches patients and colleagues succumb to the symptoms as she uses her own genome, which is keeping her safe, to create a life saving vaccine.
“Two Fathers” season 6 episode 11
It’s tough to pick out a single episode on the subject of government overreach and conspiracy theory since that’s pretty much the slogan for X-Files, but “Two Fathers” (originally airing in 1999) is a pretty good example of an episode that really digs in on this topic.
Okay, so we don’t have proof of government scientists performing tests on humans in regard to alien DNA and we don’t know that there’s a “shadow government” type agency like the one called The Syndicate in The X-Files, but hear us out.
These days conspiracy theories are spreading faster than ever and skepticism regarding the government’s intentions & what goes on behind closed doors has been increasing for some time now. While this episode may not speak to the exact fears people are having today, it does what all good sci-fi does – it shows the world we currently know in a fantastical light, which allows us to consider real-life issues from an outside perspective.
What X-Files episode still sticks out in your mind today? What episode do you think is more relevant today than it was when it first aired? Let us know in the comments below!