Truth or daring
'Tis the season for season finales, and X-philes are wondering how the folks behind Fox's The X-Files can possibly top last year's nail-biter of a cliffhanger, "The Erlenmeyer Flask." Fear not.
"I do hope to top it," says series creator and X-ecutive producer Chris Carter, "and spring the same kind of surprises–true surprises–that we did last season. As we speak, I'm on page 38 of a 55-page script, and I like it very much so far."
Though Carter is somewhat secretive about specifics, we do know that the episode (airing May 19 at 9 P.M./ET) concerns an amateur computer hacker who taps into secret government files, endangering agents Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Mulder (David Duchovny) and causing them to question their sanity. Carter shares a story credit on the episode with Duchovny, who also received co-credit on part one of a two-parter earlier this season (the one about the cloned doctors).
In what direction will The X-Files head in Season Three? "I think you've got to be constantly expanding and exploring, or else you'll get lost in the 'monster of the week' trap," says Carter, who points to several of Season Two's episodes–in particular, the one in which Scully encounters a "death fetishist"–as an indication of things to come. "That show had to do with what made Scully afraid, and if we had one it with something unexplainable, it would have been less powerful. The person involved in these unspeakable acts was someone you could just as easily run into on a supermarket checkout line."
That said, Carter asserts that The X-Files will remain faithful to its "truth is out there" credo, though there is one area he emphatically won't be "expanding and exploring"– a Scully-Mulder romance. One gets the distinct impression that he's tired of being asked about it when he visits the show's on-line site on Delphi.
Whether you're a devoted X-Files fan or just a casual viewer, there are, no doubt, a few things about the series that could do with some explanation. What to do? Watch "Secrets of The X-Files," a one-hour special airing May 19 at 8 P.M./ET, just before the season finale (two hours of X-Files in one night!). Though "Secrets" was still in production at press time (and a detailed description unavailable), it promises to provide an opportunity to play catch-up, with a compilation of clips producers say will "chronicle The X-Files' greatest moments." Here's hoping they shed some light on that guy billed as The Enigma who played a guy named The Conundrum in that "circus of the strange" episode.