The New York Times
TELEVISION REVIEW; Scully and Mulder Reunited for the Truth, and a Kiss
The television series that turned paranoid distrust of the government into a pop phenomenon ended just when paranoia might seem like a smart response to current events. But with a platitudinous final episode that was more of a tease than a conclusion, "The X-Files" wrapped up looking more dutiful than relevant, an acknowledgment that the show's lucrative future lies in its past.
The first commercial break drove the point home: "The series is ended, but the conspiracy will continue forever on DVD. Own Season 5 today." The busy Internet chat rooms after Sunday night's two-hour finale were full of lamentations for the vigor and excitement of Seasons 1 through 6, when the show's paranormal, conspiracy-theory creepiness was fresh and fun. (Season 9 just ended.)
The show's executive producer, Chris Carter, wasted little original thinking on a final episode meant to invoke instant nostalgia in the hope of reaping future rewards. (In more reruns, perhaps another movie, the memorabilia market for "X-Files" lunchboxes and T-shirts.) Borrowing blatantly from the ''Seinfeld'' finale, Mr. Carter used the mechanism of a trial to remind viewers of the series's highlights in the guise of revelation.
The F.B.I. agent and U.F.O.-chasing hero Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) is captured while infiltrating the government sanctuary holding the biggest secret of all. The F.B.I. and the military join forces in a kangaroo court designed to find Mulder guilty.
In case anyone has forgotten, a military man explains Mulder's biggest crime: "He's a crusader and a lot of people do not like crusaders." Fans, however, loved Mulder (and Mr. Duchovny, who left the show a year ago). So Mr. Carter brought him back to center stage one last time, to kiss Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson) and to prove beyond doubt that Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish were doomed to remain the second team.
It turned out that the episode was called "The Truth" not so much for its mostly unsurprising revelations, but for its endless speechifying about the subject. "The truth will come to you as it's come to me," says Mulder solemnly, "faster than the speed of light."
In the final episode, however, truth emerged slowly and often ponderously, through court testimony geared toward recollection of the series's weird amalgamation of alien and family mythology. It's confirmed that Mulder's sister, Samantha, was abducted by aliens and was the subject of terrible experiments; that Mulder was the father of Scully's baby, William (given up for adoption); and that aliens are indeed going to take over Earth. (There's a date: Dec. 22, 2012.) Old demons like the Smoking Man (William Davis) appeared to die yet again.
Mr. Carter stirred himself to inject some humor into the somber proceedings. When Scully visits Mulder in jail, he says, "I thought I smelled you coming, Clarice," and follows the Hannibal Lecter joke with a full kiss on the mouth (a rare exhibition of physical intimacy). During Mulder's trial, as John Doggett (Mr. Patrick) testifies about the supernatural things he's seen, the prosecutor asks, "What does this science fiction have to do with anything?"
Until the end, the series maintained its mesmerizing visual gloominess, cleverly punctuated with suggestive plays of color and light. What does it mean -- if anything -- that Mulder's orange prison uniform perfectly matches Scully's hair?
It also retained its conspiracy-theory heart that has appealed so greatly to viewers. After Mulder is captured, his military jailors torment him with beatings and doublespeak. "You are a guilty man," screams a soldier. "You entered a government facility in search of nonexistent information."
Above all, Mr. Carter wanted to reconnect the series to Mulder and Scully. In the final confrontation in the New Mexican desert, when Doggett (Mr. Patrick) and Monica Reves (Ms. Gish) try to save them, Mulder waves the agents away. As he and Scully jump into their own S.U.V. and drive off, the members of second team look sad, as if realizing that they never quite cut it.
As the final episode ends, Scully and Mulder are left together, alone against the world, in a burst of romance mixed with apocalyptic certainty and unconvincing religious inspiration. They hold hands and contemplate a dismal future of conquering aliens. They also talk of a greater power that may save them. Mulder touches the cross Scully wears around her neck, caresses her lips and then utters the series' final words: "Maybe there's hope." At the very least, there's syndication -- and those lunchboxes.
Fox, last Sunday night
Chris Carter, creator and executive producer; Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban, executive producers; Michelle MacLaren and Kim Manners, co-executive producers; Paul Rabwin and David Amann, supervising producers; Harry V. Bring, producer; Corey Kaplan, production designer; Bill Roe, director of Photography, Mark Snow, composer. Produced by Ten Thirteen Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television.
WITH: Gillian Anderson (Agent Dana Scully), David Duchovny (Agent Fox Mulder), Robert Patrick (Agent John Doggett), Annabeth Gish (Agent Monica Reyes), Mitch Pileggi (Assistant Director Skinner) and James Pickens Jr. (Deputy Director Kersh).