Candle Cove. Night Paralysis. Shadow People. The X-Files seemingly is just checking off the boxes of the modern day memeification conspiracy theories, if we can even call them that. They always did this in the early 90s, needling in on the social anxieties of the time that manifested into the search for Sasquatch, Nessie, and UFOs. It just seems so...I don’t know. On the nose? Obvious? Maybe because of how easy information is to access, now the stories of cryptids like the Chupacabra are made less mysterious now with YouTube, a floodgate of ridiculous new videos of the most recent “ghost sighting” every day. So now when presented with a proxy for Slender Man, it feels as if the writers have gotten tired of truly trying to hide their intentions, or perhaps they think this is

Once again, I truly have no idea what to expect from this new episode of The X-Files because what truly has been set up by the previous four as we gain steam towards the conclusion? Here’s what we know so far:

  • Scully ended last season on a premonition that has yet to come to pass, that an alien plague is going to wipe out civilization and that the Cigarette Smoking Man has injected key members of society with the cure to survive the coming apocalypse.
  • We learn that the Cigarette Smoking Man, in a truly problematic twist of fate, not Mulder is the father of Scully’s son.

  • There is a second group, led by Barbara Hershey, wanting to survive the plague, and are antagonistically against CSM and his crew. They have been uploading the consciousnesses of the smart, rich, and powerful into a computer simulation that acts as a Paradise, but as we found out when ex-Lone Gunmen member Langley was uploaded, it is far from it.

Ok, but where does that leave us in this episode, which begins with two girls inexplicably stabbing each other, both believing they are attacking a Creepypasta-esque character, Ghouli. Well, to cut to the chase, it leads directly to Scully’s son William who they believe is masquerading as Jackson Van De Camp (side note: posh AF name, y’all), a man with an uncanny power: the ability to project images to anyone of whatever he wants them to see. Does he need to fake his own death so he can lose the trail of our hapless heroes? Dunzo. The Creepypasta monster above? Oh that was his too. William’s projection powers are at the core of this episode, definitely in terms of re-watchability as you attempt to spot when William may or may not have been talking to our key characters.

And you know what, as we enter this coming week with the final episode of season 11 on the horizon, and the end of Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully, what have we been given? At the very least pathos to Scully, a character that sometimes it felt the male writers rooms of the early 90s didn’t really know what to do with. And frankly, they still don’t. But at least there is an attempt being made here to end with a big ol’ emotional one-two punch. But will it be the end of The X-Files. In a few days, is that really going to be it? Or will the ideas, the sparks, that this season have created live on? Beyond Mulder and Scully, the Mythos episodes, the Monster of the Week, episodes BEYOND all that what this season of The X-Files has taught us is that they can still be CLEVER AF.