I’ve been having a bit of a crisis of faith lately. I find myself doing sad, angsty fan art, while I’m immersing myself in sad, angsty fanfic. This is my most recent work of sad. Go no further than the images if you don’t want to read my latest post “My Struggle 4” X-Files finale rant. 🙂
Sadly, I’m still not over the finale. My Struggle 4 led me to question everything about my life and where I belong in the world. It made me feel like I’d been lied to about the characters I’ve loved for 25 years. They weren’t really these unique weird people who would save the world with their geekiness. They couldn’t even create a miracle with their love, while what CC alluded to as a casual fuck can create a more-than-impossible miracle. Fighting the good fight never got them anywhere. Instead, Scully realised that she’s a delicate flower and should stay at home rather than search for her existing son. She obviously forgot what she did whilst pregnant with said son. Back then her alien-baby-brain made her totally forget she needed proof of ridiculous assertions such as Mulder ordering a headstone because he’s about to die of an undiagnosed brain disease he didn’t tell her about, and why she didn’t question his misspelling of his mother’s name on the gravestone or why he’d have it delivered to their shared office when he was trying to keep it a secret. Scully now just sends her husband out in his midlife-crisis mustang (that doesn’t even have a bluetooth phone connection) to find the son they’d both spent all these years crying over. It’s about time the man of the house took care of the bad guys in a mass shooting like real men do. But Mulder, you don’t need to drive a mustang to prove you’ve still got it going on and that you have a functional, man-sized penis. The old Mulder showed that he could care less about what people thought about him as long as he got to the truth. That’s what I loved about him. Midlife-crisis!Mulder seems to have lost his spark and tries to replace it with a mustang.
On the other hand, midlife-crisis!Scully doesn’t need to worry about proof and evidence. Obviously she’s been struck with menopausal-brainfog at the same time as miracle-beyond-impossible-human-baby-brain this time, causing her not to question the validity of the gossip their nemesis told Skinner. It’s no big deal, just accept it as the truth; write off the son they’ve invested 16 years of emotional pain into as an experiment and never give him another thought. After all, that kid doesn’t matter any more because they have a replacement miracle baby coming.
Then this unrecognisable Mulder thinks he has no purpose in life if his sperm didn’t naturally fertilise Scully’s ovum back in the day, despite never actually having the opportunity to be a father to the quickly discarded ‘experiment’ he believed was his child. It doesn’t matter that he foiled so many evil plots and saved so many lives, he thinks he’s nothing when Scully shares the gossip that he’s not the father of that worthless experiment that he considered his child. It’s not even like he’s grieving the loss of his son and all the associated dreams he had, he’s grieving his status as a contributor of viable sperm. But he’s Fox Freaking Mulder, for fuck’s sake. He’s supposed to be in the water saving his miracle child’s life like all those times he jumped into freezing water after complete strangers. He’s not supposed to be standing on a pier being told not to bother because he can reclaim his status as a miracle sperm donor now that his even less fertile infertile wife got knocked up again.
I would also like to assure childless people everywhere that you are not nothing. Having spawn with your DNA is not proof of your worth. The way you live your life is the legacy you leave behind. Don’t fall for society’s pressure to procreate or feel less of a person if for whatever reason it won’t happen for you.
As much as I was thrilled to see some intelligent, bantering, getting along with each other Mulder and Scully back in season 11, they continued to be held back and the wasted opportunities were felt harder as each episode passed. CC created these fantastic characters, then stifled their progress and kept them in restraints. He couldn’t take them to the next level and couldn’t trust anyone else to, reminding me of a certain episode he once wrote on that theme. I didn’t expect a lot from season 11 so on the whole I was pleasantly surprised, but the missed opportunities kept accumulating to the point where I think I convinced myself that he was just saving the best for the finale, having Mulder and Scully together for the last time and going out on a big high. Obviously I was so buoyed by what was right in season 11 I let my guard down and it gave the disappointment of MS4 more of an impact.
The messages sent in MS4 went so against the characters I fell in love with that I spent the first 12 hours post episode laughing hysterically over how stupid it was before denial turned to anger. It took me a long time to get over the fury I felt that my characters had been made unrecognisable and a laughing stock. That instead of giving us an ending that allowed Mulder and Scully and their long lost son to be together at last and have a future ahead where they didn’t have to keep fighting, even if just temporarily like the end of Season 8, we were given recycled plotlines from other cliffhanger finales that weren’t that good when we got them the first time, and another cliffhanger finale that could only be taken to another season if Scully was killed or the whole thing was another dream/vision because we knew Gillian wouldn’t be back, making me pray to a god i don’t even believe in that it wouldnt be renewed. Had it been left with the three of them as a unit, with William/Jackson being a mini-Scully, I felt that there was still a possibility (albeit not one I thought I’d necessarily watch) that it could continue with Mulder and Jackson with some excuse that Scully was in the arctic developing the vaccine or something, maybe with Gillian being convinced to make guest appearances occasionally. That was made impossible after the character assassination of William/Jackson in the opening of MS4.
Overall I felt that the series finale was an embarrassing exit for the show, made even more cringeworthy when someone (I forget who, sorry) made that bingo card of what would be in the finale and the majority of boxes ended up checked.
In what has become typical CC fashion, instead of giving us a compelling narrative that made sense, belief in the impossible, and a satisfying sense of closure, we got wasted time in car chases, gratuitous violence, unnecessary deaths that may or may not be deaths, and bonus parkour. In this final act of arrogance, CC cured my obsession with the show to the point that I can’t even watch my favourite episodes now. I’m struggling to be interested enough to get fic lists done. I’ve stopped joining the rewatch groups I was with religiously before that episode. I’m barely on tumblr anymore. The thrill is gone and my negativity is hard to restrain. I’m still grieving the loss of Mulder and Scully, despite constantly reminding myself that they’re not real and that I haven’t accepted CC’s canon since Requiem (and some things even earlier), and despite knowing that the characters I love will be forever with me through fanfic and those early episodes.
I haven’t given up reading fanfic, and I’m still working on my fanfic resurrection project, but not with the gusto I once had. Now I’m doing it for lack of something better to do rather than for the love of it, and I’m finally sorting out the mess that’s in the garage.
I feel like I lost my religion. I imagine it’s a milder form of the “WTF did I invest my life in?” thoughts that someone who’s dedicated their lives to scientology must feel when they reach the highest level only to learn about Xenu and the volcano alien spirits. I feel like I’ve been had. That’s a personal sore point with me. As a misfit with asperger syndrome, being duped and misinterpreting things is a recurring theme in my life, and I hate that I continue to get things wrong. I like to think I’m smarter than that. It’s a big trigger with my depression, and I get angry with myself every time it happens because it reinforces my belief that I obviously don’t understand basic social interaction and that I’m a failure as a human being. Mulder and Scully led me to believe that it was OK to go against the grain and find my own path in life rather than fulfill the expectations of society and those around you. Now I feel lost and alienated. The only characters on TV I could relate to turned out to be just fooling me like everyone else. Fulfilling your potential, searching for the truth and following what you believe is great, but that’s nothing unless you pass on your genes in the form of an acceptable human being, ie not a faulty/experimental one. Outsmarting and staying ahead of the bad guys is ridiculous when it’s easier to just shoot them. Regardless of spending 16 years worried about your child, he’s not worthy of any more consideration as soon as you hear that someone you despise said he’s not the miracle you thought he was. Regardless of whether Scully knew he was alive at the end, Mulder didn’t, and his lack of action and the dialogue in that scene was unsettling in the very least.
I was prepared for My Struggle 4 to be bad. I just wasn’t prepared for the full character assassination of Mulder, Scully and William, despite having glimpsed such things throughout the years. I truly believed that CC would have learned from his past mistakes but he’s as clueless as I am obviously. (I have strong suspicions that he’s on the spectrum too, so I do understand the rigid adherence to certain beliefs and the compulsion to keep doing things the same way because it’s comforting to stick to the way you’ve always done them.) Instead of being so grateful to Gillian for returning to give us closure, I felt outraged on her behalf. She left her young family for almost 6 months because she wanted to give us a decent ending and she was treated with contempt and betrayed, and not even trusted with the final script. Still, she was so gracious about giving us her behind the scenes extras because she probably felt like she’d let us down. She was a much bigger person than I would have been under the circumstances. Even if she only did it for the money, as some have said, she didn’t need to give us more, but she did. She made it all so much better for me.
I get that CC owed me nothing. He created these characters who gave me so much joy. They’ve lived in my heart and inspired me when I found it hard to keep going. I wasn’t forced to watch, and lord knows, there are bigger problems in the world. But I feel like he betrayed those people I care about though, fictional or otherwise. Some people seemed to really like the finale, which i can’t comprehend, but I’m glad they did. I’ve been through many stages of grief now, and the moment I’m left with intermittent self-reproach and occasional questioning of why CC would metaphorically kill his golden-egg-laying geese. It may seem like it’s all I’ve thought about since the finale but I only rant when it gets to me again, which is usually when I’m reminded of it by going to tumblr or reading a fic that triggers me, which is no more than once a week. Since the finale I’ve had quite a few real life issues, and without my go-to distraction I’m feeling a little lost. This show has been my escapism so without that I’m floating aimlessly, either waiting for the time when I can think of it fondly again, or waiting for another obsession to find me.
I feel bad that I’m so negative and don’t want to bring what’s left of the fandom down. It’s no secret that I hate baby/kidfic to begin with, and there’s an abundance of it again now, which I’m avoiding because all I see of Scully’s beyond-impossible pregnancy is worry and pain and every mention of it reminds me of that. I know that’s probably not the popular opinion and I don’t want my personal prejudice to diminish other people’s enjoyment. I wish i could look at it as a positive thing – actually I wish I could remember that they’re fictional characters and therefore nothing will hurt them, nor should they affect me, but that’s not easy when they’ve been my inspiration and motivation for so long.
I feel the pain of everyone, but rarely the joy. It’s a side effect of over 30 years of depression. But I know I’m not the only person impacted by that final episode, and fandom has lost some amazing people because of it. I wish I could undo the damage. Maybe I should get some more ECT – I lost a years worth of memory last time. OK, I have a weird sense of humour. I realise that my interpretation of MS4 is skewed but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept. I know things will improve, and that there is so much more to life. I should be thankful that I’ve been released from this obsession.
I’m going to keep doing the site resurrections over at xhumingpotatoes.com as well as the lists and the image manipulations, just at a slower rate. I don’t want them to become a chore so I have to find a good balance. Unfortunately my abilities have been reduced significantly over the years and it’s not easy to find something to keep myself busy that I’m still capable of doing, so you’re probably still stuck with me for a while whether you like it or not 🙂
If only I could understand CC’s reasoning I might be able to make more sense of it. If anyone ever gets the chance to ask him, please let me know what he thought he was doing. It’s one of life’s unsolvable mysteries that continues to haunt my unoccupied brain when it’s reminded of it, and I’ll love to exorcise it for good.
baking paper texture in the 3rd image made by veredgf, an x-files fan artist and fanfic author,