In The X-Files, hard evidence is tough to come by. Simply seeing and believing isn’t enough to expose the truth. With The X-Files season 11 here, we’re going to trust our eyes and our memories and bring you all the easter eggs, references, and connections to past episodes we can find. In case you missed it, we did the same for season 10.
Please let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything!
– The Cigarette Smoking Man’s monologue during the teaser sequence contains clips from “One Son”, “Pilot”, “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man”, “Two Fathers”, “The End”, “William”, and “Gethsemane”.
– Hospitalizing Agent Scully has been a standard go-to scenario for most mythology episodes of The X-Files and has been going on since season two. Mulder typically runs off on an emotional crusade of some sort in order to save her life, chasing members of the syndicate and confronting the Cigarette Smoking Man during the climax. So if “My Struggle III” feels more like a traditional X-Files than the previous two chapters in this arc, that’s part of the reason why.
– Scully’s vision contains clips from “Existence,” “Nothing Important Happened Today,” “William,” and “Two Fathers/One Son” again.
– Agent Monica Reyes’ dark alliance with the Cigarette Smoking Man was foreshadowed as early as her very first introduction in Season 8, “This Is Not Happening”, where she was seen smoking Morleys. You can read more about her character’s conflicted history on the series here. Reyes never shared the screen with CSM during the show’s original run, though. If Scully’s visions in “My Struggle II” were a warning sent from William, then Walter Skinner is the only one in the FBI to come into contact with Monica in the current timeline.
– To say that CSM’s big reveal at the end of this episode sheds a new light on the events of Season 7’s “En Ami” is an understatement. But if you rewatch it, certain lines of dialogue make a lot more sense than they used to – especially this one:
CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN: In the end, a man finally looks at the sum of his life to see what he’ll leave behind. Most of what I worked to build is in ruins and now that the darkness descends, I find I have no real legacy.
Also, at the very end of “En Ami”, Scully confesses to Mulder about her adventure with CSM. This is how their interaction ends:
MULDER: This was the perfectly executed con, Scully. The only thing I can’t figure out is why you’re still alive.
SCULLY: Mulder, I looked into his eyes. I swear what he told me was true.
In a sense, it was true. CSM wanted to leave a legacy, but not by finding a miracle cure as he told her he did.
– The X-Files is about Point of View. Sometimes, the show had unreliable witnesses or narrators. Somewhere between various points of view is the truth. This was shown again by the new narrative in “My Struggle III.” Hence, the clever twist in the opening tag, “I Want To Believe” into “I Want To Lie.” The episode will remind long time viewers of several prior episodes from years past. The debate about mythology being ruined based on 2016 and the “retcon” argument is up for debate again.
– One being the parallel universe idea from “Monday,” in regards to Scully, the idea that her premonitions in this episode via choices might have already altered impending future events.
– Scully’s condition seems to be similar and the inverse of Mulder’s heightened brain condition from “Biogenesis” and “The Sixth Extinction I & II.”
– C.G.B. Spender will always lie to suit his needs, and his lies to Monica Reyes are no different than his lies about Samantha from years past. For fans who remember season seven’s “En Ami,” the revelation of Scully’s association with CSM shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Chris Carter told EW that it was always planned that CSM drugged Scully and used alien science to impregnate her. The first draft of that script and screenwriting credit goes to none other than the Smoking Man himself, William B. Davis.
– The new warring factions of the Syndicate is fascinating, and this mirrors the warring factions of the Millennium Group from Chris Carter’s other series, Millennium (1996-1998).
– Thanks to modern medicine, it appears Jeffrey Spender’s horribly disfigured face is as close to normal as possible. In “My Struggle III,” we see the former FBI agent pressured to give up the location of William. In season nine’s “William,” Spender, under the name Daniel Miller, Spender injected baby William with magnetite to curb the infant’s telekinetic powers before he was given up for adoption.
– The episode “This” plays with the theme of A.I. and Virtual Reality, and the tone seems to expand on ideas explored in the Matrix trilogy (Wachowski bros), but the approach is more grounded as in The X-Files season one episode “Ghost In The Machine.” It does play with similar ideas explored in the season five episode “Kill Switch” a play on the cyber punk culture of the time, and the season seven episode “First Person Shooter.” But this episode doesn’t glamorize the ideas in The Matrix, but argues the futility of such a condition.– The Arlington grave sequence has several treats, not only the grave markers for the Three Lone Gunmen, but details about season one’s “Deep Throat,” Mr. Pakula, which is likely a nod to the director of 1976’s “All The President Men,” Alan J. Pakula, the Watergate film, that had a profound impact on Chris Carter as a story teller.- When Scully is shutting down the VR memory system, it might remind people of the sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey when Dave is shutting down Hal’s systems. The film was cited last season in “Founder’s Mutation” during Mulder’s fantasy of a young William.- Barbara Hersey’s character Erika Price is following in the tradition of other memorable female villains, Diana Fowley, or Marita Covarrubias from season’s past. A Syndicate member with dubious intentions.
– Scully mentions that the Lone Gunmen were killed by the Marburg virus. This wasn’t mentioned by name in the actual episode in question from season nine “Jump The Shark” and is instead a reference to Glen Morgan’s work on Chris Carter’s other series Millennium. At the end of that show’s second season, an outbreak of the Marburg virus in the northwest threatened to wipe out the earth’s population (much like CSM’s Spartan) yet mysteriously failed.
– There are a few parallels to Carter’s other doppelganger episode “Fight Club” if you look closely enough. For instance, the post-credits exposition sequence that starts it off has the same farcical tone as its successor found at the beginning of “Plus One,” and even foretells one of its biggest themes. In it, Mulder and Scully discuss a strange case of a male and a female FBI agent who attacked each other without warning – and both bear a striking resemblance to our heroes.
MULDER: The interesting thing about these agents is they had worked together for seven years previously without any incident.
SCULLY: Seven years?
MULDER: Yeah, but they are not romantically involved if that’s what you’re thinking.
SCULLY: Not even I would be so far-fetched.
Later on in the episode, Scully even goes as far as to speculate that the doppelgangers they’re investigating have a “psychic connection”. What’s really interesting to think about is, why wouldn’t Mulder or Scully find a connection between these two doppelganger cases after having experienced the violent side effects that the first one caused?
– Mulder and Scully’s cuddle scene echoes that found in “Requiem”, the seventh season finale which Carter also wrote. In it, Scully visits Mulder’s motel room in Oregon in the middle of the night to be held and express similar concerns about being a mother. This, in turn, was itself a reflection of their first night together in the same town in the pilot – which was also eventually mirrored at the very end of the ninth season finale, “The Truth,” penned by, you guessed it, Chris Carter.
– The decision to more or less “retcon” the recent history of Mulder and Scully’s ongoing romantic relationship in this episode is a strange one indeed. For starters, we just caught a glimpse of their domestic life together in the previous episode “This”. But besides that, Carter wrote and directed the second feature film, 2008’s I Want To Believe, which focused heavily on Mulder and Scully’s clearly established romantic relationship. They spooned in that movie as well, in the bed that they shared in the house they lived in together (same as the one they’re in now, we think).
– This Skinner centric episode follows in such past episodes as “Zero Sum,” or “S.R. 819,” or Skinner’s past conversation to Mulder about his Vietnam experiences in “One Breath.”
– Haley Joel Osment had starred in a number of features that stayed true to the spirit of The X-Files, namely “The Sixth Sense” and the Spielberg / Kubrick project “A.I.- Artificial Intelligence,” so the casting seemed apt and apparently Osment actively auditioned for the role to play Davey Jones.
– This episode follows in the tradition of stories about the dangers of robotics and artificial intelligence, going back as far back as the features “2001: A Space Odyssey” with Hal 9000, “The Terminator” films, or even Spielberg’s “A.I. – Artificial Intelligence”. Of course The X-Files has done their small share of these type of episodes before, season one’s “Ghost In The Machine,” and season five’s “Kill Switch,” for example.
– The episode also featured another staple of Glen Morgan / James Wong tactics, the inclusion of a clip from The Six Million Dollar Man, a fitting touch since that series dealt with robotics, via cyborgs
– The theme of the episode raises the question as to if Issac Ansimov’s three laws of robotics would even be relevant with today’s rapidly changing technology, and agendas.
– The theme of the episode will remind fans of such past episodes as season two’s “Fresh Bones” or “Die Hand Die Vertletz,” or the witch craft behind “Sanguinarium.” I would also be hard to ignore the inspiration of Steven King’s book, and recent film “It” in the general theme of the story. King had been enough of a fan of the series to contribute “Chinga” to season five.
– The use of the song “The Morning After” in such a ghoulish setting follows in the tradition of many James Wong directed episodes, or written episodes, going back as far as season one with “Behind The Sea.”
– The episode follows in the tradition of other Vampire themed episodes, namely season two’s “3”, or the stolen organ subject of season three’s “Hell Money.” Or the more ghoulish medical sequences will remind fans of “Sanguinarium” or the second feature, “I Want To Believe.”
– The over the top characterization of Fiona Vroom’s Barbara Beaumont could have been inspired by such historical figures as Elizabeth Báthory, the notorious 16th Century Hungarian noblewoman who was accused of murdering 600 women and bathing in their blood, under the belief it would help her to stay young.
Did you catch more X-Files easter eggs? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them to the article!