For those of us who choose to plug our ears and squeeze our eyes shut when there are spoilers about, there is still plenty of speculation fodder to feed on in the series of trailers that have been released over the past few weeks. One of those trailers included the image below —
— which elicited the following measured response from fans on Twitter.
As background for people who gave up on X-Files/life after season 5, apparently Mulder’s prior exposure to the black oil mixed with alien characters carved on a stone to yield terminal brain disease of some unexplained type.
To be clear, I too experienced twinges of PTSD when I saw Mulder grabbing his head and staring off into the distance as though he’s hearing alien voices AGAIN even though he already had his slate wiped clean when he came back from the dead.
However, in the world of X-Files, it would work in Mulder’s favor to have a relapse of his brain disease. Didn’t you know that sabotaging the intricate functions of your brain gives you superpowers?
1. The Modells (“Pusher,” “Kitsunegari”)
The crappy part about having an inoperable brain tumor is its effect on your life expectancy. The great part, though, is being able to push your will onto others by talking to them. Seeing as oncologists don’t have to wear foil hats to work every day, this is probably just some fluke occurrence brought on by Robert Patrick Modell’s obsession with the ronin lifestyle and oh wait just kidding, his sister has one too.
2. Reverend Orison (“Orison”)
22 years in prison taught the Reverend Orison little about patience, since he can’t be bothered to wait for a power-bestowing tumor and instead has a hole drilled in his head to unlock his psychic influence.
Blood flow to his brain is three times that of normal people, which is all it takes for one to trick a roomful of people into letting an escalating death fetishist walk out of prison. And there’s your answer for why we have separation of church and state.
3. Augustus Cole (“Sleepless”)
One little lobotomy and 25 years without sleep, and all of a sudden you can kill people with hallucinations. If that sounds like too much trouble, you could probably get to the killing-people part just with 25 years without sleep.
Side note: I’m picturing an elite military squad made up of Vietnam vets with superpowers. Augustus Cole and Nathaniel Teager are definitely in. The A Team can provide backup.
4. Gerry Schnauz (“Unruhe”)
No, of course a lobotomy didn’t give him the ability to imprint the future onto undeveloped film. That would be ridiculous. He can do that because was in an insane asylum.
Additional side note: the series could have continued even if Scully had been lobotomized here and not saved at the last minute. The back-and-forth repartee would have just been different.
Mulder: Did you finish the autopsy? What was the cause of death?
Mulder: Again? It’s always unruhe.
5. Fox Mulder (The entire series, you should know who this is)
Seeing as Agent Mulder falls into one of these five categories, he’s likely to find some unexpected upsides to his terminal illness, if indeed Chris Carter does decide to wheel out that old trope again. But lest we think we have the X-Files universe completely figured out, we should note that there are exceptions to the rule.
1. Christian Fearon (“X-Files: I Want to Believe”)
Christian has Sandhoff disease, and apparently there is a negative correlation between how explainable your brain disease is and how many superpowers you get because he gets none. Unless you count the superpower of living in a hospital for weeks on end. Or the superpower of having Scully practice her stem cell therapy skills on your exposed dura mater after a rigorous Google training course.
2. Dana Scully (Even more episodes than Fox Mulder)
Far be it from me to suggest that one of our two main characters gets the short end of the stick here, but let’s examine this for a second. Mulder gets a brain disease, and it yields clairvoyance. Scully gets a brain disease, and it yields nosebleeds, chemo, radiation therapy, and very nearly, her death.
I guess it makes sense. After all, Mulder’s got a lot going on, and he deserves a break. Scully has had almost a couple dozen episodes to deal with the loss of her father and sister, so she’s due. In fact, maybe she should lose a daughter in a few episodes, just to keep things even.
At least she can’t die.