The X-Files

Season 6 Episode 1

The Beginning

1
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 08, 1998 on FOX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

8.5
out of 10
Average
261 votes
  • The Beginning

    10
    The Beginning was a perfect and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was well written, full of action, intrigue, suspense, mystery and drama. I liked the character and plot development as Mulder and Scully are reassigned and Agent Sender is assigned to the X-Files along with Agent Fowley. The little boy with psychic powers known as Gibson is involved in the Syndicate's schemes and escapes to Mulder and Scully's care only to be taken away. I liked how the story played out and it was awesome to see more of the alien agenda and an alien as well. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • Season 6 begins where Season 5 and the movie left us

    9.0
    Season 6 finds the show moving to L.A to film and also finding us exactly where the Season 5 finale and the movie left us off: the virus investigated so whole-heartedly in the movie returns, this time attacking a nuclear physicist. However, unlike the movie, the alien that was bred inside the person's stomach escapes and begins wreaking havoc inside of a nuclear plant.

    The episode also finds Mulder and Scully still struggling (along with Skinner) to get themselves back into the X-Files. However, the FBI seems to be against their ridiculous claims that a giant UFO popped out of the ground and flew off and that Scully was infected with an alien virus that creates alien forms inside of people. Therefore, they're forced to do things on their own and try to investigate and find physical proof. They are able to do so with the help of Gibson, that young child from the Season 5 finale who was able to read minds.

    Of course, we also get some of the Cigarette Smoking Man and also Spender, the C.S.M's son who seems to be irritating Mulder as much as his father does. It should be interesting to see how Mulder and Scully deal with Spender and Mulder's old girlfriend working the X-Files instead of them.

    Overall, I liked how the episode continued to address this virus that was born out of the movie and even from earlier in the show and the way the show focused a lot on the characters we care about instead of conspiracy stuff. The moment near the end where Scully questions whether or not we all have alien DNA in is is haunting, and equally haunting is watching the birth of a true alien in the nuclear power plant. I'm sure we'll be in for a good season 6.
  • "The Beginning" of the End.

    5.5
    After "Fight the Future," "The X-Files" moved to L.A. (signaled by the first shot of the gleaming California sun in this episode). The move took away more than the gloomy Vancouver atmosphere. This episode (and season) really marked the shift into broader comedy, less frights and a more and more disinterested David Duchovny.

    The mythology (momentarily cleared up by the movie) starts to get muddled again - Gibson Praise is back and in demand by the Syndicate; Mulder and Scully are off the job and Spender and Fowley are in their place. Another post-Season 6 landmark - big action sequences - take stage here and the trend seems to be "bigger and more!" Some scenes feel like they've been lifted from "Predator" and feel out of place. However, the show would move more towards this action-heavy dynamic as the season progressed.

    I can't buy Wendie Malick as an FBI AD, and her sole role seems to be Chris Carter's way of dissing critics who (rightfully) panned the movie. Scully is back to her skeptic dynamic (despite the events of the film) and the show seems stuck. Seasons 6 and 7 would have occasional highlight episodes, but "The Beginning" really marked an end to what I consider the "great" era of "The X-Files."
  • Overall, this episode is the unfortunate victim of several writing and production challenges, many of which were nearly impossible to overcome. While the idea of new agents assigned to the X-Files was quite good, it was never realized to the extent that

    5.0
    At the beginning of the sixth season, the series and franchise were in a delicate position. The feature film “Fight the Future” answered a number of questions about the series mythology, but the producers and writing staff couldn’t make the assumption that the television audience had seen the film. Thus the series had to recap the major plot points of the film while justifying its own existence by wrapping up the plot threads originated in “The End”, which were generally ignored by the film. It was hardly a simple task.

    There were also considerations related to the cast and production. During the fifth season, there were difficulties in bringing David Duchovny back to the series following the film. As part of the deal cut to keep him on the show, the production was moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles. This resulted in a significant change to the tone and appearance of the series as a whole, something which has been cited by some fans as one of the death knells of the series.

    Additionally, this episode introduces a notion that was never fully realized until Duchovny’s decision to leave the series at the end of the seventh season: new agents working on the X-Files. As originally conceived, the characters created to take over the X-Files were supposed to be involved on a much more significant basis. The fact that this did not happen left the changes introduced in the sixth season toothless at best.

    As with most of the mythology episodes, previous interpretations regarding the goals and policies of the conspiracy and Cancer Man pertain directly to the interpretation of the current episode. Therefore, the speculation and interpretation outlined in previous reviews are assumed to be familiar to the reader. In particular, the summary of the mythology provided and given in the review for “Fight the Future” factors into the interpretation of this episode.

    Since the sixth season premiere needed to incorporate the key elements of the film into the series as if they had happened “off screen”, assuming that the audience was jumping in from the fifth season without any knowledge of the film at all, the entire episode feels like a bit of a retread. The writers do what they can to expand on concepts from the film with new connections to the series’ mythology minutia, since that was impossible in “Fight the Future”, but in some ways it feels like wrapping up the same gift in shiny paper.

    Considering how much of the lethal Purity was recovered in Blackwood County in the film, it makes sense that the material would need to be tested. What doesn’t make sense, especially considering the fact that the Syndicate and Cancer Man both took great pains in the film to preserve deniability, is the idea of analyzing that version of Purity in such a hot part of the country. They know that everything related to Purity thrives on heat!

    Tying the analysis to Roush Technologies is a nice link to the organization referenced in “Redux”, which was clearly a front for conspiracy activities. It’s never explained how one of the researchers at Roush came to be infected by Purity, but considering that it can get through just about anything (including containment suits, as seen in “Tunguska”), it’s not a major issue. More questionable is the idea that the Syndicate wouldn’t have this research and personnel under heavy security while the threat was analyzed and contained.

    The first real problem of the episode, however, comes with the lack of follow-through for one of the better ideas in “The End”. Destroying the X-Files and forcing the investigations to take place through deeper inquiry into unusual circumstances could have been the perfect reboot to the series as a whole. Add to that the opportunity to assign new agents to the task, who would presumably investigate such occurrences with a more conventional eye, would provide Mulder and Scully with a very different dynamic.

    Unfortunately, the writers decided to have the direct burning of the X-Files reversed through a means of recovering the documentation. Thus the whole idea of eliminating the X-Files is rendered moot. The question becomes, instead, who gets to recover the files and continue trying to solve the cases. As far as that goes, the idea was quite interesting and should have worked. It’s just that the writers didn’t fully commit to the idea of a series with a larger ensemble.

    For all that, the OPR Committee meeting does a nice job of tying the end of the film to the events of the episode. It’s all rehashing and recapping, a way to deliver exposition with the least bit of damage, but it’s done in a way that actually moves the story forward at the same time. The more ridiculous aspects of the mythology in “Fight the Future” are outlined, which serves to explain what the film covered and, for those confused by the film, how it was all supposed to work.

    Unfortunately, this leads into what many would consider a betrayal of one of the film’s strongest themes. Mulder and Scully were supposed to be reinvested in the crusade and each other, yet in the very next instance, Scully is backing off of the firm position she presented in the final OPR scene of “Fight the Future”.

    There is a certain point to that exercise. Many of the events in the film were designed as if it were the end of a saga, not a middle chapter. The series had to continue with something less definitive. So Scully’s data, which admittedly didn’t prove very much in the film, turns out to be less than revelatory when push comes to shove.

    The episode also tackles the aftermath of Cancer Man’s resurgence of authority over the direction of the Syndicate’s activities. With the Well-Manicured Man out of the picture, Cancer Man’s desire to control events is given scope and opportunity. As in earlier seasons, he chooses to let the Syndicate believe that he serves their purpose. As such, when another incident threatens to reveal the conspiracy in the wake of the virulent Purity’s “discovery”, he places himself in a position to control events.

    Cancer Man is obviously behind the decision to keep Mulder and Scully off the X-Files, especially since Spender and Fowley (both Cancer Man lackeys, to one degree or another) are the agents assigned to the file recovery. Mulder, of course, sees it as a betrayal by Fowley, and in fact, that’s exactly what it is. As known from subsequent episodes, though it was hardly a surprise, Diana was brought back to manipulate Mulder into thinking that he might have an ally against Spender, when Diana is just there to ensure that Mulder is managed from another angle.

    While Mulder is managed and prodded in the direction that Cancer Man wants him to go, especially in terms of how far he’ll sidestep his own morality, he decides to use Gibson as a “Purity Detector”. By this point, a few months after “The End”, Cancer Man has had enough time to discover the genetic evidence linking Gibson to Purity and the inactive portions of the human genome.

    This particular detail is very important to the mythology, since it lends a great deal of support to the idea that Purity is an extension of human genetic engineering efforts under the conspiracy’s watch. There is also the indication that a certain part of Gibson’s brain is structurally different from the normal human brain, thanks to the activation of his abilities. This becomes the foundation for the ideas that drive the mythology in the sixth and seventh season finales.

    What Gibson knows, however, speaks to unspoken motivations. Mulder and Scully investigate the scene of the latest “alien” emergence and debate interpretations (with Scully slipping back into the usual “denial as coping mechanism” stance), just as Cancer Man brings Gibson to the scene. Gibson is aware that Mulder and Scully are inside, and so he must also be aware that Cancer Man has designs against the agents. Gibson makes the conscious choice to protect Mulder and Scully from Cancer Man.

    As someone with partial abilities of a “sentinel”, those with the abilities similar to those engineered into the human genome by the “angelics” for the purpose of creating William, Gibson is both vitally important and terribly dangerous to Cancer Man’s endgame. Cancer Man wants to bring someone like Gibson about, but he is continually unable to allow events to unfold as they must. This desire to force the leap to someone like William becomes the impetus for his decisions through the next two seasons.

    The Mulder and Scully scenes continue with the process of bringing forward elements of “Fight the Future” so they can inform the series, while also serving the purpose of softening their shared purpose from the end of the film. As a result, when Scully repeats everything that Mulder said to her in the film, it’s a bit annoying and feels intrusive. Scully is right: Mulder did, in fact, tell her that her science kept him honest. But in this case, Scully is forced into a position where her science represents dishonesty, since the development to the character from the film is all but removed.

    The plot takes a turn for the worse when the gestated entity somehow manages to get itself into a nuclear power facility without being detected, despite having to cross 60 miles of desert in the process. In today’s world, just thinking about that kind of lax security is ludicrous enough. Also impossible to dismiss is the idea that the entity would then manage to hide in the facility after an apparent murder has taken place.

    Mulder clearly recognizes, based on Diana’s explanation for what happened to Homer, that she’s compromised. This is an important point, because if his allegiances to Scully were cemented in the film, his judgment regarding Diana shouldn’t be clouded by past collusion. In this scene, it’s not hard to recognize that Mulder feels betrayed. That only makes the rest of the episode harder to reconcile.

    Getting Gibson in the agents’ hands is important. Part of Cancer Man’s goal is to push Mulder (and if possible, Scully) into a position where he must begin making decisions as he would. Gibson is not just a victim of the conspiracy, but also an asset that could, in the wrong hands, be exploited. Initially, at least, Scully treats Gibson in a way that reminds the audience of her interaction with Emily. She feels a need to protect him and take care of him.

    Gibson is also there to point out that Scully is once again living in denial. Mulder, on the other hand, has been pushed into exactly the kind of position that Cancer Man desires. His concern for Gibson is overwhelmed by his desire to use the boy for his own devices. Scully agrees that Gibson is important to Mulder’s future, but she also recognizes that Gibson must be treated like a person, not an object.

    Once Diana reappears in the plot, however, things just get more inconsistent with the film. One could interpret Mulder’s decision to leave Gibson with Scully and go to the nuclear facility as another example of how Cancer Man’s manipulation is working. After all, driving Mulder and Scully apart was one of the goals, if only so far as to keep them from working as efficiently as they could. But the actual scenes make it look as though Mulder trusts Diana, almost blindly, and that doesn’t match scenes earlier in the episode.

    It’s a given that Diana was ordered to place Mulder in this compromised position. At the same time, why would the “angelics”, the spiritual forces aiding and planning for the defeat of Purity, allow Gibson to suffer as he does? It may be as simple as testing Mulder and Scully to determine if they are ready for the next step. Gibson takes Scully to task for seeing him as an object, “a very special lab rat”, instead of just a victim, and he’s absolutely right for doing so.

    Mulder has some convenient lapses in memory, especially when it comes to touching what could be something alien and related to the virus that nearly killed Scully. He can’t be aware of his immunity (thanks to “Tunguska”), and he can’t know that the retrovirus that nearly killed him in “Endgame” was present, either. So what kind of idiot uses his bare hands to grab something that is definitely related to something he knows to be lethal?

    Of course, Mulder gets to see something, but not the actual entity, and Diana turns on him in a second. Even after Diana’s report (as Cancer Man intended) forces OPR to reassign Mulder and Scully under Kersh (as Cancer Man Intended), he still somehow manages to defend Diana’s actions. This is clearly an example of a character acting in deference to plot demands, rather than in a manner consistent with recent character development. The Mulder in “Fight the Future” would never overlook Diana’s betrayal in such a blasé manner.

    The scene between Cancer Man and Spender reinforces what is already quite obvious: Cancer Man has used the events of recent months, going back to “The End”, to take control over the “investigation” of the X-Files. His explanations to Spender are, of course, not entirely true, since it’s meant to persuade Spender of a certain truth. At the same time, Cancer Man is trying to break Mulder’s spirit, at least so far as it will convince Mulder that the only way to win is to join him.

    Mulder’s “choice” is in direct conflict with his words and deeds in the film, and for that reason alone, the episode reveals how the writers struggled with the concept of how to generate drama in the post-“Fight the Future” seasons. There’s no reason why Mulder has to be so aggressive, and no reason why Scully can’t just get to the point. After all, she has the scientific evidence that he was looking for, something that Diana couldn’t provide. Why not start with that and then question Diana’s intentions?

    The genetic evidence provides the important link between Gibson’s “sentinel” abilities, Purity’s genetic origins, and the fact that the seeds for both are present in normal human DNA. It paints a fairly obvious picture: one has the potential, one has realized potential, and one has an artificial perversion of that potential.

    Whatever the case, there’s probably a reason why Gibson wasn’t killed by the entity. There’s evidence that Gibson was holding back in terms of the extent of his abilities, and if the entity was connected to the malevolent spiritual forces behind the consciousness of Purity, it would have recognized that Gibson was stronger than he seemed. After all, how else would Gibson have known how to track the entity over such a massive distance?

    So it stands to reason that Gibson was aware of what was happening, able to heal on his own relatively well (he doesn’t have prominent scars in the eighth season, after all), and he’s not frightened of the entity. Thus he is probably immune to Purity (as all “sentinels” would be), and waiting around to gather information on the development of the host bodies for Purity. This information would, presumably, be important for Mulder and his allies after the series finale.

    In terms of the development of the entity, this answers some questions about the goal of “Colonization”. Phase III of the conspiracy is all about using the biologically developed drones, the result of Phase II, to create a new race of host bodies for the “currently” non-corporeal intelligence that is Purity. Since the Purity recovered in Blackwood County and researched by Roush is the Purity that was supposed to be used during “Colonization”, it is representative of the process that would have taken place if William was never born.

    The initial stage of development involves the savage form in “Fight the Future”, which then sheds its skin when it’s ready to move into its base form, the Colonist. The Colonist, as later revealed, is the base form for the shape-shifters. This makes complete sense, given that the biological nanotech used to create the shape-shifting clones was specifically designed to lead into the biological changes that would lead to the birth of the drones.

    There’s little doubt that this episode was hampered by several plot requirements. Not only did it have to cover the material of the film while relying only on the fifth season finale as a predecessor, but it had to set the stage for “Two Fathers”/”One Son” and “Biogenesis”. There’s little time left for the episode to shine on its own. Add to that the production challenges presented by a new crew and production location, and it’s a shock that this episode works at all. As it stands, it is a flawed beginning to a season that would struggle to find a consistent direction.

    One of the biggest problems is the use of Spender and Fowley as adversaries for Mulder and Scully. Both characters were designed for specific plot purposes, and as such, they don’t have distinct and compelling personalities of their own. One never truly believes that Mulder and Scully will remain off the X-Files, and the writers never utilize Spender or Diana as if they were to be taken seriously.

    As the season marches along, of course, it becomes a lot more evident that the writers have fallen into a rut with Mulder and Scully. Even David and Gillian seem less than inspired as time marches on, which is even more evident in the seventh season. Considering how the eighth season was enlivened (and perhaps even saved) by the introduction of John Doggett, a full-fledged character with actual motivations and personality, wouldn’t it have been better to introduce characters like Doggett and Reyes in place of the extremely limited Spender and Fowley? If the series shifted to a more ensemble format, it could have prevented a number of the creative issues over the next two seasons.
  • It Never Rains In California

    9.0
    Carter and company ditch the rainy Pacific Northwest for Los Angeles and discover that the sky is actually blue rather than various shades of grey. Predictably, some fans began to moan that the X-Files had lost that "special something" and was in danger of jumping the shark. Yes, the proverbial shark would inevitably get jumped but not for a couple more seasons yet. What we have here is a finely scripted, technically gorgeous and sleek-looking episode that maintains much of the momentum generated by the feature film.

    Speaking of which, I think it IS necessary for one to have viewed the feature film before digging into Season Six as a certain familiarity with the feature's plot points appears to be assumed. Carter doesn't spend a lot of time rehashing the events of the film, which is admirable and keeps this episode from sinking under too much exposition.

    There are problems with some of the characters. Scully seems uncharacteristically strident with Mulder as she rather shrilly lectures him about trust and the soundness of her scientific methods. Her scene with Mulder just outside the dead scientist's house plays like something out of a daytime soap opera, although much of the blame can be laid upon the terrible writing for this particular scene.

    The inclusion of Wendie Malick as an Assistant Director was ill-advised as she carries so much baggage as a comic actress that it is impossible to treat her seriously in the rather large role she is given in this episode.

    The Spender character continues to annoy with his insipidness. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but for some reason in this episode he and Fowley move like they are wooden stick figures. It is so obvious and so odd that I began wondering if maybe they are actually aliens in disguise.

    The gore factor is notched up a bit in this episode. We get a vicious, bloody attack in the opening teaser that is straight out of "Alien." Later, we observe as brain surgery is performed on the young boy, Gibson Praise, as he sits conscious and wide-eyed under the surgeon's scalpel. Disturbing stuff.

    All in all, an enjoyable opener to Season Six that drags a bit in the middle act but finishes strongly with an interesting twist to the Myth arc.
  • The one with the DNA

    9.6
    A nice beginning of the sixth season, right after the movie but continues the end of season 5. Although it felt like it did miss something extra, besides that it was a pretty strong beginning.

    The episode has a very neat teaser which was also the best part of the episode. A guy had some sort of virus and something begins to come out of him and when his boss comes to pay him a visit in the morning, he gets eaten up by it. At work, Mulder has to convince the people to let him go back to the X-files but Scully doesn’t help him when he most needed it. Because of that the X-files will remain closed. Mulder is pretty down and is convinced there is something he might find, but Scully is working against him again, also Fowly is with Spenser so Mulder really feels alone now.

    I liked how they brought back Gibson, he was being operated but he managed to escape and lock himself in the car of Mulder and Scully. Gibson might be their last chance to find prove, he has a virus in the blood which might be extraterrestrial but when Scully doesn’t look, he gets kidnapped in the hospital.

    When Mulder and Diana go to some place they see Gibson and the man that took him away in the other room, there is a monster which attacks them and they can’t do anything about it. Now they can’t renew the X-files and Mulder gets assigned to a new assistant director. And everything that Diana put in her files wasn’t to protect Mulder but he doesn’t believe that. He trusts Diana even though he shouldn’t.

    The results of Gibson’s DNA marks that he is part extraterrestrial but so is everyone else, the thing is that it doesn’t work in other people only in the kid. At the end of the episode some alien appears out of somewhere.

    The episode was well written, though not as interesting as season 5’s end or the movie. I didn’t like how Scully acted again and why she didn’t want to believe Mulder, it’s really getting tiresome.
  • It was a great start fot the 6th season

    8.9
    I was a little confused watching this episode. I never really watched much of the 5th season, so I guess thats why.

    It was a great start fot the 6th season, the boy, Gibson seems to be a little wierd & creepy. I loved the alien at the end and how Gibson was watching it.

    The new agents assigned to the X-files seem wierd, and are both up to something, I'm sure.

    I hope that this season will be a good one.
  • Closing out both last season's finale and details from the film inbetween, this premiere does what it needs to do.

    7.7
    We're being sold on a drastic status quo change here, and while we know damn well it'll all fix itself out sooner rather than later, it works. Spender and Fowley take over the X-Files, leaving Mulder & Scully to deal with the newly mutilated Gibson on thier own.
    Nothing spectacular, but decent enough.
  • Confusing for whoever didnt see the movie.. but still a fine episode.

    9.0
    An excellent episode, although, for whoever didn’t see the movie, a bit confusing. Last week, was the last episode of the fifth season in Portugal and I don’t remember Scully being infected with any virus or as Mulder and Scully were about to kiss, she was stung by an infected bee… (and believe me, I would have remembered that!). This episode was so strange for me, I don’t know why. It seemed like it was the first time that I was watching an X-files episode.

    Anyway… I still don’t trust Diana Fowley. Maybe it’s because Scully is jealous of her, maybe it’s because it seems like she still has feelings for Mulder… I don’t know. I just don’t like her.

    Mulder and Scully should have never been taken of the X-files. I mean, come on!! They are the X-files!!! But I’m sure (only because I read the summaries lol ) that everything will fall back in place and Agent Spender and Fowley will go away :)
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