"Within" marks the beginning of the glorious one-year reprieve for "The X-Files," and the credit almost entirely belongs to Robert Patrick. John Doggett is a shot in the arm, a welcome dose of new blood for a show that had lost its footing the previous season. With David Duchovny (practically) gone at this point, Doggett steps in, not as a "new Mulder," but as a figure who provides conflict and a new voice to the series. And boy, did the series need it!
I think Gillian Anderson has always been the more talented co-star on "X-Files," and giving her an actor with his heart in the role to play against raises her game. With Season 4 and Scully's cancer arc, Season 8 is absolutely Anderson's best work on the series. No longer having to try to encourage the disinterested Duchovny, her sparring sessions with Patrick are highlights. We haven't seen Scully this feisty in years.
It also helps that Patrick immediately jives with the rest of the cast. Mitch Pileggi and James Pickens have good scenes with him, and it doesn't take long for the "Hey, that's T-1000!" shock to wear off and for the viewer to adjust.
Though this opening two-parter is still a little too mythology-muddled for my taste, it does mark the show's return over Season 8 to telling strong, scary stories. Gone is the out-of-place humor and the long-bored Duchovny. Hail John Doggett and Season 8 of "The X-Files."