If the opening episode of Season 11 was a little too mythology-heavy for you, The X-Files confidently, comfortably slips back into mystery-of-the-week mode with this hugely enjoyable second outing. Playing out like a cousin of Black Mirror, and written by Glen Morgan (Final Destination veteran and brother of X-Files legend Darin Morgan), it’s a darkly witty conspiracy thriller that manages to play on modern fears of identity, technology and consciousness.
The starting point? The reappearance of Richard Langly, who may or may not be alive and starts leaving mysterious messages on Mulder and Scully’s phones. Meanwhile, as luck would have it, assassins turn up and start trying to take them out. It’s a cracking start to an episode that repeatedly balances action with near-preposterous plotting, serving up a slice of Russian phobia and some old-school NSA programmes for good measure.
There are still ties to The X-Files’ wider picture, not only in the Lone Gunmen’s legacy, but in the way that Skinner’s bond with Mulder and Scully is notably shaken following this season’s opener, and the involvement of the sinister Erika Price.
The discovery that The X-Files themselves now live in the cloud and have been hacked, meanwhile, tees up some intriguing questions for the rest of the season. But this is mostly fun because it’s a standalone story, one that glibly opts for bleak humour in place of an easy resolution. The truth is out there, as always, but victory for our duo remains as elusive as ever.
Episode 2 of The X-Files Season 11 is available on My5 until 14th March 2018