The X-Files returned this week, after a 14-year absence from the small screen. The first episode got off to a rocky start, but still managed to gain a wide viewership. The second episode made a few huge improvements on the premiere, making much better use of classic X-Files elements and both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. But was 'Founder's Mutation' always intended to be the second episode?
As it turns out, the episode order for The X-Files revival was shuffled around. What was filmed as episode 5 is now episode 2, episode 2 is now episode 4, and episode 4 is now episode 5. Episodes 1, 3, and 6 are still in their original order. While the standalone nature of most X-Files episodes should avoid the confusion, this mixup does raise the question: why?
Thankfully, X-Files creator Chris Carter spoke to TV Insider about the change in episode order and why it was necessary.
"Because we have a story arc that runs through the middle of the series…we were concerned that, coming right off a mythology episode [and] going right into a standalone episode, people would say, “What’s happened?” So, it actually worked out. It served Episode 2 better to replace it with 5. It created a better continuity…We’ve come and done what we’ve always done: we give you an amazing mix of episodes—we’ve given you thriller episodes, we’ve given you scary episodes, emotional episodes, comedy episodes."
So the episode order was adjusted at the last minute to tell a better story. But fans may wonder why this story issue wasn't resolved before they were finished. Reviews for the revival so far have been mixed. The general consensus seems to indicate that the show had a few problems, despite returning to what made the original series great. So will this last-minute shuffle of episodes increase the narrative problems we've seen so far? Well, probably not.
As mentioned before, The X-Files has returned to its roots by adopting the standalone, monster-of-the-week approach. The episodic nature of each episode should mean that continuity and narrative structure across the series should matter little. Carter does acknowledge a few continuity issues that were fixed with a little editing. For example, a few lines of dialogue were cut from what is now episode 4, 'Home Again.' Carter explained, "It’s not even a deleted scene, it was lines of dialogue," so the changes were minor.
The show certainly seems to go back to the good ol' days, with lore episodes to bookend the season and standalone episode in between. If you need to catch up on the original series, don't forget to check out our complete guide. But if you're a fan of the original series, or a new fan just diving in, the future of The X-Files continues to sound promising. Carter has previously teased a few unanswered questions, but it also seems like we may get more episodes after these 6, since Carter also promised a cliffhanger ending.
The X-Files returns next Monday with ‘Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster’ @8pm on FOX.
Source: TV Insider