[SPOILERS for those not caught up on The X-Files.]
The X-Files season 11 premiere twist has prompted much outrage and controversy from longtime fans of the series. The reveal that the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) is the father of Mulder and Scully’s son has stunned many viewers, but according to series creator Chris Carter, this was the plan all along. The shocking twist had been in the works since 1999.
In the season premiere, titled “My Struggle III”, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) search for their son William, who Scully believes is the key to visions she’s been having. However, the Cigarette Smoking Man appears to be looking for him as well. At the end of the episode, the Smoking Man tells Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) that Mulder is not the father of Scully’s child. The Smoking Man impregnated Scully with alien science to create the first superhuman child. The show used flashbacks from a season 7 episode to explain how it happened.
What was arguably the most controversial plot twist in the history of The X-Files has drawn much criticism from fans who feel that the reveal ruins the original story. Many fans are upset that Mulder isn’t the father, and also claim that the reveal makes the Cigarette Smoking Man a rapist. In an interview with EW, series creator Chris Carter defended the decision. Carter says that he knew the Smoking Man impregnated Scully in the episode “En Ami”, which aired 18 years ago. Carter believes that the twist was necessary for storytelling purposes:
It adds to the characters in an interesting emotional way. And because the audience is now in on this truth, and Mulder and Scully are not, these revelations are huge for this show because they’re huge for the characters. Mulder and Scully’s life history, both professional and personal, are the heart of the show.
Carter adds that the Smoking Man’s actions don’t amount to rape, since he is only the “figurative” father to William. He impregnated Scully with alien science, rather than his own DNA. Carter says that the plot twist will hover over the characters over the course of the season.
For fans confused about when this incident actually happened in the timeline of the series, the Smoking Man impregnated Scully during “En Ami” in season 7. He took Scully on a trip and drugged her. He was seen putting on black leather gloves, but his intentions weren’t clear. Scully awoke in bed with her clothes on, but had no idea what the Smoking Man had been up to. In the season finale, Scully learned she was pregnant.
The X-Files continues with “This” on Wednesday, January 10th on FOX.
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