SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "My Struggle III," the premiere of X-Files Season 11.
The X-Files' eleventh season premiere, "My Struggle III," began with a twist but ended with an even bigger potential game-changer for FBI Agent Dana Scully, played by Gillian Anderson.
When last we left Scully, she was caught up in the midst of an extinction-level plague. While the so-called Spartan Virus threatened to wipe out all human life on the planet, Scully herself was immune, a side effect of the tests the Syndicate had performed on her years before when she was abducted. Unfortunately, that immunity did not extend to her longtime partner Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), who ended the tenth season about to die from the Spartan Virus. The only thing that could save Mulder was stem cells from their long-lost son William.
The eleventh season premiere opened with a huge twist: everything from the prior episode had taken place inside Scully's mind, a possible vision of what was to come. With this advanced knowledge, Scully immediately started to try and track down her son, who she believed held the key to saving the human race from extinction. In the episode's final moments, though, we got a final twist, one which could change Mulder and Scully's relationship forever.
While trying to woo FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) to his side, the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) revealed a secret about Scully. "Dana and I have a history, a very important history that goes back 17 years," the Smoking Man told Skinner.
The episode then flashed back to the early days of the original series, using vintage footage to show Scully enter the Smoking Man's office at the FBI, presumably to report on Mulder's investigations with the X-Files. The Smoking Man then told her they needed to take a trip for a few days, at which point it flashed forward to Scully waking up in a house somewhere, not sure how she had gotten there or how she had gotten out of her clothes. She found the Smoking Man and accused him of drugging her.
Flashing back to the present, Skinner asked the Smoking Man, "You impregnated her?" The Smoking Man responded by saying he had used science to create a superhuman child. Unsatisfied, Skinner asked more directly, "Who is the father?"
"I am. William is my son," the Smoking Man replied.
If true, this revelation could have a massive effect on the Mulder/Scully relationship. Given the animosity between Mulder and the Smoking Man, it is certain to cause tension between him and Scully (to say the least). More explosive might be the discovery that Scully was potentially working with the Smoking Man much longer than previously thought; after all, William was not born until Season 8 of the series' original run. Could Scully have been a secret mole all that time? Or had the Smoking Man been playing games with her memory for years?
There are, of course, reasons to doubt the truth of the reveal. The X-Files has not shied away from revealing false information before — such as false hints about the status of Mulder's sister Samantha — and it is especially hard to take any reveal seriously in an episodes that begins by retconning away its immediate predecessor as a fever vision. It could simply be the latest lie told by the Cigarette Smoking Man to further his purposes — here, getting Director Skinner to agree to help him find William before a new, mysterious group finds him.
If true, this revelation could be the biggest game-changer since The X-Files' return and could shake Agent Scully's life to its foundation.
The 10-episode season of The X-Files reunites creator Carter with stars David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and Mitch Pileggi, plus William B. Davis, Annabeth Gish, Lauren Ambrose and Robbie Amell. Season 11 airs Wednesdays on Fox.