So it’s come to this. Mulder and Scully tackle the dangers of AI in the latest, very lackluster episode of ‘The X-Files’. Yes, the creature of the week is an evil, robotic vacuum. Allow us to explain.
The worst theme among the new seasons of The X-Files is the tendency to get a little preachy. This week’s about the horrors of artificial intelligence, which effectively ruins Mulder and Scully’s lives. Our favorite FBI agents are utterly reliant on technology, which is hilarious when you think about Mulder’s brick sized cell phone in the very first seasons. So much has changed! With that change comes some terrible responsibility. What starts as an annoyance for the duo becomes deadly.
Here’s when Mulder’s paranoia should have kicked in earlier. Have to pause for a second here, though, to note that there was zero dialogue in this episode for at least the first 15 minutes. Anyway, Mulder and Scully are having dinner at a fully robotic sushi restaurant, as you do, when things start to go haywire. Mulder hits the credit card machine when it won’t spit out his card, the restaurant begins having a meltdown, and they’re almost trapped inside. Things start getting weird. Scully takes a self-driving car back to her house, but it won’t listen to her commands and goes extremely fast. Mulder’s GPS system keeps leading him in circles back to the restaurant.
After they both make it home safely, sh*t hits the fan. Mulder’s greeted by what could be described as an army of drones. They gather like flies and just stare him down. Scully’s fully smart home starts shutting down after the arrival of a mysterious robotic vacuum that gets dropped off via drone. Like any seasoned FBI agent with decades of experience in bizarre phenomena, Scully simply opens the unmarked package and starts using the robot that she never ordered. Safe!
Everything freaks out. Her home alarm system locks her inside, convinced she’s an intruder. Her freezer shoots ice cubes, her instant coffee pot overflows, the lights shut on and off. Then, she smells gas. The tiny robot demon’s literally trying to kill her. She manages to smash a window and escape as it lights a gas ball. At this point, she and Mulder are together and trying to outrun the drones that have followed him there. They can’t trust anything — even Scully’s vibrator, which comes to life (and not in the good way). They have to ditch anything that can be tracked.
Naturally, they think its best to take refuge in a factory, which happens to be filled with robotic workers. They attempt to escape again, ducking into a room with 3D printers. One of them is making goddamn bullets, which it then shoots at their heads. Seriously! Their nightmare ends, though, with a revelation. The sushi restaurant has launched an attack on Mulder because he never gave them a tip. Moral of the story: ALWAYS tip your waiter, even if they’re not human.
Okay, not exactly the moral. It’s actually that we’re too reliant on and trusting of technology. Our story ends with Mulder and Scully eating dinner in an actual restaurant populated with humans. In the last minutes of the episode, Scully puts down her phone and grabs Mulder’s hand, prompting him to drop his. It’s a full-on handhold. This is either a poignant moment about how we have to start living in the present instead of on our phones OR it’s because SCULLY LOST HER VIBE. It’s been 11 seasons, when is Chris Carter actually going to let us see them bone?!?
Notes: there were two hilarious moments in this episode. When Scully’s house is malfunctioning, the fridge keeps saying, “It’s Walter Skinner‘s birthday! Do you want to bake him a cake?” And when Mulder shows up to Scully’s place, the only thing he says to her is, “Why is your house so much nicer than mine?” But for real; how does Scully afford such a killer pad while Mulder basically lives in a swamp?
New episodes of The X-Files air Wednesdays on Fox at 8:00pm.