The X-Files

Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and Robert Patrick
20th Century Fox
RRP 15.99
Certificate: 12
Available now

Mulder, no longer an official agent of the FBI, persuades Agent Doggett to help him uncover new evidence about Scully's mysterious pregnancy and secure her safety. Now only days away from her delivery, Scully accepts the assistance of a home nurse. But the nurse is not what she seems...

This feature-length thriller comprises the last two episodes from Season Eight, Essence and Existence. As with all X-Files season finales, a whole host of characters make return appearances here, including the duplicitous Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea) and someone from the show's very beginnings. A major offensive by a new type of human-alien hybrid also implies the beginning of a new era for the show (or at least, that's probably what the producers are hoping for).

In a delicious piece of irony, John Doggett (Robert Patrick - who, of course, played the deadly T1000 in Terminator 2) finds himself up against an unstoppable cyborg killing machine. The memorable lift attack sequence from T2 is virtually re-enacted in this production. The pregnant Scully (Gillian Anderson) fulfils the Sarah Connor role, with her unborn child as the killer's intended victim. Meanwhile Krycek ends up in an unlikely position analogous to Kyle Reese, as he attempts to convince a cynical Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) of the threat posed by the alien assassin.

The action builds to frantic levels, and the second half of the story is packing with nail-biting excitement. The conclusion is something of a letdown, though, delivering an overdose of sickly sentimentality. And regular X-Files viewers will not be surprised to learn that, contrary to Fox's publicity, the "truth" behind Scully's pregnancy remains far from being fully explained!

As David Duchovny has announced that he will not be returning in Season Nine, this story marks his final appearance as Mulder. His character is particularly intriguing and enigmatic in this, his swansong, and he acts as a kind of mentor figure to the doubtful Doggett in almost the same way that Mulder's various contacts have behaved over the years. Doggett's final scene, alongside Agent Reyes (Annabeth Gish), offers a potential new lease of life for the show's uncertain future, but I guess we'll have to wait and see how that works out...

The DVD's extra feature, such as it is, is a brief two-part profile of Alex Krycek. A little more detailed information would have been useful to those of us who don't possess a photographic memory of this character's complex history. Oh well, at least with the DVD you get to view the main feature in widescreen.

As an adventure in its own right, Existence is up there with the best of The X-Files' "mythology" episodes.

Richard McGinlay

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