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‘The X-Files’ Season 11, Episode 1: 35 things we learned in ‘My Struggle III’

The X-Files loves to weave a wild conspiracy. Here's what we know after the Season 11 premiere.
Gillian Anderson in the "My Struggle III" season premiere.
Gillian Anderson in the "My Struggle III" season premiere.
Published Jan. 4, 2018
Updated Jan. 4, 2018

The X-Files delights in keeping viewers on their toes, asking dozens of questions and only half-answering half of those … only to turn around a few episodes (or seasons) later and challenge those same notions.

Herewith is a list of things we learned in Season 11, Episode 1, "My Struggle III."


  • The Cigarette Smoking Man’s name is Carl Gerhardt Bush. Whether that’s Carl Gerhardt Bush Spender or just Carl Gerhardt Bush, you guess. He’s been known by many aliases, which is the same thing we were told years ago about the name G.G.B. Spender.
  • CSM is really Mulder’s dad, long hinted at, finally confirmed. He says he has two sons who factor into the future, both of whom worked for the FBI. (That’d be Fox Mulder and Jeffery Spender.)
  • Mulder has accepted that the Smoking Man is his father.
  • In one of his secret government capacities, CSM oversaw filming men walking on the moon — on a set. This comes up more than once in the episode.
  • CSM has been in charge of experiments “in the Nevada desert.” Mostly on aliens. He even says he’s been “playing god.”
  • The opening credits scene flashes “I want to believe” at the end and switches to “I want to lie.”
  • Scully’s got some crazy visions going on … of what happened in last season’s finale “My Struggle II.” This brought on seizures in the office; she collapsed. And Mulder is CONCERNED. It appears that this is the “answer” to last season’s cliffhangers: They were all in Scully’s vision, not happening in real time. It took me multiple watches to understand this.
  • Scully in fact has highly abnormal brain activity … so much so that her hypothalamus is sending flashing signals in Morse code: “Find him.” Cool.
  • “This is insanity.” When Mulder says that, you know the weird has hit the fan.
  • Skinner surmises that “him” is William, their long lost son. Mulder is not convinced and wants to know why now?! Skinner has seen Mulder “believe far more absurd things.”
  • Scully’s doctor is a believerrrrrrrr. She’s seen some patients who are “products of experiments … what can only be described as super humans.”
  • Mulder is super afraid of Scully dying, and calls her “the person (I) care for most in the world” and is afraid he caused whatever is happening.
  • Scully has been seeing all kinds of things about the Spartan virus — “a plague” — and she’s absolutely certain, but Mulder is not. And she knows the Smoking Man is behind it — “he’s alive, and he’s in Spartanburg, South Carolina” — but Mulder also doesn’t believe that. lol, you fool.
Chris Owens returns as Jeffrey Spender.
  • Jeffery Spender looks a helluva lot better than the last time we saw him, just one big scar on the side of his face and some gray hair. Some dude tries to run him down — but really “all we want is the boy.” Somehow Spender knows which boy this is.
  • Spender has Mulder’s cellphone number. And Mulder has Spender’s. #brotherlylove
  • Spender knows where Scully is in the hospital and doesn’t know where William is, but he does know the name of the family that adopted him: Van de Kamp. He also doesn’t believe his dad is alive. #brotherlysolidarity #justbelieveScullyyouidiots
  • CSM needs William, “a very special child,” though nobody knows why. He also believes William is in danger from somebody, but doesn’t know who. According to Reyes, William is CSM’s weakness.
  • CSM threatens Skinner and tells him to “find the boy.” Why Skinner, idk.
  • Reyes is working with the Smoking Man, but she cares about the millions of people he’s killing. But later she threatens Skinner, so … who knows what her moral code is.
  • Scully and her son share a sort of psychic bond — for some reason, this is a secret only CSM and Reyes know until Scully figures out later on that William is the source of her visions.
  • Reyes thinks CSM is in love with Scully. He says he’s just worried for her and “always had Mulder to protect her.” (Has he forgotten about all that time that post-abduction Mulder was “dead” and on the run?)
  • Vision!Scully believes the Smoking Man won’t harm her. Okay, guys, stop this creepiness.
  • Other Syndicate members (one later to be known as Erica Price) are looking for CSM too. Because they think CSM has gone off the deep end and is “hellbent on exterminating humanity.” In CSM’s own words, his aim is “a planet returned to its savage state, the way it was intended.”
  • The Syndicate wants to colonize space instead. Supposedly. #sure
  • The aliens are not coming. “No interest in a warming planet with vanishing resources.” Well, okay, that explains a lot about why there are no aliens after that whole prophesied 2012 invasion. #thanksforsavingusglobalwarming
  • The Spartan virus is alien.
  • Certain people have immunity to the virus, including Scully. Because, aliens.
  • Mulder knows someone who can save us. It’s Scully! :O So naturally the Syndicate goon goes to kill her — but Mulder kills him first.
  • Scully’s visions are not wrong, Mulder says. Scully knows they’re from William. “They” won’t find him, but he will find his parents. That’s convenient.
  • “The truth still lies in the X-Files, Mulder.”
Annabeth Gish as Monica Reyes and Mitch Pileggi as Walter Skinner.
  • Skinner smells like smoke. (thoughtful emoji) He also won’t say who he’s with. (thoughtful emoji, Round 2)
  • Flashback to the old days, wherein the Smoking Man takes Scully on a trip. And impregnates her, “with alien science.” Again, STOP THE CREEPINESS, PLS.
  • In case that wasn’t enough, CSM explicitly claims to be William’s father. In the very beginning of the episode, he says he’s got two sons and it shows Jeffery Spender and Mulder, but if William is his son, that should be three. Math might not be his strong suit? Or maybe he’s just a liar.

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