For all intents and purposes, this could have been the series finale. It works well as both an enjoyable mythology hour, as well as an earnest throwback to the very first episode, and its that cyclical tone that raises a couple of moments of well-deserved angst. The one problem is that there are two whole seasons left after this episode, and you can't help but feel this is just another cog in an already long-tired machine that makes little sense as it is. Are they really going to resurrect the Conspiracy? Are we going to see more Alien Bounty Hunter hijinks? Will we spend two years following Scully as she pursues Mulder in between nursing? Gah.
But on its own Requiem is a moving finale. While I can barely remember them, the history between Mulder and Scully and the various inhabitants of Bellefleur provokes a lot of sadness when they end up being abducted. These were once a bunch of kids who now have adult responsibilities and even kids of their own, yet they're sacrificed as part of an alien scheme that they haven't been connected with at all for the last seven years. I don't know if its intentional, but I liked how the writers depicted our two agents dropping into the city and all hell breaking loose, disrupting the lives of people who had already managed to move on.
At the same time, that's nicely contrasted with Mulder and Scully themselves. We're reminded of everything the two of them have lost over the course of the series, while they come under scrutiny from a belligerent FBI accountant, and Skinner eventually remarks to Mulder that people just don't like him. They lead such horrible lives, and yet you know the tiny glimmers of hope they experience (notably Scully's miracle pregnancy) are only going to provoke sci-fi badness in the future.
Requiem is a pretty engaging myth-arc episode, presumably made more absorbing by the fact that so many of the standalone episodes this season (the ones that ordinarily form the best hours of this show) have been pretty weak. Krycek and Marita Covarrubias make for an icy pair, and I loved that the all-conquering CSM got casually thrown down a staircase just as he's plotting worldwide doom once again. He's always been a very loud loser. Skinner, too, has a wonderful epiphany at the end that allows Mitch Pileggi to actually play something different for once, and he's remarkably powerful.
This could have worked as a series finale, and it probably should have been. We're at the point where no conclusion to The X-Files could ever be completely satisfying, and the ambiguity here leaves everybody to an uncertain but weirdly satisfying future. Obviously, that wasn't to be the case, but as a standalone piece this is pretty successful. B+
Guest stars William B. Davis (The Cigarette-Smoking Man); Nicholas Lea (Alex Krycek); Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner); Leon Russom (Detective Miles); Zachary Ansley (Billy Miles); Andy Umberger (Agent Chesty Short); Laurie Holden (Marita Covarrubias); Tom Braidwood (Melvin Frohike); Dean Haglund (Ringo Langly); Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers); Brian Thompson (Alien Bounty Hunter); Sarah Koskoff (Theresa Hoese); Gretchen Becker (Greta); Darin Cooper (Deputy Rae Hoese); Eddie Kaye Thomas (Young Man); Judd Trichter (Richie Szalay)
Writer Chris Carter Director Kim Manners