Review By Paul Mount, 3.5 out of 5

Well, here it is. The end. The truth. It was always out there but now, apparently, it? here – or at least as much of it as series creator Chris Carter was able to crowbar into his breathless eighty-four minute season finale.

Science-fiction series inevitably get all wound up in their own continuity, far more so than any more traditional drama series, and none moreso than THE X FILES. Over eight years the much-caunted ?overnment conspiracy?arc of the series became more and more convoluted, to the point where it became blatantly obvious that it had spiralled out of control and no-one, least of all Carter, had any real idea what the Hell the whole thing was all about. Viewers fell away in droves, particularly in the UK (although this was as much to do with lunatic scheduling as any weaknesses in the programme? narrative). It? to Carter? credit, then, that? he? been able to pull a lot of it together in this atmospheric, if heavy-going, conclusion to the series. Many loose ends are finally tied up, others, long-forgotten, are probably lost somewhere in the middle of earlier series. But ultimately the series has a nice, comfortable sense of finality about it, albeit with a little touch of ?and what next??just to pave the way for the next feature film.

Mulder breaks into a top secret research facility and appears to ?ill? a security guard. But this guard is known to be an indestructible supersoldier and the subsequent trial, where there can be only one verdict, has a ghastly pointlessness about it. It? here that many of the series story strands are explained – from the disappearance of Mulder? sister to Scully? pregnancy and all points in between. It? thorough and it? pretty comprehensive and it? done quite convincingly. I lost track of my X FILES law about five years ago so I? not qualified to comment on how satisfying this all is from the point of view of the true afficionado, but most of the questions which perplexed the wider audience for a couple of years in the mid-?0s are finally answered and a few old ghosts are laid to rest.

As a DVD release ?he Truth?isn? the most nail-biting experience of all time. Edited into a feature-length story, the first half drags alarmingly once the novelty of Mulder? return, imprisonment and kissy-kissy reunion with Scully has worn off. Part 2 perks up a bit when Mulder is sprung from the slammer and he and Scully(and the rest of the main cast) head off into the desert for a final confrontation and a final battle with those who would silence them. A cosy heart-to-heart in a Roswell motel brings to an end the series which made science-fiction TV respectable and popular again. Let? not forget that while THE X FILES probably outstayed its welcome, its success spawned a host of imitators and breathed new life into the genre and many of the show we enjoy today probably wouldn? have got to the pilot stage if the antics of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully hadn? paved the way. Maximum respect.

THE DISC: These X FILES compilations are usually boosted by a couple of brief pointless featurettes. Fox have gone quite a bit further this time with a thirteen-minute series retrospective featuring most of the main cast and crew saying farewell to the show they clearly all enjoyed working on so much. Even better is a bonus episode from season nine, ?illiam? in which a hideously-deformed man raids the basement offices of THE X FILES and seems unduly interested in Scully and her young baby William. But when the man? DNA matches that of the missing Mulder, it seems that Scully must come to terms with the awful truth about the fate of her baby? putative father. As the guest star in ?illiam?reappears in ?he Truth?it? probably advisable to watch the bonus episode before moving on to the feature. As ever, a nice clean picture with no grain in the frequent gloomy sequences.

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