The ninth and final season of THE X-FILES is easily the least of the nine. There are still some good episodes here and there, but most of the good ones are the standalone one-offs, the ones that have nothing to do with the Supersoldier and savior-baby stories that served as the mythological arc of the season.
By this point, it became clear that the mythology was running on fumes, that it was being stretched taut even though the original vast alien conspiracy seemed to have been resolved by Season 6, and subsequent loose ends tied up by Season 7. I would almost be willing to concede that maybe---MAYBE---the whole idea of a secret program to repopulate Earth with Supersoldiers might have truly gone somewhere had Chris Carter and company been allowed to develop it further in another season. But I doubt it; the air of staleness would probably remain.
So it's not that the episodes themselves are terrible. "Provenance" and "Providence"---which sees the return of those rubbings that led Mulder to nearly go mad towards the end of Season 6 and the beginning of Season 7---certainly have their moments, and at least "Nothing Important Happened Today" has the freshness of discovery to recommend it---the freshness of seeing how new X-Files agents John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) handle their new assignment. It's just that, at this point, the mythology has clearly been played out, and, as hard as Chris Carter tries to breathe new life into it...let's face it, the paranoia toward the government that the early seasons of "The X-Files" were able to touch upon became old hat at about the show's midway point (Season 5).
But, when it comes to "The X-Files," I'm always a pretty optimistic fan, and, as always with this show, there are some fine standalone episodes to make Season 9 possibly worth a look. My personal favorite is "4-D" for the following reason: the episode may well be the "X-Files" version of Clint Eastwood's recent MILLION DOLLAR BABY! Yeah, I know the episode was made maybe three years before Eastwood made his award-winning picture, but some of the parallels are uncanny, especially with Reyes being forced to make a decision as to whether to listen to a paralyzed Doggett and pull the plug. By itself, though, it's a pretty good, interesting episode, which involves a serial killer who can somehow walk into different dimensions to act out his sick fantasies. There are other notables: "Daemonicus," "Hellbound," "John Doe," "Underneath," "Scary Monsters." Season 9 also contains some stabs at the kind of humor and sentimentality---qualities which were basically absent in Season 8---that characterized Seasons 6 & 7; unfortunately, episodes like "Improbable" and "Sunshine Days" turn out to be the lesser efforts of the season. "Improbable" was written and directed by Chris Carter, and it's a thoroughly bizarre effort, with special guest star Burt Reynolds playing---well, playing someone who may well be God Himself. It's interesting, to say the least, but ultimately I thought it was a failure. And Vince Gilligan's "Sunshine Days" is not one of his finer episodes; its descent into bathos reminds you of Season 6's "The Rain King"---not necessarily a good reminder for most fans. On the other hand, the episode does show flashes of the kind of chemistry between Doggett and Reyes that weren't always in abundance in the rest of the season.
Doggett and Reyes are perhaps the two most controversial points about Season 9. Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish, I think, did as well as anyone could with their parts. If you found Patrick rather one-note in Season 8, watch Season 9's "John Doe" and marvel at the range of emotions he shows in playing a Doggett who has had his memory removed. As for Gish...well, she's no Gillian Anderson (who was at least a good trouper throughout Season 9, and brought her typical emotional warmth to the show), but she has her moments (see "Hellbound" and "Audrey Pauley"). Unfortunately, both actors are hampered by writers who didn't really bother to make Doggett and Reyes nearly as interesting as Mulder and Scully were in the show's first 7 seasons. If there are those that feel that Doggett and Reyes didn't show much personality, I don't think it's necessarily the fault of the actors; the writers apparently didn't find them compelling enough to shade the characters in either.
All this leads up to the finale, "The Truth," in which Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), after disappearing again (out of his own free will this time), resurfaces, accused of murder. He is put on trial for his life---a trial that he believes is a trial about the truth that he and Scully have been looking for for years. Opinions range regarding this series finale. Some were disappointed that the centerpiece trial was basically a glorified clip show (a la the sitcom SEINFELD); others were perhaps more disappointed at how it all ended (continuing Chris Carter's obsession with frustrating the audience). Still, overall I thought it was a decent finale. The trial sequences, at the very least, summed up the mythology in a reasonably satisfying way, and the episode's final scene once again loyal fans that the characters were just as important to the vision of THE X-FILES as the creepy, freaky, and paranoid intrigue. The ending really does produce a feeling of the end of an era.
Thus closes a 9-year chapter of groundbreaking television on THE X-FILES. After abandoning the show during its initial run during Season 7, it has been fun to rediscover the show from the beginning all the way to the end. This is a generally excellent television show that, even at its worst, still provides some of the smartest thrills and chills you'll ever see on TV---and, for me, not even Season 9, which is easily the least of the nine seasons, can diminish the achievements of this show. If it's not necessarily as essential as the show's first 7 seasons, Season 9 is still perhaps worth a look.