‘The X-Files’ Finale: ‘All Hell Is Breaking Loose,’ Joel McHale Teases

The X-Files
Ed Araquel/Fox
Gillian Anderson, Joel McHale, David Duchovny

As The X-Files closes its six-episode revival, a mysterious, catastrophic illness begins infecting people all over the country.

“S–t hits the fan in a big, worldwide way,” Joel McHale (Tad O’Malley) reveals. “That’s why you’re seeing my character again—s–t starts happening to everybody. All hell is breaking loose.”

When viewers last saw Tad, he had been discredited following Sveta’s (Annett Mahendru) claims that he bribed her to say she had been abducted. But the finale marks a comeback for him, when he uses his show, Truth Squad With Tad O’Malley, to relay crucial information.

Although Tad would be justified to deliver a bit of “I told you so” to the doubters, “there’s no reveling,” McHale says. “And with Tad O’Malley, he’s not a gloater…he would say he’s concerned about the American people and what’s happening to them. No one has any time to [rub it in].”

Also not on the agenda? Tad pursuing Scully (Gillian Anderson), like he did in the premiere. “My character is interested in Scully,” McHale says. “But there’s not a ton of time to deal with that. You don’t go, ‘Hey, do you guys want a margarita?’ in the middle of a hurricane.”

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The X-Files

Scully (Gillian Anderson), Tad (Joel McHale) and Mulder (David Duchovny) in the season premiere.

As the situation escalates, familiar characters will be in peril: The promos for “My Struggle II” reveal that Tad looks sick in one of his broadcasts.

“What’s happening outside is happening to him as well, and to everyone around [him],” McHale says. And though his life might be in danger, “he is doing his thing—he’s going to keep fighting until his lungs close up or something. He’s going to go until he’s dead. I’m not saying he dies, but that would be his drive.”

If Tad makes it through the hour, McHale—who recently booked the lead role in the CBS pilot, The Great Indoors—is game to return to The X-Files if (and when) the show gets renewed. “Believe me, if in some crazy world this comes back again, I will be there with bells on,” he says. “I can’t say [if I survive], but I’d do Chris Carter’s gardening.”

McHale has been a regular television presence thanks to The Soup and Community, but it was his hosting gig at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner that convinced Carter of McHale’s talents. “I think it shows Chris Carter’s total misjudgment,” McHale jokes. “Believe me, it was the most elaborate audition process to get into The X-Files: having to book the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, having to entertain the president, and do all that.”

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As a longtime X-Files fan, McHale admits the filming experience has been a special one for him. “I don’t get nervous that often, [but] I was like, ‘Wow, I’m on The X-Files. This is the coolest thing, I can’t believe this,'” he recalls. “It was surreal and once I got the call sheet and it said The X-Files and my name, I was like, ‘F–king a, look at this!’ I was thrilled, believe me.” During the filming of his first episode, he was especially excited by the scene where Tad showed Mulder (David Duchovny) the UFO. “That spaceship was real. It was as big as an F14; it had lights on it,” he says. “It had retractable landing gear, it lifted off the ground. That was all a real set piece. And I was like, ‘This is so f–king cool.'”

McHale’s also had some fun feedback from other fans of the series: “Aaron Paul [who appeared in an episode during The X-Files‘ original run] contacted me and was like, ‘You motherf–ker, I can’t believe you’re on the show!'” McHale laughs.

But how might the final hour go over with fans? “You’re going to be the happiest people on the planet,” McHale predicts.

The X-Files‘ finale airs Monday at 8/7c on Fox.