After the talkity-talk premiere of Chris Carter’s 10th season of X-Files — separated from season 9 by about 14 years and 2 film versions of the drama — it looks like Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Mulder (David Duchovny) are back on track. The original show didn’t last nine years because the two did nothing but investigate aliens, but because that particular story line was woven in to their tracking down other oddities. Some of those oddities had to do with aliens and government conspiracies. Some didn’t. Episode 2 — “Founder’s Mutation” — of the 2016 miniseries took the two former agents into an arena that combined many of the elements of the original series: alien DNA, Department of Defense (DOD) conspiracies, medical experimentation, and the Trust No One theme.
It began with a scientist who heard this ear-piercing, apparently painful sound — which no one else could hear — who then locked himself into his lab and committed suicide. By jamming a letter opening into his ear.
Now a physician, Scully not only noticed that the letter opener seemed to go in a very specific direction — toward the auditory portion of the brain — but she also got to do the autopsy. After breaking open the dead man’s fingers, she found Founder’s Mutation crudely scrawled on his palm. This took the partners on a visit to a strange clinic, ostensibly studying genetic mutations in children, but funded by the DOD.
Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.
The files they’d taken from the suicide’s office were confiscated, but not before Mulder had made some copies. Their boss metaphorically turned a blind eye after Mulder assured everyone that he knew all about Edward Snowden and what happens to those who reveal top-secret information.
This led to a poignant moment between Scully and Mulder, as she asked if he ever wondered what had happened to their son, William. He reminded her that they had given him up for adoption — and had remained intentionally unaware of his whereabouts — for his protection.
What followed was a somewhat confusing series of scenes: Scully taking her boy to school, picking him up, his getting hit by a car and her reassuring him that all would be well, his screaming in his bedroom while looking into a mirror and asking his mother what was happening to him.
His eyes had turned into the black-alien eyes.
And then Scully was shown, alone, looking at a photo of baby William.
Some reviewers have called that a “dream sequence,” but it was more an indication of Scully’s desires and fears for their son. Some of the scenes revealed how protective a mother Scully believed she would be. While others showed her fears that there would have been some things from which she could not have saved him.
Like being the offspring of an alien.
Mulder also had the same kind of fantasy sequence later in the show. In his version, he and his son watched the evolution of the monkeys in 2001: A Space Oddity when they were confronted by the mysterious monolith, fired space rockets, and then Mulder watched in helpless horror as his son floated — Exorcist-style — above his bed. That sequence ended with Mulder alone at his kitchen table, looking at the same photo Scully had been looking at in her bedroom.
It was interesting and symbolic that the two had these “fantasy” sequences about their son while each was alone, and that the other parent was not involved in either’s fantasy. I mean, the chemistry between the two characters is still there (as it is between the two actors), but it was rather interesting that each imagined a life with their son alone. Without the other parent.
Meanwhile, back at their day-jobs, the Mulder and Scully found the wife of the “Founder” of the clinic for children for genetic deformities involuntarily incarcerated in a mental institution. Though she wouldn’t speak of her husband, who had remanded her there, she spoke of their daughter Molly, who could breathe underwater in the pool,
of her running away from her husband when she was 9-months pregnant with their second child, having a car accident, and hearing a strange, high-pitched screeching sound in her head: it was her unborn son “communicating with her in the only way he knew how.” She took the butcher knife with which she’d fended off her husband, cut open her abdomen, and “freed her son.”
Unfortunately, she woke up alone in the hospital with no idea what had happened to the child.
No problem for Mulder and Scully, however. Especially for Mulder, who’d already noticed the similar janitorial uniforms in the clinic where the suicide-doctor had died and in the hospital. With that information — and the surveillance video — he was able to get the name of the janitor working when the doctor jammed the letter opener in his ear.
When questioned, the boy’s “mother” claimed she didn’t have to allow them to talk to him since he was a minor. When Mulder revealed that he knew she was not the boy’s natural mother, she was upset. But not nearly as much as Mulder was when that screeching, which only he could hear, slammed him in the head.
who just happens to be the missing son of the Founder of that clinic, Dr. Goldman, who also has his daughter Molly — the one who can breathe under water — captive in his clinic. The brother and sister find each other.
But not before Mulder swipes the blood sample the Doctor had been taking from the boy.
Looks like it’s official.
Scully and Mulder are back.
Enjoy the ride.