Mulder and Scully investigate the suicide of an employee at a Nugenics facility. This leads them to uncover possible experimentation on children who suffer from several growth defects. During their search, both Mulder and Scully dream of life with their son William, but with drastic outcomes on old fears over whether he’s truly human or a part of the government’s plot. As they get closer to the truth of the employee’s death, Mulder is subjected to the same horrific effect that caused the man to kill himself.
If the old routine was never broken why fix it, right? There’s a lot of reasons for both changing the show’s premise and keeping it the same. Carter is opting to return the agents to the status quo that made the series popular from the start. Tonight was more nostalgic than anything and the pacing was far more successful than last night’s chaotic debacle. At the risk of turning our old agents into a stale pathos of their former selves, what we have here is a general honest interpretation of their lives caught in perpetual limbo. There are subtle underlining clues that perhaps all is not as it seems and the strange repetitive nature of their personalities have a definitive reason, we’re just too impatient to see it clearly.
A Nugenics employee kills himself when the high pitched sounds only he can hear are too much to take. Mulder and Scully attempt to interview the companies owner Augustus Goldman, but he refuses to be seen. After searching the victims home, Mulder becomes affected by the high pitched tones but recovers. Later, they attempt to contact Goldman at a hospital and come across a young pregnant woman, Agnes who is fearful over losing her child. That night, Agnes is found dead, hit by a car and her baby stolen from the womb. Goldman agrees to meet with the agents and shows them a hall full of children with deformities as a means to convince them his work is altruistic. Mulder and Scully track down Goldman’s wife, Jackie at a hospital for the ill and question her about Molly, her daughter. Jackie laments that she grew afraid of her daughter when she found she could breathe underwater and left the family. After a car accident she heard high pitched tones and cut her unborn child to allow it escape. She was later found and placed in the hospital for observation. Mulder and Scully piece together a video segment with a janitor at the Nugenics building reacting when the employee killed himself. They track him at his home and discover he’s Jackie’s son who survived. They take him in to see Dr. Goldman who takes a sample of his blood and shows him Molly, who he’s kept all these years isolated. Kyle, realizes the woman isn’t his sister and escapes to find Molly close by in another room. They are telepathically linked and the two escape after Kyle kills his father with his abilities. Mulder takes Kyle’s blood sample as evidence of their on-going investigation with alien DNA a factor in human experimentation. Throughout the episode, both Mulder and Scully imagine life with their son, William, but both succumb to fears that William is either alien or would have been abducted. Both lament their son alone.
While the writing isn’t nearly as fresh as one might hope in this day and age, what I can understand and ultimately appreciate is the detail with keeping Mulder, Scully, and even Skinner the exact same copy of emotions and mannerisms as they have displayed since the beginning of this genre. Granted, this did not work for Indiana Jones in his 4th film, but for Mulder and Scully, there really is no other choice. Mulder remains light-hearted and comical in his attempts to hide sorrow (I mean specifically his son) and Scully is very dry with her cynicism, but in a tired and almost brash sense of replay. Her tone suggests she internally rolls her eyes at every statement Mulder says except in regard to their heart to heart over William, yet in the end, I find their lack of growth appropriate given the circumstances. These characters are not supposed to change and I’ll dive into way in a bit.
The plot itself was very modern-genome craze with a dash of Dr. Moreau sans animal splicing. The effects and personalities of the children were fantastic and the lack of reaction from the agents is all the more sensible considering they’ve seen everything. Kyle searching for his sister is the underlining metaphor for this episode and it’s good they knocked it out of the way here which I will also get into in a bit. *Hint* *It has to do with Samantha*
I’m not as nitpicky this time around, but I do want to make note of Ryan Robbins as “Murphy” in this episode. He’s shadowing Skinner and is currently the guy who gets to order our favored A.D. There’s some awkward babysitting going on here and it’s stifling Skinner’s ability to aid his agents when we all know Skinner is biding his time to once more show his crass and push back against those that continue to run his department. What I don’t get is why anyone above the A.D role is allowing Skinner for the agents to pursue the X-Files if they’re a legitimate threat. Many times in past seasons the cloak and dagger role in the 90’s put them in harm’s way a great number of times. Simply stated, it’s the one trope I’m not ready to forgive now that I’ve seen it carry over into season 10.
When Mulder and Scully discuss William. This was very important because it’s a loose end that doesn’t get to be forgotten and X-Files has over a hundred loose ends, easily. I am bad a math, as they stated William would be 15 at this point. That’s okay, what matters is there’s every possibility they may find William by the season’s end. I’m hoping they do because they deserve some kind of family reunion, even if the parents are separated. Who knows, maybe Kyle and Molly will inadvertently find William, they are telepathic after all.
Twice in a row, Mulder is the choice. He’s still sneaky, snarky, and full of knowledge he loves to expel at any opportunity which Scully has had to listen to for many years. He’s in good form, not necessarily rare form, but he’s sliding back into old school Mulder that we’re comfortable with. I just find it a bit hard to believe that even with isolating himself he’s not 100% caught up on all the memes.
Okay, back to my thoughts on their assumed stagnation. I proclaim that this is actually a good thing because of my premise that they’re are mentally stuck in limbo. They lost their child due to some “syndicate” running things and have been unable to mentally and emotionally move on, even though Mulder says he’s tried to, he hasn’t and it showed. We see Scully in a psuedo-flashback of her own machination and she retains her old red-hair and hairstyle. There’s so much of their psyche that’s affected by those events that their paradigm is forever locked in this state of investigating, autopsy, and questions. Imagine after several years of being around someone and loving them and losing them to so many crazy moments and still calling them by their last name and vice-versa. Who even does that? Well, Mulder and Scully do because it’s just too weird to see them do it differently and that’s the point. It’s just too weird. We can’t see them being anything else, so Carter isn’t trying to change them. They’re stuck as these agents and it doesn’t matter how old they get.
Second theory. This episode is a mirror to what Mulder is and has always gone through. The projected image of seeing his son taken just as his sister, Samantha was is heartbreaking for the guy but it shows that subconsciously, he’s still not over what happened to her. Kyle is looking for his sister, Molly, someone who was essentially abducted and he found her. I don’t know why, but I feel like there’s something else going on and maybe, just maybe it has to do with Mulder’s sister. Yes, she died, so told to us by Cancer Man, who remains so untrustworthy, he can’t even pretend to die. Did Mulder truly see his sister as a ghost in a world of starlight? Or maybe he projected what he wanted to see. In any case, there’s a lot of subtext here regarding missing one’s family either in their minds or in literal fashion. It’s carrying over into something tangible, and hopefully something more concrete as the episodes unveil more of this new “truth.”
I’m a big fan of Kacey Rohl. Anyone who reads my reviews knows I was heartbroken when her character died in Hannibal the series. Now they did it again, and I frowned the whole time. Stop killing Kacey! She’s going to be in an episode of Once Upon a Time later this year, so hopefully she survives in that world.
Mulder briefly touches on The Syndicate and their failed attempt to colonize the world by creating alien human hybrids, yet we know that there were in fact perfect hybrids created. *Hint* *He’s called William* What’s funny is that was the entire purpose of the shadow conspiracy for nearly 7 years in the original run. And now, somehow we’re supposed to believe that aliens colonizing the planet was a smokescreen, yet it wasn’t. I’m having a hard time trying to understand what Mulder actually believes happened. At least he paraphrased those 7 years in one free form sentence while keeping a straight face.
I forgot to mention last week that the Lone Gunmen were rumored to still be alive and will appear this season. At this rate, I’ll buy into any characters not being dead when they’re supposed to be. Come on, Krycek, don’t let a bullet from Skinner ruin your day!
8 out of 10. Tonight’s episode brought an old lens to today’s infrastructure. The science-fiction told here isn’t new, but it’s not about new, it’s about our agents surviving in this world of tech and protocol while holding onto the roots of their beliefs. It really is business as usual with our agents who were reinstated again, for the second time as though nothing happened. There’s limbo at work here, and unless this is a parallel dimension or some time-traveling event is going to take place, odds are this season will end with everything changing for Mulder and Scully and I’m not talking just about hairstyles and beards. As an old fan, I accept that our beloved agents run through the same routines, interrogations and conclusions that are peppered with skeptical dialogue and paraphrased historical monologues. It’s what we want even if we say we want something different. By slowing down the art of the story, it was much easier to digest this time around and shows that it can be done right. Thanks for reading, we’ll see you next week.
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