Previously on The X-Files, “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat”
It’s difficult to believe it’s been seventeen years since we’ve last seen Dana Scully’s pride and joy/alien messiah unconsciously hover an otherworld object over his head. From the day she gave up her son for adoption, William never strayed from Dana’s thoughts. Now, after all this time, an odd case about a trending monster that resulting in the near-deaths of a pair of teen girls may present Scully the opportunity to reunite with her now-grown up miracle child.
The episode began with Scully espousing on hypnagogia while experiencing the paralyzing condition, eventually chasing a dark figure through a house she had never seen before. The cat-and-mouse game ended when Dana focused on a snowglobe containing the rusted boat seen during the cold open and of course, while recalling her disturbing nightmare with Mulder, she recognized the same vessel from her dream in the contents of an open X-File spread out across Fox’s desk. Considering Mulder’s unyielding child-like eagerness to seek out the arcane and otherworldly coupled with Scully’s recent bout of seizure-inducing visions, the pair hope to find answers in Norfolk about Dana’s latest condition and how her dream is connected to a bewildering double assault.
Before Mulder and Scully discovered the true source of the victims’ shared hallucination, Mulder browsed a fringe website about this newfound urban myth: ghouli.net When skimming through the alleged encounters with the monster, Scully noticed many of the entries were posted by one member and when interviewing the recovering survivors, Mulder and Scully easily deduced the girls – in spite of no direct association or shared circles – have the same boyfriend… one Jackson Van De Kamp, the adoptive name of William Mulder (Miles Robbins).
Although Scully doesn’t want to get her hopes up about the Van De Kamp boy, she and Mulder arrived at the household seconds after an alleged murder-suicide. In their investigation, the pair go through Jackson’s effects in his room, inspecting his snowglobe collection, remarking on his interest in Malcolm X, and discovering that he kept a second laptop between his mattresses. William or not, clearly there was more to him than meets the eye, considering the Department of Defense responded swiftly to suppress any sensitive intel. Sadly, it seemed, no one would be getting any answers about what occurred that unfortunate night. Perhaps the two most capable persons that’d be able to give Jackson the answers he desired about his unique heritage now lost any hope for the future through their son… or so they believed.
While “Ghouli” began in the vein of The X-Files’ monster-of-the-week formula, it deftly shifted back to the oft-tread labyrinthine government conspiracy; this time the one tendril that curled itself around this case focused on hybrid experimentation. After Dana’s emotional outpouring to the body of the boy she presumed was her son, Jackson realized Scully is the woman linked to him via hypnagogia, which may be a sign that what she believes about Van De Kamp may be true.
From what was gathered throughout the episode, for most of his life Jackson/William had sought answers his entire life. From his extensive snowglobe collection of all the places wished to visit, to the poignant words of Malcolm X hung over his bed and drawing affection from two girlfriends, Jackson was seeking out a constant that would give him stability in his search. Obviously he knew he was far different from everyone else – in his frustrations the Ghouli was born. Regarding Jackson’s powers, they are far different than what William exhibited instinctive when he was a newborn. It’s possible he may be telekinetic yet he’s no slouch when it comes to projecting illusions. Of course we don’t know the extent of his abilities, and knowing that Jackson is in fact William Mulder, it’s apparent his potential is virtually limitless.
Now aware of the lengths the DoD are willing to go in detaining William, he along and Fox and Dana know it’s best if they remain apart for all their sakes. It’s almost a certainty that William will make his return possibly during the finale considering Scully’s visions and their psychic link are intertwined. At the cost of his adoptive parents, William finally received the answers that were desperately in want. Like his birth mother and “dad”/step-brother (?!), this Mulder won’t go quietly into the night. After all, like his idol once said “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
The X-Files S11E5 Review Score
The X-Files – S11E5 – Ghouli | David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi | Writer and Director: James Wong