This past episode of The X-Files was really a story of family. Not just the family of man but of the individual family as well.
"Founder's Mutation" managed to tie in the new conspiracy of rebuilding the human race from within and it's nefarious motivation. But it also managed to focus on the nuclear family and how it also evolves for better or worse. In fact, one could argue the close knit individual family is the foundation to the larger family of man and if it goes, then so goes humanity.
Augustus Goldman certainly had an interesting take on the family of man. (By the way, how's that for a name? Evocative of Caesar and suggesting a man of gold.)
Goldman came across as a man of the people and a champion of the children. Instead, he manipulated the innocent and exploited the very charges he had professed to protect.
It didn't take long for Scully to suss him out. At first I thought she had bought into his story but as she walked by the children's "pens" I think she realized what was really going on.
What an interesting menagerie that was. I was compelled to watch but bearing witness to those poor children was very difficult. One after another they passed us by. Goldman claimed the rooms were for their own protection but it was apparent it was their prison.
As we were to learn, he even kept his own daughter a prisoner there. (Director James Wong made good use of reflective surfaces in this episode as seen above with Molly and her brother.) I wonder if Goldman was really compelled to help the human race. Yes, he worked for the DOD but I wonder if he thought his work in genetics was actually good for humanity. By creating human/alien hybrids, was this to protect humanity from some threat? Disease? Alien invasion?
It seems not. Instead of doing "God's work" he embodied a God complex. It looks as though he was looking to perfect humanity at the expense of the rest and culling the weak. A final solution of sorts.
He got what he deserved then.
Mulder and Scully sought to protect their son William by hiding him away. Sadly, it meant a wound that will never heal for both of them.
*** Quick Note ***
I think we're going to have to invoke the "Chekov's Gun" rule here. I think by referencing their broken family and William in these first two episodes we are going to have to see William by the last episode at least.
*** End Note ***
To watch Mulder and Scully's pain was perhaps more agonizing than the parade of malformed children. (Okay, perhaps not.) We're familiar with both characters and it's been a joy to see them back. Now to see them suffer so is especially difficult.
It was interesting to see how the relationship played out with William. For Goldman we saw it in linear fashion as the story played out. For Mulder and Scully we saw it in sort of flash forward with a "what if" scenario mixed in. I refer to both as their "Dream Sequence."
Let's take a look at both.
A fascinating use of light, color and shadow by Director Wong here. We had a sun splashed afternoon where mother greets child after school. She watches him leave as mother's have to do (kids grow up) Then Scully seems to sense something and as she turns her head the sky darkens.
Running to the scene of an accident she finds her son gravely injured. Perhaps a metaphor for the pain she is feeling and her inability to protect him in real life. She attends to her son when she is distracted again.
The scene darkens as Scully turns once more. Her son calls to her and she proceeds down a blackened hallway. As she opens the door her son turns to her, his face transformed, and pleads, "What's happening to me?"
Scully gasps in utter bewilderment. She exits the dream sequence with a look tinged with abject helplessness.
A wonderful father son moment unfolds. Mulder and William attempt to reach for the stars via their model rocket. As the Mercury Redstone arches skyward a delighted William exclaims, "I'm going to go up there some day." (Ouch.)
Like Scully's dream, Mulder turns his head as hears his son call for him. I've thought about Wong's use of the "turning head" I think it is meant to denote a passage of sorts but more importantly it serves to show how Mulder and Scully have taken their eye off their son and something has gone wrong.
Mulder runs down a similar hallway as Scully's. He bursts through the door only to find his son floating in midair. William is bathed in light and calls for his father. Mulder screams, "No!" and in a flash of light William disappears.
We find Mulder alone in his kitchen staring at the baby picture of William. Seems he hasn't put it behind him after all. As the camera pulls back the music tugs at our heartstrings.
Fade to black.
Movie References & Cinematic Inspiration
Let's lighten the mood a little starting with Dr. Sanjay's suicide.
What movie did this remind me of? Pi of course! Not only does it deal with a Wall Street conspiracy but a religious one too. Our hero stops the noise in his head by impaling himself with a drill.
Next up, "Agnes of God"
How convenient for our character to be named Agnes. In the movie, nuns deal with a mysterious pregnancy that ends with death.
"Desire is the Devil's pitchfork!"
Thoughtful of Agnes to provide us with our next movie reference.
Planet of the Apes! I think what we see in the background is "Escape From The Planet of the Apes."
Young Cesar is born to intelligent apes and it spells the end of humanity. Sounds familiar?
Shall we continue with our ape theme?
2001: A Space Odyssey.
Here the apes are the precursors to man. William and Mulder enjoy a little sci-fi and Fox explains to his son how smart humanity is. Yeah, right. What could happen?
Boys and rockets, what's not to like?
Actually, I think we could throw in "The Elephant Man" and "Alien" for movie references but we need to move on.
Odds and Ends
I liked Wong's use of perspective in this episode. The overhead shots resonate with a "Big Brother" like theme where somebody is always watching from above. (Or way above.) The shot also evokes thoughts of sheep like humans marching in single file like lambs to the slaughter. We want to feel secure but obviously our world is not.
We get the overhead perspective of Scully's autopsy also. Again, someone is always watching but in Scully's case is it higher more spiritual power?
I mentioned earlier Wong's use of reflective surfaces and glass. Here our perspective takes us through the x-ray display. An interesting touch wherein death or the just plain weird come between Mulder and Scully.
Molly's bother nearly gets run over by a distracted Scully. He's seen through the glass windshield of the car. Mulder and Scully are isolated and protected in their car while Jonathan (actor's name.) is out is the cold, vulnerable and alone.
I laughed at Mulder's reaction to having a close encounter of the fellatio kind.
It was good see the two men return to the bar and have a meaningful conversation. Gupta got to learn of his friends death and Mulder provided some measure of solace.
Ha! Chris Carter usually sticks it to the Conservative bunch but here the Lefties get the lash. Big government!
Hey, they changed the part in Scully's hair. Good, it makes look a little younger. The center part from episode one made her face look too narrow. Yes, I know it's a wig and I hear it was very uncomfortable to wear. Poor Gillian!
Holy smokes there must be a conspiracy to include Ryan Robbins in every Sci-Fi show possible. Check out his resume at IMDB .
Can I point out one more thing?
Grabbed this from the preview for "Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster"
The guy throwing Mulder is wearing some serious "Kolchak The Night Stalker" clothes.
I was a little stunned to see the headstone for former X-Files director Kim Manners. Manners passed away in 2009. I guess it is a salute. Jack Hardy too.