The X-Files - Ghouli (With an H!)

That was an unusual episode.  There were things that were intriguing, things that were confounding and things that were, well, endearing.

It does make two good episodes in a row with this one following "Forehead Sweat".   By the way, it makes the second episode in a row that includes actor Keith Arbuthnot who played the "Alien"  in "Forehead" and the "Ghouli" monster in Ghouli.  It also marks the second episode in a row that includes a redacted document.  

We had Reggie's letter to himself that he redacted for laughs and then we had the digital file of "Project Crossroads" that was redacted presumably by the DOD.  (Second episode in a row for the DOD and DOJ mentions too.)

Do these repeated items mean anything like an Easter Egg or set of clues?  It's possible.  If you subscribe to the theory this season is part of a fevered dream as Mulder lays comatose in a hospital bed waiting for William's stem cells, then this would fit.  At least as far as continuity is concerned as part of Mulder's dreams.

To add more fuel to this theoretical fire, last week "Dr. They" told Mulder he was "Dead".  Perhaps referring to his comatose state.  This week in Ghouli, we had Fox Mulder say, "It's a false reality, just like everything we've seen so far."  He was referring to the false visions Jackson Van de Kamp projected to protect himself.  But, if you take that a little further, it could be a self-referential statement wherein Mulder, at some sub-conscious level, realizes he is just dreaming and is giving voice to it as he lays unconscious.

A little "meta" but not outside the realm of possibility on a psychological basis.

But before I descend down that rabbit hole too far, let's take a look at some of the things I elucidated to start this blog post.  The "Intriguing, "Confounding and "Endearing" parts.

The Confounding - Jackson/William

I think I was able to identify three different "Psychic powers" that can be attributed to Jackson.

The first being, the "Dream Visions" like the one Scully experienced at the start of the episode.  You find yourself in a "Hypnagogic" state, paralyzed, but you sense you are in the presence of another.  You are also out of place and you experience a maze like pursuit.

Secondly, there are the "Projected Alternate Realities" that Jackson used to defend himself.  Such as the gun battle at the Nurses Station where the two DOD agent shot each other.  One Agent taking the "role" of Scully.  (The more significant "Altered Realities" being as Jackson lay dead in his room and later in the Coroner's office.  We'll get to that soon.)


The third power being, the "Shared Visions of the Future" like the apocalyptic visions Jackson was being treated for by his psychiatrist and the one Scully also shared of the 14th Street Bridge incident.

All of this is well and good.  It sets Jackson apart from the rest of humanity and helps define his participation in "Project Crossroads" as an alien/human hybrid.  It also presumably makes him the focus of the Cigarette Smoking Man's pursuit and ultimately a large part of the cure to the "Spartan Plague".

But, man, this kid is confounding.

He crossed paths with Scully three times as the embodiment of Peter Wong the author of the "Pick-up" book.  The first when he stood outside the "Chimera" boat.  The second as he literally bumped into Scully outside the hospital.  The third, as he ran into Scully at the gas station.  Presumably, because he sent Scully the visions of the boat and the windmill.

But not once did he reach out to Scully as his mother!

Shouldn't he have?

He confessed to one of the girls in the hospital he thought  he was sharing visions with his "Birth mother".  Shouldn't he be able to put two and two together and come up with Scully as his mother since he seemed to be deliberately running into her?

More confounding than that there was this.

Scully empties her heart by his bedside as he lies in a "Projected Reality" to her.  He is in the form of Jackson Van De Kamp not Wong so therefore he is "himself".  Why doesn't he hear her?  As Wong,  he could hear her fine.  This isn't a "Dream Vision" so there shouldn't be any paralysis involved by any party. 

Scully doesn't come out and say, "I'm Mom", but you don't have to once you've said I'm the one who gave him up for adoption, William!

Plus, if you're Jackson/William, wouldn't you realize the import of the "Apocalyptic Visions".  Wouldn't you want to reach out to that one person you've admitted to sharing the visions with?  Not only that, but she's an FBI agent!  She should be able to afford you with some protection?  Especially, when she refers to his father who happens to walk into the Coroner's office and he's Fox "Freakin'" Mulder.

Are you hard of hearing young man?

So strange. 

You could make the argument that perhaps Jackson is working to protect Scully and Mulder by steering clear of them.  Perhaps, he feels he is too much of a danger to them.  So why keep bumping into them?  Just to offer vague warnings?   He just experienced his adoptive parents murder.  As an impulsive teen, wouldn't you want to embrace the parents now presented to you?

And he is impulsive.

The Intriguing - Who's the Monster?

I spotted an interesting take on the web of this episode last Friday.  In it the question is posed, who is the monster in this particular entry?

It's not "Ghouli" because that whole thing is a fiction.  No, the real monster is surmised to be Jackson.  

Very interesting.  

It was a monstrous act that set his two girlfriends against each other.  I doubt "The Pick Up Artist" would advise any potential suitor to have his love interests meet each other let alone set them at each other's throats.

Jackson claimed the scenario got away from him.  It could be his powers are as underdeveloped as he is.  But boy, why chance it?  Immaturity?  He seemed more stable than that when his life was on the line.

The Endearing

Do you know what was tougher than watching Scully cry during that "bed side " scene with the supposedly dead Jackson?  Watching it a second time.  (And a third and fourth for that matter.)

Gillian Anderson really sold the scene. It wasn't that she totally "lost it", it was that her confession was one of pure anguish born of guilt.  She was consumed by, not just sadness, something deeper.  Sorrow is the only word I can think of.  Sorrow that reflects an emptiness that can't be filled.

It's been a while since The X-Files won an Emmy.  I hope they at least give Anderson the consideration she deserves.

"I wish I could know you better", intones Jackson as he meets Scully at their "planned" rendezvous.  That would have been a good time right then and there son!  But I think I've explored my consternation enough with this young man.

The other endearing part of this episode was this final scene.  This look on Scully's face says it all, "I've found you".  "I was right."  You're alive".  

For Mulder and Scully, even after all they've seen, they can still be surprised.  Maybe this look doesn't say, "surprise" so much as, astonished.  The kind of astonishment you get when you witness something like a miracle.   

Miracles beget hope.

Odds and Ends

Here's something interesting, Madeline Arthur, who played "Sarah" (topmost picture) and Sarah Jeffery, who played "Brianna" are scheduled to be in the X-Files finale of this season.  At least according to they are.  Zak Santiago who played "Mr. Green"  (A DOD agent) is also scheduled for the finale.

What would bring them back?  A flashback of the girls for Jackson?  Are they in danger and Jackson has to find them again?


It would be odd to see Santiago's Mr. Green again too.  He looked pretty dead but...

Don't tell me he's part of "Project Crossroads" too?  Is he the one that imperils the girls?  That would certainly bring Jackson/William out of the woodwork again.

Miles Robbins, who plays Jackson, is not credited for the finale.  IMDB has a strict no spoiler rule in their posting now that they've given so much away in the past.  But, you'd think he'd be in it.  So why are the other three scheduled?  Maybe IMDB doesn't see them as important or spoilery.

I think they are.  That's if IMDB is correct.

In closing, I wanted to mention this cinematic touch of Scully looking through the darkened and bloody glass of the "Chimera".  Last week in "Forehead Sweat" we had the shadow of Mulder's "X" signal superimposed across his face.

Methods like these are used to set a scene or at least invoke a state of mind.   Scully looks a little quizzical or suspicious.  Does this foretell her eventual look of astonishment to close the episode?



  1. I totally agree with Jackson being the monster ... if what we have come to know about him is even remotely factual then for all intents and purposes he is an actual Great Mutato in being a genetic creation of mad scientists.


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