Sometimes, you just need to get back to basics.
Well, not that kind of basic. To each his own, but I think pumpkin spice lattes are basically disgusting!
No, I mean to kick it old school…
Yes, I am that old that I can remember when those phones were considered to be cutting edge technology. Nice thing was, you couldn’t crack the screen. Although they were kind of limited, in that you couldn’t take those cute selfies with them. Nor could you download endless kitty pics with those…
No, I am talking about getting back to what works. What’s familiar. Sure, there may be new twists on it (even most dinosaurs have smart phones in this day and age), but it is still recognizable for what it is: old skool.
And that is exactly what were treated to with the second episode of The X Files Renewal, titled Founder’s Mutation. Sure, Scully may have cracked wise about our dependency on Google (guilty as charged, doc!) and Mulder may have updated his cell phone just a bit. And Scully’s wardrobe may have been missing the shoulder pads that screamed 1995 and proud. But really, those details were the only ones that reminded me that it was not, in fact, 1995 (I did get a few flashbacks, though. I confess: my criminal record is not completely clean. I must admit, I have committed more than a few crimes against fashion. Ah, well. the 1990’s happened to the best of us).
In other words, I got to travel back to the 1990’s. And I didn’t even have to subject myself to ESPN footage of the Dallas Cowboys to do it! And it was grand!
So, without further ado, here is my recap and review of Founder’s Mutation, the second episode of The X Files Renewal.
And, as always:
The episode begins with a scientist named Dr. Sanjay, who works for a man named Augustus Goldman, entering his place of employment. Dr. Sanjay attends a morning meeting and begins to suffer from extreme auditory distress. He also sees a large flock of birds outside the window. Sanjay them locks himself in a server room, where he downloads files on to a portable drive. However, the sounds become so unbearable that Sanja scrawls something on his palm, and commits suicide by stabbing himself with a letter opener, as his horrified colleagues look on.
Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully then arrive at the scene. Scully debunks the incident as a psychotic break, and questions why the agents have been called to investigate it. Mulder wants to examine the hard drive, but is told by a man who presumable works for the Department of Defense that the property contains classified information that the agents cannot access. However, Mulder takes Sanjay’s cell phone, and schedules a meeting with a man named Gupta, in the hopes that he can learn what led Sanjay to commit suicide.
Mulder meets with Gupta. Gupta mistakenly believes that Mulder wants to pay him for sex. Mulder learns that Sanjay was homosexual, but lived his life in the closet. Mulder also learns from Gupta that Sanjay seemed distressed, and stated that his “children” were dying, even though he was a single man with no biological children.
The agents then investigate Sanjay’s apartment. There, they find pictures of children with terrible genetic mutations. Mulder also hears the same piercing sound that Sanjay heard before his death.
The next day, Mulder and Scully meet with their boss, Walter Skinner. Skinner tells them that all files having to do with Dr. Sanjay are classified and off limits. However, Mulder has made copies so that he can continue to investigate Sanjay’s death anyway. Scully also performs an autopsy on Sanjay, discovering that the area where the scientist stabbed himself when he committed suicide is actually the area of the brain that processes auditory information. Scully also notices that Sanjay has written the words “Founder’s Mutation” on his palm before his death.
Scully also reviews the surveillance footage from the day of Sanjay’s death, looking for clues. Mulder confesses that he has heard sounds that no one else seems to be able to detect, which worries Scully.
Mulder and Scully discover that Dr. Augustus Goldman is a donor to the hospital where Scully is employed, and Scully arranges a meeting with him. When they visit the hospital, Mulder and Scully also meet a frightened, pregnant young woman who tells them that Dr. Goldman wants to take her baby and perform experiments on it. The young woman scurries away, however, when she sees the hospital staff members coming her way.
As they leave the hospital, Mulder theorizes that Goldman is involved in The Project and using unborn fetuses on eugenics experiments. This leads Scully and Mulder to discuss their son, William. Scully has a daydream where she and William experience a normal childhood, but the normal childhood is interrupted when it is discovered that William is actually a mutant.
Mulder and Scully pay a visit to Dr. Goldman’s clinic. The clinic houses several, parent-less children who suffer from horrible genetic mutations. Dr Goldman is defensive, and tells the agents that he is working in the interests of the children. The agents also notice that the clinic houses a girl named Molly, who does not seem to suffer from any visible mutations. Mulder does some of his own research, and finds out that Mr. Goldman’s wife has been committed to a mental hospital for killing their unborn second child. Scully and Mulder also find out that the frightened young woman from the hospital has died in a suspicious hit and run accident, and that her unborn fetus is missing.
The agents visit Mrs. Goldman, who tells them of her husband’s experiments on unborn children. She tells of an incident involving her daughter, Molly, who fell in a pool but did not drown because she appeared to have the ability to breathe underwater. Mrs. Goldman also tells Mulder and Scully that her second child, a son, is not dead. She claims to have attempted to escape from her husband and his experiments, and given birth to her son after a nearly fatal car accident. However, she does not know the whereabouts of her son.
Scully reviews the surveillance footage and deduces that the janitor seen in the footage is actually the son of Mr. and Mrs. and Goldman. The agents pay a visit to the boy, named Kyle Gilliam, and his adoptive mother. Kyle’s mother is protective at first and does not want to disclose any information to Mulder and Scully. Mulder begins to hear the noises again, and notices that birds are gather in large groups on the lawn. Scully finds Kyle in the barn, and points a gun at him, telling him to desist. Kyle obeys, and agrees to go with the agents to see Dr. Goldman. Kyle tells Mulder and Scully that he never meant to use his abilities to hurt anyone and that he is actually looking for his sister.
Mulder and Scully arrive with Kyle at Dr. Goldman’s clinic. Dr. Goldman takes a sample of Kyle’s blood, and Kyle inquires about his sister. Dr. Goldman brings out a young girl, but Kyle sees through the ruse and knows that the young girl is not his sister. Kyle then finds Molly, and it becomes evident that Molly possesses telekinetic abilities. The two free Molly from her confines, and attack their father, Dr. Goldman, causing him to suffer from a massive hemorrhage. Kyle and Molly then escape from the clinic, and quickly disappear.
The episode ends with Mulder also daydreaming about his son William, the son who he claimed that he did not think about earlier in the episode. Mulder also daydreams about a normal childhood for William, but that childhood is again interrupted by the fear that William suffers from some kind of mutation.
Well, this episode made me shiver…
And not just because I am married to the Penguin who insists on keeping our house at temperatures that have earned it the nickname “Arctic Zone.”
No, this was a good shiver. A happy shiver…
This episode was nostalgic. I felt like I had come back to Grandma’s house for dinner after being away many years, and that she had remembered exactly what I like and how I like it. And she was there to greet me with a big hug.
And this episode was chock-full of what I liked.
Grandma Chris Carter certainly has a good memory!
We had one of my favorite dishes, aka Mulder. Mulder with his sense of humor that is so dry that it makes the Sahara Desert seem like Lake Michigan. Mulder and his wild theories that refuse to be tamed by the rational mind known as Scully. Mulder minus the scruff of the opening episode, even (don’t worry Mulder, I would still love you even if that beard grew out to ZZ Top length).
And Scully performing an autopsy on her subject, and speaking her medical terms….talk about some shiver material right there! Pure nostalgia at its finest!
We were even treated to a dose of Skinner, telling Mulder and Scully that there was no way they would have access to any relevant info they would need to move forward an inch in this case, and oh by the way you did have the presence of mind to make copies of those top secret files, right, Mulder? In other words, Skinner’s way of saying, “Oh, you kids! Here’s the keys to my car, and try not to wake me up when you get back in, ok?”
The story line to Founder’s Mutation was pure 1995. Classic. It contained everything that made the series work in 1990’s, but still somehow stayed relevant to 2016.
One of the things that this episode contained was gore. True, this is a network television show, but the ick factor in this episode was surprisingly high for prime time. The episode even opened up with the ick factor…how do you get ickier than a close-up of a bloodshot eyeball? Well, have your guy commit suicide in a gruesome manner about 30 seconds after showing the close-up of the bloodshot eyeball. After all, you gotta set the tone, right? And set it early on, too.
This episode not only contained ick and gore. It also contained just overall freakish-ness. For example, the kids. The X Files is no stranger to freaky kids. Even Mulder and Scully conceived one (more on this in a minute). But these kids…wow! I felt a mixture of horror and sadness when I saw them, and I even felt some pity. They reminded me a bit of Frankenstein’s monster: they did not ask to be put on this Earth, but have to cope with their afflictions, and learn to survive in a world that is not ready for them, and likely never will be.
I also loved the nod that this episode gave to old school horror.
For example, the birds that appeared when those super-sonic noises were made…
Well, they were also positively Hitchockian…I am sure the man would have been proud!
And kids with paranormal powers. Nope, definitely something I have not seen before…
But, as always, The X Files managed to throw us a curve ball, with this episode.
And that curve ball happens to go by the name of William.
Well, I don’t want to think that he looks like that, actually. After all, someone related to Mulder is still going to be ultra-cute, right? Even if he does have that pesky alien DNA…
The discussion of William was a curve ball indeed, and a touching curve ball at that. If you didn’t tear up at least a little at those daydreams (before alien William interrupted, at least), that you have ice instead of blood running in your veins. And you probably kick puppies, too!
And how could you not melt, when Mulder, aka Mr. I Don’t Give a Crap Oh Wait I Really Do You Can Totally See Through My Hardened Exterior, had his little daydream sequence, where he snuggled on the couch with William (who adorably mispronounced the word “monolith,” aww) and gave him a kiss on the cheek. And built a model rocket with his son. It was enough to melt even those of us living in the Arctic Zone, I tell you!
Of course, I am sure this will make a nice arc into William’s story, and what exactly has happened to him over the years (I hope, at any rate), along with adding another layer of complexity to Mulder and Scully’s characters and their relationship. So bravo, Mr. Carter! You grossed me out a bit, but you also made me tear up! But then again, you are the genius!
So that’s it for Founder’s Mutation! Join me next week for the recap and dissection of the third episode of The X Files Renewal, Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.
Tune in next week…same bat time, same bat channel!