Below is a link to my latest YouTube video, where I discuss what is possibly the most disgusting 44 minutes on network TV ever, aka The X Files episode Home!
Below is a link to my latest YouTube video, where I discuss what is possibly the most disgusting 44 minutes on network TV ever, aka The X Files episode Home!
So, I woke up this morning feeling conflicted.
On the one hand, I was sad. When something epic comes to an end, I always feel that way…
But I felt confused, too. I was a loyal fan, and someone had the nerve to just leave me in the dark!
And angry. When something finishes, I want some satisfaction, dammit…you can’t leave me hanging like that!
No, I am not not talking about my 2015 football season, as unsatisfactory as that was. And no, I am not back together with my ex, either!
I am actually talking about the season finale for the much anticipated The X Files renewal. I watched it last night, and I am feeling sad (it’s always sad when things end, at least for someone), confused and yes, even a little angry. In fact, I just want to give Chris Carter and the rest of the creative team a good, hard shake and ask them, ever so diplomatically, WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING? WHAT THE ACTUAL? FUCKERS! FUCK!!!!
Well, the above may be a bit of hyperbole, so maybe keep the f bombs, but lose the cap locks (after, I like to think I am civilized, and don’t resort to the overuse of cap locks to make a point.) While I did enjoy this episode, and think it does have some merits, I am also feeling conflicted, angry and maybe even a little bit let down after the conclusion of this season. Alas, I have been an Indianapolis Colts fan for years though, so this feeling is not new to me.
With that being said, here is my review and recap of My Struggle II, the season finale of The X Files renewal.
And, as always:
The episode begins with a voice-over by Dana Scully, detailing her history and her work on the X Files, along with her admiration for her partner, Fox Mulder. The voice-over ends with Scully mentioning that her genetic material contains what she considers to be alien DNA.
One morning, Scully shows up at the office, only to discover that Mulder is not there. Mulder’s computer is still there, and indicates that he has been watching one of Tad O’Malley’s podcasts detailing a government conspiracy, and a massive outbreak of a plague that will endanger the entire population.
Scully is worried and meets with Tad O’Malley at Mulder’s house, where there appears to have been a struggle, but no sign of Mulder. O’Malley had arranged a meeting with Mulder, and also had his DNA tested, learning that his DNA contained alien genetic material. O’Malley tells Scully that he suspects the entire population was affected, and this may be the start of a global epidemic.
Agent Miller takes over the search for Mulder, and Scully recruits Agent Einstein to help her determine if there will indeed be a global epidemic. Scully suspects that smallpox vaccines may have been contaminated with alien DNA, which were given to an unsuspecting population in an effort by evil men to destroy the population. Scully meets Einstein at the hospital, where they notice a young man who appears to be extremely ill and also has a lesion on his upper arm, where he received an anthrax vaccination from the military. Scully fears that anyone who has received a vaccine for anything will have his/her immune system react to the vaccine and become ill. Agent Einstein is skeptical, and tells Scully that she is skeptical of her theories.
In the meantime, Agent Miller has tracked Mulder’s phone to Spartanburg, SC, and begins the search for Mulder.
Scully receives a summons from her old friend, former agent Monica Reyes. Upon meeting with Reyes, Scully learns that Reyes has been working with The Cigarette Smoking Man, who has survived a terrible accident, leaving him with burns on much of his body. Scully also learns that Reyes has made a deal with her nemesis: in exchange for helping him, Reyes has also received injects of alien DNA, which will keep her safe from the global pandemic. Reyes also informs Scully that she is safe as well, because she also has been injected with alien DNA. Scully is disgusted at Reyes’ actions, and wastes no time telling her so. Scully also realizes that alien DNA is not attacking peoples’ immune systems, it is actually a Spartan virus that has been passed on to the population via childhood vaccinations, and that she may be able to use her own alien DNA to create a cure for this virus.
Mulder has arrived at the home of the Cigarette Smoking Man, but he is battered, due to a confrontation with a man sent by his nemesis to attack. Additionally, Mulder has become ill with the plague that is infecting the rest of the population. However, Mulder still attempts to confront his nemesis and expresses his disgust for his actions. The Cigarette Smoking Man tells Mulder that mankind is headed for extinction anyway, and Mulder loses consciousness. Mulder then awakens to Agent Miller, who has saved them. The Cigarette Smoking Man lets both Mulder and Miller escape, offering no resistance.
At the hospital, Scully and Einstein continue to work on a cure for the global plague, using Scully’s alien DNA as the basis. Einstein, the nurses and several doctors become ill, but Scully is able to manufacture a cure. She receives a call from Agent Miller, who tells her that Mulder is in bad shape. Scully then races to find Miller and Mulder on an extremely congested freeway.
Finally, Scully is able to locate Miller and Mulder on the freeway. Both men are ill, but Mulder is in particularly bad shape. Scully realizes that Mulder actually may need stem cells, and tells Miller than in order to obtain those, she will need to locate their son, William. A spaceship descends from the sky, shining a light on Scully. The scene then fades to black.
And on a few different levels, too…
Now, don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy watching this episode, and I believe that there are some merits to it. However, something about this episode just didn’t “gel” for me. Like with the previous episode, Babylon, I felt that I had a jigsaw puzzle in front of me, and some of the pieces were either missing, or I just couldn’t figure out how to put the puzzle together.
But first, let’s talk about the good in this episode. Contrary to popular internet opinion, I do believe that I can find some good in this episode.
I think the best thing about this episode was that it was “Scully-centric.” I love Scully…who doesn’t love Scully? Really, who doesn’t love Scully, so I can come to your house and beat you with a wet noodle?
Growing up, I was a nerd, living in a small Midwestern town. I had aspirations to perhaps go into science, or maybe mathematics. I always dreamed of being a part of something bigger than myself, and looked to life beyond that Midwestern town.
In other words, I was the outcast. My social calendar was clear until…oh say…2012 or so. Being a nerd (and a female one at that) isn’t easy, but someone has to do it, right?
Well, Scully also did it very well (the female nerd thing, that is). She “scienced” like there was no tomorrow. She could kick bad guy ass with the best of them, and all while wearing three inch heels. And she got Mulder out of jams pretty frequently, and kept him from completely going off the deep end before he lost any shred of credibility.
In other words, Scully gave me (and probably many others like me), someone to look up to and admire. And that was a breath of fresh air.
And this episode was indeed very “Scully-centric”, even right from the beginning. Mulder was MIA, and Scully was left to try and save the day. Scully got to use her smarts to come up with a solution to save the world. Again, Scully had to go save Mulder’s butt. Scully even got to do the intro this time, so we could get her POV of the time she has spent on the X Files, along with the reminder of how much she has had to sacrifice, all in the name of Mulder’s quest for truth.
I also loved how Scully’s DNA was the likely savior of the human race, and how this fact is probably linked to a certain memorable episode where some crazy guy says that Scully is “immortal.” Well, Scully’s DNA is (presumably) injected into the rest of the human race to save it. And if that is not immortality, I don’t know what is. Scully living on in everybody? Hmmm, I think I like that!
Another thing I liked about this episode was the reappearance of one of the most iconic onscreen villains of all time…
Yes, the Cigarette Smoking Man. The CSM is a bad ass. Well, actually, given some of his actions, he is probably just an ass. Regardless, he is still iconic. And awesome. And missed, at least by me. So seeing him was a breath smoky, stale air.
So some things worked in this episode. However, not everything, or even most things worked for this episode. So let’s talk about it, and since we are civilized, we will refrain from using the caps lock button this time.
And speaking of the caps lock key, this episode contained more than its fair share of some really off-the cuff, wacko, fringe ideas. I know that I was watching a show basically dedicated to off the cuff, wacko, fringe ideas (after all, cases don’t earn that X for nothing) but c’mon, man! Chem trails? Anti vaxxer sentiments? Microwave radiation? Again, c’mon, man! Give me something I can actually buy, like Flukeman! I think even Mulder was rolling his eyes at all this…
Scully turning into Ms. Ranty-pants and babbling about conspiracies and vaccines being the doom to us all? Did the writers forget some essential facets of Scully’s character, like the fact that she is a scientist and would probably encourage parents to vaccinate their kids? And I can’t even say that Mulder would have bought any of that either. He has an open mind, but not so open that his brain would fall out…
As stated before, I liked the fact that the Cigarette Smoking Man was a player in this episode. But again, things didn’t add up. Why would Reyes sell her soul to him, so she could spend her life handing him cigarettes to smoke through his traech (and there is another disgusting image I can’t un-see, Freud would be proud for the creative team on that one). That confrontation with Mulder made no sense, either. And Mulder went out with a whimper, instead of a bang, against the nemesis who has been plaguing him since day one. A bit of a punk ass ending, for sure.
Oh, and speaking of endings…
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
Yeah, I know, I broke my own promise, but I couldn’t help it. So I apologize for the use of the caps lock. I just can’t help myself, that’s all.
I am trying to figure out if the ending was just lame, or open-ended. For the sake of the show, I am hoping for the latter, so we get more episodes. I felt like the creative team realized that they only had 45 minutes, so oh damn, gotta end this, after we have built all this tension. So damn the luck, guess we will have to beg Fox Network for another season. Who gives a shit if we piss off the viewers? While we are at it, let’s tease about Mulder and Scully’s son William AGAIN, but only mention his name and give no more information, and then cut to a black screen. So the viewers will never get any closure on that (I mean, William has only been mentioned in every episode this season, and there appears to have been a build-up to something). And the viewers will never know if Scully’s efforts were successful, and the human race was saved, or if the aliens won out anyway. So yes, hard to tell if we are looking at lazy or open-ended, in terms of that ending…
Torture. Definite torture. Chris Carter and the creative team did not get the memo that torture was supposedly outlawed by the Geneva Convention…
So, there you have. Many of us wondered if this would ever happen. But it did. We were reunited with our favorite onscreen duo. Although the reunion was brief, it was still sweet. And fun. And frustrating, at least at times. But one thing it never was: dull. So I say goodbye, at least for now. And maybe I can hope for another sweet reunion with Mulder, Scully, Skinner and the rest of the gang. Actually, I am not saying goodbye, since I don’t like the finality of that word. But I will say, “see you guys later.” And maybe I will.
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).
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!