After a rip-roaring good start to the X-Files revival, the second episode was basically a stand-alone story that did not pick up the tease we were left with at the end of the first episode with the appearance of the Cigarette Smoking Man. But before delving into the second episode of the series, I have to wonder if the people complaining about this revival ever actually watched the original series or have completely forgotten about it.
I’ve seen a lot of complaints and derisive remarks regarding Duchovny’s and Anderson’s “laconic” performances, as if they’re totally uninterested in even being there. Seriously? Duchovny’s Fox Mulder has always been laid back and Anderson’s Dana Scully has never been much of a fireball unless she was getting exasperated with Mulder. The two were never an easily excitable pair, but for some reason viewers seem to be expecting them to be racing around and emoting as if they’ve had one too many coffees. Perhaps we’ve grown accustomed to more fast-paced, over-emoting from our TV characters today, but I think this has completely altered how people remember The X-Files.
And this week’s second episode really didn’t allow Mulder or Scully to be anything but stoic and concerned. The case, however, brought Scully and Mulder’s son William back into the picture in a roundabout way. As the story opened, a doctor hears a high-pitched sound and a few key words in his head that no one else hears. The piercing sound led the doctor to pierce his own eardrum and brain with a letter opener. That the doctor also worked for the Federal government and his computer files were highly classified didn’t help Mulder and Scully with their investigation.
But crafty Mulder snuck the doctor’s cell phone away from the scene and learned he lived a double life and had two places of residence. While investigating the second home, Mulder himself experienced the same high pitched tone and heard the words “find her.” After basically being thrown off the case due to Mulder tampering with classified files, Skinner told them it would take a few days for the paperwork to be processed (wink, wink). So the investigation continued, slightly off the record.
Turns out the doctor worked for another doctor whom was referred to as The Founder, and that doctor, Augustus Goldman (Doug Savant), has been working with seriously deformed children. Of course, all of this talk of children and alien DNA brought back memories and regrets about baby William, who would be 15 now. After speaking to a young woman at Goldman’s facility who was pregnant with a deformed child, Mulder speculated that Goldman was actually experimenting on the fetuses and the woman was just an incubator. Wondering if William was also an experiment, Scully asked Mulder if he felt she was just an incubator too.
The plot thickened as it was discovered Goldman’s wife (Rebecca Wisocky) was in a facility for the insane, and meeting with her Mulder and Scully learned her daughter seemed to have the ability to breathe under water, and that Goldman’s wife tried to leave her husband with the son she was carrying, fearful he would also take the boy away from her as he did their daughter. But an accident left her injured, and hearing that same high pitched noise, she cut her stomach open to let the baby out (despite reports that she murdered the child).
Putting all the pieces together, Mulder and Scully discovered a young man (Jonathan Whitesell) was in the office just above the lab where the first doctor committed suicide. Eagle-eyed viewers would have also noticed that Mulder and Scully encountered the teen twice during their investigation: he bumped into Mulder in the hospital hallway while working with a janitorial company, and he ran in front of Scully’s car right before they went into the doctor’s second home where Mulder experienced the tone. This had to be Goldman’s son, who was also a result of his experimentation. (And as a little Easter Egg, the boy’s name is Kyle Gilligan, an obvious nod to Vince Gilligan, an executive producer on the original show who could not participate in the revival because of his similar duties on Better Call Saul.)
With Kyle reunited with his sister Molly (Megan Peta Hill) — resulting in what looked to be a horrible death for their father and their escape from the facility — Mulder and Scully were left to ponder how Goldman’s experiments tied in with what they already knew about the alien DNA in Sveta from the first episode and, we assume, Scully, what the purpose of experimentations on children will lead to, and if William is affected in some way (both Mulder and Scully thought back to a life with William they never had, ending with his mutating into something alien-like and simply being abducted by aliens).
While the episode was for all intents and purposes a stand-alone story, writer/director James Wong threw us enough little crumbs to keep the overarching mythology subliminally ingrained in the proceedings. The question is, with only four episodes remaining, and what looks to be another “stand-alone” episode next week, will we find out more about William before the finale, will we have an answer to what the government is doing, or will we get just enough information to pique interest in viewers for another go-round for the show in the future?
What did you think of the premiere? Tell us in the comments below!