After a humorous, very meta episode written and directed by Darin Morgan, this week we get a more sombre episode written and directed by his brother Glen. And after teasing that we’d get some kind of reference to the infamous “Home” episode from season four, this fourth episode of the revival entitles “Home Again” had me wondering if this was it. It was not. No inbred hillbillies here.
This episode had two main plotlines that awkwardly came together in the final moments, and it also gave us more to think about as far as where this batch of episodes fits within the overall series. The second brought up Scully’s and Mulder’s son William, and here he haunts Scully’s thoughts once again possibly setting up some kind of resolution/reunion by the final episode. Or it could be a long, long thread (like Mulder’s sister) that runs through, hopefully, future seasons.
The first part of “Home Again” focused on the brutal murders of Philadelphia housing officials attempting to move the homeless from downtown to a more secure, private, out of sight residence in the suburbs. Naturally, no one wants them housed two blocks from a school, so as a political battle wages, a creature known as the Band Aid Nose Man (seriously) is manifested to take out those who only have their own best interests at hand.
In the middle of an investigation, Scully gets a phone call. At first she (and we) see the name William on the Caller ID, but she does a double take and then we see it actually says William Scully Jr., her brother who is in Germany. He’s calling to tell her their mother has had a severe heart attack and is hospitalized in DC. In one of the more touching moments of the series, Mulder gently urges her to go, proving that these two still have a great affection for each other.
Unfortunately, Margaret (the returning Sheila Larkin) is in a coma, and Scully keeps vigil at her bedside just as Mulder did with her when she was hospitalized (giving us an amazing flashback featuring a shockingly young Duchovny). Dana’s brother is trying to get home from Germany, and she tells him that their mother wanted to be kept alive under any circumstances … and she later finds out that she changed the living will to a “do not resuscitate” directive. But why? And why, in one moment of consciousness before Dana arrived, did she ask only for her estranged son Charlie? And what did the necklace made with a quarter mean?
Meanwhile, Mulder’s investigations have turned up something that appears to be nothing, putting him at a dead end even while more murders are taking place. The only thing he knows for sure is that a mysterious piece of Banksy-style street art appeared on a wall after the first murder before someone stole it. With no leads, he heads to DC to be with Scully.
It’s here that we got some very nice character moments between Mulder and Scully, with him letting her get things off her chest without intejecting any snark, although he does his best not to let things get too heavy. When Scully’s phone rings again, she see’s “William” again and then Charlie, whom she hasn’t spoken to in years. She puts him on speaker and his voice miraculously awakens Margaret. She grabs Mulder’s hand, looks into his eyes and says, “My son is named William too,” before passing away. Why would she say that, and why would the voice of a son she hasn’t spoken to in years wake her up?
Speculation online has run rampant with this puzzling development, leading many to believe Charlie is caring for William. But when William was given up for adoption, we saw the adoptive parents, so we’re really left to wonder how William, and now Charlie, are going to play into the final two episodes, if at all.
After Margaret’s death, Scully needs, frantically needs, to get back to work so she doesn’t have to deal with these questions. Back in Philadelphia, they find the artist responsible for the painting, someone known as the Trash Man, and he rambles on about how he created this sculpture that comes to life, but he has no control over it (kind of like a golem). Listening to his story, Scully keeps flashing back to baby William and tells Trash Man point blank that he created the monster so he is just as responsible for the murders as is his creation. The ending shows the Trash Man has resculpted the monster’s head into a big smiley face.
But the implications of what happened with the murders and Scully’s mother have taken a toll on her, making her question if giving up William has made him feel like they just dumped him like trash. A pretty harsh assessment of their situation when knowing they did what they had to do to protect him, but now we’re left wondering if William will somehow tie this truncated season together as a bit of a stand-alone series, or if the doubts Scully now has about their decision will be something to haunt her in a possible future.
“Home Again” may not have been one of the better episodes as far as the monster of the week, but it did give us some great moments with Mudler and Scully showing why we still love them (and why they still, deep down, love each other).
Side note: One moment that stood out was during the investigation when Mulder made a point about the flashlights they are famous for using (and a nice shot showed the beams crossing in an X pattern), but the moment also betrayed the fact that the episodes have aired slightly out of order with the second aired episode(also featuring flashlights which thrilled fans) actually meant to air as the fifth episode. “Home Again” was intended to be the second episode, with next week’s “Babylon” originally the fourth episode. It was series creator Chris Carter’s decision to air them out of order to better serve the overall storyline.
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