We’re now at the midway point for what is likely the last ever season of The X-Files and we’re still waiting to find out how all the mythology and, more importantly, how William plays into everything, hopefully giving us some kind of closure to the story. It seemed, however, that we weren’t going to get any closer to an answer with this week’s episode titled ‘Ghouli’.
The episode opened with two teen girls, strangers to one another, lured to the wreckage of an old ferry, the Chimera (a word that is synonymous with illusion and delusion) after logging on to a website called Ghouli.net (yes, Fox has set up a corresponding website). This seems kind of like a Slender Man thing with people logging on, reading stories and believing there is some creature out there, which in one case ended in real tragedy. The same applies here as the two girls encounter the ‘ghouli’ and end up stabbing each other nearly to death. But neither girl saw the other, only the monster.
Scully finds herself having a dream in which she is physically paralyzed (and let me tell you, that is one of the most frightening things you can ever experience) but in the dream she is compelled to follow a shadowy figure through a maze of rooms and hallways. She has no clue what this means but begging to believe it may be some psychic connection to her son. And then she learns both girls had the same dream, so maybe it’s not William after all.
But the girls, it turns out, were dating the same boy, Jackson Van De Kamp, but when Mulder and Scully go to visit the boy at home, they arrive just as two gunshots ring out from inside the home. There they find the parents dead and then hear another gunshot upstairs, finding Jackson a victim of an apparent suicide. They find evidence of his connection to the Ghouli website but it turns out some shady men from the DOD are interested in Jackson as well.
At the coroner’s office, Scully does a DNA test and … the dead teen is in fact William! So after all this time, we finally get to see William and he’s dead?!? After Scully has a heartbreaking monologue apologizing to William for giving him up, she leaves and the body bag begins to unzip. So, he’s not dead? William has the ability make people see what he wants them to see, including a realistic bullet wound to the head. With the body missing, proof that he is William and the fact that the DOD is after him, it becomes imperative that Mulder and Scully get to him before they do.
When Mulder uncovers the existence of a report called Project Crossroads, he discovers the truth is out there and that William is the result of an experiment of combining alien and human DNA and Scully may have unwittingly been involved. At Skinner’s office, he attempts to get Mulder to come in for questioning about this case and his actions, but Mulder says Skinner has to come to him. What Mulder doesn’t know is that the Smoking Man is directing Skinner in his office.
The two meet on the Chimera and Skinner tries to warn Mulder about the project he already knows about. But Skinner is floored when he learns the boy everyone wants is indeed William. William gets himself into a pickle when he goes to the hospital to visit his girlfriends to apologize for what he did that caused them harm. He created the Ghouli but he expected them to run away, not fight it. But jealousy gets him in hot water when one of the girls takes his picture with the other girl and sends it to the authorities.
Knowing he’s pretty much trapped, William is able to fool the DOD agents into shooting each other while the hospital evacuates. Mulder and Scully try to get him to come out and speak to them, but the only person they encounter is a nurse running for her life. Guess who that was. Thinking they’re lost William again, the pair head back to DC, Scully clutching a snowglobe with a windmill that she took from William’s bedroom — a snowglobe that had been damaged when she bumped into a man who seemed familiar (perhaps forgetting she also saw him at the Chimera and on the back of a book in William’s room). They stop at a gas station that also has a windmill, and while Scully pumps gas that same man stops for a moment to talk to her.
A few words are exchanged and when she tells Mulder something the man said, Mulder reminds her that it’s a Malcolm X quote, and there was a Malcolm X poster hanging over his bed. Then she remembers the picture on the back of the book. They flash their badges at the gas station attendant and ask to review the security video and sure enough, that was William she was speaking with (he can’t fool a camera with his mind tricks). But he’s already driven off by this point, leaving them — and us — to wonder if they’ll ever be reunited for a happy ending.
Fun fact: When Mulder orders coffee, he uses the name Bob so he doesn’t have to explain Fox for the millionth time.
The X-Files airs Wednesdays at 8:00 PM on FOX.
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