X-Files Revival Episode 2 Recap

X-Files Revival Recap: Teenage Mutant Fringe-Esque Hurt Tales

Here’s a concept even more out-there than the fringe science at the center of The X-Files‘ latest episode: We’re a third of the way through the revival… and it just started yesterday!

Sadly, the six episodes of Season 10 will be done before the leprechauns slide down their rainbows this St. Patrick’s Day (which, incidentally, would make a great casefile for Season 11. Chris Carter, DM me). But rather than focus on how our post-revival lives will be sadder than C.G.B. Spender without his Morleys, let’s instead train our attention on what we do get in this Monday’s hour: a This-Is-Not-OK casefile that melds so well visually and tonally with previous seasons, the only way to tell it’s not vintage X-Files is to note Scully’s lack of linebacker-style shoulder pads (with bonus reference to Mulder and Scully’s son, William, and some touching/terrible daydreams about how life as the Sculder spawn might’ve played out)!

Let’s review what takes place in “Founder’s Mutation.”

AN EARFUL | We open on a bloody eyeball — already not good — getting retina-scanned at some schmancy tech company. The eyeball belongs to Dr. Sanjay, who works for a man named Augustus Goldman, who makes his employees refer to him as “The Founder” and who’s an elusive and shadowy character. In a meeting, Sanjay suffers extreme auditory distress — forget fingernails and think Wolverine’s claws on a chalkboard — through which only one message permeates: “Do it, go now, data is the key.”

Soon, he’s locked himself in the server room, where he’s downloading files onto a portable drive. But the noise in his head becomes so unbearable, he scrawls something on his palm and then jabs a letter opener through his ear, up into his brain. As his co-workers watch in horror from the other side of a glass wall, Sanjay dies.

BACK IN THE GROOVE | Mulder and Scully are on the scene soon after, with Scully already debunking the whole thing as nothing more than a psychotic break. But when a strong-armed goon (Hi, Battlestar Galactica’s Chief Tyrol!) shows up and tells Mulder he can’t take the drive because it is property of the Department of Defense. So Mulder surreptitiously takes Sanjay’s cell phone, instead, and schedules a meeting with one of the doc’s contacts named Gupta. Scully informs her partner that Gupta means “secret,” and when he’s impressed, she says, “I’m old school, Mulder. Pre-Google.” Speaking of which, remember when she Googled that life-altering surgery and then went ahead and performed on that cute kid in the second movie? Good times.

Mulder meets Gupta at a bar, and as soon as they go somewhere private to talk, the guy is going for Mulder’s belt. Fox awkwardly informs him that he’s there for information, not sex, and Gupta angrily goes off. “I finally let go of all that self-loathing and that judgment, and I’m free,” he says, rather sanctimonious for someone who a moment ago was on his knees and ready to help Mulder’s Apollo 11 blast off — possibly for money? Anyway, Gupta tells Mulder that Sanjay was worried that his “kids” were dying… and when Mulder and Scully investigate Sanjay’s secret Dupont Circle apartment (flashlights!), they find tons of photos of children with terrible genetic mutations.

That’s also where David Duchovny gets to revisit his favorite MulderTorture pose: holding his temples, doing an open-mouthed wince while something terrible happens inside Fox’s skull. (See also: “The Sixth Extinction,” “Demons,””Biogenesis,” etc.) This time, it’s because he’s hearing the same piercing sound that Sanjay heard right before he shishkebabbed his brain. The moment also gives Scully an opening to touch the man she so clearly cannot stay away from, so I’ll allow it. Oh, and the phrase Mulder hears among the din? “Find her.”

DO IT FOR THE KIDS | The next day in Skinner’s office (anyone else get all schmoopy about seeing the agents back in there? Just me? OK), a henchman in the corner makes it very clear that all of the files they found at Sanjay’s are property of the DOD and therefore are off limits. (Don’t worry; Mulder made some copies.) Back in their office, Scully reviews surveillance tape from Sanjay’s workplace and asks Mulder what he’s hiding, to which I bet she’s mentally adding, “… aside from MY DESK. SERIOUSLY, AFTER EVERYTHING I’VE BEEN THROUGH, I STILL DON’T HAVE A DESK?!”

He confesses about the sounds, and the pain, and the desire to make it stop, and her voice gets all soft as she says she’s worried that they’re onto something dangerous. “When has that ever stopped us before?” he jokes, because Mulder never passes up an opportunity for entirely inappropriate humor.

Turns out, Dr. Goldman is “a true champion of the unborn” who funds a clinic for “damaged” young moms at the hospital where Scully works. The redhead pulls some strings; while the partners are waiting to hear about a meeting, they meet a spooked woman who talks about signing her baby away but then scurries when the head nun returns with good news: Goldman will see them.

SECOND THOUGHTS | Outside the hospital, Mulder theorizes that Goldman’s clinic is just another phase of The Project: using the women as incubators in eugenics testing. “Is this what you believe happened to me 15 years ago, when I got pregnant? When I had my baby?” Scully asks, nearly as distressed at the idea as I am that she calls William “my” baby and not “our” baby. “Was I just an incubator?” Mulder looks at her that way that he looks at her sometimes — you know what I mean — and says, “You’re never ‘just’ anything to me, Scully.” You guys!

When Scully asks him whether he thinks about William, Mulder says he’s pretty much put thoughts of the boy behind him… which irks me in the extreme until later in the hour, which we’ll deal with in a minute. Scully, clearly upset, worries that William wound up like those kids in Sanjay’s photos; a daydream of hers later shows us both her hopes (that William had a normal childhood) and fears (that he morphed into a mutant).

WHO’S THAT BOY? | A visit to Goldman’s clinic reveals that The Founder is a defensive doc whose patients are parentless and kept in sterile observation rooms. Further research on Mulder’s part shows that Goldman’s wife was committed following the death of their unborn second child; but when Scully and Mulder visit, she maintains that both of their children had special capabilities thanks to Goldman messing with their embryos. And that second child, who’d gone missing back in the day? He’s the kid causing all the aural pain.

Mulder and Scully track him down — he’s a janitor who was on the biotech company’s campus the day of Sanjay’s death, as well as near Sanjay’s apartment when Mulder first went all ouchy — and he eventually winds up at Goldman’s lab, where he reunites with Molly: His biological sister and Goldman’s daughter who can break things with her mind.

Both kids liberate Molly from the lab and take off, leaving us with a classic X-Files no-resolution ending. Love it! Then, all that’s left to do is watch Mulder’s daydream about William: Despite all that noise about not thinking about the boy — who’s 15 now — Fox actually harbors secret fatherly fantasies about them shooting off toy rockets in a field and watching classic sci-fi. That forehead kiss: I DIE.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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59 Comments
  1. Gabriel Anthony says:

    Great episode. Critics should stop complaining about it. 2 eps in and its better then 95% of broadcasting TV.

  2. grrarghing says:

    Its a great review until right at the end, where it seems like maybe there’s still another paragraph missing? Or I may be crazy. I’m probably crazy. I’m sorry.

    • Sarah says:

      Well Doug Savant’s eyes popping out of his head at the end wasn’t covered. Definitely a distinctive resolution to the episode (other than the siblings escaping – probably to Witch Mountain).

    • BillyBobJohnson says:

      The last scenes of the episode was Mulder and the kid, which is where the review ended.

  3. grrarghing says:

    And low missing paragraphs appear! I’m sorry. I’ll see myself out.

  4. brianh says:

    Did anyone else get the Vince Gilligan shout out with Kyle’s last name?

  5. Lysh says:

    I would have loved to see more with the siblings together. But it was a great episode. Scully’s voice is really raspy, like for some reason Gillian couldn’t find Scully’s voice again, but the wig was better. Mulder and Scully would have been amazing parents. :]

    • Alichat says:

      Both of their voices are bothering me. Both are raspy and Duchovny sounded garbled at times. Is that how they both talk now? It’s like they both have developed a pack-a-day habit or something.

      • Drew says:

        I noticed that too, but I didn’t want to mention it and then have people tell at me for being agist or whatever. :)
        The wig did look better.

        • sanchopanza says:

          I kept being distracted by the wig (if it was a wig) because of the color. Only looked red sometimes, but mostly washed out and didn’t look good on her at all.

      • Lysh says:

        I feel like they’re both trying to speak in a lower register and it’s not working out for them because their voices are fine in interviews. Or maybe the Cigarette Smoking Man/Morley’s got to them!

        • Alichat says:

          Yes…..that may be it. It does sound like they are trying to do that and it’s not working. I do hope they stop. It’s distracting.

          And on a side note, I have to agree with Kim Roots…..Scully should have said “our son” instead of “my”. That just struck me as odd.

    • me says:

      I thought Duchovny sounded terribly hoarse at times in this ep. I think they were both sick, personally.

    • The Beach says:

      At least I could hear and understand her this time around unlike her character on Hannibal where she spoke in a near whisper and I could only decipher about a third of what she was saying.

    • forensic_anthropologist says:

      I read somewhere that they were both suffering from colds/flus when filming the first few episodes. Perhaps that explains their voices both being a bit different from what we are used to.

  6. Zoe says:

    SO. GOOD. 1000x better than the premiere.

  7. The episode was excellent, and depressed the hell out of me at the same time.

  8. Drew says:

    Much better than the premiere. It was a lot more like the classic episodes and it was cool to get back into that zone. I wish there was enough time to develop some of the emotional arcs, but with six episodes, what can you do?

  9. Andrea Sperling says:

    Hey! No shout out to RyRy? Ryan Robbins? Sanctuary? Arrow? Continuum? No? Wow…

    Great frickin’ episode regardless. Long live The X-Files!!

    • Jerry says:

      my wife and I refer to him as “beardy mcbeard” whenever he shows up (like seriously he’s in every Warcraft preview too). I counted 4 guest stars I could recognize tonight, the others being Kacey Rohl (Hannibal), Omari Newtown (Continuum) Aaron Douglas (BSG, and Flash just last week) and Christine Willes (Reaper, others)

  10. Faun13 says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh at Gupta pointing at Mulder’s chest, saying ‘the truth is in here’…. Nice job ;-)

  11. me says:

    Tremors?? I think you mean Demons. I hope you mean Demons, because there’s no XF ep named Tremors.

  12. Alichat says:

    I forgot to point out how the closet moment made me think of the Princess Bride. “You said you wanted to ‘talk’?” “Yeah, don’t think it means exactly what you think it means”

  13. Pascal says:

    Liked it in general. Two general comments :
    1) Why were Mulder and Scully grumbling and whispering their lines as if they could barely speak? To show they were older? Weird,
    2) Sorry Chris Carter, but it shows when you’re not directing. You have other talents. I humbly suggest you stick with them.

  14. DarkDefender says:

    KR, your recap was like reading my mind. I loved it. The episode, too!
    The only sad part is knowing there are only 4 Eps left. :(

  15. Ann Hyatt says:

    Wonderful! Only thing bad about any x-file is they aren’t long enough .Negative critics are not legitimate to the fans. We want to critique the shows!! Love both shows and hear 3rd show is better. Great seeing Mulder back from his depression. Sully is so supportive of him and I hope they get back together. We need MOre x-files!! 6 a year won’t get it. We dearly loved Doggett and his partner they were great. Maybe they could do some shows when Ducoveny and Gillian can’t? This 6 part series is great so far but we need more shows.

    • Foxie says:

      I agree a 6 part series is not enough we need more episodes there are many different stories to tell. We all need to tell that to Chris Carter but I guess the only ones who can decide if they want to stay or not and keep going are the main stars without them there is no show.

  16. Vampie says:

    I also noticed Scullys voice too graspy it looks bad I hope she can change it back as her real voice

  17. MUCH better than the premiere. The intro before the opening titles alone was better than the premiere. I’m afraid though the ratings might have not been as strong and new time viewers were alienated by first episode and didn’t tune into this episode which IMO is a good X-Files episode. It was season 1-7 quality and The X-Files being in 2016 felt right in this episode. In the premiere I felt like the two characters were out of place in this “new world” and something wasn’t quite right (And I thought the 2nd movie was fine in that regard), but this episode blew my expectations and critics say the next episode will be even better. As far as I’m concerned, my only criticism was that Carter didn’t think about how much weeping fans will be doing when this is over. They better announce this being an annual thing. Heck, I’ll want new episodes in 20 years time when Mulder needs a walking aid and Scully has a bad hip.

  18. SteveWeeve says:

    Dr. Sanjay Gupta huh? Nice. Also loved Planet of the Apes playing on tv in the assisted women’s facility. And yeah Recapper, the founder/father being immolated by his kids was pretty significant. Don’t rush. Take your time.

  19. Kaya says:

    THANK YOU! When does Scully get a desk? Or her name on the door? At least Mulder lets her drive (that monstrosity of a car) now…

  20. Sharon says:

    Really felt this episode was classic. Right in rhythm and timing. Not noticing the voice thing everyone else is talking about.

  21. ? says:

    The last two seasons of the X-Files were so terrible with so many bad choices for Mulder & Scully as characters (and the mythology) that there’s no way to do a revival without addressing the mess that was left behind at the end. I think the show’s managing cleaning up the mess as well as can be expected, but the episodes will still be better once that’s behind them.

  22. MH3ndr1ks says:

    Loved every second of this episode.

  23. Dbagga says:

    All in all I liked the episode but honestly everything just felt… I dunno excepted. I know they’ve seen so much crap in the past so maybe that’s why there’s no surprise to them but they just showed hardly any emotion to what’s going on. I mean it was just like, Bam! Genetically altered children, ok. A guy hearing high pitched noise and killing himself, whatever. Two kids with powers just killed a guy by melting the inside of his skull, meh. I mean come on show a little more, Holy crap! Did that just happen ? Lol. On top of that just everything that progressed the story through felt laid out for them, like there really was no challenge. But, either way I still enjoyed it because it’s The X-Files so, either way I’ll like it lol.

  24. Imzadi says:

    I almost had to close my eyes when they showed first the pictures and then the actual children. Just thinking of real children being born like that made me terribly sad (yes, I do know it was just a television show, but still. . .).

  25. Scullycat says:

    I must have missed something, but I don’t understand how Mulder and Sanjay could hear the sounds, but Scully and the other people couldn’t. Was that discussed on this episode?

    This episode reminded me a lot of the first season episode “Eve”. Probably because it had to do with eugenics. I am also finding it fun to try and recognize actors from the previous seasons. Christine Willes who played Sister Mary in this episode was Agent Karen Kosseff in multiple episodes from before. I always love the casting on this show.

  26. Lorie says:

    Such a great episode! Makes me wish this show was here to stay, but I’ll take what I can get. So glad new episodes are back on air!

  27. Ella Jasper says:

    Sick. Wish they had just left these episodes in a box. 2 down and we are out!

  28. b says:

    I thought it was an excellent hour of television. I don’t understand the critics who didn’t like it. The chemistry was still there. I’ve been a fan since childhood and hope they decide to do more episodes!

  29. Laurie Headrick says:

    Was Mondays just a replay of Sundays episode or a new one

  30. Ruth says:

    I am thrilled this show is back on television. Makes you almost forget its winter!

  31. VA says:

    Did anyone notice that the scene with Mulder & Scully in the car (featuring the parking camera) had Kyle Gilligan in it? What was the significance of it? Or was it just a well-placed 30 second promo for Ford?