This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk. 

In genetics,  a Founder Mutation is a mutation that occurs in the DNA of one or more individuals who then becomes the source, ie. founders, of a population that passes this mutation on generation after generation. This is the basis of the second episode of Season 10, an episode that, in my opinion, brings us back to the the core of what X-Files used to be: somewhat procedural, Scully and Mulder hovering around dead bodies and coming up with outrageous explanations for their deaths, and then the monsters arrive: except the monsters are children with genetic mutations, imprisoned by a mad scientist (Dr. Goldman) to continue his quest to create super-humans.

What I would consider a great departure from the old seasons is how particularly gruesome this episode was. From the way Dr. Sanjay infused the letter opener to his ear, to the bloody autopsy scene with Scully, finishing the episode up with an eye-ball popping incident with Dr. Goldman, this episode felt a lot like watching The Walking Dead in terms of gore and visuals. There was also a major jump from Episode 1 to Episode 2 in terms of narrative cohesion, and by that I mean there was virtually no explanation as to how Mulder and Scully started working for the FBI again, after the exhaustive treatment they have received from the agency in the past. The gist we get from Episode 1 is that it’s been over a decade since they worked for the FBI, with Scully spending her time as a doctor for Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital (which proves to be a convenient plot-driver in Episode 2) and Mulder had spent his time in, what essentially is, hermitage. However, this decision paved the way for an episode that threw you into the nitty-gritty of the world, complete with mutant hybrids, the search for the missing sister, and an awkward sexual encounter in the men’s washroom with Gupta.

THE X FILES 2016 NEW SERIES  FOX ... This photo provided by FOX shows, David Duchovny, left, as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in the "Founder's Mutation" season premiere, part two, episode of "The X-Files," airing Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT on FOX. (Ed Araquel/FOX via AP)
THE X FILES
2016 NEW SERIES
FOX … This photo provided by FOX shows, David Duchovny, left, as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in the “Founder’s Mutation” season premiere, part two, episode of “The X-Files,” airing Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT on FOX. (Ed Araquel/FOX via AP)

Despite the sameness that we feel from this episode, due largely to the fact that James Wong, a veteran writer for the X-Files series, wrote this episode, we are still treated to some current references just in case we forget it’s Season 10, such as, jokes about Obamacare, Edward Snowden and Scully saying that she came from a generation of “pre-googlers”.

Although highly busy in terms of plot points, the central focus of this episode, I believe, is Mulder and Scully’s grief over the loss of their son, William. Each imagines a world where they raised him, instead of giving him up for adoption, and both fantasies end with their deepest fears. Scully’s dream sequence involved Gillian Anderson in a mother role, walking William to get to school, waiting for him to get home, only to find, in her horror, her son slowly change into an alien, a fear she harbours due to her discovery that she has alien DNA. Contrast that to Mulder, who spends time with William watching movies, notably 2001 Space Odyssey, having an interesting conversation with his son about the significance of the monolith to the human race. (For those don’t know, the monolith, both in the book and the film, signifies the presence of aliens in the human world. The book and the film focuses primarily on the premise that aliens were essential to the evolution of human beings, a theme that resounds prominently within this episode). Mulder’s dream sequence, however, ends with William’s abduction, a scene reminiscent of Mulder’s sister’s abduction and a nod to long-term fans of the series.

To highlight this theme, during the scene where Scully talks to Dr. Goldman’s wife, she says, “A mother never forgets”. Similarly, the last thing we see in this episode, is Mulder, hunched over the same photo of William, sharing the grief with Scully, in silence.

Written by: Ellise Ramos

This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Did a sense of nostalgia fill you as soon as that opening music hit? It did for me! Being a long-time fan of X-files, I have to admit I was a bit hesitant in diving into the new season again, afraid to be disappointed, because much like the previous reboots we’ve experienced in the last year so far (Yes, I’m looking at you Star Wars), I was afraid that nostalgia would not be enough to force me to see the series with rose-tinted lenses and enjoy it purely because we like the familiar.

 

Fox Mulder
Fox Mulder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The intro was very accessible both to long-term fans and newcomers. We hear the drawling, calm voice of Duchovny narrating the condensed, concise version of the past ten years which brings out the nostalgia in fans, and at the same time, excites newcomers by giving them a feel of the world. From the get go, the show does make one thing un-debatable: aliens do exist – something that is clearly different from the old series. Perhaps given the time the show was aired, all we were really treated to were blurry depictions of rubber things that could be aliens if we imagined it hard enough. In this episode, though, we are treated to a CGI version of an alien, struggling to get away, invoking our sympathies, in the Roswell flashback of the episode.

 

It is also interesting to note how much the myth-arc in the story changed in order to integrate some more relevant pieces of technology, such as smartphones and YouTube videos as a platform of showing what the work of the X-Files have become in our generation – in Mulder’s words: “a punchline”. What differentiates this series from the rest of the 9 seasons, however, is that while there is no doubt that aliens have landed, Mulder now believes, along with talk-show host, Todd O’Malley brilliantly played by Joel McHale, that the government is manipulating alien technology in order to subjugate and colonize America. And here lies the brilliant integration of the present to the X-Files myth-arc. Everything from the corporatization of agriculture,  the elimination of our privacy because of the NSA to the building of consumer culture in order to manufacture and sell wars is presented as the government’s way of subjugating and colonizing the population. From the moment we are given the scene in which the alien struggles to peacefully get away, only to be shot down mercilessly by men, it is clear that the aliens have stopped becoming the villain. The new villain in X-Files are Men.  (I use the term MEN as both O’Malley and Mulder emphasizes this during the big reveal. It also further strengthens the plot arc of human harvesting – women being abducted in order to produce, this procedure that has victimized both Scully and Sveta).

All in all, it was a great season opener. With the same opening credits to boot, Episode 1 of Season 10 felt a lot like coming back home.

Written by: Ellise Ramos