So Monday night’s X-Files, the second of the show’s revival, was not the emotionally draining trash fire that the first one was, which is good.
This puts “Founder’s Mutation” on par, but no better than, say, your average third season episode.
Tonally, it was technically a “Monster of the Week” episode, but featured plot tendrils that extended into the show’s wider mythology.
The plot, more or less: Mulder and Scully investigate a mysterious death and discover a psychic janitor (his powers the result of genetic manipulation) is attempting to contact his missing sister. After he nearly destroys Mulder with a ultra-high pitched mental scream and some horribly mutated children (mostly with cartoonishly exaggerated versions of real-life maladies) our heroes eventually lock down the doctor doing the manipulation. A short battle follows, the doctor gets what it coming to him (in grotesque fashion) and the brother and sister escape.
A couple of things:
- Personal beef: Mulder, fix your tie! When Mulder accidentally picks up a guy in a bar, he has his tie loosened but his top button buttoned. Lord, I can’t stand that. Either fix your tie knot or unbutton your top button, Mulder. This is relevant to nothing. It just got on my nerves.
- Dana Scully, smooth of face, rough of voice. What was up with Gillian Anderson’s voice? She sounded two-packs a day here. Her countenance on the other hand? Exceptionally smooth. (Also she sounded high as heck when saying “He didn’t answer my question” as, well, someone avoids her question.)
- The horribly mutated kids and the psychic subplot felt like a shout out to something like “Akira.” Not that the Japanese have a monopoly on creepy psychic children (and psychic children are ALWAYS creepy), but there was something distinctly manga-ish in the way the kids were on display
- I want more alien/human hybrids. There was a smooth tie-in to the larger X-Files mythology when Mulder mentioned that the Syndicate was trying to fuse humans and aliens as part of their we-made-a-deal-with-the-alien-invaders shtick, and that these kids might be related to that project. It was thin, but I will take it.
Fantastic shout-out to Planet of the Apes. In one scene, a pregnant teen is talking about the possibly manipulation of her fetus with Mulder and Scully. Behind her, we see Zira, Cornelius and newborn Milo from “Escape from the PLanet of the Apes.”
- I am mixed on the dream-sequences. The mutated children forced Mulder and Scully to reflect on William, their child together who may be (who is probably) some sort of alien/human hybrid. I was fine with the slightly melodramatic bits with Scully. She sold being a mom well. Mulder, on the other hand, seemed like the same Mulder we know with some kid in the room. Not that pople automatically change when they become parents, but Duchovny could have been a little broader here.
- And then, he imagines William kidnapped by aliens. And we end on a shot of him looking very sad indeed. The idea of the Mulder family as intrinsically, as forever fated to be, tied to alien invasion is a fun, if tragic one. I am a sucker for cyclical family tragedies and that aspect of the mythos fit that bill nicely.
- Mitch “Skinner” Pileggi is in town for a play. He mentioned to the inimitable John Aielli this (Tuesday) morning that he went here for a meal.