REVIEW: The X-Files S11 Ep5 – Ghouli

Gillian Anderson is the best, and even if the episode had been terrible, her scenes would still be amazing. (©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Shane Harvey/FOX)

Well, I can’t say that was as good as the previous three, but it was decent, and definitely thought-provoking. Also heartbreaking.

I do appreciate that when we finally, finally meet William (aka Jackson), it starts off as an apparent Monster-of-the-Week episode. Because the only pure mythology episode we’ve had this season was terrible, so let’s avoid that as much as possible. And it was a darn creepy opening sequence, that’s for sure!

On the other hand, this episode didn’t make a lot of sense. It still felt less unfinished than most of last season’s episodes, but some of the plot didn’t really come together. Are we just supposed to say, “Well, he’s a teenage boy,” as an excuse for the kid having two girlfriends? Because that’s not actually okay, even though he clearly has issues. And I’m not sure how his apparent newness at using these powers works with how long Scully has been having visions, either, but timelines have never been this show’s strength.

That said, Gillian Anderson absolutely slayed in her scene where she was apologizing to William. That was very true to the years of pain her character has gone through over her son. And I’m so glad Mulder’s reaction was to try to tell her that she has nothing to apologize for (even though I assume he knows she’s going to keep blaming herself, nevertheless). Mulder is so restrained and caring in this episode. In general, I’m glad all the writers this season understand how he and Scully must have matured as people.

Like father, like son, I guess. I mean his actual father, not CSM.

I’m also very, very glad they didn’t bring us William only to kill him off immediately. That would have been – well, I was going to say unforgivable, but I’m not sure it would have actually been worse than the horrible plot twist of the season premiere, which I’m still not forgiving Chris Carter for. Anyway, two girlfriends and accidental attack notwithstanding, William seems like someone we might actually enjoy seeing again. Of course I need for Scully to be able to actually talk to him (and Mulder, too), but I also want him to be okay for his own sake. So that’s good.

Knowing that the mysterious Japanese guy was actually William/Jackson, it’s kind of beautiful and sad the way he interacted with Scully. The things he said to her were exactly the kind of awkward but earnest things a teenage boy might say to someone he really wants to talk to, yet doesn’t know where to begin. (“Do you like windmills?” “You seem like a nice person.”)

Of course, I also have to add that The X-Files already did the whole thing with a person who has the ability to make others see what he or she wants them to see. In fact, the show has already done it twice: most memorably in season three’s outstanding “Pusher,” and then only a bit less memorably in the season five follow-up episode “Kitsunegari.” In both of those cases, the mind-controller was evil and out to destroy Mulder. So it’s an interesting choice to have Scully’s son (who is also Mulder’s, by the way, in case anyone was wondering about that at all for any reason) also have that ability – and for neither of them to remark on that coincidence.

Either way, I’d be genuinely looking forward to the conclusion of this story line if it weren’t for the Smoking Man and that whole business. What did you think? Let us know in the comments.