Like a proper classic “X-Files” episode, “Founder’s Mutation” gets pretty complicated pretty quickly. Mulder and Scully show up at a high-tech genetics company to figure out why Sonny, one of its scientists, wigged out and committed suicide by (eep) shoving a steel rod into his own skull. In investigating the suicide victim’s life, our own agents are led to the genetics company’s founder, Dr. Augustus Goldman (Doug Savant), who’s been overseeing genetic medical experiments.
Goldman’s experiments are secret, and their official investigation gets quickly shut down by the Department of Defense crying out, “Classified!” But that doesn’t stop Mulder and Scully from tracking down not just Dr. Goldman’s lab full of genetically deformed children, but Dr. Goldman’s former wife, who was locked up years ago for killing her unborn child (like, cutting it out of herself with a butcher’s knife). Despite seeming pretty crazy, it turns out that she had a reason: Dr. Goldman had been experimenting on not just their older daughter, Molly, but their unborn son, Kyle (who survived his unconventional birth), giving them both superpowers. Mulder and Scully track down Kyle, whose enhanced mental powers turn out to be the source of the crazy noise that drove Sonny to suicide at the beginning of the episode. It’s Kyle’s only way of communicating with people, which he’s been using to try to track down Molly. Reunited in Dr. Goldman’s lab, the brother and sister basically explode Dr. Goldman’s brain and rush off into the night.
Mulder and Scully are also forced to ask themselves some questions about their mysteriously conceived son, William, which triggers fantasies for both of them about what it’d have been like had they not given him up for adoption as a baby. Fantasy, though, is a tricky word: Not only do both sequences basically feature them as single parents, but both of them end in their personal worst nightmares for what could have happened to their son. Scully imagines William being afflicted by the alien-looking genetic order she was working to help treat in “My Struggle” (the previous episode), and Mulder imagines William being abducted in a scene identical to his memories of his own sister’s abduction.
Beyond an emotional conversation between Mulder and Scully (that quickly shifted to the sexy topic of whether or not Mulder thinks that her pregnancy was caused by similar genetic experimenting), the closest anyone got to laid was Sonny’s secret romance with Gupta. And things ultimately didn’t work out so well for Sonny.
If you were expecting a big unpacking scene, no such luck, but we are back in the original X-Files office, complete with the Fox Mulder nameplate. Alas, there’s no extra desk for Scully, but she does have some fancy new tech to play with. To be specific, there’s a nice flatscreen monitor with a keyboard attached, which she gets to balance on her knees…
Overall a real and proper episode of “The X-Files”! This is what we remember fondly: a sometimes gross and sometimes scary (but ultimately fun) bit of science fiction vaguely built on fact. Mulder has some out-there theories! Scully does an autopsy! They both draw their guns and run around! There are parts that don’t flow quite so well — especially the transitions into Mulder and Scully’s imaginings about William — but this is more like it.
what do you think of the X files revival so far?
Thank you for reading