The X-Files: Founder's Mutation
January 25, 2016 9:09 PM - Season 10, Episode 2 - Subscribe

When a scientist suddenly commits suicide, Mulder and Scully investigate what unseen force may have driven him to it. What they uncover is a laboratory where extreme genetic experimentation has been going on for decades, breeding subjects who possess unexpected and dangerous powers - and who harbor deep resentments.
posted by town of cats (91 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't remember the X-files being that...graphic? I mean, they had disturbing episodes ("Home"), but this one was a little more...gross-out, I guess, then I recall the X-files being. Solid episode, though, pretty much the basic X-files formula with some forced references to remind us all it is 2016.

Given the prominence they are giving to William, I'm assuming the show will bring Mulder & Scully into contact with him.
posted by nubs at 9:16 PM on January 25, 2016


I still haven't watched My Struggle and I got a little drunk on the power of the idea that I could watch episode 2 of something without needing to have seen episode 1. The 90s are BACK, baby!

I didn't love this episode, but it did feel like it was an episode of the X-Files? Like, I could picture this slotting in nicely as a mediocre episode from season 4 or something, with the obvious exception of the "might-have-been" non-flashbacks where Scully and Mulder imagine their lives as William's parents. I get that they were trying to give the episode a little more emotional heft, but I don't think they needed to and I actually felt a little too manipulated by those segments. I felt they took the episode from a fun little MotW to something that tried too hard to be part of a continuity that didn't actually feel that relevant. I mean, those shots of the kids with all the horrible deformities were enough for anyone to feel an investment in this case; Mulder and Scully don't get more qualified to care about it just because they happen to also have a kid together who may or may not be a mutant.

OK, I'm going to go watch episode 1 now. Maybe it'll inform my reaction to episode 2, but boy was it refreshing not to feel like I had to take things in order. It makes TV feel like much less of a commitment.
posted by town of cats at 9:17 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


This was much better than episode one. Not world-changing, but a solid XF episode that actually made me nostalgic for the show I used to like rather than the show I gave up watching. There was some nice gross-out stuff and fun to get another Hannibal guest star in there, Kacey Rohl.

I liked the ideas of the flashbacks - to stuff that never happened, though they did go on too long.

And there were still some stupid lines in there: "I couldn't tell if the baby was still alive after it was ripped from it's mother's womb"... that's right, Scully, because you're not MAGIC. Hehehe.

I feel like Darin Morgan is going to walk in next week, throw us another classic, drop the mic and win the series.
posted by crossoverman at 9:25 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wasn't the nurse/doctor/hospital admin/nun/whatever the same actress that was Eve 6?
posted by wabbittwax at 9:27 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


No, she wasn't Eve 6, but she did have bit roles in several other episodes. It seems like they are doing their best to cast lots of folks from the local talent pool in Vancouver, which is SO much fun. One of the things I missed most after production moved to LA was that eerie feeling that I'd seen half the people in every episode before because there just weren't all that many actors in Vancouver. Having Aaron Douglas show up at the beginning was another great one - guess he was never on the original series but since BSG was another Vancouver production I hope I'll see more familiar faces from that show too.
posted by town of cats at 9:42 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Don't remember the X-files being that...graphic? I mean, they had disturbing episodes ("Home"), but this one was a little more...gross-out, I guess, then I recall the X-files being.

More than usual, but it still wasn't as horrendous as "F. Emasculata".
posted by invitapriore at 9:44 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


holy hell that was an X-FILES EPISODE EVERYBODY, Scully does an autopsy "What do you think of this?" "Mulder you can;t possibly?" the SINISTER CATHOLICISM, the rural home full of MYSTERY, the straight up superhero stuff, the GENTLE RIBBING from the leads I gaaaaaaah.


I felt like I needed a dial up to an AOL server to talk about the episode. It wasn't GREAT but MAN it was THE X-FILES.

(I liked their different imaginings of what horrible things would happen to thier son William if they raised him)
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 PM on January 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


Oh and it's totally more graphic, I kept turning to the SO and going "Wow they're really reveling in what they couldn't do on TV in 96, bleeding eyes and all"

also HEY KACEY RHOL, man one of these days you'll survive a series . (Hannibal's wardrobe head is also doing this series! SO ..there's that connection)

Remember a person having a deadly migraine in an office building is X-Files, having a deadly migraine on public transportation is Fringe.
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 PM on January 25, 2016 [11 favorites]


but yeah for better or worse that was a straight up B- episode from season 3 with a bigger budget complete with Mukder giving ripped from the headlines explanations and background in little speeches and everything .

I'm totally okay with that, nostalgia wise
posted by The Whelk at 9:53 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was pretty happy with it if only because it was like being stuck with your least favorite part of your family in North Dakota for a week and then getting home and going to the first pizza place you see on the way back from the airport. You probably won't go back there again, but it was exactly what you needed.
posted by invitapriore at 9:58 PM on January 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


I agree with the general consensus - solid B episode. It didn't seem particularly more graphic than a typical X-Files episode to me. I wasn't sold on the what-might-have-been flashbacks at first, but I gotta admit that for whatever reason I found Mulder's teaching-the-kid-rocketry at the end to be really touching. And, of course he'd be afraid of his kid being abducted.

My only big gripe: their exposition-dump monologues continue to feel way more forced. Some of it's on the actors, but I think some of it's the writing, too. Back in the day, when Mulder monologued his theory or hunch about what the MoTW really was, it tended to have the ring of "let me tell you all this weird trivia about Jersey Devils I happen to know and then conclude by saying WHAT IF WE'RE ONTO SOMETHING!?!" and somehow....it worked. This matter-of-fact "Welp, the Syndicate formed in 1973 and were all about the experimenting on humans with alien DNA, so that's probably what this is," somehow it doesn't work as well for me. I dunno, there's a matter-of-fact-ness about it that's kind of offputting somehow. Like instead of having a poster that says I WANT TO BELIEVE, Mulder should have a poster that says I COMPLETELY BELIEVE AND I EXPECT YOU TO BELIEVE, TOO.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:10 PM on January 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also, I noticed a change in the dynamic. Scully is less of a "skeptic" cause, how could she be by now, and is more like "Okay given the insane situation we are in, how can I apply my training and the spirit of scientific inquiry into it" She's still her usual methodical, detail-oriented forensic doctor mode , but she's applying to the (supposed) supernatural.

I liked that, for a bunch of reasons.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 PM on January 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


I dug this as well; like folks are saying, it was totally an episode of The X-Files, and it felt much more in the groove than the first one.

I like for narrative reasons that they did the faux-flashback stuff with William though I didn't overall like the feel and pace of either of those sequences; the latter one with Mulder was a bit more solid in the heartstrings department, but both felt a little off, a little forced. The traumatic payoff bits were both fine (and the turning-into-an-alien shocker from Scully's was I think particularly effective, in part because we haven't seen that a dozen times like we have Mulder's Sam-centric abduction terrors) but it feels like they could have gotten there more effectively—maybe a little more dreamily and non-linearly, if anything, rather than like scenes from the first act of a couple Lifetime movies.
posted by cortex at 10:31 PM on January 25, 2016


considering how many Hannibal alums where on the show they might want to have cribbed some of that dream logic, people wandering into darkness and coming out with horns and such and also floating and possibly made of water
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 PM on January 25, 2016


Yeah, true. It's really tricky to look at this show next to Hannibal, where on the one hand I don't want my X-Files to be Hannibal and yet it's hard not to e.g. read Anderson as at least, like, Bedelia-inflected, and to want some of that specific stylish modernity to creep through.

But then X-Files' tendency toward frantic exposition and bantery skepticism and murky reaction shots is so different from the glacial word-dagger exchanges and unrelentingly graceful-but-horrifying cinematography of Hannibal that it's best if the twain never really truly meet.
posted by cortex at 10:45 PM on January 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


it's weird cause both series basically hinge on two people taking in a room

it's just

very different talking
in a room

with two people

if you know what I mean.
posted by The Whelk at 10:48 PM on January 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


mstokes650, I think the exposition-dump is less annoying when it's in an MotW that doesn't have any mytharc connections at all. In that case, Mulder has to bring Scully along and fill her in on the facts, and it doesn't feel weird or silly that he's filling her in on spontaneous human combustion or vampires of North America or lake monsters or what have you because of course Scully is a normal person and she doesn't give a shit about this stuff until it affects her.

But once the Syndicate or one of the other things that was made up for X-Files comes into it, it feels self-serving and obnoxious, because Scully can be assumed to know the mytharc stuff so the only person they're bringing along for the ride is the audience at home and Mulder just comes off as a mansplainy tool. And frankly, it's also annoying because the stuff that's made up for X-Files is generally just less compelling than preexisting folklore or scifi concepts co-opted for X-Files.
posted by town of cats at 10:50 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mulder's Sam-centric abduction terrors

Kyle Gilligan actually found his long-lost abducted sister. Mulder's anguish is doubled.

Also: GILLIGAN.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:03 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Gilligan, an analogue to Sam-analogue William.

Gilligan, and the son.

Gilligan an' der son.

IT ALL FITS
posted by cortex at 11:06 PM on January 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Another painful trudging through Duchovny's acting; some creepy moments that were classic X-Files (the alien kid in Scully's flashback, the foam prosthetics on the kids, or whatever it was, the longish intro piece where we follow along on a weird mini-tale before we settle on Mulder & Scully). Those points really worked for me and harkened back to the original series.

The flashbacks where we turn the clock back seemed like they should've been on the cutting room floor, and at least part of it seemed to be 'hey remember when they were younger?'. I don't find the kid storyline compelling but I guess it'll be a recurring theme until we reach the whatever-it-is that helps both Mulder/Scully reach some sort of peace.

Oh, and the hand coming out of the pregnant mother's belly was the grossest part for me. Yikes!

Chris Carter - or somebody - is having a ball updating their dialogue with Modern! Stuff! and while some of it is quite fun ('pre-Google'), it is getting a little tedious. A little of that sort of thing goes a long way.

Still have a soft spot for retaining the original opening - great decision on their part not to update it.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:12 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thing I ain't seen yet what I need to see: Mulder, though performing excellent paranormal/conspiracist detective work, exhibits very poor BASIC FBI AGENT SKILLS including LOSING HIS GUN, while Scully is on point.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:33 PM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mulder didn't get a chance to exhibit very poor basic FBI agent skills, but I do feel like he was doing things way less by the book than he used to (and he was never really great at going by the book even in the bad old days). He was never much of a rule follower but I don't feel like 90s Mulder would have walked off with a cell phone from a crime scene AND a vial full of someone's blood in the same episode. One instance of absconding with evidence per episode is enough, dude.
posted by town of cats at 11:42 PM on January 25, 2016


This seems like an excellent place to drop random info about this X-Files comic coming out in March, the canon! X-Files! genderflipped! AU!
X-Files Deviations #1 (ONE-SHOT)
In a world where young Fox Mulder was abducted by aliens and never returned, another Mulder takes up the crusade against deception! Meet Samantha Mulder, a believer who won't stop until she finds out the truth about her brother!
Look at this variant cover, just look at iiiiiit
posted by nicebookrack at 11:44 PM on January 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Back in the day, when Mulder monologued his theory or hunch about what the MoTW really was, it tended to have the ring of "let me tell you all this weird trivia about Jersey Devils I happen to know and then conclude by saying WHAT IF WE'RE ONTO SOMETHING!?!" and somehow....it worked.

The internet is part of the problem. Back in the day I'd hear my crazy conspiracy theories first from Mulder, then weeks or months later in reality. X-Files used to weird the world in a way that's no longer possible.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:51 PM on January 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Guys, the show could be super gross back in the day. It was kind of the show that introduced the whole, "Yes, we're going to do an autopsy and HERE ARE THE GUTS" thing to TV.

It did seem really weird to me that we were just back in the old office and the X-Files were re-opened and Mulder and Scully were bantering again and it was basically 1996 again except it wasn't. I know they've only got a handful of episodes and they've got to keep things moving fast. But to get from where we were in the premiere all the way to here, that's a heck of a jump.

I wasn't happy with the use of the deformed kids. The idea of helpless orphan children with elephantiasis and melting faces being locked up alone all day in cells, that was just a little too dark for me. If we'd just seen the pictures maybe I could have handled it, but seeing those kids in those conditions was just awful. It seemed like something where if you're gonna go that dark, the episode needs to be about that situation. It's hard to believe that Mulder or Scully could just walk away from a place like that, even after all they've seen. Adults being kept like that would be sad enough, but these are poor little orphan babies. The doctor ended up dying horribly and the X-Men twins got away, but I guess we'll never find out what happened to the sad girl who was just sitting there brushing her hair.

Maybe all that makes it sound like I hated the episode, but I didn't. I'd agree, it was a solid B+. I didn't even mind the non-flashback flashbacks. They felt very much in keeping with the weird visions and stuff we'd see in the old show.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:34 AM on January 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


DESIRE IS THE DEVIL'S PITCHFORK! SCULLY'S NECKLACE!
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:23 AM on January 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


It may be more graphic but I remember being freaked out by Home. They also showed guts in Bad Blood repeatedly when Scully was weighing them and talking about what people had eaten. We also had weird liquid-y goo from the oilien situation? And weird mucus-y pod thingies in the first movie. So yeah, this run may be a little more graphic but not enough that I think it's out of place and since so much of this run seems to be about updating us on the fact that Scully and Mulder exist in the now - well, showing more graphic stuff doesn't surprise me since they can do that now.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:39 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Whelk! I used to be a host on the x files forum on AOL. Let's do it up.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:47 AM on January 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Wasn't the nurse/doctor/hospital admin/nun/whatever the same actress that was Eve 6?

I had the same thought! are you my brother please let me out of this discount canadian weapon x project

I enjoyed the episode as well. It felt like a solid monster of the week while advancing the general plot of the miniseries. I think blood samples will be the core, a way of showing how deeply the Conspiracy has wormed its way into the very fabric of our lives. The genetic alteration portion of the Black Oil mythos from the original series is probably the only thing salvageable - I'm happy the previous episode, though clunky, cast off that whole alien bounty hunter jazz in favor of good ole grey aliens.

I've mentioned this before, but since I started to collect mass market ufo/fringe books, I noticed a huge change in the fringe literature of the 90s. The older stuff, the Space Brothers and what have you, were all messengers of hope and peace sent to save us from ourselves and the horrors of atomic war. So too were the original visitors posited by this series, except that we humans are so violent and dark that we immediately tried to weaponize alien tech and use it to gain power. I like that so far things are pretty much based on The Simpson Files lines:

"I bring you love!"
"It's bringing love, don't let it get away!"
"Break its legs!"

Also, this episode brings back the classic X Files "What did Mulder and Scully do anyways?" question. They pretty much witnessed the case being solved for them - their only contribution was being the Uber that drove the brother to meet his sister. I don't think this is a bad thing, I think this is a very X Files/fringe thing where you get glimpses of a greater, weirder world that you can't satisfyingly explain beyond "well, that happened."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:46 AM on January 26, 2016 [8 favorites]


Also, my standard disclaimer of intent to start a Fringe Bookclub once the option becomes available on FanFare. I figure we'll start with Keel's The Mothman Prophecies and go from there.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:49 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay - one of the big differences between EC's experience of the X-FILES in its original run and EC's experience of the X-FILES today is my theater career that went on for 6 more years after the show went off-air; which means I had another 6 years to work with a bunch of actors, who then went on to get bit parts on TV here and there.

So while all the rest of y'all were watching that scene with the doctor's wife performing a c-section on herself, I was sitting there saying "holy crap that's the actress who was the lead in that god-awful production of MEDEA I did in 2004."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:18 AM on January 26, 2016 [9 favorites]


...and now that I think about it that is strangely fitting.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:18 AM on January 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


The show could be heavy on grossout. We had a lot of monsters like that giant septic worm guy in one of the early seasons. So the grossout felt consistent.

I think showing us our connection to the child was nec. because it never really felt real and here we really see an emotional connection, that the kid isn't just a footnote the writers throw in once and a while.

And as much as I hate myself, I smirked when Duchovny said "You can't unsee that."
posted by miss-lapin at 8:14 AM on January 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't feel like 90s Mulder would have walked off with a cell phone from a crime scene AND a vial full of someone's blood in the same episode.

On the upside, he was at least wearing gloves at the crime scene.

Otherwise random thoughts:

- Why did Scully have to break the dead guy's fingers in order to read the message? Couldn't she just wait for rigor to pass?
- Agree with Ursula Hitler above, about the poor orphan babies in the locked rooms. I was glad Scully called it out specifically, sort of upset she didn't call back to it at the end with Skinner. Scully - call CPS on the DOD will you!?
- During the scene in the bar, I was looking at my husband like "why is this scripted like a pick up scene?" and then all became clear. And we laughed, because Duchovny.
- "you can't unsee something like that"
- I think the clunky dialogue works better when they're wearing suits, but I don't know why.
posted by anastasiav at 8:17 AM on January 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Can we talk about Mulder's imaginary parenting skills for a sec? Because I feel like they were standing way too close to a rocket with that much propellant. I want him to take an imaginary parenting class.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:29 AM on January 26, 2016


"Mulder, you have to see this. But I can't take a photo of this corpse's hand and text it to you because reasons."

Can't they use Snapchat? Also how many creepy hookup apps does Mulder have installed on his phone, do you think?
posted by nicebookrack at 8:50 AM on January 26, 2016 [8 favorites]


OK, I just want to ask because it stood out for me, but maybe nobody else. There's a bit where Dana is driving and she and Mulder are yakking about how strange it is that Dr. Sanjay had to hide his lifestyle in 2016 as she stops at the mouth of an alleyway/parking lot or whatever for pedestrians, and they make a big deal of showing that the vehicle has camera views. But the view seemed to be to the front, not the rear? The point of the scene seems to be that the guy who steps out in front of her and she almost runs down is the kid who is using his psychic powers on Mulder, so I get that, but they seemed to make a big deal out of the cameras in the vehicle for no reason.

Was that just another "hey look it is 2016" moment, or was there something else there I missed. I have to admit my attention wanders a fair bit when Scully & Mulder start their back and forth exposition moments.
posted by nubs at 9:07 AM on January 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


she stops at the mouth of an alleyway/parking lot or whatever for pedestrians, and they make a big deal of showing that the vehicle has camera views. But the view seemed to be to the front, not the rear? It's the Ford paid product placement. It's noted in the credits and it's pretty common (and I think jarring) in modern television. Burn Notice used to have dialogue discussing car features during chase scenes, for instance.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:18 AM on January 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Can't they use Snapchat?

I've heard that one of the running gags from next week's episode (the Darin Morgan one) is going to be about the ongoing series of different problems Mulder has trying to use his cell phone camera to take a picture of the beastie they're tracking.

Also how many creepy hookup apps does Mulder have installed on his phone, do you think?

You know that Darin Morgan is gonna add a throwaway line about this very thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:28 AM on January 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Daddy Mulder's JFK accent imitation was surprisingly adorable, as was his idea of a fun family film being Kubrick scifi.

I'm waiting for the announcement of the spinoff about the beautiful telepathic teen twins on the run from The Man and being emotionally codependent to the point of fans writing incest fanfic about it.

Count me among the people excited about the foreshadowing toward Teen William appearing so that he can explain the monsters on Tumblr!
posted by nicebookrack at 9:30 AM on January 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


They made a big deal about the cameras because it's Ford sponsorship all the way down again! This actually made me laugh super hard when I saw the first Ford vehicle. At least they're not in a Taurus.

Not sure about the front view issue...I noticed it but didn't give it much thought.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:34 AM on January 26, 2016


It's the Ford paid product placement.

Ah. The conspiracy continues apace, then.
posted by nubs at 9:39 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


This episode was so much like a middling quality episode from the original show. I agree with the poster who said all those deformed children locked in their rooms like so many lab rats in cages was just too horrific. I do hope they're going to show that the children are rescued at some point.

I don't think they wrapped up this episode in the same manner as standalone episodes were wrapped up back in the day. In the original series episodes, you always saw the characters beginning to live/heading off to whatever sort of life they were going to have while Mulder mused about everything in voiceover. We didn't see that with this psychic pair of siblings (I wanted to see them bust their poor mom out of the psychiatric ward and drive away), which makes me think we might see more of them.

I got into the spirit of The X-Files and wrote a special X-Files-themed post for my knitting blog in which I got to air some of my opinions about the first episode. I'm thinking I'll follow it up next week with a post of selected alien-themed knitting patterns.
posted by orange swan at 10:03 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also how many creepy hookup apps does Mulder have installed on his phone, do you think?

All of them. Allll of them. Ones you can't get through any app store. Ones you can't unsee.

I am assuming that there is significance to Scully still working at Our Lady of Sorrows (aside from Scully being OLoS) after all this time. Like, she's making something happen or keeping something from happening or watching for a thing that will happen one day, not just the inertia of profound PTSD or the televisual convenience of working at the hospital equivalent of Sunnydale High School?

I was very satisfied with this as a sort of ur-episode. In the Xverse, there have always been children undergoing experiments, adults underestimating the strength and resourcefulness (normal and para-) of children and teenagers*, and a willingness of children/teenagers to get to grips with weird shit - to believe - faster than adults. Obviously we're going in a certain direction here, William being 15 and all, but it's very much in the tone of the original series.

*This stands out on rewatch, too, because so many of those "teenagers" are extremely recognizable actors now.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:14 AM on January 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


I felt her presence at OLoS was a mea culpa for her child. I wouldn't have made the connection except false flag Joel McHale points out these children she's operating on are "alien looking. We know that was a fear of her with her own child. This is her only way of trying to get some relief from that fear and helping her son by helping those like him.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:30 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


He was never much of a rule follower but I don't feel like 90s Mulder would have walked off with a cell phone from a crime scene AND a vial full of someone's blood in the same episode. One instance of absconding with evidence per episode is enough, dude.

No way, Mulder has always been a shady evidence thief.

So did Mulder & Scully pass their FBI physical exams? Can the two of them just stroll back into being Agents after a decade-ish spent moldering in civilian life? How many strings did Skinner pull to manage that, and how does he still have any strings left unpulled after so many years of convincing The Powers That Be not to shoot Mulder in the face for being obnoxious?
posted by nicebookrack at 11:08 AM on January 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


I remain enduringly compelled by the evil-doctor-type misdirecting the heroes' attempt to confront him by taking them on a tour past the patients in the asylum under the guise of humanitarianism only to reveal his true nature in an incident deep inside the complex. Not sure if this is a trope beyond its occurrences in this episode and in Baldur's Gate II, but.
posted by invitapriore at 11:39 AM on January 26, 2016


Can the two of them just stroll back into being Agents after a decade-ish spent moldering in civilian life?

I sort of headcannoned this (and also how Mulder has been supporting himself) by thinking that Mulder was put on some kind of extended disability leave by the FBI, possibly for mental health issues.

And I doubt Scully would have any problem passing any physical fitness exam.
posted by anastasiav at 11:57 AM on January 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


What I want to know is, if they moved all the boxes of X files out of the basement when Mulder and Scully left, and moved them back in when they came back, where were they in the meantime? A deeper basement? The attic?
posted by lefty lucky cat at 12:21 PM on January 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


If it weren't for the the scene with the DoD guy smauging all over the evidence, the scenes in Skinner's office felt very detached. As in it felt like they weren't in the FBI anymore, they were actually rogue individuals. I know it's just handwaving to get them back in the action as quickly as possible but it just rings false for some reason. Like one of them is going to wake up from a dream and none of this actually happened false.
posted by charred husk at 12:26 PM on January 26, 2016


Can the two of them just stroll back into being Agents after a decade-ish spent moldering in civilian life?

He managed it before after literally molding when he was "dead".
posted by gatorae at 1:07 PM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Like one of them is going to wake up from a dream and none of this actually happened false.

If the final scene of episode 6 is Scully waking up in bed next to Bob Newhart, I'll allow it.

Or, for that matter, if it's Mulder waking up in bed next to Bob Newhart.
posted by Roommate at 1:07 PM on January 26, 2016 [9 favorites]


Lone Gunmen waking up in a triple decker bunk bed
posted by cnelson at 1:19 PM on January 26, 2016 [16 favorites]


How many strings did Skinner pull to manage that

Dude looks like Mr.Clean dressing up like Santa for the office Christmas party. There's nothing he can't pull off.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:04 PM on January 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


I love The X Files but my biggest problem with this new The X Files is that it's basically exactly the old The X Files. Which is cool and all, and I'm glad they kept the original intro, but these characters and the world they live in haven't changed the slightest bit in, what, 15 years? Except now there are more flatscreens and the idea of "enhance that" is slightly more realistic.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:14 PM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


also how Mulder has been supporting himself

Mulder would have inherited everything his parents had. They didn't seem to be more than comfortably well off, but they both died relatively young, at what appeared to be just barely past retirement age, and they seemed to both have a home plus their old summer house, so their capital plus whatever Mulder had himself could easily have lasted the last fourteen years. Mulder's also been living very simply in an isolated farm house that wouldn't cost very much to buy or rent (and Scully would have paid a share while she was living there), and he doesn't even seem to have a car -- notice the comments about him hitchhiking?
posted by orange swan at 4:49 PM on January 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Isolated farmhouse just 15 minutes away from the FBI headquarters. Or Scully's hospital. Or whatever.

A great x-files episode! I thought I would never get a new one! Mulder shaved! Scully's hair is still flat! Yayy!
posted by valkane at 4:54 PM on January 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


I felt like I needed a dial up to an AOL server to talk about the episode. It wasn't GREAT but MAN it was THE X-FILES.

Whelk! I used to be a host on the x files forum on AOL. Let's do it up.

My AOL screenname was FoxMulder6691, and you know I was all over the X-Files "gateway" or whatever they called it.

It felt like a solid monster of the week while advancing the general plot of the miniseries. I think blood samples will be the core, a way of showing how deeply the Conspiracy has wormed its way into the very fabric of our lives.

Yup. I'm convinced that all six episodes will seem like independent cases but in fact turn out to be connected in some way that will be made obvious in the finale. I mean, the alien hybrid and blood sample links between this and My Struggle is already pretty obvious, but even we also saw other stuff that tied back to classic episodes. Kyle's infrasound mind control seemed like a reference back to "Drive" (with Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston!) and "Pusher", not to mention a number of other occasions where alien abductions featured paralysing tinnitus-like sounds. Molly's telekinesis is something we've seen on a number of different cases through the years.

It feels like the show arcing toward a Unified Theory of Weirdness, though I suspect the finale will swerve at the last minute and reveal yet another layer to the conspiracy onion. The fact that this was originally supposed to air as S10E5 reinforces that idea in my mind.

The what-if flashbacks were a great idea that I think got stretched out too long. Each one could have been half as long, and they would have felt better that way.

I wasn't happy with the use of the deformed kids. The idea of helpless orphan children with elephantiasis and melting faces being locked up alone all day in cells, that was just a little too dark for me.

Yeah, that's a little iffy, as in a little too close to reality. But then the X-Files has always traded on that kind of thing, cf. Nazi atrocities. Maybe we're just more aware of the uncomfortable ableist messages sent by the Mutter Museum-esque deformity porn? I dunno, at least it was clearly presented as a sign that the Goldman guy was an Evil Dude.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:10 PM on January 26, 2016


The fact that this was originally supposed to air as S10E5 reinforces that idea in my mind.

Reinforces the idea of a Unified Theory of Weirdness, I should say. It doesn't shed any light on whether O'Malley's theory about alien visitations all being faked by the government to support a fascist takeover is true or not. (Part of me thinks he's actually in on it, but he's aligned with a different branch of the Conspiracy than Cancer Man.)
posted by tobascodagama at 6:21 PM on January 26, 2016


But then the X-Files has always traded on that kind of thing, cf. Nazi atrocities.

When the central mythology revolves around the government being part of a massive conspiracy against the people - or at best unwitting dupes in the massive conspiracy - then you have to deal in some dark images about the weak/ disadvantaged/marginalized being abused or maltreated as this totalitarian thing behind it all lurches towards its end goals. While the X-Files hasn't always been great on having a coherent mythos, it has been pretty interested in thinking about the implications behind such a thing as the Syndicate existing. And there's already a plethora of real life examples to draw from. Didn't the first episode reference things like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment?

That said, it's a fine line between that and putting on a "freak show" and sometimes I'm not sure how well the X-Files walks that line.
posted by nubs at 6:35 PM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Didn't the first episode reference things like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment?

In a tone-deaf moment, Mulder mentioned the Tuskegee experiment and Henrietta Lacks, and he pointedly failed to mention that both of those secret government experiments were on African-Americans.

Where are all the POC/minority abduction survivors who would be 200% more vulnerable to exploitation like this, Mulder? Is their absence just because no one notices or cares when black women get abducted by aliens to have their ova scraped and their DNA scrambled? Or is the evil government syndicate experimenting with alien DNA also a racist evil syndicate trying to hybridize pure white Martians?
posted by nicebookrack at 7:05 PM on January 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I remembered the Henrietta Lacks mention because I was so disappointed when Lacks got name-dropped and then the reference went no further. I've been dying for some good hard/social scifi to take HeLa and run with it.

Aerosolized HeLa + transmissible cancer = EVERYONE IS GRAY GOO. Immortal gray goo!
posted by nicebookrack at 7:13 PM on January 26, 2016


Except now there are more flatscreens and the idea of "enhance that" is slightly more realistic.

Back in the late 80s with the development of Photoshop by the Knoll brothers one of which worked for Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects arm of LucasArts who developed technology that can make unreal things look real. Good not only for entertainment films but for propaganda as well.
Together with a group of hardware manufacturers and other software engineers and companies, this imaging and data technology was in use by major governments and government agencies across the world including our own agency, the FBI.
For years we had enhancement technology that only now is being seen on computers and smart phones. It helped us solve cases.
What we didn't know as the technology advanced, allowing us to enhance images we couldn't enhance before, it also allowed them to spy on us, to track our every movement, our every inquiry, our every phone call.
Storage is so cheap now they have billions of gigabytes of data. Collected by nefarious means and often photographed and sometimes videoed.
Good thing I happen to have an inside man. He scans in old files, making them digital, and confirms the software that matches letters in an image with real letters get's the content right. He sees a lot. He gave me this SSD. That stands for solid state drive. This one is a Samsung, the same one's they use for storage in many of Ford's new cars. That's how he sneaks out of the building. He said I have to see what's on this drive. There fast so we won't have to wait for a long increasing percentage report which will mean it won't be so stressful if someone happens to becoming upon us and we don't want them to know we have the drive and have seen the data.
Speaking of drives...
posted by juiceCake at 7:42 PM on January 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Skinner's glasses are so '90s. Man shoulda gotten some updated frames.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:51 PM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm a little worried that Skinner has just been sitting there in his office since the 90s, waiting for this to happen. They've probably got in-house dry cleaning there, which is why his shirts are still so crisp, but he's just been living on vending machine food and the slow grittings of his own teeth, trimming his beard with the hunting knife he always wears strapped to his ankle, watching the door. Twice a day he strips down and does Burpees.

He's up to 4000 a day.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:57 PM on January 26, 2016 [23 favorites]


I recently rewatched the original series and this didn't stand out as remarkably graphic in its violence. Maybe the scene of the woman cutter herself open to let Male Carrie Kyle out? But even that was more disturbing in a squicky body horror sense than it was graphic.
posted by brundlefly at 1:09 AM on January 27, 2016


I enjoyed both episodes. Considering the old series had shape shifters and clones I have no problem with CSM still being around. I do not like the idea of the aliens being out of the picture though, even if that would make it easier to wrap up the mytharc at some point. We saw too many apparent alien lifeforms in the series. The bounty hunters, the rebels (whom I suppose could have been humans that had been experimented on and were trying to wipe our their tormentors), the black oil virus itself and probably others I am forgetting.

I am really looking forward to the monster of the week episodes since most of the gold of the original series was to be found there.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 6:26 AM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


While I liked this episode more than the first because it felt like a return to form, it also felt off because we went from scruffy Mulder "on fire" about the huge spooky government conspiracy to clean-shaven Mulder being back on the job, and kind of rolling with the idea that the government is behind this all. I wanted an episode, or at least part of an episode, where we saw the transition from scruffy lunatic to well-groomed skeptic who has a job to do (and that's cracking the case of the government cover-up).


joseph conrad is fully awesome: Still have a soft spot for retaining the original opening - great decision on their part not to update it.

I'm tempted to geek out like that guy who noted all the color tone shifts from the broadcast and retail versions of The Quatermass Experiment and pick apart the minor differences between the original broadcast opening and this version. It's more than the text being sharper, it almost feels like they used a different font. It's the uncanny valley of imitations - so close, that it feels more wrong.


Ursula Hitler: Guys, the show could be super gross back in the day.

For me, the extended stabbing (and then removing) of the letter opener thing was more gory than the bleeding from the orifices or the examination room, and that felt like both scenes were more drawn out than X-Files of the past (but maybe it's been too long since I've seen some of the more graphic original episodes).


fluffy battle kitten: They made a big deal about the cameras because it's Ford sponsorship all the way down again! This actually made me laugh super hard when I saw the first Ford vehicle. At least they're not in a Taurus.

Ditto - I thought "hey, it's time for the Ford commercial part of this episode." I was so distracted by the blatant Focus On The Car Tech that I missed who almost ran into them.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:43 AM on January 27, 2016


Those twins are a walking case of Boite Diabolique, thrown in with a bit of Helvetica Scenario (which, coincidentally, would make a good X-files episode, and I'm sure Serafinowicz and Popper could make a cameo).
posted by lmfsilva at 8:03 AM on January 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


This was merely quite terrible, though the flashbacks were very bad indeed. Also when an X-Files episode feels like a rip off of Fringe it feels like a violation of causality.

Roll on the one that's supposed to be good.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine, who has spent a lot of time in alleys in Dupont Circle, was quick to point out how very much the scene listed as an alley in Dupont Circle was not an alley in Dupont Circle.

The consensus that the girlfriend and I have reached is that the new episodes thus far have disappeared too far up the ass of the X-Files mythology.

We want small towns. We want weird things happening to cows. We want monsters of the week, ambiguous endings that are never mentioned again, slightly off-kilter locals, and reaction shots from our leads. Mostly, we want Mulder and Scully not to look so tired and joyless in every single scene.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:04 AM on January 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm tempted to geek out like that guy who noted all the color tone shifts from the broadcast and retail versions of The Quatermass Experiment and pick apart the minor differences between the original broadcast opening and this version.

The complication here being that I'm reasonably certain that there are a few differences between the opening as displayed in seasons one through five, maybe not in the visuals but definitely aurally in things like the overall mix, track EQing, and delay time on the piano.
posted by invitapriore at 12:03 PM on January 27, 2016


A friend of mine, who has spent a lot of time in alleys in Dupont Circle, was quick to point out how very much the scene listed as an alley in Dupont Circle was not an alley in Dupont Circle.

Again, this is one of those things that I feel was absolutely part of the charm of Classic X-Files. Random back alleys in Vancouver trying to substitute for New York or Chicago or wherever else.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:11 PM on January 27, 2016


Again, this is one of those things that I feel was absolutely part of the charm of Classic X-Files most TV shows that claim to be filmed somewhere in the real world with even remotely identifying characteristics.

The most egregious: Psych, which is mostly filmed in Vancouver, BC despite being set in Santa Barbara, CA. The most laudable for actually being where they say they are: Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, though even those shows make exceptions and bend space and time to make the story move visually interesting.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:30 PM on January 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Even Breaking Bad went pretty heavy on "scene set in Mexico = suddenly everything is orange-tinted!"

I'm assuming that everyone who thinks X-Files was less gory back in the day either had a stronger stomach than I did or has forgotten about the guy dropped alive into liquid nitrogen and then his head smashed to crunchy bits, and the multiple MULTIPLE episodes of MOTW oozing yellow bile like snail slime, and the people who had to keep driving lest their heads explode into pink gore-spatter, and the open-chest surgery with lungs infested with hungry squirming beetle larvae, and the evil plastic surgery witchcraft murders (death by liposuction! death by vomiting pins! death by acid face-melting!), and the parasite disease spread by exploding face pustules, and the Flukeman, and and and...
posted by nicebookrack at 2:32 PM on January 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


So know how I said that I once worked with the actress who played the doctor's wife?

She and Gillian Anderson have both revealed that there was a bit of an....incidence of poor aim that happened while they were filming the scene in the hospital, and she throws the apple at the cat.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:33 PM on January 27, 2016 [8 favorites]


Anderson has the best laugh!

Why was a cat in an asylum anyhow? That whole thing with her throwing an apple at a cat seemed like such a weird little detail.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:29 PM on January 27, 2016


I just assumed it was a therapy cat for the place.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:55 PM on January 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Confirmed that David Duchovny is everybody's dad who insists on narrating everything that happens while recording a home video even -- or especially -- when narration is not required to explain the action.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:03 PM on January 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


Mulder would be such a shit dad.
posted by Artw at 7:12 PM on January 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


On the contrary, Mulder would be a more classy Dale Gribble: a paranoid antisocial lunatic who is also a loving and supportive father. Stay-at-home-Dad Mulder, passionate devotee of babywearing and blogging about chemtrails!

Unfortunately, he would also insist on spacing out child vaccination schedules for "safety concerns." Not so much autism as alien tracking implants.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:33 PM on January 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Huh. I was thinking that Duchovny's asides in the apple toss mishap video were great. He was the one who coined the "right in the boob" phrase, and when he asked if "Steve" could do his scenes instead I'm guessing Steve was the stunt guy.

I didn't know institutions (or whatever we call them now) were using therapy cats.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:44 PM on January 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was thinking that Duchovny's asides in the apple toss mishap video were great.

*snicker* "And down goes Anderson!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:26 AM on January 28, 2016


The first episode SUCKED, and the second one was somewhat better in that there was a plot instead of zero to 60 ranting about the conspiracy/they/guvmint. C'mon Carter, I want actual things happening before you drop into full-on tinfoil hat mode.

But I was just in love with Scully the whole time, so I could probably watch four more episodes for her alone.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:29 PM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hannibal's wardrobe head

I see what you did there

--
What, no love for "The truth is in here", as the guy pats Mulder on the chest? My favorite part!
posted by sylvanshine at 8:52 AM on January 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


the Lucifer add came up on screen exactly on the chest of the Evil Nun at Our Lady of Sorrows.
It seemed appropriate.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 12:05 AM on January 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Came into the current incarnation "cold" -- never watched the original series or the movies. Was quite entertained by both the first and the second episodes. Surprised that the second episode didn't exactly continue the first -- but from reading comments above, and some light Googling, I'm learning about the difference between The Big Story and the MOTW eps. Will tune in for the remaining four eps with decent expectations.
posted by davidmsc at 9:32 AM on January 31, 2016


So this was a perfectly passable, if not good episode of The X-Files. The thing is, if that first episode is all we are going to get about why the X-Files have really been opened back up after all these years, I feel like that is so weak. There needs to be a reason we are back here that gets at the core of the series and resonates with its history, otherwise it just feels like pointless nostalgia and fan service. I'm sure the Darin Morgan episode will be another stand-alone, so the final three episodes really need to provide some serious mytharc development that will shock and amaze me, or else this whole thing just feels like a waste of everyone's time, you know?
posted by Rock Steady at 1:21 PM on February 1, 2016


BTW if like me you're hazy on the X-Kid and look it up you fall into a well of shit.

This is really not the thing people wanted back.
posted by Artw at 2:40 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I thoroughly annoyed my partner while watching this because I couldn't stop exclaiming over how much hammier this felt than the old X-Files I remember. (And so much daylight too! It did my heart good to see them stumbling around Sanjay's apartment without looking for a lightswitch because at least there was some atmosphere.) The only part that felt underplayed--yet no less hilarious--was the dude making to give Mulder a beej and Mulder's nonchalant "nah, I'm good" response.
posted by psoas at 11:16 AM on February 4, 2016


Ugh. Am so sad that this new series is so ... Lame. Even by the standards of the original series they are pretty lame. And yes I remember the originals - the night before starting on the new series I was continuing through a rewatch of the old (we are halfway through series seven).
posted by Megami at 11:46 AM on February 8, 2016


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