‘The X-Files’ 11×05 Review: This William Nonsense

It made no sense then, it makes even less sense now. Welcome to the William arc, aka the most ridiculous thing The X-Files ever tried to pull on us, a tall order when you remember all the things CC actually tried to pull on us, including, but not limited to the Samantha nonesense, the CSM nonsense (over and over and OVER again) and, of course, the platonic nonsense.

Image result for eye roll gif scully

Scully’s face says it all.

The William nonsense, in particular, always felt egregious because it just didn’t make sense, it felt incredibly out of character for the people we’d known for seven seasons to make the decision to give him up in the first place, conspiracy or whatever be dammed. But hey, surely a man thought this was a good idea (I would bet real good money that no woman did, including, but not limited to Gillian) and so we were stuck with the nonsense then. Men are still in charge, so of course, in this episode, it’s time for …you guessed it, MORE NONSENSE!

And the worst thing about the nonsense is, of course, that in the hands of David and Gillian, even the nonsense can touch your heart, even the nonsense can leave you taking deep breaths as you wipe unwelcome tears from your eyes. When these two are involved, and especially when it comes to a story-line that carries so much weight, nonsense can still break your heart.

But nonsense it remains. Not in execution, maybe, because these are people we’ve wanted reunited for ages and because we can’t stop the heart from feeling things – but in planning. So, let’s go into the …whatever it is that “Ghouli” gave us:


THE X-FILES: L-R: Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in the “Ghouli” episode of THE X-FILES airing Wednesday, Jan. 31 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Shane Harvey/FOX

There was no need, really. No need to force Mulder and especially Scully to face what they thought was the body of their son. I’d say it’s cruel and unusual, but The X-Files has a kind of fetish with female pain, particularly Scully’s. I say The X-Files, but I could probably say Chris Carter.

So, yeah. No need. Absolutely no need. I said that before, but it just bears repeating. Over and over again. How much has this woman suffered? How much more will she suffer in the name of …what exactly? I’m not sure.

Oh, but Mulder’s in pain too, you say, and I will give you that. The pain of losing a child is not a thing reserved for mothers. But the show never seems to focus on Mulder’s pain the same way it does Scully’s, never seems to revel in it, to try to draw out as much as possible so it can study what it means to suffer that much.

I’m not saying it’s a fetish, but it comes pretty close.

And dear, now that I think about it, maybe we are to blame to. We are, after all, still here. Twenty freaking five years later, still caught in the same loop of endless questions that were never meant to be answered and two people who we all knew were meant to be together and yet never got a chance to even truly start, not in a real non-platonic way where they made breakfast for each other and have afternoons with their son. THEIR SON. So maybe that’s why he does it. Maybe CC does have a pain fetish, and maybe we’re masochists.

That makes much more sense than I’d like it to. What a combo.


THE X-FILES: L-R: Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in the “Ghouli” episode of THE X-FILES airing Wednesday, Jan. 31 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Shane Harvey/FOX

But what is the bigger picture? Does anyone know? And by anyone I don’t just mean me or David or Gillian I mean the actual writers and Chris Carter and like God or the universe or even the aliens? Because I think the answer to that is no. No one knows what the point of this is. No one knows why we’ve been here for twenty five years.

Except, maybe, we were here for this. Just this. David and Gillian and the characters they play holding onto each other as they take their first look at their grown kid. Mulder and Scully and the love that is absolutely not platonic and that it’s so big it could power a small city. Just that. Nothing else. No Chris Carter and his favorite word, no CSM and his medical rape, not Skinner even, and the prospect of a boring episode next week where I’m supposed to care about anything but these two.

And yet – the show also manages to make this phrase come true, in a way, by giving us William, and then taking him away for us. For the first time in this season, I’m actually interested in something other than how Mulder and Scully’s story will end. For the first time, I’m actually invested. Who would think I’d have it in me to care about the baby that might not even be Mulder’s and who as a kid was more a welcome confirmation of something than an actual reality I was interested in dealing with.

It’s almost an X-File, how I’m feeling. But here it is. This season has been – despite some wonderful Mulder and Scully moments – not what I wanted. Season 10 was certainly not what I wanted. I hope The X-Files, a show I have loved with all my heart for twenty five years, ends after this run, because my heart really can’t take more of this. And yet, despite that, my crusty old heart was, for an episode, at least, reawakened.

Damn you, Gillian. Damn you, David.

And yes, damn you, William. Damn you for making me realize I still care.

Other things to note:

  • Women fighting against literal monsters, so very 2018.
  • YOU SEE WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE is the tagline. Looooovely.
  • OMG a voice-over how very original.
  • Gillian Anderson saying the word fanfiction is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen on The X-Files.
  • *throws all the awards Gillian’s way*
  • David too, because being understated and still making us feel all the things is hard AF.
  • “Hope is not a fact,” says the man who believes in anything and everything.
  • “Thank you, for your warning. It just came too late.” That sums up Skinner’s whole The X-Files arc.
  • I knew this kid was William the second we got a look at his room. Also, he’s got his father’s melodramatic flair.
  • James Wong’s episodes always feel like they have the perfect pace.
  • I could have lived without the image of dead Scully in my mind, thankyouverymuch.
  • But why did William have two girlfriends? We do know that’s not a normal thing, right?
  • Right?

The X-Files airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on FOX.