Darin Morgan delivered a top-ten-list worthy The X-Files episode (as Darin Morgan tends to do) about society's ability to collectively remember things the wrong way. It was weird, it was charming, it was perfect. Read the recap here.
This Week's Case File
(Ouch, That's) Cold Open
Two teen girls are exploring an abandoned ship, separately, when they run into each other. The blonde watches as the brunette turns into a huge monster - "Ghouli" - but the brunette watches as the blonde turns into the same monster. After a brutal, knife-bloody fight, both girls fall to the floor.
DO DOO DO DAH DO DOOOOO.
Jackson Tucker Must Die
We open to a Scully monologue explaining "hypnagogia" - the state between sleep and wakefulness when we tend to have hallucinations and lucid thoughts and dreams. :: waves :: Hello there from your friendly recapper who is also a victim of frequent sleep paralysis, and thus, all too familiar with hypnagogia - and monsters standing over my bed. ~Anyway~ Scully knows what I'm talking about, because she herself woke up in sleep paralysis in a stranger's bed. Only in her state of hypnagogia, she could get up, walk around the house pointing her gun at things, and follow a dark figure who kept leading her into new rooms. It led her to a snowglobe with a boat inside, The Chimera, of which Mulder just happens to have a photo on his desk when she's telling him about her dream.
When your ex sends you that 2am text
Chimera is the ferry the two girls were found on, and it's officially an open X-File. They head to the boat, despite being followed all the way there, and Scully thinks the meeting wasn't coincidental. She sees an Asian man watching them from off the boat, and the cop mentions "Ghouli," which leads Mulder and Scully to a fanfiction horror site called Ghouli.net.
Next stop: the hospital where both girls are alive and awake. Through separate interviews, Mulder and Scully realize that not only did these girls have a shared hallucination, they were both dating the same person: a boy named Jackson Van De Camp. Our fearless FBI agents head right on over to the home of this serial cheating garbage teen, arriving just in time to hear gunshots. Inside, they find Jackson's parents murdered, and upstairs, Jackson is also shot. The cops have ruled it a murder/suicide, but Scully realizes it's the home from her sleep paralysis and finds bottles of anti-psychotics prescribed to Jackson. As his body is bagged up and taken to the morgue, Scully comes to the heartbreaking conclusion that Jackson must be her son William. Meanwhile, Mulder realizes the same people - a couple of PABs (punk ass bitches) - from the DOD have followed them to the house.
At the morgue, Scully takes DNA samples from herself and Jackson, to see if it is, in fact, William. She cries over the body and gives a HEART-WRENCHING monologue about giving him up for adoption, and they basically just give this scene to Gillian Anderson and let her show off those acting chops. When she looks up, Mulder's there. They hug, then go to test that DNA. As they walk out, Jackson unzips his body bag and sits up. Definitely 100% Not Dead.
When you accidentally fall asleep at the end of yoga class
See You at Tha Crossroads
Scully wakes up in the hospital after another bout of hypnagogia, and the doctor tells her that Jackson's body is gone. They can't find him anywhere, though Scully does run into the Asian man she saw outside the boat. So they head back to Jackson's house looking for clues, and Mulder uses his previously non-existent hacker skillz to break into Jackson's computer and find that he is the author of Ghouli.net and also has found his way through the backend of the DOD website. Before they can do much else, the DOJ PABs arrive and try to override their jurisdiction, to which, Mulder doesn't take kindly.
They call this move the Bureau Middle Finger, boys.
A quick meeting with Skinner and Mulder gets the scoop on the Chimera: it was the home of Project Crossroads, a government project that attempted to create alien-human hybrids, and has since been totally covered up by the DOD. Mulder reveals that Jackson, was, in fact, William and a test subject for Project Crossroads (hence, Jackson's snooping around on the DOD website) while Scully learns from Jackson's doctor that he had electrical brain activity. Putting all of the puzzle pieces together, Mulder and Scully come to the conclusion that William knew he was being hunted by the DOD PABs and used his electrical brain activity to create "alternate realities" in which he can make his girlfriends see a monster, or Scully see him as dead, or disguise himself to escape.
Jackson/William, by the way, is played by Miles Robbins, son of Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, and TBQH, he's kind of a douchenozzle. He literally sent his TWO GIRLFRIENDS with BIG ASS KNIVES to an abandoned government-funded nightmare ship, and made them see the other one as a Ghouli and fight it out. Like...what? He's also got this whole Shawn Hunter vibe going with a hoodie under his denim jacket and the McDonald's arch double hair flip happening, like he's an old person's idea of what a young person looks like. It's honestly a TERRIBLE first impression of the spawn of our OG OTP. So yeah, he basically made the girls attack each other for shits'n'giggles by altering their realities, something he started doing when he would have seizures and share with "this woman idk probably my birth mother." He's explaining all this to girlfriend #1 when the cops arrive and he's gotta bolt. A chaotic chase through the hospital ensues and he manages to fool the DOD PABs into thinking the other one is the Ghouli so they shoot each other and he gets away.
The next day, S and M stop at a gas station on their way out of town, where the Asian man from the boat and outside the hospital sees Scully. He tells her he's about to drive across country, and that he never graduated high school, before driving away. Finally, Scully remembers seeing the man on the cover of a book in Jackson's room. They check the gas station survaillance footage, and yup, the Asian man was actually William the whole time.
Biggest Cover Up
You guys, I hate to admit this, but I didn't realize the Asian man was William until the very end of the episode. It was, like, a BIG REVEAL to me. Was it totally obvious to everyone else?
Worst Kept Secret
It WAS totally obvious to me that Jackson would end up being William. I thought they could have done a bit better at making that reveal more....revealy.
This Week's Top Ranking Agent
Give Gillian Anderson all the awards for this speech alone. I've loved the bit of role reversal we've gotten this season: because Scully had the apocalyptic vision, she's been the one trusting her instincts, even when it goes against her much-loved Science and Reason.
This Week's Loser/Human Hybrid
Those DOD PABs got theirs. #NOREGERTS
From the Bureau Survaillance Files
"Oh my god, this is so inadequate." - Scully, crushing our hearts and eating them for breakfast.
"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." - William quoting Malcolm X
- Surely we haven't seen the last of William? He has become an even more important arc for Scully and Mulder than the whole apocalypse thing.
- I kept thinking that the Asian man would end up being Dr. Matsumoto, and I finally realized I thought that because the actor, François Chau, played almost that exact character on LOST! Remember Pierre Chang, the man that worked on secret government projects in the 70s and starred in all the DHARMA Initiative orientation videos?
- We're about halfway through our very seriously not kidding this time 100% for real final season. Can they wrap all this up in the episodes that are left? I'm sort of loving the way they've been weaving the mythology into the Monster of the Week episodes, so the change in tone (after that premeire, at least) hasn't been so breakneck.