In Review: The X-Files, Episode 2 “Founder’s Mutation”

This is what an X-Files episode should be! Shocks, twists, and an uncomfortable, creepy tone.

The X-Files, Episode 2 “Founder’s Mutation” Broadcast on January 25, 2016

Written by James Wong

Directed by Jame Wong

“Previously on The X-Files,” Fox Mulder gives a quick summary of the series accompanied by some of the photographs from the previous episode’s opening. After an image of him with Dana Scully, he says, “In 2001 we had a child together, but had to put him up for adoption to hide him from those who wished him harm.” In 2002 the X-Files were closed, but recent events have the department reopened. In private, Dana reveals to Fox that she has learned she has alien DNA. Cue opening title sequence.

Dr. Sonny Sanjay opens his bloody eye to allow it to be scanned by a computer that allows him access to the Nungenics building. After entering the facility, a sharp, high pitched noise causes him extreme discomfort. A co-worker asks if he’s okay, but he lies, “It’s nothing.” At a meeting Sanjay and his group are told by a superior that their work has been deemed inadequate by their reclusive benefactor, Augustus Goldman, who wants them to do a “do-over” on their data. As voices are raised, time slows for Sanjay and the painful noise resumes. He looks outside and sees a tremendous murder of crows. His hand begins to twitch, the voices in the room irritate him more, and he cries out, “Can’t anyone hear that?” He runs from the meeting into a high tech room filled with computers. Outside the glass partition, co-workers bang on the door, pleading with him to open it. The sound returns, he grabs a pen and furiously writes something on his hand. The noise becomes too much and he takes a letter opener and jams it into his head. The noise stops. Cue opening title sequence.

Wow! This was an X-Files episode! The story was creepy, grotesque, frightening, and had a terrific ending. On top of the mystery of the noise and the work of Augustus Goldman, there is a lot focus on Mulder and Scully’s thoughts about their son William. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson played the scenes involving their son beautifully, showing the pain of their child’s absence and how he has not left them. The mystery of the episode starts horrifically and blows up into something twisted. It’s a familiar trope to most sci-fi fans, but writer/director James Wong, who’s co-written several of the series’ iconic episodes, adds enough new elements and visuals (birds, a pool, what’s behind the glass partitions, and that terrifying noise) to make this his own, and making this a soon-to-be classic tale. This had the agents working a case, in a dark room using their flashlights (YES!), one trying to save the other, and two classic sci-fi films making cameos. There’s also a fair share of graphic images, which had me happy my youngest daughter wasn’t around.

The good: A case, the story by Wong, the direction by Wong (in several sequences, but best with Scully and the youngster), the editing, Doug Savant, the frustration of Skinner from Mitch Pileggi, the effects, the make-up, and an excellent final image.

Fun lines: “Oh, we are finished. We’re finished,” “Not yet,” “The truth is in here,” “I’m familiar with Edward Snowden,” “Welcome back, you two,” “Find her,” “Obamacare,” “No offense,” and “What’s happening to me?

The bad: One story nit: How’d they get the individual in the car, when that individual had the obvious upper hand? Seemed like there was a scene missing.

The final line: This is what an X-Files episode should be! Shocks, twists, and an uncomfortable, creepy tone. This is what you show people to become fans of the series! Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
    2 Comments on this post.
  • Todd Adams
    26 January 2016 at 7:39 pm -

    Let me say this right now… Its Skinner. Its ALWAYS BEEN Skinner.

    • Patrick Hayes
      27 January 2016 at 5:33 am -

      I agree!

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