By Josh Melo
‘The X-Files’ Review – S10 Ep.2 (Founder’s Mutation)
Employing a much looser feel, Founder’s Mutation is a lot more at home with classic X-Files tropes. Adopting a “freak of the week” approach to it’s second episode, the revival seems to have found it’s footing. The actors are more comfortable, the story is engaging from start to finish… but what happened to the global conspiracy?
As a whole, Founder’s Mutation is a step ahead of the season premiere. For the most part, the clunky dialogue issue seems to have been solved and the callbacks to past storylines aren’t nearly as forced (though the flashbacks could have been a bit more seamless). My biggest question is, what happened to following up on the conspiracy they just uncovered? Aside from a quick mention of the syndicate, there are no connections to the faux abduction scandal. With a lot of the groundwork lain and only 6 (now 4) episodes to work with, any attempt at a larger story has to be implemented quickly. Unless the next string of episodes dedicates the majority of their run time to explaining the massive questions left behind from the premiere The X-Files revival will end up disappointing a lot of fans.
With that out of the way, I actually really enjoyed the episode. My largest complaint from the premiere was the uninterested tone Duchovny and Anderson seemed to have embraced. Thankfully, that’s mostly done away with. Anderson’s Scully is still unusually sullen but then again, she always has been. Duchovny on the other hand looks like he has found the fun again. Throwing in a few brief moments of humor (that closet scene!) and an abundance of sarcasm, Mulder is in fine form here.
The opening scene was a perfect blend of science fiction crazy and disturbing. Sanjay plunging an envelope opener into his skull was surprisingly graphic but helped cement the grisly reality of the show. Spinning off into a full-blown super powered missing person’s case dating back decades, the episode dives into some very dark territory that years of storytelling have helped the series traverse with ease. Relating these complex conspiracies to true genetic diseases grounds these outlandish theories in the real world. Its heightened reality at it’s finest.
As for the missing children, the climactic reunion of the two siblings felt rushed in comparison to the methodical approach the episode took getting there. Having the two of them simply disappear after so much effort also felt a little dissatisfying. With no connection to the larger workings of the narrative outside of implication (though I guess everything in The X-Files is based in implication) a dead end case feels cheap.
With all of the goings on centered around lost or abandoned children, Scully’s mind naturally wandered to the child she put up for adoption. Now that she knows she has alien DNA, her guilt over leaving the child behind is at an all time high. The sudden transitions to the dream world with her son, William, felt a little out of place but did mesh well with the themes running throughout Founder’s Mutation. Is this hinting at a possible return of their son this season? It’s a thread new fans are most likely unfamiliar with but long time viewers will certainly be intrigued by a 15 year old hybrid child showing up in Mulder and Scully’s lives.
Founder’s Mutation isn’t peak X-Files but it does inch ever closer to that target. Mulder and Scully feel more natural in this freak of the week scenario and the convenience of being able to lie back on classic X-Files tropes makes for better pacing overall. There are still a lot of unanswered questions and time is running out. If this is indeed a one and done revival, The X-Files has a lot of ground to cover over the next couple of weeks. Where is the smoking man? What happened to the syndicate’s global conspiracy? What’s up with the baby snatching? These are all on the minds of viewers; let’s get some answers.
Overall, Founder’s Mutation gets a 7.5/10.