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The X-Files - Founder's Mutation - Post Mortem

The X-FilesFollowing the review is a very detailed recap of the episode, including quotes.

The X-Fies returns with a monster-of-the-week for it's second episode of the season. This episode, which is about eugenics and psychokinesis, fits into the classically creepy episodes that the show is known for. That being said, it does bring in some connections with the mythology, which I appreciated, such as talking about alien-human hybrids, and of course the discussion of William.

There were a lot of good moments in the episode. One that sticks out is Skinner helping the agents out, telling them that it will take awhile to close out the case, basically giving them more time before the DOD will put a stop to their investigation.

There are also some great visual effects as well as realistic makeup effects that are quite affective in adding to the creep factor.

This episode also had an excellent action sequence when Mulder and Scully are thrown on the ground.

The only thing I'm not so sure about in the episode are the scenes where Mulder and Scully were thinking about William. I appreciate the continuity, as well as the discussions they had about him, and I get the point - that they were seeing what could be, but also their worse nightmares come true (i.e. William an alien or being abducted), but I'm not sure in the scheme of things if their ruminations were really necessary, as they didn't have any real impact. Maybe if they were actual nightmares instead it would have fit better.

Regardless, the episode was a great monster-of-the-week.

TEASER

The X-FilesA man, Dr. Sonny Sanjay, uses a retinal scanner to enter the area of the building he works in. His eyes are red-rimmed and he looks sick. Another man starts talking to him when Sanjay starts to hear a loud high-pitched noise that is painful that no one else can here. The second man asks him if he is okay, but the noise stops and Sanjay just brushes it off.

Sanjay and the man enter a meeting. The head of it is saying that the founder of the company, Augustus Goldman, looked at all the data and wants a do-over. The others argue with him, because they've done months of trials. During this, Sanjay starts hearing the loud noise again and is in a lot of pain, his eyes bleeding a bit.

Outside birds fall from the sky dead. His colleagues voices are muffled, but he does hear someone saying to get the data now. He jumps up from his seat from the pain, questioning that no one can hear it, then just runs out.

Sanjay goes to a computer terminal in the server room and locks himself in. He starts transferring data when the others start pounding to get in, trying to figure out what is going on. Eventually someone starts drilling the lock.

The noise continues to get louder and he screams in pain dropping to the floor. He frantically writes something on his palm in pen and then grabs a letter opener and jabs it into his ear canal and into his brain, dropping dead.

ACT ONE

Mulder and Scully have arrived on the scene. Mulder, checking out the body, asks Scully what she thinks happened. She says she thinks he had a psychotic break, judging by the fact that he committed suicide.

SCULLY: Note the letter opener sticking out of his head.
MULDER: Noted.

The X-FilesMulder says that he meant the room - the man was in a secure room where the computer terminal was - the only place to get data off of the isolated servers.

Mulder starts to take the computer hard drive, but is stopped by a man, Lindquist, who tells Mulder to give it to him, because it is classified. The company works for the Department of Defense. Scully says that they have security clearance, but apparently that's only to be in the room. He also won't let them interview anyone else and won't confirm that he even knows where Goldman is. Scully then tells him she wants to see the security footage. Meanwhile, Mulder steals the dead man's phone.

Walking out Mulder opens the phone.

SCULLY: Mulder, that's not your phone.
MULDER: You know me, Scully. I'm old school.

She tells him that he needs a warrant, but he quips that that is for suspects; Sanjay is a victim and therefore won't mind them talking to his friends.

There is one person Sanjay talked to nightly - someone called Gupta. Scully says that the word also a Marathi word that means "secret."

MULDER: How do you know that?
SCULLY: I'm old school, Mulder - pre-Google.

Mulder goes to a bar to meet Gupta. He starts to introduce himself, but the man says no names. Mulder tells him that he wants to talk in private, as a man is staring at them. Gupta says he doesn't know him well enough, but Mulder assures him that he can trust him. The exchange seems slightly out of place, but it's not until they head into a closet that you realize why, when Gupta moves to unzip Mulder and pleasure him. Mulder, is shocked and stops him, awkwardly telling him that he didn't mean what he thought. Gupta just goes on about him being repressed and he should stop tormenting himself. Mulder just jumps out of the closet and tells him that Sanjay is dead.

FBI MORGUE WASHINGTON, D.C.

The X-FilesScully performs an autopsy on Sanjay. The letter opener went through to his brain, which is the probable cause of death. She notices something written on his hand.

Back in the bar, Mulder is talking to an upset Gupta, who says that Sanjay had been distant, but he thought it was him. Sanjay called him every night, but there was nothing physical.

Mulder asks Gupta if he knew of any problems Sanjay had at work. He just replies that Sanjay was upset and thought his kids were dying. Mulder says that he was single, but Gupta just says he didn't push him, just just tried to make him feel better.

Mulder says that he saw where he lived; Sanjay lived an antiseptic life. Gupta mentions that he lived two lives and therefore had two separate places.

Scully calls Mulder, and he comes to the morgue. She tells Mulder that she had to break Sanjay's fingers to get his hand open, but that written on the palm is "founder's mutation." Mulder tells her that founder is what they called Goldman, but she doesn't think that that was the mutation he was referring to.

During the autopsy she found no abnormalities, but he destroyed his acoustic nerve when the opener went into his cerebral cortex. Mulder notices that the angle he inserted it changed like he was hunting for something. Scully says that it ended up in his auditory cortex. Before he committed suicide, in the meeting, he asked if anyone could hear what he could.

Mulder suggests that ultimately hearing is nerve impulses interpreted by the brain and asks what if the same impulses could be generated without vibrations striking the ear drum. Regardless, he wants to go to the other home where Sanjay actually lived.

DUPONT CIRCLE WASHINGTON D.C.

In the car, Scully says it's hard to imagine that in 2016 he had to keep who he was secret, but Mulder says that he thinks being gay wasn't his only secret.

Suddenly a kid on a bike almost runs into their car, but he is fine and runs off.

The agents enter the apartment, and Scully finds something. On the wall are photos of children with horrible deformities. Mulder comments that none of them look older than ten. Scully guesses from the backgrounds in the photos that they might have been taking in a clinical setting and might be in a hospital.

Suddenly there are police car lights outside; they must have triggered an alarm. Mulder continues to dig and opens a drawer. He suddenly clutches his head and falls to his knees as he hears the loud noise that causes him pain.

The police are coming. Scully goes out and identifies that they are FBI. Meanwhile, Mulder can hear words from somewhere that say "find her" and "help me."

ACT TWO

The two agents are in Skinner's office. He asks if Scully has anything to add. She says to look at the files, but he says he can't, and she quips that they are right over there on the side of the desk.

A DOD agent, Murphy, from over in the corner of the room says that they are classified and are property of the Department of Defense. Scully, ignoring him, says that she read them, and that they are medical records of children with grave genetic abnormalities, and how they relate to Sanjay's suicide is the object of their investigation. Skinner says that considering they just lost access to the files the investigation is closed. He says that he will submit their report to the proper authorities. The DoD agent is obviously is not happy.

MURPHY: Let me remind you Agents Mulder and Scully, dissemination of any classified material, either internally or publicly, will be dealt with harshly.
MULDER: I'm familiar with Edward Snowden.

The X-FilesOnce the agent leaves, Skinner questions them, assuming they made copies first. Mulder says that he managed some top sheets before the DOD took over. They think the children are failed experiments. Skinner questions that they suspect the Department of Defense is experimenting with genetic modification in humans. Scully just says that there are many troubling details and that Mulder has nothing else to add and they need time to prove their theory. For once Mulder listens and stays quiet.

Skinner quips:

SKINNER: The bureaucracy in the FBI has become increasingly complex and inefficient. It might take days for your incident report in order to close the investigation to make it through the proper channels. Welcome back you two.

Mulder comes into their basement office to find Scully looking at surveillance footage from the company, and is working on syncing the time codes to the time of Sanjay's suicide.

Scully asks him what happened to him earlier. She understands him not wanting to tell Skinner what happened, but she was with him and saw him on his knees in pain.

He confesses that he heard high frequency sounds that were like a steel spike being drilled into his head that then focused into to words, "find her."

Scully sees the dead birds in the one video and suggests that maybe they seeded the yard that morning. Mulder, ignoring her, talks about infrasounds, vibrations that are inaudible to the human ear but have been known to do things like drive worms to the surface in response to them. Scully questions though how that is connected to the birds, the suicide, and the genetic anomalies. What is he hiding? Mulder says that Goldman is the only one who might know how it fits together; they need to talk to him.

After a bit of silence, Mulder asks Scully what it is that she is hiding. She says that Sanjay heard the sounds right before he committed suicide - it could have been him. It's dangerous. Mulder asks her when that ever stopped them before.

Scully says that she might know how to get to Goldman.

OUR LADY OF SORROWS HOSPITAL
WASHINGTON, D.C.


At the hospital Scully works at, she talks to a woman who knows Goldman, as he has given them many donations. She tells Scully that he is very private, and without him they would not have the resources they do to help women in need.

Scully, knowing how to get what she wants says that Goldman is a blessing, and that's why they are there. She became aware that Goldman was being investigated - Mulder interjects "Obamacare" - and she wants to spare him the indignity of having the government come unannounced and instead want to meet with him in private.

The woman says that she can't be the conduit for the FBI with one of their donors. Scully comments that she has worked there for seven years and she knows her; she wouldn't ask if it wasn't important.

Falling for Scully's lie, she agrees to at least relay a message. Mulder jumps in and says to ask him if he will talk to them about the founder's mutation.

The X-FilesWhen she walks away, a pregnant young woman, Agnes, motions to them from another room where there are other pregnant women. She says she has to get out of there and asks if they have a car and gets upset when Scully questions her, thinking that they won't help. Scully tells her that she is a doctor and can tell her anything. Agnes tells her that she doesn't belong there - she doesn't care what she signed. Scully says that the hospital is only concerned weight the health of her and her baby. She tells Scully that it's her baby, and she changed her mind; she doesn't want to give it up; she doesn't care if he's sick.

Mulder questions her and she says that the ultrasound showed something was wrong, but she felt something was since she got pregnant, but everyone there has the same story.

The woman that the agents were talking to starts to come back, and Agnes, scared, blurts out not to say anything; she was just kidding. Mulder hands Agnes her a card and says she can contact him any time. She takes off.

The woman comes in and says that Goldman said he'd be happy to meet with them.

Scully asks her how the patients are chosen to be there. She says that they are homeless or damaged one way or another from alcohol or drugs, or have no father in the picture. She makes a comment about lying men, and then says as long is there is a need, they will provide for them.

Planet of the Apes plays in the background on the television.

Outside Mulder tells Scully that it is insidious. It's a ward for women payed for by Goldman, who has deep ties to the Department of Defense, and this could be another phase of the project on experiments in eugenics. The women could all be incubators.

Scully tells him that she's not a fragile little girl. She realizes that this is what he suspected all along but was afraid to articulate to her. She questions if that is what he thinks happened to her fifteen years ago when she got pregnant and had the baby. Was she just an incubator?

MULDER: You're never *just* anything to me, Scully.

Scully asks him if he ever thinks about William, and he confirms that he does, but felt like he had to put it behind him.

Scully says that he would be fifteen now, and she's missed every year of his life. She sometimes hates herself for not having the courage to stand by him. Mulder reminds her that she did it to keep him safe. The adoption was a secret as well as the location, because they had to protect him.

Scully asks if she thinks William was an experiment, but Mulder doesn't know. Scully asks him what if he is out there somewhere like one of the kids on Sanjay's wall fighting for his life. Mulder tells her that all they can do is pull the thread and see what it unravels.

The X-FilesAt her home, Scully has a sort of daydream, thinking about what it could have been like with William: dropping him off at school and then picking him up, only to have him want to take off with his friends.

Suddenly what she sees changes and he's being put into an ambulance, because he broke his arm. She assures him everything will be okay.

Next she is at home in her pajamas and hears him call for her. She goes into the bathroom and he turns to her, his face deformed like an alien, and asks what is happening to him.

Back in the real world, Scully is holding a photo of William as a baby.

ACT THREE

GOLDMAN TECHNOLOGY
WASHINGTON, D.C.

The agents talk to Goldman about founder's mutation, and tell him that Sanjay had written it on his hand. He tells them that it was dramatic, but meaningless.

Scully tells Goldman that she has read some of his work, and that it primarily deals with genetic manipulation. He tells her that they are trying to save children.

He tells them that he won't tell them their last names to protect their privacy, but he will allow them to meet some of the patients.

The patients are in hospital rooms behind glass, looking out.

Goldman lists their ailments as the patients are shown, all with varying degrees of genetic deformities - Proteus syndrome, Crouzon syndrome, all kinds of cancerous tumors, epidermal dysplasia, Pitt-Hawkins syndrome, ichthyosis, and Marfan syndrome. He says that the patients' families don't pay anything.

They stop at Adam's door and Scully talks to him behind the glass. The boy has a large tumor on his face, covering one eye. Scully asks him how long he has been there, and he replies, "forever." When she asks about his parents, he tells her that he doesn't have any.

Goldman tells her that he was sent to them as a baby with a form of Crouzon syndrome.

Scully, knowing that they are genetic abnormalities and not contagious, asks why they are sealed in the room. Closing up and starting to get annoyed, he declares that they are working with therapies not available anywhere in the world, and that they need to eliminate all of the environmental factors that could affect the outcome. They are searching for the key to all genetic abnormalities.

Scully, putting the pieces together, suggests that they are using DNA and questions that that isn't why they are being funded by the Department of Defense. He just says that he was told she was the rational one.

Suddenly a girl, Molly, starts yelling and fighting the orderlies.

Done listening, Goldman tells them that Sarah will show them out.

SCULLY: He didn't answer my question.

Mulder receives a text and tells Scully that something has happened to Agnes.

They arrive at the scene where Agnes was found after being killed in a hit and run with no witnesses. The police found Mulder's card in her pocket.

Scully asks about the baby, but the detective didn't realize she had been pregnant. The baby is gone.

Scully does an autopsy and reveals to Mulder that she died from blunt force trauma, probably from the impact of the car. Her lungs were punctured from broken ribs and her skull crushed. The baby was surgically removed, but she couldn't tell if it was alive. She says that they got rid of it because it was proof of the experiments.

Mulder thinks the baby could have survived, but Scully tells him that if an adult couldn't survive the impact, it's unlikely that the baby would have been viable. Mulder says that it would be unlikely for human fetuses.

He continues that in 1973 the Syndicate was convened to assist in a project to colonize the world by creating alien-human hybrids. The project was ultimately unsuccessful, but he doubts they ever stopped trying.

Scully comments that what he is talking about is changing the genetic makeup of a population - the next step in evolution. Mulder says that every new species begins with a founders mutation. One child with the correct combination of DNA could be a start.

Scully says that a study was published the previous year in Nature Communications, where someone found out that a Y chromosome in the majority of European men could be traced back to three individuals from the Bronze Age.

Mulder tells Scully that he dug through the police archives for anything related to Goldman, and found that seventeen years ago Jackie Goldman, his wife, was declared criminally insane and put in the hospital after she was convicted of murdering her baby, and that body was never found either.

ACT FOUR

SAINT ELIZABETH HOSPITAL
WASHINGTON, D.C.


Mulder and Scully try to talk to the woman at the institution, but she won't say anything, until a cat walks by the door and she throws an apple at it and misses.

MULDER: You don't like cats?

The X-FilesShe asks what they want. She won't talk about her husband, as he is the one keeping her there.

Mulder asks her if she misses her daughter. She says that she does - she loved Molly, but felt there was something odd about her from the day she was born. She didn't know for sure until she was two. Molly fell in the pool, and no one had noticed. She was underwater for ten minutes when she found her, and she should have been dead. She never told anyway, but when she found her, she was not only alive, but breathing under water. The other mothers thought it was a miracle, but she knew that her husband did something to the embryo; used it for his research. At the time she was pregnant and not about to let him have her son.

In the flashback, Jackie grabs a knife and slices her husbands arm while she's trying to leave.

Jackie says that he took Molly and hid her. She got in the car and just drove. He worked for the government, so she couldn't trust anyone. She was driving too fast when an animal came into the road. She panicked and crashed. She thought she was going to die, but then she heard the sound so loud and piercing, and it hurt in her head. She knew that he was talking to her the only way he knew how, and she knew what she had to do.

She continues that they said she killed her baby, but she didn't - she let him out.

The flashback shows her crawling out from under the car, and then taking the knife from her purse and slicing open her stomach.

She passed out from the blood loss and woke up in the hospital. She never saw her son again, but thinks of him every day.

SCULLY: A mother never forgets.

Out in the hallway, Scully tells Mulder that everything she knows about psychology tells her that Jackie is delusional, but there is something that she trusts.

Mulder says that Jackie heard the tone like he did, and she questions that he thinks that the baby communicated with him the same way that he did with his mother. Mulder tells her that he wouldn't be a baby anymore.

Mulder suddenly realizes something when he sees the janitor. Upon asking, he finds out that he was subcontracted and works for A-1 Janitorial.

Watching the surveillance videos again, Mulder points out the janitor on one of them. A-1 Janitorial also services Nugenics. The man is cleaning the room above Sanjay at the time of his death, not more than fifteen feet from him. They see the man react when Sanjay dies. The young man, Kyle Gilligan, was a high school dropout hired by A1 janitorial services there, and he also worked at Saint Elizabeth's the previous month.

ACT FIVE

The X-FilesThe agents track down where the janitor lives and talk to his mother. They tell her they want to talk to Kyle about what happened at work, but she gets upset and won't let them. She says that she doesn't want to expose him to stressful situations; it's not good for him, and he won't understand it. He's also a minor and she won't allow it.

Mulder comments that she didn't give birth to Kyle and asks her where she found him after the accident. She starts to yell and tells them to leave. Mulder continues that her son is unique and asks if she ever wondered why.

Suddenly dead birds drop from the sky, and the woman, obviously frightened, says that bad things happen when the birds gather.

Mulder falls to the ground clutching his head when he hears the noise again.

Scully goes after Kyle, and when she confronts him, she tells him to stop whatever he is doing. Meanwhile his mother tells Mulder that he didn't know what he was doing; he was just trying to protect her. Scully questions him that that is true as Mulder helps her get him into their car.

The mother yells to stop as they ignore her and pull away with her son.

Mulder asks Kyle why he killed Sanjay, and he says that he didn't want him to die; Sanjay was helping him. Mulder says that he can get inside people's heads and make them hear things.

Kyle can't control it; he just wants to find his sister.

They realize his sister is Molly; while working at the hospital he heard Jackie - his mother's - story. He has to find his sister.

Mulder tells him that no one knows where she is, but Scully says that she knows who does know.

Mulder and Scully bring Kyle in to see Goldman, and he checks him out, taking some blood. Kyle asks him where Molly is, and Goldman asks him how he knows that name. He tells him that his mother told him to find her. Goldman questions what he would do if he found her, but Kyle isn't sure. He tells Kyle that he is going to let him meet Molly.

Goldman brings Kyle to a girl who asks what his name is, but he knows after a few seconds that it is not his sister and runs off upset.

The X-FilesKyle finds another dark haired girl behind glass and realizes it is her. She talks to him psychically that she didn't know she had a brother. The put their hands against each other and Kyle uses his sound/vibration to break the glass. He asks if she is ready.

Mulder, Scully, and Goldman have caught up with them. She begs her father to just let them go. He screams at Kyle to get away from her.

Scully pulls her gun as Goldman starts holding his head from hearing the noise. Molly uses her vibrations to throw first Scully and then Mulder across the room. Kyle continues to hurt their father, until blood pours from his eyes, mouth, and nose, and he dies.

Outside, Skinner talks to Mulder and Scully once they come out. The Department of Defense has control of the facility now, and as such, the FBI no longer has jurisdiction. No one has found Molly or Kyle. Mulder was the last to see them.

MULDER: I blacked out after Goldman's eyes popped out of their sockets. Believe me, you can't unsee that.

Mulder shows Scully that he has the vial of Kyle's blood.

While sitting at his kitchen table, Mulder has a daydream of William. First they are watching a movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Mulder talks to him about the meaning of the monolith. He says that some people think that it represents first contact with aliens; other people think it is the beginning of human knowledge; someday he will probably have his own ideas about it.

Next they are outside and Mulder is helping William to set off some rockets. William is having trouble because the fin broke on his, and he says space is hard. Mulder does an impression, quoting JFK about going to the moon.

William says they will send Mulder's up first. He tells his father that he's going up there someday.

The scene changes and Mulder sees William screaming as he is being pulled from his bed, not dissimilar to his memory of his sister Samantha's abduction.

Back in reality, Mulder is clutching the same photo of baby William that Scully had.

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