‘X-Files’ Recap: Ghouli Unmasks (And Remasks) Mulder And Scully’s Long-Lost Son

We still need a minute to catch our breath after last night’s episode of The X-Files. Finally, we’ve come face to face with Mulder and Scully’s son, William (aka Jackson Van De Camp), a teenage alien/human hybrid with powers that go way beyond the ability to infect Scully’s dreams with his apocalyptic visions—although that’s how everything starts off. A dream leads Mulder and Scully to their son after Scully gets a transmission featuring an image of the scene of a terrible knife fight between two teenage girls (both of whom William is dating—are we sure David Duchovny’s not the father?).

The “prank” gone wrong is based on a Slenderman-esque internet meme that both the girls have completely bought into. This one’s named Ghouli, and when the girls finally meet it they don’t react the way William/Jackson predicted. Instead of screaming and running away like he thought they’d do, they end up stabbing each other to within an inch of their lives, each seeing the other as Ghouli. And that’s the kid’s gift: he can create an alternate reality with his mind so that the people around him see what he wants them to see. A nurse, an insectoid monster, a dead teenage boy, the author of a book on how to pick up women, Scully.

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Because of his gift, the DOD (and several other government agencies) are after William. They want him and the other subjects of Project Crossroads, the alien/human DNA experiment, dead. William knows it and, after playing dead for awhile, he goes on the run—but not without an apology one last goodbye to his girlfriend(s). He’s a good kid.

The stop at the hospital where both girlfriends are recovering nicely from the stab wounds they inflicted on each other is what costs William his clean getaway. DOD agents flood the ward where he is before Scully and Mulder can reach him. Using his powers of mental masking, William gets away—and at this point, we’re confused. Since he was never actually dead, it means he heard every word of that heart-wrenching speech Scully gave over his body bag. Why would he not stop to show himself and let them help him?

Instead, William protects himself each time he talks with Scully, disguising his face with a mental mask that looks like a friendly, Malcom X-quoting old man. He then disappears on a cross-country road trip, telling his mother that the world is about to change.

Can William really see the future or are his visions just dark fantasies? The episode would cast serious doubt on Scully’s belief that a worldwide pandemic is coming if we weren’t also in on the CSM’s plan. How soon until he—with Skinner’s help—finds William, his son?

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