X-Files Review – “William”

The fourth-last X-Files episode aired last night.
It looks like these final five all deal with the
mytharc. They’re trying to tie up loose ends, so
I don’t see how to really keep the reviews and
discussions spoiler-free and useful. So, the
score was 31 out of 42. The spoilerish
discussion follows.

Cast

Robert
Patrick

as John Doggett
Annabeth
Gish
as
Agent Reyes
Gillian
Anderson
as Dana Scully
Mitch
Pileggi
as Walter Skinner

Chris
Owens
as the Deformed Man

Crew

Story by Chris
Carter
, David
Duchovny
and Frank
Spotnitz

Teleplay by Chris
Carter

Directed by David
Duchovny

Original Airdate


William
originally aired on
Sunday,
April 28,
2002.

Synopsis

After a late night at work, Doggett starts to
head home, only to catch
a man breaking into the X-Files office stealing
the files regarding
Samantha Mulder. The very disfigured individual
soon proves to be
very familiar with the X-Files, and with recent
events in Scully’s
personal life. He claims that Mulder told him
the details of all of
this. Doggett begins to suspect he is Fox
Mulder, and DNA tests
confirm that idea. Scully refuses to believe
that’s true, though. He
gains their trust enough for Scully to bring him
to her apartment,
where she had hidden the files he came
specifically for. While there,
he injects William with a form of magnetite.
(This is presumably the
same form that killed the shadow man back in
TrustNo1.) A
thourough examination of the baby shows that,
apart from the presence
of the magnetite in his blood, he’s perfectly
normal.

At this point, Scully realizes that this is not
Mulder, but Mulder’s
half brother Jeffrey Spender, who had been
disfigured but not killed
by a gunshot wound to the face in One
Son
. He and Mulder are
half brothers, which is why the DNA test came up
as a match for
Mulder. He convinces Scully that the people who
disfigured him will
keep hunting her now-normal baby for the rest of
his life, so Scully
chooses to give William up for adoption. He is
adopted by a nice
family that live out in the middle of nowhere,
where he is unable to
make the mobile spin with his mind. (The mobile
was a bunch of white
buffalos. See The Blessing Way for
explanation of that
imagery.)

High Point

Exit the demon sprog. This is the most sensible
decision Scully has
made in her entire career as a mother.

Low Point

In Christmas Carol, we learned that the
FBI DNA labs are able
to distinguish DNA finely enough to know that
Emily was Dana Scully’s
not, and not Melissa Scully’s. Now it can’t
distinguish between half
brothers. That seems very inconsistent to me.

That’s not the worst part, though. CSM shot
Jeffrey Spender in the
face, and didn’t kill him? If he wanted to kill
him, he could have
left him there to rot. If he didn’t want to kill
him, why did he aim
for the face? Jeffrey should not have survived
to return this week.

The Review

This premise of this episode is new for The
X-Files. In that respect, it’s
original. In terms of the kind of
stress Scully was facing,
it was too much like TrustNo1 for my
tastes. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The effects this week were limited to
makeup effects.
However, I have to give them a lot of credit for
that very convincing
hole in the face. 5 out of 6.

The story was minimal. This was about
how Scully would react
to the possibility of Mulder returning as
something else. The plot
was simple to follow and slow moving. I give it
3 out of 6.

The acting this week was very good.
Chris Owens did a great
job mixing Mulder’s mannerisms with Spender’s.
He threw off his voice
so it wouldn’t be immediately recognizable.
Gillian Anderson really
conveyed the appearance of a woman who’s trying
very hard not to break
under extreme stress. Everyone else was
perepheral, and did their
best to just stay out of the way. I give it 5
out of 6.

The emotional response this week was
alright. I was
interested in finding out how the episode would
be resolved despite
the fact that I recognized Chris Owens under all
that makeup. I give
it 4 out of 6.

The production was excellent. David
Duchovny is a much better
director now than when he directed The
Unnatural
and
Hollywood, A. D.. Mark Snow’s
understated score worked well,
and Bill Roe’s dark photography helped to
emphasize the levity of the
situation, and the need for secrecy. I give it 5
out of 6.

Overall, this was a good episode to run
in the last few
episodes. It did a nice job of resolving a
character whose death
seemed unimportant at the time (which almost
makes sense now that
there was no death.) It also took care of
William Scully in a way
that makes sense in context, and prevents him
from slowing things down
in the future. Finally, it even included an
impact on the mythology
when they made William Scully normal. I give it
5 out of 6.

In total, William received 31 out of 42.

The Coming Weeks

On May 5, we get Release, which looks to
bring
up some old demons regarding John Doggett’s son.
On May 12, we get
Sunshine Days, about a guy who is
obsessed with The Brady
Bunch
. On May 19, the broadcast starts an
hour earlier than
normal for the two hour series finale, The
Truth
.

6 replies on “X-Files Review – “William””

  1. eclectric says:

    Good, but there are some questions.
    First, I liked the episode as a whole. I don’t see how Dana can permanently give up William, no matter how much she wants to protect him. She’s given up too much in her life: William is the one thing that says “look, you didn’t win.” I expect him back with her in the finale (unless she dies, of course).

    DNA: This is entirely inconsistent with DNA science. A cursory look at a DNA sample will tell you if two samples are not the same person, especially when those two people are half-brothers. Indeed, the only way for the test to have come back as “Fox Mulder” would be for it to have either *been* his skin, or for them to be twins.

    Almost from the start, I guessed that it was Spender. The voice was well disguised, but something seemed vaguely familiar. The problem was that the impression of Spender kept coming and going (until he put on that silly wig. Then it was obvious. This isn’t a complaint: they did very well to cover it up, and it’s almost impossible to have a person try to hide who they are, even with radically altered face and voice. Like Dana said, you know a person in many more ways than a simple test can reveal.

    Why in the *world* did both Doggett and Rayes go into Scully’s room and close the door to tell her that the DNA was Fox’s? From that instant, I wondered “who’s keeping an eye on the baby, and on “Miller.” Doggett’s shocked impression when he realized that “Miller” was gone was priceless. He seemed to be saying “oh right, we have to keep an eye on this guy.”

    Increased iron count in William: does this means he’s cured, or that he’s now really super soldier? After all, the magnetic effect on the Super Soldiers has been known for a while, and I imagine an increase in iron would account for that.

    How did Dana put her baby up for adoption? Surely if she’s being watch by the Conspiracy, they will know where her baby has gone. The common-sense thing for her to do would be to flee *with* William. Staying in DC makes little sense.

    How *did* Spender know these things that supposedly only Fox would know? This is never explained.

    Finally: Why did Doggett jump to the conclusion that “Miller” was in fact Mulder? This seems more in line with Mulder’s often wide-reaching leaps of logic, and not at all in character with Doggett. Common sense says that now matter how disguised, Dana is going to know Mulder, period.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Good, but there are some questions.

      Increased iron count in William: does this means he’s
      cured, or that he’s now really super soldier? After
      all, the magnetic effect on the Super Soldiers has
      been known for a while, and I imagine an increase in
      iron would account for that.

      The iron has been around, but the magnetite was only
      seen when it destroyed the Shadow Man in
      TrustNo1. I’ve assumed for a while that the
      baby’s alien portions mustn’t develop fully until a
      later age, or one of the many medical exams a baby
      will undergo would reveal his abnormalities. So, the
      introduction of that magnetite into his bloodstream
      now could plausibly neutralize the alien components
      while leaving the human portion intact, turning him
      into a normal child.

      How *did* Spender know these things that supposedly
      only Fox would know? This is never explained.

      He knew about the magnetite, so he must have gained
      some access to information when in custody. That may
      have included the existence and nature of Scully’s
      child. Still, if he knows this much, he should know
      more. Doggett strikes me as the kind of guy who’d
      hold Spender there and try to find out all the answers
      he possibly can. He’s a valuable resource, who should
      be around for the rest of the series.

      Finally: Why did Doggett jump to the conclusion that
      “Miller” was in fact Mulder? This seems more in line
      with Mulder’s often wide-reaching leaps of logic, and
      not at all in character with Doggett. Common sense
      says that now matter how disguised, Dana is going to
      know Mulder, period.

      Agreed. I think someone had to say it
      to forward the story, and it couldn’t have been
      Scully. It should have been Reyes.

  2. jjmahoney007 says:

    She did what?
    I only caught the second half of the show (power outage that ruined my night of Fear and X-Files watching). But I must have missed something in the end. Reading that she gave William up for adoption threw me off. I thought that baby at the end was just a different baby, possibly a clone of William (like in the “Eve” from years back with all the clones). I didn’t see that she gave him up for adoption. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: She did what?

      I only caught the second half of the show (power
      outage that ruined my night of Fear and X-Files
      watching). But I must have missed something in the
      end. Reading that she gave William up for adoption
      threw me off. I thought that baby at the end was just
      a different baby, possibly a clone of William (like in
      the “Eve” from years back with all the clones). I
      didn’t see that she gave him up for adoption. Maybe I
      wasn’t paying attention.

      The teaser showed those two people
      accepting the adopted son. Then the start of act one
      began with “One Week Earlier.” Add Scully’s speech
      at the end, and I’m sure that’s William.

  3. rickyjames says:

    Clear The Chessboard…
    Fox is advertising these final eps as “Endgame” and I agree – they’re clearing off the chess pieces right and left at an alarming clip. First the Gunmen, now William…and we confirm (?) once and for all that CSM is Mulder’s true father…The thing I’m worried about is that at this rate we’re about to wrap this whole thing up TOO neatly. With only 4 hours to go, how can you get to a Happy Ending where the alien invasion is thwarted after SO MANY plot twists and turns for nearly a decade? Plus, I’m STILL confused about the whole William / supersoldier thing. OK, they’re part alien, but it’s an intentional blending that has been engineered in by the US Government as a last ditch attempt to avoid colonization, right? But how is/was any of this supposed to stop the alien invasion, which with the death of the syndicate and hybridization of Cassandra Spender, has no further roadblocks? Where are the TRUE aliens – like the Bounty Hunter, who always viewed the purity of their stock to be so important? Somehow I seem to have just missed a major mytharc point…

    • aguy says:

      Re: Clear The Chessboard…

      …The thing I’m worried about is that at this rate we’re about to wrap this whole thing up TOO neatly.

      Don’t worry. I’m sure there are movies to come…so they won’t dare tie up all the loose ends…they’re more likely to tie up a few more, but then do a bait-and-switch and change the path of the conspiracy.

      Remember, you heard it here first

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