The X-Files Season 11 Episode 5 Review: Ghouli

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Well, that was undoubtedly a simple case of the week to tell a rather complicated story.

On The X-Files Season 11 Episode 5, the theory of alternate realities was given play again interwoven with dreams and aliens and a hint of cigarette smoke wafting through the room.

There were so many little reveals that I'm not even sure I'll know what the hell I'm talking about, but let's give this a go!

Attacking Monsters - The X-Files

Something that stuck out to me like a megawatt flashlight directly into my eyeballs was the discussion Scully had with the woman I suppose was Jackson Van de Kamp's therapist. 

It was important because she was trying to understand Jackson/William just a little bit better and was even offering the therapist some pertinent information to help her hone her interpretation of the boy's possible traumas and what caused them. 

Specifically, Scully talked about witnessing the pandemic wiping out the population to which Jackson, who had been experimented on by aliens, was the key to saving all and how the situation ended with a UFO hovering over the 14th street bridge. 

The woman wondered how it would even be possible for him to see something like that. With all the disjointedness of the "My Struggle" episodes, are they supposed to be in the future? Is that why they make so little sense in connection to what we see now?

It doesn't entirely fit for what we saw not to have taken place, but it doesn't fit for it to have taken place, either. This is The X-Files, after all. X-perts, please weigh in.

On the Boat - The X-Files Season 11 Episode 5

Skinner hanging out with the Smoking Man is disappointing on any level, but everything about those two and William is also confusing. That said, I'm on board with Project Crossroads.

Suggesting William is an alien hybrid makes as much sense as Scully being immortal. What doesn't make sense is why the average DNA clinic doesn't notice things when doing a DNA test. 

Does The X-Files now operate in a world in which aliens are the norm? If The X-Files Season 10 Episode 6 already happened and the spaceships hovering over bridges was the norm, it would make sense, but I'm already questioning that. That and the lack of chatter on the pandemic.

It seems unlikely a DNA tech wouldn't get excited to see William's DNA and Scully's for that matter, as they're not the norm, right?

Looking for Suspects - The X-Files Season 11 Episode 5

William's connection with Scully wasn't as significant as she hoped it would be, either, which is also of interest. And also points to this story being pre "My Struggle II." She doesn't know that, but if what he said to his girlfriends was true, he merely felt the pull and went with it.

He's a normal kid with abnormal abilities that had to adjust to ease his pain. That only made Scully's talk over what she thought was his dead body all the more agonizing.

I don't know if you are who I think you might be, but if you are, this is what I'd say. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry that I didn't get a chance to know you or you get a chance to know me or your father. I gave you up for adoption not because I didn't want you or because you were any less loved. I was trying to keep you safe. I hope you know that. And maybe, maybe I should have had the courage to stand by you, but I thought I was being strong because it was the hardest thing I had ever done. To let go and know that I was going to miss your whole life but it turns out that this is the hardest thing, to see the outcome and how I failed you. I need you to know that I never forgot you and I thought, I felt, even recently that we were going to somehow be reunited. I wish I could have been there to ease your pain. Oh my god. This is so inadequate. I'm just so sorry. I'm so sorry. [sobs]


Thumbing Through Pictures - The X-Files Season 11 Episode 5

I recognized the man at the boat on the back of The Pickup Artist right away. Of course, a teenage boy would want to mask himself in a hero's body. The book worked for him, even if his powers might have thrown William off the good boyfriend track.

What's hard to understand about Smoking Man and his connection to William is why he would send two stupid lackeys to kill William's parents, and why he wouldn't have demanded they return with William's body if he died in their siege.

Surely Smoking Man knew of William's abilities. He knows everything, right? Or maybe he's a little more out of it than we've been led to believe. That would be a bit of a comfort if we didn't know what his plans include.

The more I think about it, the more I believe the "My Struggle" episodes are supposed to take place in the future. The pieces aren't fitting right. Where would the cutoff be? Did The X-Files Season 10 have more references in between to connect them, or were they genuinely standalone like The X-Files Season 11 Episode 1?

The Pickup Artist - The X-Files Season 11 Episode 5

I like the addition of William, however brief. It's about time Scully gets some peace in her life. But knowing how short-lived it will be as a result of the departure of Gillian Anderson, it makes the final episodes of The X-Files Season 11 even more important.

Can an arc decades in the making be pulled off in short order? 

I know I'm getting ahead of myself here, but I'm more certain than ever Smoking Man is not the father of Scully's baby, only the man who added alien DNA. And while I believe there is alien DNA, I don't understand why people don't get excited when they see it.

Is Skinner really so desperate to survive the upcoming apocalypse he'd work with Smoking Man to save his own skin or is he working an angle? 

After you watch The X-Files online, come back and share your thoughts. I might be more confused than ever. Go ahead and call me on it. It's not like you haven't before!

Ghouli Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (20 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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The X-Files Season 11 Episode 5 Quotes

We have no proof that the body is William, Scully.


Barista: Bob! Double shot cappuccino extra foam.
Scully: Bob?
Mulder: Like I want to explain "Fox" for the millionth time.