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11x05 - Ghouli

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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Fri 2 Feb - 2:58

Opinion: Scully's Kid Sucks

Cheryl Eddy
Feb 2, 2018, 7:00pm



The most important X-Files character we had yet to meet finally made his debut this week. "Ghouli" brought the mysterious William - who Scully gave up for adoption soon after his birth in 2001 - out of her visions and into the real world at last... where he was revealed to be a bit of a f**kboy.

All images: Fox



"Ghouli", written and directed by series vet James Wong, begins with a supernatural riff on the Slender Man case. Two girls who've been drawn to an abandoned ferry believe they see a monster that they have read about on an internet forum, and brutally hack and stab at each other thinking each is the horrific creature. But that's kind of a red herring; once Agents Scully and Mulder are on the "Ghouli" case - after Scully has a vision that shows her that same abandoned ferry - The X-Files' increasingly frustrating mythology starts creeping into the story.



Side note: That ferry is called the Chimera, which, yes, is a deliberate and heavy-handed thematic tie-in.

Sharp-eared viewers will pick up on what's happening as soon as they learn that the teenagers, who are otherwise strangers, are dating the same boy, one Jackson Van De Kamp. Back in season nine, we learned that "Van De Kamp" was the last name of the family that adopted Scully's psychically gifted infant son, then named William. We were already reminded of the Van De Kamp name earlier this season, and the recent mythology episodes have focused, not unexpectedly, on the search for William's whereabouts.

To sum it up very briefly, he's a crucial missing puzzle piece in the Cigarette Smoking Man's evil plan to wipe out humankind with a virus that only those with alien-enhanced DNA will survive. Oh, and also, Mulder probably isn't William's father after all, despite what we've been told all these years, since CSM is now claiming he's the one who impregnated Scully.

Anyway, putting all that backstory aside, when we finally meet Jackson/William, he's already dead. Buzzkill!



Just kidding. William's able to make people see what he wants them to see, so while his adoptive parents are actually DOA - shot by the CSM-controlled government goons who bedevil Scully and Mulder's investigation - William's suicide is just a very realistically gory illusion. Of course, Scully doesn't know that, but she's heartbreakingly certain (even before a DNA test confirms it) that the dead teen is her long-lost son. We get a very, very heavy scene where she cries over his "lifeless" body in the morgue, utterly gutted that the child she gave up so that he'd have a safe, protected, normal life has met such a horrible end.

But William - Malcolm X fan, snow globe collector, star product of the top-secret Project Crossroads - pretending to be dead while his birth mother sobs over his faux-corpse isn't the only thing that makes him a f**kboy. It's his character details, both inclusive of and beyond his enhanced abilities, that make him the worst.

First of all, the fact that he's a two-faced, two-timing boyfriend - dude literally keeps a copy of a book titled The Pick Up Artist: Memoirs of a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing in his bedroom - is just so... boring and basic. Adding to that grossness is his decision to use the Ghouli legend (which he actually invented) to pit two innocent girls against each other. "I didn't think anyone would get hurt," he tells one of them. "I thought it would be funny, I thought it'd be like a prank." Well, one of your girlfriends almost died, player.

What's even grosser is that the two girlfriends end up feeling like nothing more than a plot device. The main relationship in "Ghouli" is the one between William and Scully, and that's treated even more strangely.



Though Scully is certain that William is trying to connect with her, the feeling may not be mutual; he refers to her rather dismissively as "this woman... I don't know, she's maybe my birth mother?"

As it happens, William "meets" Scully in the real world beyond their shared visions on two separate occasions. Both times, he's cloaked in a different body, so she doesn't realise at the time that she's talking to her son. His chosen guise is Peter Wong, the author of that pick-up artist book. The Expanse's François Chau does an excellent job playing a character who isn't at all who he seems to be; he's warm and sincere, not at all like a pick-up artist would be - and somehow the complete opposite of how the "real" William appears to be.



This disconnect feels a bit accidental. It could be that William's personalities change when he slips into different personas. But it seems more likely that floppy-haired Miles Robbins, who plays William in his true, teenage form, just doesn't have the dramatic presence this character requires. The back-to-back scenes where he exposition-dumps about his powers to his girlfriends while sweet-talking them one after the other are cringe-inducing, and he just looks constipated any time we see him manifest a "vision" for whoever he's trying to deceive in the moment. This guy is supposed to be half Scully, the wisest and kindest person on The X-Files, and it just doesn't feel right.

Unfortunately, our shape-shifting wonder boy will probably return before season 11 wraps up The X-Files forever; there are still five episodes and a towering conspiracy (which he's intrinsically a part of) to uncover. We may learn more of the truth about CSM's sinister plan, but we may never understand why one of the most iconic shows on TV cast such a weak link as one of its key characters and then proceeded to make that character such a wet dishcloth. Literal years of "William" this and "our son" that, and this is the payoff? Can we just get him in Peter Wong form from here on out, please?

Also, exactly why in the hell did this master of disguise need to run and hide in the climactic hospital scene? I get that he wanted to trick the bad guys into shooting each other, in a mirroring of the opening "monster" scene. But why not just morph into someone else at the beginning of the chase, rather than risking his life by staying in William form nearly the entire time?



Another side note: Though Mulder takes a back seat in "Ghouli", mostly serving as Scully's emotional support when he isn't chest-bumping with Skinner and the CSM heavies, the ongoing joke about how he uses "Bob" rather than "Fox" when ordering at coffee shops was a nice, and welcome, touch of levity. Extra foam for you, sir.


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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Fri 2 Feb - 6:54

The X-Files Season 11 Episode 5 Review – ‘Ghouli’

February 2, 2018 by Matt Rodgers

Matt Rodgers reviews the fifth episode of The X-Files season 11…



After the nostalgic high of The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat, The-X-Files comes back down to earth with a bump this week with the exposition heavy ‘Ghouli’.

The title refers to a Slender Man invoking internet meme monster called Ghouli, who appears to be a beast seen by two teenage girls who attempt to stab each other to death aboard an abandoned ship named the Chimera (the title of season 7, episode 16). At the same time, Agent Scully is suffering from a sleep paralysis vision in which she sees the boat inside a snowglobe, and it just happens to be the subject of an ongoing X-Files case. Upon interviewing the two girls, Mulder and Scully discover that the Ghouli is a creation of a young man called Jackson van de Camp, who may or may not be Scully’s alien-hybrid sprog William. Still with us?

As the half way point for this eleventh season arrives, The X-Files suddenly feels the need for the kind of exposition heavy, tonally haphazard approach that we hoped it had confidently abandoned since the pilot.

So instead of momentum and intrigue, we get a William status recap in which the details of the alien-hybrid project are repeated three times within the space of twenty minutes. It’s mind-numbingly frustrating for an audience built on complicated (read nonsensical) conspiracies stretching over multiple seasons.

It’s only during the episodes final few minutes, when Scully realises that a heartfelt exchange with an apparent stranger might actually have been her son, that we get anything approaching the dramatic weight that the maternal separation meant to be driving this season demands. Up until then we’ve had a forced morgue mourning scene, where Gillian Anderson does her best work with some clunking dialogue, and further character inconsistencies that find Scully vehemently insisting on the truth of her visions.



The episode might have been better had it chosen to either focus on the Slender Man lore controversy, or been a straight up Alien-DNA episode. It seems to abandon the former in favour of covering familiar ground, just to remind you that’s still the reason we’re here.

What does work with regards to the William thread is in establishing his powers of false reality projection. In doing this it can retcon the ending of season ten’s lamentable ‘My Struggle II’, presenting it firmly as a vision, provide yet another moment during which Anderson and Duchovny can display their unrivaled chemistry by the simple touching of hands on a garage forecourt, and let’s be honest, the fact he’s essentially a member of the X-Men is kinda cool in terms of finale possibilities.

Only five more episodes to go.


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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Fri 2 Feb - 6:58



Posted by Josh Zyber - February 2, 2018

‘The X Files’ 11.05 Recap: “Hope Is Not a Fact”

It’s pretty unlikely that anything ‘The X Files’ delivers for the rest of this season will equal, much less top, last week’s highlight. This week’s episode certainly doesn’t.

Almost like a bait-and-switch, ‘Ghouli’ initially presents itself as a Monster of the Week episode, but then reveals itself to actually be a mythology story. Considering how bad most mythology episodes have been lately, that’s a bummer, but at least this one’s not written by Chris Carter.

We start in the middle of the night, as two teenage girls, separately from one another, are drawn to an old wreck of a ship in a boat graveyard. They’re both searching for someone or something called “Ghouli,” and they each suspect that the other is really that Ghouli in a human disguise. When they finally meet in the same room, each sees the other as a scary, tentacled monster. They immediately pull knives and violently stab each other until they collapse.

Meanwhile, Scully is having trouble sleeping, and is plagued with hallucinations of a dark figure luring her to chase it. When Mulder tells her about the open X File, she feels compelled to go to the boat. While investigating the scene, she spots a strange man (François Chau from ‘Lost’ and ‘The Expanse’) staring at her, but doesn’t think anything of it.

Both girls survive the stabbing, but seemingly don’t know each other. By searching their internet browser histories, Mulder learns that they were both obsessed with a creepypasta viral horror story about a monster called Ghouli. It also turns out that they both have a common boyfriend, named Jackson Van De Camp. When Mulder and Scully get to the boy’s house, Scully feels like she already knows the place. Before they can ring the doorbell, they hear gunshots from inside. They kick in the door and find two adults, Van De Camp’s parents, dead in the living room. Jackson is also dead, seemingly from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

The local police want to write this off as a murder-suicide, but Mulder is skeptical. Among the things Scully finds in Jackson’s room is a gross self-help book on how to pick up women. The author photo on the dust jacket is clearly the man who stared at her earlier, but Scully doesn’t make the connection.

For seemingly little reason, Scully becomes convinced that Jackson Van De Camp was actually William, the son she gave up years earlier. She has felt a psychic connection with William, and believes he was sending her mental messages to lead her to him. While taking a DNA sample at the local morgue, Scully has a breakdown and delivers a very emotional speech to the body, apologizing to her dead son for not being there for him. After she leaves, Jackson sits up on the table. He isn’t dead after all.

The DNA test confirms that Jackson was Scully’s son. She’s shocked when the police tell her the body has vanished, and still feels drawn to following a dark figure. She interviews Jackson’s therapist and learns that he had visions of a global pandemic – the same ones she had. She takes this as confirmation that he projected those visions to her. (Whatever happened to Scully being the rational skeptic?)

Scully also bumps into the author in person and still doesn’t recognize him.

Mulder goes digging into Department of Defense files on something called “Project Crossroads,” which claim that the U.S. government conducted secret eugenics experiments mixing human and alien DNA. He also develops a theory based on blood spatter patterns in the house that the Van De Camps were murdered by two shooters, not by Jackson. He believes that Jackson has the ability to make people see whatever he wants them to see, and faked his own death by projecting the image of a gunshot wound in his head that wasn’t really there.

That last part is confirmed when Jackson sneaks into the hospital to visit one of his two girlfriends. He says that he made up the Ghouli story and tricked the girls into seeing the monster as a prank, but didn’t intend for them to hurt each other. What a lousy boyfriend!

As they get closer to the truth, Mulder and Scully are ordered off the case, and DoD agents who are clearly assassins move in to take over. They track Jackson and chase him through the hospital. The boy tricks two agents into shooting each other by making them see the Ghouli monster. Scully then runs in and has a shootout with another agent, and it appears that both of them die. But no, it’s another fake-out. The real Scully comes in and finds two dead men. Jackson escapes the hospital by disguising himself as a nurse.

With Jackson/William missing, Mulder and Scully head back to D.C. On the way out of town, they stop at a gas station, where Scully once again runs into the stranger who’s obviously been stalking her. She thinks that he might be the doctor who ran the government eugenics program, but he claims that he’s not a doctor and she immediately takes him at his word. They exchange a few pleasantries and he seems like a nice man. Oddly, he leaves by quoting Malcolm X: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

After the man is gone, Scully remembers that Jackson’s bedroom had a Malcolm X poster on the ceiling. She suddenly realizes that this man was William the whole time, merely projecting a different face (one that happened to be on a book he’d been reading) so that he wouldn’t be recognized. Knowing that he’s OK, and that he even tried to make contact with her, leaves Scully feeling reassured that she’ll see him again.

Episode Verdict

For a mythology episode, this isn’t nearly as bad as the season premiere (or the Season 10 finale, for that matter). The early parts of the episode involving Ghouli feel like a good, classic Monster of the Week ‘X Files’ entry. Even after it shifts into mythology territory, the story is almost coherent, as if writer/director James Wong actually understood Christ Carter’s game plan and struggled to get it back on track.

It’s still very frustrating, though. Aside from her tear-filled monologue in the morgue (which is a nice piece of acting), Scully’s behavior this episode is extremely out of character. David Duchovny looks bored and disengaged the whole time. You can easily gauge Duchovny’s level of interest in an episode script by how flat his performance is; Mulder was very animated and seemed to be enjoying himself last week, but this week not so much.

Most perplexing of all is the decision to introduce William as a total creep. He cheats on two girlfriends and intentionally puts them in a dangerous situation that nearly proves fatal for both, allegedly as a joke. He appears to feel no remorse for that, and may have even wanted to kill them. He then orchestrates several deaths. (Yeah, they were all bad guys, but how many teenagers do you know who would coldly murder federal agents without giving it a second thought?) He seems to be a little psychopath, and I’m not sure if that was intentional.


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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Fri 2 Feb - 7:08



[TV Review] ‘The X-Files’ Season 11 Episode 5: “Ghouli”

by Daniel Kurland
January 31, 2018

Waking dreams, insect monsters, and human experiments fuel an overstuffed, but admirable, ‘X-Files’ episode that might even also feature William!

Are you Ghouli?”
“No, you are.”


“Ghouli” is an episode that has a lot of fun with the manipulation of other people’s minds and perception. It’s also an episode that’s extremely busy and attempts to get too much done in not enough time. It’s almost as if the episode hopes that it’s lulled its viewers into some hypnogogic state where they believe that this is a much simpler episode of television.

“Ghouli” begins with a very encouraging start. The episode features a cold open where two teenage girls explore an abandoned ocean freighter. When the frightened girls find one another, they accuse the other of being “Ghouli.” Both of the girls are positive that the other one must be this monster that they’re petrified of, but the audience has no idea which of these seemingly innocent girls could be the creature. What follows is an absolutely brutal sequence where the two girls slash each other apart. From their point of view, the other girl looks like the giant cockroach-esque monster, Ghouli. However, the audience sees that neither of these are this terrifying beast. They’re just girls and the real threat of this week is somehow attacking their minds. I gave a lot of praise towards “Plus One’s” cold open and how it got back to the basics of what an X-Files cold open should be. “Ghouli’s” introduction is even more effective and aggressive, not to mention it features the first actual monster of the season and it looks pretty damn gross.

Once again the phrase from the opening credits chooses to say something difficult rather than the usual “The Truth Is Out There.” The message here is “You See What I Want You To See,” which has a pretty easy meaning to extrapolate. This is an episode that’s all about perception, which James Wong’s script breaks down to a thorough degree. If it wasn’t already clear from the circumstances of this episode’s monster and Mulder and Scully’s point of views, then this direct message to the audience hammers the point home. Not being able to trust what your eyes tell you is an inherently terrifying idea and “Ghouli” pushes that premise to some very disturbing places.

Additionally, Scully breaks down the concept of hypnogogia, which is a state between sleep and wakefulness, where dreamlike visions invade reality and people become unable to trust what they see. While this episode deals a lot with perception, it also has a lot to do with duality. There’s a binary element to the murders that take place and Scully speaks of how most people render the world into two states. Mulder and Scully’s process is all about the duality of their points of view. Scully’s thoughts on hypnogogia isn’t only important because it adds a scientific angle to the Ghouli deaths, but because it shows that life doesn’t need to be so black and white and that there’s a third option to things. That’s sort of what The X-Files is all about. These supernatural cases are that third option that people don’t know about. This is a show that’s all about living in a world of grey and while this isn’t the first time the show has explored this idea, there’s a startling efficiency to the foundation of Wong’s script.

Wong does an effective job at shooting Scully’s hypnogogic fugue states. He conveys the degree of helplessness that can be felt in nightmares and sleep paralysis. The camera lingers and struggles to move on certain objects as Scully is plagued by unexplainable fear and stasis. James Wong didn’t always go for the scares, but it’s been interesting to watch him slowly turn into a more horror-centric filmmaker. The sequence of the corpse waking up in the morgue is carefully composed to accentuate its dread. His entry from last season, “Founder’s Mutation,” was also the most frightening episode of season ten and that talent is still present here. It’s easy to see why Wong is the secret weapon on Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story. He understands how to do horror.



Wong’s episode also feels like it indulges in its more Lynchian sensibilities as it allows Mulder to do his best Special Agent Dale Cooper impression. He tells Scully that “Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions” and he adopts a very romanticized point of view that’s all about cracking the code of Scully’s subconscious. Mulder might push this more fantastical angle, but this is still a Scully-driven episode. This shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it’s appreciated here, especially with Scully’s treatment in some of the other installments this season.

One of “Ghouli’s” strengths is that it doesn’t waste any time. It doesn’t take long time for Mulder and Scully to spring into action on this. Scully tells Mulder that the dark figure in her “dream” was trying to take her somewhere and then they immediately arrive without complication. The two of them get led to the same abandoned freighter where the girls from the cold open murderize each other and it’s not difficult to imagine that they were probably suffering from the same “nightmare” that plagued Scully. This ship, the Chimera, looks to be some sort of nest or special area for the insectile beast that’s getting into everyone’s heads and warping their perception.

While there’s a lot to enjoy in this episode, it, unfortunately, begins to tie into some of the larger ideas from “My Struggle III.” Typically it’s an asset of storytelling when monster of the week entries can tie back to the show’s greater mythology, but the connections made here are fairly groan-worthy. Mulder suggests that Scully’s hypnogogic visions are actually an evolution of her ability to receive prophetic visions through seizure. It makes sense that Mulder would attempt to connect these dots, but the last thing that the audience needs is a reminder that Scully may be turning into some Mind Detective. “Ghouli” works better when it focuses on its monster and horror elements rather than these psychic suggestions, which thankfully don’t dominate the episode.

Mulder and Scully learn that “Ghouli” is some sort of creepy pasta Internet urban legend. This in itself isn’t bad territory for The X-Files to explore and it’s the right way for the series to appropriate modern culture. Creepy pasta lore is tailor-made for this show, but it’s really an afterthought in the case of this episode. Mulder and Scully locate the two girls from the freighter who attacked each other and they’re able to talk to them. They’re both in serious condition at the hospital, but at least they’re not dead. The stories that they tell seem eerily similar to what Scully experienced. The case becomes even more interesting when these two girls, neither of which know each other, seem to apparently have the same boyfriend. Clearly, the guy is some link to whatever Ghouli is and he becomes the next destination for Mulder and Scully. Their search hits an unfortunate snag when the boyfriend turns up dead before they can have a word with him. Not only that, but he apparently also killed his parents before he took his own life. Ghouli’s actions are becoming more regular and something needs to get done fast.

Scully has a hard time with the emotional aspect of these innocent lives lost and it begins to make her think more and more about William. This goes further than a dead child merely conjuring up memories of William. Scully actually believes that the dead boy from this case is William, due to his family having the last name Van De Camp. This leads to some deeply cathartic, painful moments where Scully pleads and apologizes to “William’s” corpse about how she’s failed him and couldn’t save him in time. It seems pretty obvious that this wouldn’t be the way that the show ultimately deals with William, so in spite of how that robs these scenes of some of their weight, Gillian Anderson still delivers a hell of a performance. It does feel a little manipulative though to make Scully go through such a painful experience when it’s (probably) not necessary. The character has already been through more than enough. That’s why “Ghouli” gains some serious points when it doesn’t back down from the fact that Jackson Van De Camp is William, but they still cheat the whole death thing.



Skinner eventually intervenes to lend a hand. It also feels pretty transparent and negligent that the Cigarette Smoking Man straight up hangs out in Skinner’s office at the FBI. Shouldn’t that be a little impossible? CSM and Skinner currently have their sights set on Project Crossroads, which is all about alien-human hybridization, but it turned out to be too unstable and unreliable. Mulder learns that both Scully and William were subjects of Project Crossroads and that the recent deaths of Jackson Van De Camp and his family are actually Project Crossroads’ attempts to cover up their tracks.

This all becomes even crazier in how it ties together with the Ghouli material. Apparently, William has been brain-invading all of the people in this episode. He made the girls think they were seeing a cockroach monster and he simultaneously planted the details that led Mulder and Scully to his house. That’s why Jackson/William’s corpse is able to stand up and walk away at the end of all of this. This whole “William’s the puppet master” angle is pretty derivative, but it’s better than the inevitable reveal that Jackson wasn’t William. At least this way Scully and Mulder both get to meet their son in some sense and the narrative towards finding him also moves a few steps forward.

On that note, the episode also shows off a little of who William is as a character, but frankly, he seems like a bit of a dick. This whole Ghouli thing was supposed to be a joke to him? How? He’s also dating two girls at once and playing them against each other? He gets to provide a little insight towards what growing up with these abilities has been like, but the incomplete picture of William paints him in a surprisingly ugly light. I’m not sure if I’m that excited over the prospect of this jerk living happily ever after with Mulder and Scully, let alone if they’d even be safe with him.

“Ghouli’s” mystery clumsily clicks together and it feels like a bit of a struggle at times. Scully’s psychic angle through all of this is especially grating and it feels like the fallback position for the episode to take whenever Mulder and Scully face an obstacle. This hopefully won’t be an element that becomes even more prominent in the back-half of the season, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion that it will. “Ghouli” still pushes some interesting ideas and is full of a lot of memorable visuals. There’s enough imbalance in this episode that it amounts to merely an average X-Files. The episode’s second half is particularly messy and it feels like it turns into an entirely different story by the time that it’s over. The developments made here with William are genuinely surprising, but they should help spread out this season’s story. Hopefully, they will allow the season’s finale to not be so stuffed and capable of crafting a better conclusion as a result.

Or maybe William can just invade the audience’s collective consciousness and make everyone think that they just watched “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space.’”



‘The X-Files’ 11th season will continue Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on FOX




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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Fri 2 Feb - 7:15

The X-Files Season 11 Episode 5 Review: Ghouli

With a little misdirection, “Ghouli” was a huge step forward for The X-Files myth arc.



Chris Longo
Jan 31, 2018

Saying goodbye is gut-wrenching, even in The X-Files where the end is never truly the end. As the iconic series heads towards what is seriously, very likely, almost absolutely, finally the end, I can say I’m confident Chris Carter and Co. will satisfy with its long-awaited resolution to the outstanding mystery surrounding William.

When we last saw William, Dana Scully was fitting the special child in a UFO onesie. She gave up her own flesh and blood to protect him. Little did she know that move might have saved the human race. In “Ghouli,” poor Scully has do something that’s even harder than giving up her child in the first place; she has to say goodbye all over again. And despite fans wishing and hoping for a happy ending, it’s straight up tense drama when Gillian Anderson is told she has to turn on the waterworks and say farewell. In her best work of the revival thus far, Anderson taps into the strength that Dana Scully continues to embody in an episode that is a testament to the power and resilience of motherhood. 

“Ghouli” is in the borderland, frozen somewhere between a monster-of-the-week and a myth arc episode. Really though, Ghouli as a monster is solved fairly quick for an X-File. Maybe they're finally getting the hang of this? Of the many reasons why I’m thankful The X-Files is back for its eleventh season, Mulder yawning at the prospect of investigating a “typical” monster like Ghouli is near the top of the list. He’s Fox freaking Mulder after all, and he’s seen ghouls that would make internet creepypasta writers wet their pants. It’s still awesome to see writer/director/producer James Wong use modern-day interet lore as the inspiration for Ghouli. Wong, who wrote some of the series’ best standalone episodes, gives a nice ode to his roots with a jolty cold open. Really though, this episode is a huge part of the mythology from the original run and into the revival episodes. Wong is up for the challenge and puts The X-Files back on the path to salvation.

Whether it gets there or not will depend on William. We’ve always known he had special powers, but it’s clear that he has something we’ve seen in the show before; the ability to control people’s visions. Taking a (web)page from the real life Slender Man stabbings, two teenage girls end up knifing each other when they “see” Ghouli on an abandoned ship. William, now known by his adoptive name Jackson Van De Kamp, had no intention of harming the girls, both of whom were his girlfriends, which seems like an unnecessary device meant to get them to buy into the existence of Ghouli. Regardless, Ghouli as a work of fiction is just real enough to land on the desk of Fox Mulder. Was Ghouli a coordinated effort by William to get the attention of his parents?

As maligned as some episodes have been, I have to say the pieces of Chris Carter’s revival myth arc story are really coming together. That doesn’t excuse poor execution in the three previous mythology episodes, but that storyboard is looking good right about now. In “Ghouli,” a few things are confirmed: William shared his vision of the end times, the pandemic virus of “My Struggle II,” with Scully. He’s part of “Project Crossroads,” a secret government project that led to alien/human hybrids. CSM, the shady bastard he is, is the “figurative father” of William, using Chris Carter’s words, and impregnated Scully against her will, which is a problematic storyline on many levels. The revelation in “My Struggle II” rightfully doesn’t sit well with a lot of fans, considering how much has been taken away from Scully in this series.

As tough as that is to swallow, it gets the narrative to our current spot. William has alien DNA in him and that’s the key to stopping the spartan virus from ending mankind. In the final scene, William, posing as the pickup artist from the book in his room, quotes Malcolm X to Scully: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Does he know who he’s talking to? That’s Dana freaking Scully! Despite all the times her faith has been tested, if there’s one thing Scully stands for, it’s hope. It might just be a sliver, but Mulder, Scully, and now William will have to use what little hope is left to continue this fight.

4/5


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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Fri 2 Feb - 10:30

The X-Files: Ghouli or in dreams I walk beside you

by Susan Leighton
1 hour ago
Follow @SusanontheLedge

How powerful is the mind? What if we could project our thoughts onto others? Tonight’s episode of The X-Files explores those concepts through the eyes of Dana Scully.

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” – Jackson Van De Kamp

**SPOILERS ALERT** ** PROCEED WITH CAUTION ***

Chimeras or Delusions?

The beginning of Ghouli deals with an urban legend like Slenderman. We see the aftermath of what occurs between two teenage girls as they play around on a rust bucket known as the Chimera. You know something bad is going to happen because who in their right mind boards an abandoned ship in the middle of the night?

As it turns out, these girls claim they were compelled to do what they did because the “Ghouli” prompted them. Although we see this hybrid creature, does it exist or is it a chimera?

Meanwhile, Scully is experiencing sleep paralysis. She’s chasing a dark figure in her dreams through a maze of a house. Mulder (David Duchovny) tries to come up with a logical explanation while Scully, oddly enough thinks it is more of a psychic connection.

Is William sharing his visions and dreams with her? It is obvious that they can communicate telepathically.

The Connection

After interviewing the two girls who had the incident on the ship, they find out that they both have something in common. A boyfriend who goes by the name of Jackson Van De Kamp (Miles Robbins).

This revelation startles both Mulder and Scully because they know their son, William, was adopted by people named the Van De Kamps. So, they set out to interrogate Jackson at his home. Once they get there, shots are being fired in the house.

Mulder and Scully enter only to find the Van De Kamps lying in pools of their own blood in the living room. Then a shot rings out from upstairs. The pair race to investigate and they walk into a bedroom to find Jackson dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Convinced Jackson is her son with Mulder, Scully takes a lock of his hair for DNA testing. Before leaving his bedroom, she notices a snow globe collection. This intrigues Scully because a snow globe of the ship Chimera appeared in her dreams.

Rise Up

Once in the morgue and Scully sees the face of her beloved William, all the maternal love and deep regret washes over her. Gillian Anderson’s moving and heartfelt speech about loss and guilt should garner her an Emmy nod.

She sees Mulder standing in the doorway. He immediately walks over to her and embraces her.  The love and respect he has for his partner of twenty-five years is written all over his face as he holds her.

After they depart the scene, Jackson gets out of the body bag.

In Pursuit of William

From this point on, we find out that the DNA tested positive and that Jackson is William. When he decides to visit his girlfriends in the hospital, all hell breaks loose. The DOD has been pursuing him per the Cigarette Smoking Man’s (William B. Davis) orders.

Trapped in the hospital, William explains to his one girlfriend, Brianna how he can project his thoughts into other people’s heads. He told her that’s how he was able to make her think that she and Sarah saw the monster on the Chimera.

At this point, he knows he’s trapped and while running, he begins to project different images to various people so that they end up shooting their partners and getting shot in return. This is the way that he escapes the DOD and Mulder and Scully

Project Crossroads

After the latest SNAFU in the hospital, Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) meets Mulder and tells him to drop the investigation. They talk about Project Crossroads (which just so happened to be on Jackson’s hard drive when Mulder downloaded the info from his laptop) and the experimentation with alien hybrid DNA.

Skinner reveals that Scully was an unwilling participant and William is the result. Mulder then tells Skinner that William is dead.

However, his son is very much alive. During the course of this show, Scully keeps running into an Asian man who tosses very cryptic yet poignant messages her way such as “Change is coming.” The very last time she encounters this gentleman, she’s pumping gas at a convenience store.

Mulder asks what the exchange was about and she replies with a Malcolm X quote, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” It’s at that time that Mulder makes the correlation between the Asian man and William.

He reminds Scully of William’s Malcolm X poster above his bed. The pair immediately rush back into the convenience store to look at the footage of the parking lot. Sure enough, they see William saying goodbye to his mother.

The Verdict

This James Wong penned and directed episode is very well done. It’s not quite a monster of the week show because it has more plot points that resonates with The X-Files’ overarching mythology. However, questions are answered about how William came into existence.

We also learn about his unique ability to project thoughts into other people’s heads. For those of you out there who enjoy trivia, Miles Robbins who plays Jackson/William is the son of actress Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.

In an interview last year, David Duchovny dropped a bombshell when he said that William “resembles two people that aren’t Mulder and Scully.”  After seeing Jackson/William, I was really struck by how much Miles Robbins looks like a young Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea).





Perhaps Krycek might be his biological father and not Mulder? Like I have postulated before, he was a victim of the black oil in the Piper Maru episode. So, alien DNA is in his makeup. Food for thought…


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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Fri 2 Feb - 16:54



katherinex83:
Im William! No, I’m William! #Ghouli #txf

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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Sat 3 Feb - 13:24

The X-Files 11×05 Review: Ghouli

Posted by Tara Lynne On February 02, 2018



I’m not quite sure why I’ve been struggling to write my review of this week’s X-Files episode “Ghouli”, but I have a feeling it’s because I don’t think I liked it as much as I was supposed to.

“Ghouli” certainly got off on the right foot; the opening scene had just the right amount of tension. Yes, it was pretty much obvious right away that the Ghouli didn’t actually exist, but I’m in the ‘that was definitely on purpose’ camp. After all, despite the episode title, it wasn’t *really* about Ghouli. In fact, it was almost entirely about Scully – sure, Mulder was there, but half the time he was merely hanging out at a coffee shop and going by the name ‘Bob’ so I’m not even sure he really counts.



I say that “Ghouli” was almost entirely about Scully because even when it wasn’t, it was. It turned out that the person who created Ghouli – and who was projecting the vision of it into the girls’ minds – was actually Scully’s son William. And considering that last we heard, William isn’t even Mulder’s son (supposedly his father is the Smoking Man), well, that makes this episode even less about Mulder than it already was.

Anyway, a Scully-centric episode would normally be A++ in my book, but this one was just difficult to watch. Especially when she cried over the dead body of a boy who might be her son – and though he did turn out to be William, he wasn’t in fact dead, so that whole situation just felt very awkward to me. To be honest, even when the DNA test came back saying that ‘Jackson’ shared DNA with Scully, I was making excuses for how this kid might share DNA with her but not actually be her son. I don’t know, I guess it just seemed too convenient?

Alas, though, he was her son, and on top of that, he was kind of a brat. Seriously, are we supposed to just ignore the fact that he was dating two girls at the same time? Not only that, but he used his powers to project Ghouli into these girls’ heads because – HIS WORDS HERE – he thought it was FUNNY?! If I’m supposed to dislike this kid, well then, they did a good job of making that happen.



Now that Jackson William’s adoptive parents are dead and he’s on the run from the DoD (admittedly, the hospital chase scene was great – action-packed and featuring *good* use of his powers), I’m at least curious as to how he will fit into the story as a whole the rest of this season. I suppose there’s always the chance that he won’t come back at all, but knowing that Gillian Anderson has said she won’t be returning if they do a season 12, I’d hope that they would do a bit more to wrap up Scully and William’s story this season.

As reviews go, I know this is a short one, but I honestly struggled to say even this much about “Ghouli”. I didn’t hate the episode, but as I already said, I definitely didn’t like it as much as I feel I was supposed to…and I’m sure part of that is that “Ghouli” came on the heels of three amazingly strong episodes.

What did you think about “Ghouli”? Can you believe we’re halfway through season 11 already?


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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Mon 5 Feb - 9:47



“X-Files” 11×05 Gives Scully Closure

By Mel Perez - February 5, 2018

Let’s talk about this X-Files cold open. The show opens on two girls walking through a derelict ship. Both girls are holding knives. Everything about this sounds like a bad idea. Maybe I lived a boring life but as a teenager, but I never thought of doing things like this. “Are you ghouli?” One girl calls out. They find each other and instead of seeing girls, they see horrible monsters. They instantly attack each other with knives. This is the old school creepiness I love from the X-Files.

On its surface, “Ghouli” looks like a standard monster of the week episode. The title credit ends with ‘You See What I Want You to See’ instead of the usual ‘Trust No One’ letting us know that there’s more to this episode. Scully’s visions are back. In this new vision, she wakes in a stranger’s house. She follows the stranger throughout the house, walking through doors that lead her back inside. In the dream, she finds a snow globe with a ship inside. The same ship the girls attacked each other on.

Both of the girls who attacked each other had the same dream as Scully. It leads them to the ship looking for a monster called ghouli. Both girls also share the same boyfriend, Jackson Van de Kamp. In the premiere of this season, Scully speculated that her visions were from William, her son. The boyfriend has the same name as William’s adoptive family. Is it a coincidence? It seems unlikely. They head to the Van De Kamp house to find answers and possibly their long lost son. They hear two gunshots and a third inside. It appears the Van De Kamps are the victims of a murder/suicide with Jackson as the murderer. My first thought: of course the son of the Cigarette Smoking Man would kill his own parents.


Fox

This episode isn’t about ghouli. This is all about William. It’s about Scully’s grief and regret over giving him up and seeing what has become of him. In the morgue, in a beautiful performance by Gillian Anderson, Scully cries over his body. She tells him all the things she wanted to tell William: that he was wanted, that she hoped they would one day be reunited. This episode is led by Scully’s belief. First that Jackson is William and then that William is alive after his body disappears from the morgue. Mulder is also grieving in his own way but he was there more as a support for Scully. I love seeing these quiet moments like Mulder offering Scully comfort through an embrace in their relationship. It speaks to the long and intense history they have with each other.

Going through Jackson’s computer they find hacked files from the Department of Defense about a Project Crossroads before the D.O.D takes over the investigation. In Skinner’s office, the Cigarette Smoking Man tells him that Mulder is close to finding out what Project Crossroads is. Seeing him there is like old times, old times I wished stayed in the past. What are you doing, Skinner? Skinner’s loyalty has been consistently questioned by Mulder and Scully this season. I want to believe he’s not in the pocket of the Cigarette Smoking Man but scenes like this are determined to prove me wrong.



Skinner soon joins Mulder to warn them to drop the investigation. We went from questioning whether or not aliens existed to Skinner calmly explaining to Mulder that after the crash at Roswell, a Dr. Masao Matsumoto started a eugenics program that combined alien and human DNA. We’ve come so far. The project was called Crosswords. After it was shut down, Matsumoto burned all the files pertaining to the subjects to protect them and disappeared. Jackson Van De Kamp was one of those subjects. That’s why the D.O.D agents have been following them.

With this new information, Mulder goes back over the crime scene, believing now that the D.O.D agents shot Jackson’s parents. Jackson then used his powers to make everyone think he was dead. ‘You See What I Want You to See.’ That’s Jackson’s power. In addition to the visions, he has the power to alter your perceptions. He sent his girlfriends to the ferry looking for ghouli. He projected the image of the monster to them. He didn’t mean for them to hurt each other so badly but he still did it. Add in the double girlfriend thing and Jackson is kind of a jerk.

Instead of leaving town like he should have, Jackson goes back to the hospital to apologize and say goodbye to his girlfriends. That’s where the DOD agents find him. They don’t seem particularly keen on taking him in alive. Jackson manages to stay alive by tricking the DOD agents into taking each other out. Then he disappears.



On the way out of town, Scully makes them stop at a gas station with a windmill similar to the one in the snow globe she took from Jackson’s room. She runs into the same Japanese man she met outside of the hospital. “If you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything,” he tells her after saying he wish he could have known her better. Scully recognizes him as the author of a book in Jackson’s room. Mulder recognizes the quote as a Malcolm X one. Jackson had a poster of him hanging over his bed. They watch the surveillance footage of the gas station parking lot and see that it’s clearly Jackson. Even if she didn’t know it at the time, it still causes Scully to smile knowing that she finally got her moment with her son.

Despite not being the monster of the week episode it was introduced as, “Ghouli” doesn’t feel like a fake out. It feels like closure. It feels like closure for Scully in a similar way that the aptly named season 7 episode “Closure” was for Mulder and his search for his sister. Scully found her son and though she spent only a moment with him, it was enough. This was also an episode that dealt with the show’s mythology and the looming pandemic without being heavy-handed. It validated Scully’s beliefs about her visions.


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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by Duchovny on Tue 6 Feb - 7:18

great epi, thanks
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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Wed 7 Feb - 6:54

The X-Files season 11, episode 5 review: Ghouli

by Nick Chandler
1 hour ago
Follow @NickSChandler

In episode 5, Ghouli, The X-Files brings us a very very good mythology centric episode. The focus of the episode centres around the search for something close to Fox and Dana’s heart, William.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

…and so we meet William.

The device of showing the monster, and having it revealed to be just a projection created by Jackson/William was a pretty smart way of showing of his powers. Fans have long wondered what became of William, and what became of his alleged Alien/Human hybrid origins. This looks to be an interesting power, tying in nicely with X-File mythology. (Although I am still not quite sure why he had his two girlfriends stab each other)

One has no emotional investment in modern-day monsters these days, to paraphrase Mulder. This begs the question as to why we even watch shows like The X-Files. The monster of the week formula can only go so far, so we need this conspiracy, this mythology to keep the show going.

The government conspiracy is ramping up now, The vision we saw in the season 10 finale and in the premiere looks to be the end game. It’s all just a question of how we get there, and in what state will Mulder and Scully be in.

I for one would like to see William pop up again (I have avoided all synopses for the follow episodes, so have no idea if he will); the actor seemed to have a good handle on the character and didn’t really seem daunted by his important role in the series.

Speaking of performances, Gillian Anderson breaking down in front of her ‘dead’ son was just heart wrenching, she really is a tour de force when she has the material to work with. If (and that is a big ‘if’) The X-Files carries on without Gillian Anderson, I can guarantee that the show will suffer, more so than when David Duchovny left.

Speaking of David Duchovny, he looked to be taking a step back in this episode to let Gillian Anderson take the focus, but he does get some classic Mulderisms, and we get an introduction to his coffee buying name, ‘Bob’.

Overall this was a very good mythology episode, to centre around William rather than the overarching conspiracy (and the men pulling the strings) was a very smart move from longtime X-Files writer/director James Wong.

Leaving things within finger tip range, but just far enough that we have to put the pieces together, is a perfect way for a mythology episode to unfold. There is the classic/iconic shot of having the cigarette smoking man visible just by the closeup of his hand holding a smoking cigarette, that perfectly sums up the idea of a ‘conspiracy’. Having William slip through their grasp, but then revealed to be stood right in front of them was a very cool way to end the episode.

That Malcolm X quote, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” that was on Jackson/William’s ceiling looks to be James Wong’s tip to The X-Files. And in a season where each writer/director analyses what The X-Files is, as a TV show and as an entity, that quote seems more apt with each passing moment.

The X-Files airs Wednesday nights on Fox.


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Re: 11x05 - Ghouli

Post by jade1013 on Thu 8 Feb - 11:22



The X-Files season 11: Mother and son

by Sarah Crocker
4 days ago
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Monsters and trouble-causing teenagers led back to some personal drama for Mulder and Scully on “Ghouli,” this week’s episode of The X-Files.

At first glance, it was hard to tell what, exactly “Ghouli” was going to be. On the one hand, the synopsis indicated a one-off episode, what with the weird monster visions and potentially psychotic teenagers. In fact, it sounded a bit like the third-season episode “Syzygy”. That’s the one where two teenage girls gain psychic powers (thanks to the alignment of a few planetary bodies) and wreak havoc in their hometown. Even the local high school jock, played by a young Ryan Reynolds, doesn’t stand a chance against them.

So, were we going to get an updated version of this episode? The murderous teenage girl thing was a bit troublesome, so this could have been an opportunity for an interesting update. Women and girls, after all, have recently had some very public reasons to become angry en masse.

But then, the synopsis also included William, Scully’s long-lost and (probably) alien hybrid son. Given the extraterrestrial connection, William (his adopted name is Jackson Van de Kamp) is firmly in the territory of the long form mytharc story within the series.

There’s also plenty of interpersonal drama to be had. Scully is vocally guilty about “giving up” baby William, even though he was being tracked by menacing super soldiers and conspiracy figures.

Mulder presumably feels bad, too, though both “Ghouli” and the series in general focus more on a mother’s love and her crushing guilt. As far as we know, neither of them suspect that Mulder may not be William’s biological father. Other candidates include alien geneticists or (shudder) the Cigarette Smoking Man. Alas, there is no exploration, however brief, of William/Jackson’s relationship with his adoptive parents.



Supernatural motherhood

What’s with the interest in motherhood, by the way? There’s no denying that a mother-child connection (or, for that matter, any halfway decent parent-child connection) is a strong one. Scully has quasi-mystic connections with her child, having prophetic dreams of him and his role in the potential devastation of the human species. She even claims that William is leading her and Mulder to him, though William himself seems confused as anyone else.

Anyway, why does Scully dream of William, but Mulder doesn’t? Sure, there’s the possibility that Mulder isn’t William’s father, but you can’t deny that the show is more focused on the mother-child connection. Is this some vague idea about a connection built within the womb? Is it because Scully is more involved in her son’s fate, be it thanks to biology, psychic phenomena or social conditioning?

It would have been nice to have seen this notion interrogated in the episode. If that’s still too much for one hour of TV, could we at least see Mulder get teary-eyed over his probable son?

Strange bodies also proved to be another interesting, if largely unexplored theme. There are definitely hints of the teenage body as something monstrous. The girls at the beginning seem to turn into monsters (physically and mentally). William himself has all these strange new mental powers, apparently forgotten from his infant days.

He also has some unfortunately shaky notions about consent and honesty, given that he’s got two girlfriends. Even worse, he thought it would be funny to have them finally meet in an abandoned ship, armed with knives, and convinced that the other was a many-armed beast.



Pacing

William’s appearance, by the way, was rather abrupt, as were his powers. It would have been nice to have seen William come into his abilities, perhaps. We get hints of this experience, from his mention of headaches to the anti-seizure medication in his room, but that’s it. The story may have been more powerful if we had experienced this a more thoughtfully-paced fashion.

Don’t think that this was a bad episode, however. Generally, it’s hard to come down on “Ghouli”. Nothing horribly convoluted happens, though there’s plenty of violence and emotional drama. It moves the story along if nothing else. There are also some interesting moments, from the opening Ghouli scene to Gillian Anderson’s dramatic monologue in a morgue.

Then again, neither is someone likely to call it the best episode of season 11. The exciting bits, like the Ghouli monster or the reveal of William, are tempered by odd character choices and lumpy plotlines. I wonder if the episode may have worked better if we had focused more on the Ghouli/Slenderman plot, assuming it didn’t immediately turn into another topical Law & Order episode.

We could have used a somewhat slower buildup to William’s reveal. As it stands, his debut was a little lackluster. He just sort of shows up, doesn’t he? Mulder and Scully practically stumble into his path. Yes, you could make the argument that he’s been leading Scully to him for a while now, but that doesn’t necessarily make for good TV. A steadier reveal, in the right hands, would have made for a more satisfying moment.



You never call

Also, William, you should just say hi to your mom. I know you’re being pursued by scary government agents and all, but you can take a minute to reassure her, right? And I mean face-to-face, though François Chau was a good choice otherwise. He’s got the kind of gravitas that, no offense, a teenage boy just can’t muster.

Even though William drove off at the end of the episode, chances are good that we’ll be seeing him again. Hopefully, Scully and Mulder will be able to get a little more cheer from that encounter than seeing their son on a gas station surveillance video.

Next week is “Kitten,” featuring Assistant Director Walter Skinner. Though Skinner has been an ally to the X-Files in the past, he’s also occasionally been their opponent. The appearance of the Cigarette Smoking Man in his office in “Ghouli” hardly comes across as a good sign.

“Kitten” will delve more into Skinner’s past and his complex relationship with Scully and Mulder. It’s also got Haley Joel Osment, who looks to be someone from Skinner’s time in the Vietnam War.


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