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

Photo credit: Shane Harvey/FOX X-Files via Fox Flash
Photo credit: Shane Harvey/FOX X-Files via Fox Flash /

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.


…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)

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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’.

Next: The X-Files Season 11, episode 4 review: The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

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.