The X-Files 11×05 Review: Ghouli

ghouli x-files dana scully

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.ghouli x-files scully mulder

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.

ghouli x-files scullyNow 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?

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.

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