After the X-Files kept the story of William buried for 16 years, we finally meet the now 17-year-old in a rather unexpected way.
The episode starts with Scully in what seems like sleep paralysis. This leads both her and Mulder to an abandoned fairy called “chimera”, where two girls had previously almost killed each other. The name of the fairy is quite fitting and a good foreshadowing of the episode itself. After Mulder and Scully finish their work on the fairy they question the two girls in the hospital and their stories appear to be identical. Both the questionings end with the same name: Jackson Van der Kamp. Which, to Mulder, doesn’t seem to mean much but to most of us viewers, as well as to Scully, it did mean a lot. The Van der Kamps was the couple that adopted William back in the day.
Scully and Mulder visit the Van der Kamps right after seeing the girls, however, Jackson’s parents are murdered before Scully and Mulder can get to them. Jackson seemed to have killed himself after what appeared to have been him killing his parents. We then see both Scully and Mulder, separately, see the body of the dead teenager, foreshadowing that it might indeed be their son.
After seeing pictures of Jackson as a toddler and child, Scully decides to test his DNA against hers to be sure, having a heartwarming monologue in the morgue during which she apologizes to Jackson, should he be William, for giving him up. Mulder finds her there and takes her out to the lobby, leaving Jackson’s body unattended whilst they wait for the results. As many might had guessed by that point, Jackson wasn’t really dead. He frees himself and leaves the hospital unnoticed.
Jumping forward a little bit, it is confirmed that Jackson is indeed William and therefore Scully’s son (not Mulder’s as we have learned before). We also learn that Scully must have been part of a covered operation to create human-alien hybrids – chimeras. Trying to find out more about her son, Scully meets with his therapist who helps her confirm that the seizures and visions she had been having had been the same as Jackson’s.
As Mulder and Scully conclude that what might be happening is only a false reality, meaning Jackson can make people see what he wants them to see, they realize that he had done the same with his own death.
Before he manages to disappear, Jackson decides to visit the two girls in the hospital and say goodbye to them, trapping himself between the DOD and the DOJ. Thankfully, Mulder and Scully were also headed to the hospital to find Jackson and bring him to safety. Jackson isn’t quite sure though who he can trust and creates several false realities to have his hunters kill each other and fooling Scully and Mulder to make his way out unnoticed.
Mulder and Scully are on their way back when Scully asks Mulder to stop for gas. There she meets an older man, whom she had seen and met before. After he leaves, Mulder asks Scully what he had wanted. She quoted his advice to her to him: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Quickly, Mulder realizes that it was a quote by someone else, leading them to believe that there might be something off. And it was. As Mulder and Scully ask for the security tape of the gas station, they see that the old man had not really been an old man. It had been William, creating a false reality for Scully to not recognize him. And also the two times before that, during which Scully had seen or met this old man, it had been him as well.
This episode was a lot and yet, it doesn’t promise much for the future. We now know that William is alive and knows who Scully is. And although it was emotional to see Scully cry over her “dead” son’s body and Mulder by her side every step of the way, it also was heartbreaking and felt like a quick way to make up for not having told William’s story before. It had never been in question, that William possessed abilities, and seeing them in action was intriguing.
Still, and I’m hoping I’m wrong here, it felt like a simple way out of having to tell William’s story, as he was taken away from us and Scully right away. And as touching as the end scene was, in which Scully realized it had been William, it is not the same as them actually interacting with each other – both seeing the other in the real reality.