We knew Chris Carter was up to something. When Scully announced at the end of this season’s opening episode that she believed William, the son she and Mulder gave up for adoption over a decade prior, was trying to contact her, it was clear that the show was leading up to the boy’s unveiling. We just didn’t think it would be so soon.
In Season 11 Episode 5 of The X-Files, titled “Ghouli,” Mulder and Scully investigate the attempted murder of two high school girls who both claim to have been attacked by a praying-mantis-like creature. In questioning the girls, Mulder and Scully learn that they both share one thing in common: a boyfriend. Which leads to the episode’s first major revelation.
His Name Is Jackson Van De Kamp
Though we don’t know it right away, this coincidental shared boyfriend is none other than Scully and Mulder’s child, William. All the clues line up: his age, his adoptive parents, his Fox-y good looks and his inclination to challenge government agents. His identity is only officially confirmed when Scully arrives at his house and recognizes it as the site of her recent dream — a sign that she was summoned there by something or someone.
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He’s Not Dead
That’s the other (obvious) thing: Jackson/William is not dead. At least, not by the end of the episode. At the start of the season, Jackson’s fate was ambiguous: his parents knew he was in danger somehow but they had no way to reach him, even to just confirm his existence. His arrival on the scene in this episode brings us to a long-awaited conclusion: Mulder and Scully’s son is alive and well. (That is, before he fakes his own death in a troubling mirage. But we’ll get there.)
He Has Visions of the Apocalypse
In order to verify Jackson’s identity, Scully visits his therapist and presses her about the boy’s psychiatric behavior. Scully posits that Jackson had visions and begins describing her own apocalyptic dream from this season’s first episode: where a pandemic has spread across the country and Scully and Jackson’s alien DNA are the only cure. The look on the therapist’s face was all the confirmation Scully needed to continue the pursuit of her son.
He Can Manipulate the Minds of Others
Unfortunately for her, he’s a little tricky to catch, as you might expect from the son of two legendary FBI agents. When Mulder and Scully first arrive at Jackson’s house, they hear gunshots and rush to the second floor where they find Jackson dead from a bullet to the head. Or, at least, that’s what it looks like. They find out that Jackson’s hybrid DNA gave him the ability to project images into other people’s minds, making them see things that aren’t actually there. In this case, he manipulated Mulder and Scully into seeing him as a suicide victim to get out of being caught (a trick that he pulls later when they corner him at the hospital and he takes the form of a nurse to escape.) In fact, it was this very “power” that got Jackson into this whole mess: in his attempt to understand and control his abilities, he projected the image of the Ghouli into the heads of his two girlfriends.
He’s Rebellious (But Loving at the Same Time)
Sure, having two girlfriends at the same time is arguably not the smartest move, but this is a teenager we’re talking about, and Mulder’s teenager, at that. The fact that he’s a player is not all that surprising. What’s more surprising is his attitude and his behavior towards these two girls. Yes, he may have two-timed them and accidentally pitted them against each other in a knife fight, but at the end of the day, he still goes to see them both to say goodbye when he realizes the cops are onto him, revealing a genuine affection for both women.
He Has Killer Instincts
Not only did Jackson think to fake his own death to escape questioning from the cops (a move that Mulder has pulled once in his own life), but he also managed to escape the hospital through a combination of mind games and crime-fighting moves that his parents would be proud of.
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He Knows Mulder and Scully Are His Parents
At one point, when Scully realizes who this suicide victim might be, she sits down next to his corpse and laments her decision to put him up for adoption and begs for his forgiveness. Though she doesn’t know it, Jackson heard the whole thing and proceeds to take the form of an Asian man in order to interact with Scully discreetly throughout the rest of the episode. His attempts to make contact with her reveal that he knows she is his mother and that they share a special connection.
Will Jackson/William make a return before the end of the season? Now that his adoptive parents are dead, will Mulder and Scully find a way to bring him back into their lives? Will Scully finally get closure on the child abandonment complex that she’s agonized over for almost a decade?
Tell us what you think in the comments down below.
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