Tue
Feb 9 2016 11:55am

“My Son Is Named William, Too”: The X-Files 10x04 Mulder/Scully Heart-to-Heart

Mulder and Scully's conversation on the log in The X-Files 10x04, Home AgainEight years after The X-Files: I Want to Believe hit theaters and THIRTEEN years after the series finale aired on television, FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are back for a six-episode Season 10 of The X-Files. Suffice to say, I am a WRECK. Won't you join me, fellow Mulder/Scully shippers—you, who coined the phrase “shipping” in the first place—in breaking down each new slice of canon we are gifted? Today—in the wake of “My Struggle: Part I,” “Founder's Mutation,” and “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”—we wipe our eyes, lift our chins, assure everyone we're “fine,” and analyze the hell out of a tremendous Season 10, episode 4, “Home Again.”

Maggie Scully has seen Scully and Mulder through some of their darkest moments, including Dana's abduction and coma in Season 2, her cancer in Season 5, and Mulder's funeral in Season 8. In “Home Again,” Maggie's daughter and (for all intents and purposes) son-in-law return the favor, seeing her through her final hours. After suffering a heart attack and requesting no extraordinary measures be taken to keep her alive, Scully's mom passes away, but not before giving Mulder one last message: His son, her grandson, will always be a part of him and Scully, and they must acknowledge that.

Mulder and Scully's breakup or their daydreams about raising William were heart-wrenching, but as it turns out, those were nothing compared to witnessing Scully and Mulder say good-bye to Margaret Scully. Scully's tears and pleas for her mom to stay with her and her brothers and even William will stick with me for a long, long time, not least because it is so damn real. Who hasn't experienced that helplessness and pain at the death of a loved one? Who hasn't wondered, afterward, if they really knew all there was to know? The X-Files is ever at its most powerful when exploring the human heart's endless mysteries, and “Home Again” proves that once more.

The 7 Times Mulder and Scully Ripped Our Hearts Out

Mulder and Scully in the hospital waiting room in The X-Files Season 10, episode 41. Scully learns her mother's in the ICU. Scully's face as she gets the news from her brother Bill Jr. that her mother's in the ICU tells Mulder, and the audience, all we need to know: It's bad. Mulder immediately goes to his partner's side and lends what comfort he can, considering where they are, and tells her to go to her mother while he handles the case. Mulder's soft voice and gentle touches throughout the episode are reminiscent of “Beyond the Sea,” when he conveyed his apologies about the death of her father, except now there's a comfort level born of decades' worth of history and understanding between them. Ow.

2. Mulder shows up at the ICU, sitting with Scully as she waits for the doctor and studies her mother's mysterious necklace, then holding her as her mother is extubated. Scully is as vulnerable as we've ever seen her, and it's devastating to see our tough-as-nails Agent Scully this way. Mulder loves Maggie too, but he sets aside his own grief to focus completely on giving Scully what she needs, whether it's a quiet presence across from her at Maggie's bedside or the one person she can confide in about how bewildered and hurt she is that Maggie would ask for her younger brother Charlie—who's been estranged from the family for years, we learn, which explains why we never saw him in the series outside of a flashback of him and his siblings as children—over her.

3. Maggie Scully looks Mulder straight in the eye and tells him, “My son is named William too,” her last words. Again ignoring her beloved daughter—in an interview about the episode, writer/director Glen Morgan says Maggie knew she and Dana were okay, so it was unresolved feelings about Charlie and William she clung to at the end—Maggie focuses her last bit of energy on her grandson's father. Mulder's entire being lights up as Maggie grabs his hand, but her final words to him have nothing to do with closure and everything to do with kickstarting what may end up being the most important quest of Mulder's life, after all: Making sure his son, William, is all right. In the end, her family is all that matters to Maggie, even the ones she'd long given up seeing again. I may never get over this scene, and I doubt Scully or Mulder will either. The signs won't stop coming at this point: Clearly, they need to find their son.

(Sidenote: Can you imagine how PISSED Bill, Jr., would be to learn that his mom's last words were for Mulder? I'm disappointed we did not get to see that, especially since a Bill cameo was on my season 10 wish list. I can't explain it, but I LIVE for his hatred of Mulder, maybe because it's completely understandable but goes to show that even her family's disapproval can't change Scully's feelings for Mulder, the person who understands her better than anyone else, even her own family.)

Maggie Scully reminds Mulder they both have a son named William Mulder looks at Scully after Maggie's comment in The X-Files 10x04
Gifs via lilykakes.tumblr.com  

4. Scully freaks out at the thought of her mother's body being taken away, and Mulder pulls her back. Having watched a similar scene play out in my own life, I can imagine how Scully is feeling in this moment. I'm so glad Mulder is still right there for her, like Scully was for him in Season 7's “Closure” the night she confirmed his mother had, in fact, taken her own life and Mulder wept in her arms at the realization his mother was truly gone.

5. Scully, Queen of “I'm Fine,” tells Mulder—exactly as she did after her father's passing in “Under the Sea”—that she needs to work. She knows Mulder knows her far too well for “I'm fine” to fly at this point in their lives, but Scully also recognizes that if anyone will understand her need to bury her feelings with work, it's Mulder. And he does, though not before making the token effort to tell her “no” and “not right now,” because he has to try. It's incredible, isn't it, how much has changed in their time together, and how much hasn't?

Scully cries in Mulder's arms in The X-Files 10x4 Mulder holds Scully in The X-Files 10.04
Gifs via dinoscully.tumblr.com  

6. As the Trashman explains his creation of Band-Aid Man, Scully comes to the conclusion he (she) is responsible for the damage he's (she's) done to the very people (her son) that he's (she's) tried to protect. Honestly, as well done as parts of the case of the week were and as important as the message it conveys is, I was so buried in Scully Family Feels that my biggest takeaway was about how it tied into Scully's grief. The scene where she makes the connection between Trashman's refusing to take responsibility for Band-Aid Man and her own abandonment of the son she wished into existence is a wrecking ball to the gut. Flashbacks to scenes of Mulder holding William in “Existence,” Scully gazing at baby William in his crib in “William,” and Scully confessing to Mulder she gave up their son in “The Truth” are salt in the gaping wound.

7. Scully, her mother's ashes in an urn at her feet, tells Mulder she can't stop thinking about why her mother would have brought up the son they'd given up for adoption, the grandson Maggie clearly couldn't let go. In a final scene that could only be intended to kick us while we're down, Scully says, “I want to believe...I need to believe...that we didn't treat him like trash.” BOOM. I'm a goner. I really am. It's too much to deal with. I'll never stop crying over this episode. Mulder and Scully are going to HAVE to find William now. They will never find peace otherwise, which is apparently exactly what Maggie Scully wished to convey, looking out for them to the very last. I'll miss her very, very much.

...and The 3 Times They Eased Our Pain

1. Mulder regales Scully with how he wished her back to life 20 years ago. Especially in our darkest moments, we seek the light, and Mulder helps Scully find some, for a little while, at least, in the hospital by her mother's side. In all their spooky cases, Scully muses, haven't they found anyone who could will a person back to life? And Mulder counters that, actually, he invented that very skill, when he willed her to come out of her coma all those years ago, referencing Season 2's “One Breath.” “You're a dark wizard, Mulder,” Scull jokes, to which Mulder asks, “What else is new?” and laughs the most beautiful laugh. They'll be okay, these two.

Scully calls Mulder a dark wizard in The X-Files Season 10, episode 4 Mulder laughs off Scully's comment in The X-Files 10x04
Gifs via lizzymindy.tumblr.com  

2. Scully takes down a suspect like the BAMF she is. While she's momentarily distracted while waiting for a sign from Mulder (he has to wistle to get her attention, which is adorable), Scully is in top form when, minutes later, she uses some pretty slick moves to bring down a man twice her size and relieve him of his weapon, which she hands to Mulder. Daaaaamn. You can't not smile at this.

3. “Back in the day is now.” When Mulder complains that he doesn't do stairs anymore, Scully reminds him that she used to not only do stairs, but do them in heels. Mulder takes the opportunity to rib her, reminding her that she still has that to look forward to in the present day, to which Scully responds with a flashlight beam to his face. They're so flirty and cute and in love here you can almost forget about the trauma of the episode. Almost.

Mulder and Scully suit up for new adventures in The X-Files Season 10Memorable Lines

Scully, to Mulder: “I believe that you will find the answer to all the biggest mysteries, and I will be there when you do. But my mysteries...I'll never know the answers.”

Scully: “You're a dark wizard, Mulder.”
Mulder: “What else is new?”

Margaret Scully, to Mulder: “My son is named William too.”

Scully: “Mulder, back in the day, I used to do stairs, and in 3-inch heels.”
Mulder: “Back in the day? Scully, back in the day is now.”

***

Photo credit: Ed Araquel/FOX


Heather Waters is the editorial director of H&H and a 24/7 fangirl. She grew up surrounded by The X-Files fans and has been a card-carrying MSR shipper herself since bingeing all 9 seasons (on DVD, no less) and 2 movies in 2008. Find her on Twitter at @hwaters_

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9 comments
Mulder and Scully lover
1. Mulder and Scully lover
I agree with you ,100 percent. I want to know what with the coin necklace what year is on their, I think it William birth year to keep him close to her heart. That be I great ending for the show. I hope we see how he is, and he finds he's real parents and give each other closer they need
Mulder and Scully lover
2. Pamela Cayne
You covered it all and then some. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go ugly cry in the shower for about 2 hours.

P.S. I was wondering if the quarter was William's birth year, too.
Mulder and Scully lover
3. Spookysdarling
But how can you not mention Mulder's "I'm here". There, nuff said. He is here. He is always there when she needs him. He knows when to shut up about cases and aliens and whatnot and just be there.
Heather Waters
4. HeatherWaters
@Mulder and Scully lover -- After reading an interview with the episode writer, Glen Morgan, I don't think we'll ever find out what it means. He said he got the idea from his own mother, who died with a necklace, and he still doesn't know what it means. He said sometimes you can never know the little mysteries in life, which is true, but awww maaaaan. I just want one mystery solved in this show! Agreed about William, I really hope they find him in the next season.

@Pamela Cayne -- I want to say Scully mentions that she can't think of any date it would be, but it would be really cool. William was her last thought. :( Now that it's all over, I can confidently say this was my favorite episode of the revival. So good.

@Spookysdarling -- Thank you for calling me out on this! I didn't even realize it wasn't in here, but Mulder saying "I'm here" when he showed up at the ICU was everything I wanted it to be. I think I'd obsessed over it so much during the previews that I let other things overwhelm me when the episode actually aired. But ugh, yes, you're so right, Mulder was perfect in this episode--like you said, he knows when to shut up and just support Scully when she needs it most.
Mulder and Scully lover
5. Sculder4Life
I loved this post and it made me feel a lot better. But I do feel the need to point out that it's "Beyond the Sea", not "Under the Sea". I don't mean to be nitpicky or rude, it just bothered me a teeny bit.
Heather Waters
7. HeatherWaters
@Sculder4Life -- Ahhh, thank you! This is what I get for relying on my terrible memory and not fact checking. Will correct.

@MULDERANDSCULLYFOREVER -- I've seen people speculating it's someone's birth year, but Scully was born in 1964, so not sure...
MULDERANDSCULLYFOREVER
8. MULDERANDSCULLYFOREVER
I know it crazy, Scully has a sister named Melissa maybe it is her birthday. Why kill her mom off, I like to know is her mom bad at her for giving her grandson away. A family grathering would be fun to watch with her and Mulder and her family. Maggie looked like she like Mulder but her brother.
Heather Waters
9. HeatherWaters
Maybe! And yes, I'd really like to see Scully and Mulder interact with her brother Bill again. He always hated Mulder but it was fun to watch.
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