Mulder & Scully Imagine Their Son, William, On 'The X-Files' In Sequences That Go From Heartbreaking To Frightening

The X-Files' signature conspiracy theories and action-packed sequences were back in full force in the Jan. 25 episode, "Founder's Mutation," and seeing Mulder and Scully back at work is even more thrilling than I expected. But, amidst the episode's fast-paced mystery, viewers got a glimpse into the grief and guilt they continue to experience when it comes to Mulder and Scully's son, William, who was given up for adoption as a baby in Season 9. At different points in the new episode of The X-Files , both Mulder and Scully imagine life with William if they had been able to raise him — and the sequences were simultaneously sweet, heartbreaking, and frightening.

Although I'm sure he's never far from their thoughts, these particular fantasies appear to be triggered by the case of Augustus Goldman, a doctor who is seemingly experimenting with human embryos and alien DNA. Mulder speculates that the young women in the hospital are incubators for the experiment, prompting Scully to ask him if all this time, he's considered her to be "just an incubator" when she became pregnant with William. When he responds that she's never "just anything" to him, Scully asks if he ever thinks about William. This says a lot about why they may have broken up — although it's unclear exactly when or why they split, they likely weren't communicating very well if they'd stopped talking about their child and emotions following his adoption.

Mulder tells Scully that "of course" he thinks of William, but he feels like he needs to put it behind him. Scully doesn't seem ready to put it behind her, because she continues by sadly noting that he's 15 years old now and she's missed every single year of his life. She admits that sometimes she hates herself because she "didn't have the courage to stand by him." It's a fairly heart-wrenching moment, because Scully has certainly never lacked courage and it was clear in Season 9 that she made the decision to protect William, not herself. When Mulder tries to remind her of this, she poses the worst case scenario — that their son has been found and victimized like the children in Goldman's experiment.

After their conversation, Scully fantasizes about what it would have been like to raise William. The first scenario she imagines is his first day of school — she's more nervous than he is and tells him that the only thing he needs to remember is how much she loves him. From there, the scenarios become increasingly dark. First, he's being rushed to the hospital for a broken arm and to be tested for a concussion, and later he exhibits a mutation similar to one of the children in Goldman's ward. She snaps back to reality and stares sadly at William's baby photo.

When the case of the week is over, we see that Mulder hasn't put really put William "behind him" any more than Scully has. As he sits alone at home, Mulder has similar fantasies about raising their child — we see him telling Wiliam all about aliens (natch) and launching a toy rocket as the boy declares that he'll go to space someday. But, like Scully, Mulder's imagination takes him to a dark place and William goes missing. When Mulder returns to reality, he does the exact same thing as Scully — holds the baby photo in his hand with a haunted expression on his face.

As Chris Carter has confirmed, the first and last episodes of the miniseries will be mythology-based and the ones in between will be standalone episodes. But, that's not to say the mythology will be ignored in Episodes 2-5 — William and his DNA could be key to uncovering this season's conspiracy. Mulder and Scully's concerns that he may not be as safe as they believed could lead them to eventually seek out their son — and that would be an intense, interesting plotline for both their personal and professional lives in this X-Files revival.

Images: Ed Araquel/FOX; xfilesgifarchive/Tumblr