Scully And Mulder Close In On An Evolutionary First In “Founder’s Mutation”
Welcome to Dr. Goldman’s Home For Genetically Messed Up Children. Funded and run by Augustus Goldman himself, the secretive facility aims to help kids afflicted with a wide array of genetic diseases—or at least that’s what their mission statement would have us believe. Dr. Goldman’s downfall, however, is in failing to make believers out of Scully and Mulder.
Sensing that something is up after they’re called in to investigate the suicide of a top scientist at the Department of Defense-protected Nugenics Technology, the two recently reunited FBI agents go snooping. The scientist, Dr. Sanjay, has been hearing things. Specifically: high-pitched infrasounds inaudible to everyone but him and a bunch of Hitchcockian birds. The sound is so painful he’ll do anything to make it stop, including driving a letter opener directly into his brain.
Later, at Sanjay’s apartment, Mulder hears the same sounds accompanied by a message: “find her.” Sanjay heard a message too, which he scribbled on his hand moments before his death. His was “founder’s mutation.” The Founder, coincidentally (or not so much) is the ominous nickname everyone at Nugenics uses for Dr. Goldman. With all signs pointing his way, Scully pulls some strings to get an audience with the elusive scientist at his tightly guarded facility.
Goldman claims that the children he’s treating there arrive as unwanted babies with severe genetic mutations, afflictions that he and his fellow researchers are attempting to cure. It’s just that these kids look more like prisoners than patients. And then there’s that problematic maternity ward back at Scully’s hospital—that at least one of the expectant mothers is trying to escape from. All the kids-in-peril kind of drama works to heighten Scully and Mulder’s fear about the fate of their own son.
But it’s when the pair begin to look into Goldman’s family life that things get really strange. The doctor’s wife has been in an asylum for over a decade, allegedly for killing her unborn baby. The couple’s other child, a daughter, is missing but the mother has a story to tell about both children. She once discovered her two-year-old daughter calmly breathing under the water of the backyard swimming pool like it was NBD.
And her son? She says she didn’t kill him, she just cut him loose (literally) after hearing the same noise Sanjay and Mulder have both heard emanating from her womb. When she woke up, he was gone—but if anyone can track him down, it’s Scully and Mulder. In doing so, they get more than they bargained for. There are connections between him and Dr. Sanjay. Sanjay had been trying to help him find his sister, Molly, the underwater breather. Suspecting that Molly may be living in Dr. Goldman’s facility (and that both children are experimental subjects in Goldman’s work), Scully and Mulder bring the boy to the facility where he’s reunited with his sister—a touching scene that makes their father’s head explode (and not in the metaphorical sense).
After that, the entire facility is put on lockdown by the DOD and the FBI agents are kicked off the case for good—well, except for that vial of alien-human hybrid blood that Mulder pocketed.
Best Line of the Whole Episode
“I’m familiar with Edward Snowden.” — Mulder to a Department of Defense thug telling him the DOD will come down hard on them if they continue their investigation.
“Founder’s Mutation” by the Numbers
1: JFK impression, courtesy of Mulder
2: Separate lives being lived by Dr. Stanley
3: People who can hear the terrible noise that made the doctor kill himself
5: Fingers broken by Scully in order to read the message on Dr. Sanjay’s hand
8+: Childhood genetic mutations being treated at Dr. Goldman’s facility
10: Number of minutes Dr. Goldman’s daughter spent underwater without dying
15: The age Mulder and Scully’s son William would be now
2: Nightmare scenarios envision by Mulder and Scully about the ultimate fate of their son
2001: The year William was born and the year 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film Mulder imagines showing him in this episode, takes place