The X-Files, Season 11, Episode 3

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Spoilers under the cut!

My thoughts after Wednesday’s episode are mostly unintelligible babbling noises, but I’m going to suck it up and attempt to write this like the grown-ass woman I am.

Give this woman an Emmy.

I had low hopes for this one, especially following on the heels of “This”, which is probably one of my new favorite episodes of television. It doesn’t help that “Plus One” is a Chris Carter special; the guy who loves his purple prose, convoluted-to-the-point-of-incoherent plots, and continues to insist that Mulder and Scully are just platonic coworkers.

Yeah, right.

With all that in mind, I sat down to watch “Plus One” with a heavy dose of skepticism, and for the most part, it was warranted. The plot was thin and left me puzzled — death by games of telepathic Hangman? If you say so…

That said, Karin Konoval deserves an award for her performance; that woman has skills, and “Plus One” is worth watching just for that.

Grumpy Chucky is grumpy.

The dialogue was better than in “My Struggle III” (a low bar) but again, I attribute that to the actors knowing their characters and working all that magical chemistry like they do.

On the other hand, if I channel my inner 14-year-old…well, that’s when the babbling starts. I’ve been waiting for this day for almost 21 years, so I’ll allow myself to fangirl about it, sans judgment.

The plot centers around an eccentric brother and sister, Chucky and Judy, each with split personalities of the good/evil variety. They communicate telepathically to play games of Hangman, giving them the ability to summon a person’s doppelgänger to stalk and eventually kill them.

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 3.18.12 PM

There doesn’t seem to be much reason to their killings, other than their victims having attracted Chucky’s ire. Chucky and Judy don’t seem to like each other much, either, leading to a predictable downfall when they turn their powers against each other.

But the really interesting stuff happens in the last fifteen minutes, and it’s Mulder and Scully, talking about…Mulder and Scully.

As they investigate the case, we learn that Scully is feeling uneasy about some things. Triggered by an unkind snip about her age and her reproductive status from Judy (REMEMBER SHE’S BARREN??? INFERTILE. CAN’T REPRODUCE. IN CASE YOU FORGOT), Scully questions her “viability” as a woman, even going so far as to ask Mulder if he sees her as old (which is a ridiculous sentiment coming out of Gillian Anderson’s mouth, but I digress).

So, I think I understand where Carter was going with this. Scully and Mulder were together for years before she left him under what we assume are extenuating circumstances. They’re both coming down off one hell of a midlife crisis, they’re trying to find their son, and they have a deep and painful history with a walk-in closet full of skeletons that probably hasn’t seen the sun in years.

And what do they have to show for it? They’re married to government jobs in a government that no longer wants them, with retirement on the horizon.

It makes sense to me that Scully is feeling insecure about what the future holds for her, and for them–even if it comes out as a misplaced fear of aging. I’ll buy it. Barely.

Things heat up after Scully spies her own doppelgänger in a crowd while investigating the latest murder. Spooked by the vision, she can’t sleep, so she finds herself at Mulder’s bedside.

Oh, did I mention they’re sharing a motel suite?

Let the onscreen fanfic commence!

“Can you hold me?”

It’s a little awkward, but sweet, and hey, it works. Mulder invites her into bed, and they assume the Mulder And Scully Snuggling While Talking About Serious Things Position, which you may recognize from “Requiem” and “I Want To Believe”. What follows is probably the most open discussion we’ve ever seen about their relationship over 11 seasons and two movies.

Some of their back and forth felt ten years out of date. “Do you want to have more kids?” C’mon, Scully is amazing, but she’s also had enough reproductive trauma for several lifetimes. (She also claims she doesn’t have anyone to have kids with even if she wanted more — I call bullshit.)

But there were some pretty perfect moments, too.

“I’ll come push your wheelchair with my wheelchair.” – Mulder

Congrats on your faces.

And then they made their damn wedding vows:

“I’ll always be around, Scully, offering bulletproof theories of genius that you’ll fail to assault with your inadequate rationality.”

“And I’ll always be around to prove you wrong. Promise.”

This transitions (somewhat abruptly, making me think some dialogue was cut) into them talking about the state of the world, specifically the U.S. presidency, and how if things continue to go pear-shaped for the FBI, they’re probably out of work.

Get it, Scully!

Get it, Scully!

“Then what would we do?” Mulder ponders, only to have Scully turn to face him, smiling.

“We’ll think of something.”

The camera pans away (to Scully’s unseen twin, lurking in the doorway, but who cares, Mulder and Scully are spooning!) and when we return, we find Scully on the opposite side of the bed, curled naked under a sheet, as a dopey, smiling Mulder checks himself out in the bathroom mirror.

This doof.

At that point, 14-year-old me fainted and hasn’t been able to manage a coherent sentence since.

There was a time when these characters did little more than graze hands, and the resulting sparks were enough start fires in the X-Files fandom. The closest we got to a sex scene during the show’s original run was Scully gently drawing her thumbs over Mulder’s lips while they both stood fully dressed in the hallway of his apartment building.

Even after Scully got pregnant, the tiresome “who’s your daddy” angle meant the subject was never addressed. The show runners went to absurd lengths to avoid showing a sexual relationship, to the point where the actors decided to act as though they had and call it good enough (there’s a reason season 7 is known in the fandom as “the season of secret sex”).

So for Carter (of all people) to imply the characters had a little fun while on a case is just…Invasion-of-the-Body-Snatchers-level unprecedented.

Has anyone checked on Chris? Are we sure he’s not tied up in a closet somewhere?

Anyway. The peace doesn’t last (it never does); Mulder spies his doppelgänger in the mirror, and he panics, half-naked and scrambling to put his clothes on as he tries to wake his partner.

Never has a single naked shoulder insinuated so much.

But Scully is so damn satisfied, she barely bats an eye.

Evil killer twin? Yeah, yeah, whatever, come back to bed.

After which follows the best line Carter has ever written:

“Scully, put a dimmer on that afterglow and get yourself to the hospital before they hang us both.”

Thus begins a Mulder-on-Mulder fight, which is hilarious in context — he’s desperate, fighting like a man who’s just figured out what he has to live for and he’s not giving it up yet.

There’s also a great scene where Scully rationalizes away her own doppelgänger; she’s not even scared, just mildly annoyed. Don’t get between Dana Scully MD and a good post-coital snuggle, she will cut you.

*Sigh. This again?*

The rest of the plot ties itself up in a too-tidy bow with Judy and Chucky’s deaths. Just enough time for me to pick my jaw up off the floor and try to remember why I was supposed to care about anything other than the fact that Mulder and Scully had sex and it is now canon AMEN.

Ahem. The episode wraps with Mulder and Scully reconvening in their shared motel room, Mulder suggesting they can “get a couple hours in” before their flight, wink wink, nudge nudge. Scully gives him The Eyebrow, and demurely points him toward his own bed on the sofa, claiming she can’t think of a reason she might need him right now.

I could almost hear the fandom’s collective groan of frustration from my couch.

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 3.16.50 PM

Mulder closes the door between them, and Scully pauses, thinking. Gillian’s delivery of the final line, as Scully moves to open the door to find Mulder leaning against the threshold, is the picture-perfect end:

“Then again, it’s not outside the realm of extreme possibility.”

Twice, y’all. Twice.

Ahem.

It’s not the best episode of the season, but it’s certainly a memorable one. The actors’ chemistry saves the occasional awkward writing, and the addition of Karin Konoval makes for a surprisingly satisfying hour of television.

Until next week, AKA Darin Morgan’s wacky contribution to the season with “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat”, AKA my birthday. Can’t wait!

😃+

One thought on “The X-Files, Season 11, Episode 3

  1. Nice review! Mulder and Scully where cute this episode. I understand she perhaps is regretting having no more children and it is sad she cannot but Scully is 53 so biologically anyway too old to have kids. She would know that too as a woman and as doctor so I think having more kids is out of the question.

Leave a Reply