This is not a drill. I repeat this is not a drill. Last night’s episode of The X-Files “Plus One” was a double the pleasure, double the fun sort of episode. Penned by Chris Carter the writing had its highs, its very highs, its “afterglows” and its lows. This “Monster of the Week” installment had very little to do with the overlying theme of the season thus far, though Carter did manage to squeeze in one line regarding the Trumpidency and some genuinely good laughs.
This episode featured a fan favourite actress, Karin Konoval, who played the Mother in the infamous episode “Home” about an incestuous family. Yes. That one. The one that was banned from airing again on live television. Good time. This time Konoval played the evil, split personality (or was it?) twin of an equally evil, potentially split personality brother. Named Judy and Chucky, these two were playing the single most intense marathon session of deadly telepathic hangman I’ve ever seen, while Mulder and Scully were marathoning…well, other things.
Other, long time in coming, sexy things, to be precise.
What’s difficult about it, however, is finding where the Mulder and Scully plot meshes with the case. Usually, serialized television likes to have parallel stories running, where what happens in the characters personal lives mirrors that which is happening in the story featured in that episode. There was none of that here. Now, admittedly, I was watching with the station cutting out every minute or so (no joke, the weather outside is frightful) so maybe I missed some crucial lines, but in a very I Want To Believe sort of way, there is very little correlation here between the case and our favourite Agent’s lives, the case serving merely as a backdrop to their personal drama.
But what is their personal drama? I hope I’m not the only one who is confused. Last episode we learned that Mulder and Scully are still living together in the Unremarkable House. There were veiled sexual references and gratuitous flirting among other things. Yet,in this episode, Scully is taken aback at the prospect of sharing a suite with Mulder. Then, when she climbs into bed with him, asking him to “hold her” they have the conversation that makes about as little sense as fake cheese. They discuss the fact that they are aging (brought on by some comments made by Judy’s evil alter ego to Scully) and that potentially they might want to be with other people? That Scully doesn’t have anyone to have a baby with even if she could? What?
This is made especially confusing by the fact that, immediately after this discussion, they have sex. Fans, who have been waiting since at most 1993 for this to happen, myself included, can finally rejoice as this marks the first time that Mulder and Scully have been intimate during screen time. And multiple implied times to boot. Gillian Anderson’s directorial debut “All Things” doesn’t technically count. If nothing else, this was an historic, momentous episode for this reason alone.
The case, which ends in the twins offing each other, basically solves itself after Mulder and Scully fight their doppelgangers off in a very attractive montage. As far as case plots go, it was a good one. Everyone loves a good old classic Evil Twins trope, and combining it with doppelgangers who kill their original selves and mystical yet unexplained powers is fairly typical as far as classic episode plots go. All the same, it felt a bit aimless in the scheme of things. Mulder believes, Scully’s the skeptic, nothing is explained. All par for the course.
Perhaps that’s part of the point of this episode. Scully meets her doppelganger upon driving to the hospital. The entity of “pure evil” as Mulder first put it (though Scully initially waved him off only to eventually agree with him) was sitting in the back of her car. She acknowledges it as That has long been the question The X-Files has asked. I’d almost hazard to say that, if it’s been done once, it’s been done a hundred times. On how many occasions has Scully finally acquiesced to the impossible being possible, only to renege her belief? (I’m thinking right now of such episodes as “Paperclip” and “Je Souhaite”, a la aliens running past her in a secret government filing facility and autopsies on invisible corpses.) But this time is different. The angle is not impossible versus possible, but rather impossible versus improbable. Or, as Scully puts it, things which are within “the realm of extreme possibility”.
At the end of the episode, Mulder and Scully go back to their separate rooms, only for Scully to speak to that difference before turning around and going after Mulder, who is waiting for her expectantly on the other side of the door, open adoration written in his gaze.
Cue round two. Or, as Philes have been putting it for years “ATTHS” (And then they had sex).
Is this preparation for coming episodes? Is the greater purpose of this episode to help propel Scully back to where she was in (for better or worse) Seasons 8 and 9? A believer, alongside Mulder this time, ready for what is coming? Ready to help their son, with his special gifts, dormant or not, in his role to combat colonization?
Mulder already believes. He believes in the improbable. He believes in the fantastic and mystical. He believes that Scully has “still got it going on. Still got scoot in that boot.” Mulder doesn’t believe that she is old, or that it is an impossibility for her to have a child again. Mulder believes that they are “it” for one another. And that when they’re old, he’ll be there to push her wheelchair. Mulder believes in Scully and he always has.
It’s Scully who needs to believe in herself. Once, she believed because someone had to, if Mulder wasn’t there. The years may have weighed down on them, but it is time for Dana Scully to believe once more.
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