Need to catch up? Check out the previous X-Files recap here.
It’s ironic that last week’s episode of The X-Files was titled “This,” because that’s my exact response to the show’s most recent hour.
This is what my X-phile ‘shipping heart has longed for all through nine seasons of television, one pretty good movie, one incredibly bad movie and two seasons of revival: Mulder and Scully, spooning in bed, talking about their future and acknowledging that they’ve had Biblical knowledge of each other. (And if you come at me with “That kinda happened in I Want to Believe,” I will crack you over the head with one of those snow-poking sticks.)
Though I liked Season 10 more than most TV journalists, the emotional distance between Scully and Mulder at its outset irked me. Even if you weren’t looking for clues that the agents cared for each other in the early seasons (though, as I’ve said before, if their attraction wasn’t clear by “Irresistible,” what show were you watching?), can’t we all agree that having a kid together/surviving an Antarctic alien event together/drinking a snowglobe to stay alive bonds a couple in lifelong ways?
Anyway, this week’s hour, “Plus One,” delivers in a way reminiscent of “Leonard Betts.” It offers a quirky, funny monster-of-the-week, the investigation of which illuminates something new about Mr. and Mrs. Spooky. It includes some original-flavor Mulder and Scully banter. And as a bonus for us romantics, the most elusive of all X-Files phenomena: ACTUAL sex!
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My heart is full. Read on for a recap of the episode.
SEEING DOUBLE | In a small concert hall, we watch a chucklehead-looking dude drink straight out of a bottle, hop up on stage where a punk band is playing, then stage dive into the crowd. But his euphoria crashes when he sees what looks like an identical copy of himself glaring at him from the back of the venue.
The kid follows his double outside and hops in his truck, but his double suddenly appears there, grabbing the wheel and spinning the vehicle until it smacks into a tree. Chucklehead goes through the windshield, and it looks real bad, but he doesn’t die. The evil twin? Nowhere to be found.
HANG ON | The case piques Mulder’s interest, and as he briefs Scully on it in their basement office at the FBI, she’s — shocker! — skeptical about the guy’s account of a nefarious doppelganger. But other people in the guy’s Virginia county have died after describing similarly disturbing self-sightings, and the idea of a mass phenomenon is enough for Scully to get in the car and accompany her partner south.
But once they meet the guy, Arkie Seavers, Scully’s about to brush it all off — he’s got six DUIs, after all — but a local doctor draws her back in by describing how a bunch of people in the area were part of what seemed like a schizophrenic outbreak. And when Mulder notices that a schizophrenic patient in the hospital’s psych ward has covered her walls with pages of the hangman game, he asks to investigate.
Mulder and Scully meet the woman, Judy (played by Mrs. Peacock herself, Karin Konoval!), who claims that she plays the game telepathically with her brother. Mulder notices that Arkie’s name is the subject of one of her hangman matches, but Judy says she doesn’t know him… “but she might,” she says ominously, pointing to an empty chair in the corner. (Side note: Anyone catch titles of past episodes in some of the unfinished games hanging on Judy’s wall? I saw “Chinga” and “Firewalker.” Holler in the comments if you noticed others.)
Later that night, Mulder wakes Scully up in their shared hotel suite (though not their shared bed — he’s on the couch): Arkie is dead, having hanged himself in jail.
SCULLY’S DEMONS SURFACE | Arkie’s lawyer, Dean, is incensed: The young man wasn’t suicidal, he insists, and he was handcuffed when he died. And though we know that Arkie’s twin appeared in the cell before he kicked the bucket, Sculder doesn’t have that info. So Mulder goes to question the next person on their suspect list: Judy’s brother, Chucky, a trustee who works at the jail where Arkie died (and who’s also played by Mrs. Peacock herself, Karin Konoval!)
Chucky is a total weirdo hoarder who hates Mulder on site (mostly because the townie is sweet on “that tasty little redhead” Scully), and confirms that he and Judy are twins. He’s got hangman games strung up all over his place, too. Oh, and he also references a man who’s allegedly in the room… though Mulder can’t see him.
Meanwhile, Scully visits Judy, who’s had one of the wild shifts in personality that the doctor warned her about. Mean Judy is fond of flinging Dookie — the brand name of a chocolate pudding that looks a whole lot like poo (and because I am 5 years old, ha!) — at anyone who happens to enter her room. “We call her Demon Judy,” says one of the nurses who refuses to accompany Scully when she questions Demon Judy.
As predicted, the nasty Demon Judy launches lots of Dookie at Scully and lets on that she’s got the hots for Mulder: “What’s he see in you, your handsome partner? One taste of little Judy, and he’d forget you even exist. Maybe I can make you go away, too.” (This will prove important later.) Then she starts goading Scully for being old and infertile, “not even half a woman.”
BOOT SCOOT SCULLY | Demon Judy’s words stain Scully worse than the pudding; when Mulder knocks on the door of their adjoining room later that night, she’s clearly ruminating on the harsh comments. “Mulder, do you think of me as old?” she asks, and when he’s incredulous, she says, “A woman thinks about these things.” He assures her that, “No, Scully, you still got it goin’ on. You still got some scoot in your boot,” and that seems to make her feel better. (Side note: There is nothing I don’t love about this exchange, including how chic-ly unbuttoned both agents look, how Mulder’s gaze is so unflinchingly adoring even though his words of comfort are so clunkily and unequivocally MULDER (#SuperstarsOfTheSuperBowl4eva), and how amused Scully looks as she gently bats him back to his own room.)
Elsewhere, Chucky and Judy play another round telepathically. This time, the name they’re going for is Dean, AKA Arkie’s lawyer, who’s managed to tick off Chucky by referring to Arkie’s death as “supernatural.” Whatever, dude.
SHE IS ME | The next day, Good Judy is back when Scully visits, and she admits that Demon Judy has the power to affect people’s deaths. Good Judy protects herself, she confides in Scully, by taking some special pills. She pulls a handful of them in a napkin from her bra, then gives them to Scully. In the hallway, the nurses clue Scully in: The “special pills” are just bread that Judy rolls into pill form. Dana is about to throw them away when the RNs say that they take the pills, too, “in case they have secret power. You might want to take them, too.”
Lawyer Dean is about to eat a meal at the general store when he sees a stern-looking version of himself standing outside on the street. He finds the FBI agents at their hotel and asks for help, but Scully tells him he’s only making his condition worse by being so paranoid. “It can’t haunt you if you don’t let it,” she advises him, telling him to go home and lay low for a while. He leaves, and Mulder and Scully debate the existence of evil and the Devil. “If you eliminate the impossible, whatever is remaining, even if improbable, is the truth,” she says flatly. Mulder’s quippy retort: “No sugar, Sherlock.”
Dean tries to suicide-proof his home, but it’s no good: His evil twin shows up and uses a blade from the lawyer’s sword collection to chop his dead off. “For the record, I have to say it’s not outside the realm of possibility” that he decapitated himself, Scully says when she and Mulder survey the crime scene, but she seems less certain than before. And then outside Dean’s house, Scully sees a frowny version of herself standing amidst a crowd of onlookers. Uh-oh.
THE GOOD PART | Back at the hotel, a spooked Scully wakes up and makes her way to stand near Mulder’s bed. “Something about this case is getting under my skin,” she admits, and then utters a line that is straight out of 3,000 pieces of fan fiction, but I’m not mad about it: “Can you hold me?” Mulder seems surprised but not unhappy as he says, “Yeah, I can do that,” and he spoons her like it’s Bellefleur, Ore., circa 1992.
“What’s gonna happen… when we’re old?” she wonders as they lie together. “What do you mean, ‘when’?” he jokes, but she’s a little teary as she wonders, “Are we gonna spend time together?” and “What if you meet someone? What if you meet someone younger who wants to have kids?” He remarks that she could do the same, which leads to a discussion about how she would’ve liked another child, but she’s “at the end of that journey,” and anyway, “Mulder, sometimes I think the world is going to hell and we’re the only two people who can save it.” Then they talk about what would happen if they lost their jobs, and after a little silence, she concludes, “We’ll think of something.” Then she turns to face him and smiles… but that’s likely because she doesn’t see that Evil Scully is standing a few feet away.
Later, Mulder gets up to get a drink from the bathroom faucet, leaving a sheet-covered Scully sleeping in the bed. Then he sees an evil version of himself and freaks out, urging Scully to “put a dimmer on that afterglow” — !!! — and get to the hospital before they hang us both.” Scully sits up and WAIT GUYS GUYS WAIT SHE’S CLEARLY NAKED AND SHE WASN’T BEFORE AND I SHOULD PROBABLY NOT BE THIS EXCITED BUT THE HEART WANTS WHAT IT WANTS. Ahem. Scully reminds him that the twins can only hurt them if they panic, but Mulder’s not hearing it. “How many letters in ‘Scully,’ Scully?” he cries on his way out the door.
THE HANGMAN BECOMES THE HANGED | As Chuck and Judy argue telepathically over which agent to kill, Scully sees her evil twin appear in the backseat but calmly tells it that it may be evil, but its certainly not real. It disappears. (Might that be because Scully downed those bread pills like I down… well, bread?)
Over at Chucky’s place, Mulder’s not so lucky: His evil twin beats the Dookie out of him, finishing by turning a bookcase over on the G-man. But in the end, the twins wind up killing each other via a particularly killer game of hangman: Scully finds Judy strangled/hanged in her hospital room, and Mulder (once he recovers) finds Chucky strangled/hanged on the floor at his house. He also finds hangman games with the names “Mom” and “Dad,” which all but verifies that the twins killed their folks, too.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS IN A NONDESCRIPT MOTEL | Back at the hotel, a knackered Mulder tells Scully he’s going to sleep for a few hours before checkout, and “If you need anything, call me.” She’s putting on quite the easy-breezy act, saying, “I can’t imagine that I will” as he closes the door between their rooms behind him. “But then again, it’s not out of the realm of extreme possibility,” she says to herself with a little smile. And when she opens the door, Mulder is standing right there with a knowing look on his face.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Hit the comments and let us know!