Plus One 11×3: Put the pencil down.


 

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Clearly, there’s a dark influence set loose.

 

Do you hear that?

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Shhh!!!!

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It’s the sound of Scully’s biological clock ticking.

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If you listen closely, it sounds like woodpeckers pecking at fossilized bones in a remote and cavernous ravine.

*Splash*

That was the sound of Scully fishing for compliments. That silence is me drowning.

It’s hard for me to grade this episode since, on its own merits, the plot is shallow and the atmosphere merely passable. If I’m comparing it to Golden Era X-Files, not only does it not pass muster, character development-wise it doesn’t feel like it belongs. If I compare it to the Revival, well, the Revival has stunk worse. Far worse.

I’ve just got a resigned side smirk going on. That’s all.

Let’s start with the jumpy opening teaser. I miss the days of steady camera shots and discrete cuts. It’s not as noticeable when I watch other shows because I expect them to be “other shows.” But when my brain knows I’m supposed to be watching The X-Files, I instinctively find it more jarring.

But I’m an old fogie and I know it, and it’s not too hard to let all that slide, especially when we get some long-awaited, pre-case office banter.  Writer Chris Carter’s reputation suffers many things and by his own hand. But he always was pretty good at writing office banter between Mulder and Scully. My patience has finally been rewarded here (not that it compensates for the many injuries said patience has suffered).

There were several classic elements in this episode – Mulder and Scully’s verbal back-and-forth, them walking down hospital hallways listening to medical explanations for unexplained phenomena, the music (I see you getting back in the game, Mark Snow.) I also thought the scene where Mulder and Scully interviewed Arkie in the jail, while not quite hitting a home run, came close to the old atmosphere I crave. And moments in this episode reminded me of “Sleepless” (2×4), with strange, not-quite-there visions haunting folks into an early death. That wasn’t a stupendous episode either, but it did bring us Krycek…

I wish I could spend more time discussing the plot with you, Philes. But it’s basic and relatively stupid. Twins play a game of Psychic Hangman that results in someone they hate self-destructing at the hands of their own doppelganger. Said twins eventually self-destruct after their children play their own game of Psychic Hangman. And there’s a whole lot of forced UST between Mulder and Scully. The End.

Now, about that UST, we can’t ride the gravy train in reverse. I know Carter wishes he could have Mulder and Scully’s Season 3 relationship back, but it’s not happening. Or, I should say, it’s not happening well.

What the heck was that ridiculous conversation in bed about? Ridiculousness??

Underneath that hollow sound of the woodpeckers, you can also hear the sound of me smothering myself with my own pillow.

Try to follow the logic: In the 16 years since the reunion of Mulder and Scully and the end of The X-Files, Scully wanted to have a baby and would have tried except that she didn’t have a partner and she believed (as did we all) that she was barren and her first child was a miracle. Also, this desire of hers was a surprise to Mulder. This would mean that A) A woman who believed she was barren was on birth control that whole time. Otherwise, they would have at least been open to another child by default, which would render this conversation meaningless since that would mean both of them knew she was definitely barren since she never got pregnant, and barren after “Per Manum” (8×8) established that she had already had her last chance at IVF. Ergo, Scully must have been using birth control in order for pregnancy to have been an unexplored possibility by both of them. B) Mulder wasn’t her partner up until recently.

Wait. Wait. She would’ve liked to have had another child, but claims the problem is she doesn’t have a partner. Well, up until Chris Carter mysteriously and blasphemously broke you two up last season, you had a partner. You have had a partner for years. For years, yo.

Right up until the end. You almost made it, Chris Carter. Right up until the end, this episode’s biggest crime was that it mostly bored me. Now it offends me. Scully pouts her way back into Mulder’s arms because she’s insecure about aging? Because we all know she’s steps away from being a washed out old hag. And to add insult to injury, Carter manufactures this lame excuse for a cathartic conversation between our two leads that doesn’t even make sense. Yes, my heart hurt listening to it, but not with nostalgia. We were frightfully close to “Trust No 1” (9×8) territory. Remember when Chris Carter intimated that Scully first slept with Mulder because of loneliness and desperation. No? Well, you’re welcome.

Verdict:

Maybe I’m just thick, but I can’t understand why it’s so difficult to just let them love each other naturally in the background.

“Put a dimmer on that afterglow.” – I gagged. Really.

And if Scully is going to have a midlife crisis, Chris Carter should not be the one to write about it. Only he could make it as simplistic as: “I can’t have babies anymore and men want women who can make babies so I guess I’m going to die alone.”

I love you, Chris. You just don’t know it. But you see this?

“You tappin’ that, Special Agent? Or can Chucky bust a move?”

This right here? This should never have happened.

C

Scoot in My Boot:

So wait, wait. They aren’t back together again? And the last episode meant… what? I’m so done, Chris Carter. I am so done.

More Scully/Silence of the Lambs parallels. Only she’s having poop-poop-pee-doop tossed at her instead of, well, you know.

Praise be. Scully looks more like herself again this episode. At least she was spared an insult in the aesthetics department.

I don’t mind Chris Carter indulging his doppelganger/twin obsession (See: “Fight Club” (7×20) and the boredom that is Miller and Einstein), I just wish he’d do it well.

Opening car crash = echoes of “Fresh Bones” (2×15) and even “Salvage” (8×10).

I appreciated the shoutout to The Patty Duke Show.

Catholic Scully doesn’t believe in evil anymore? At least CC had the grace to recognize this didn’t seem in keeping with her previous characterization. She believed in evil even when Mulder didn’t.

The quick, out of the blue resolution reminds me of “Die Hand Die Verletz” (2x), but without the genuine creepiness that made that episode memorable.

Did you recognize Karen Konoval? No? Well, it’d be hard to see her underneath all that makeup as Mrs. Peacock in “Home” (4×3) and hard to recognize her looking mostly normal as Madame Zelma in “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (3×4).

Best Quotes:

Scully: But if you eliminate the impossible, whatever is remaining, even if improbable, must be the truth.

Mulder: No sugar, Sherlock.

* This is really just a little cross-fandom love.

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78 responses to “Plus One 11×3: Put the pencil down.

  1. There is such a thing as evil and its name is Chris Carter

  2. Yes! Thank you! After all the things I’ve read people say about this episode, I knew that you and I would be on the same page. I don’t want to be ungrateful about having new episodes, especially that these actually have Mulder and Scully in them TOGETHER a lot (unlike last season), but this one left me underwhelmed.

    I am so glad that you mentioned the editing and quick cuts because that actually bothered me. I felt like every conversation was filled with constant quick jumps between the people talking when I just wanted everything to be in a wider two shot so everything would feel less manic. I like when shows give me a bit of time to take in moments and shots and conversations in instead of cutting so much. That was the way the x-files used to be. I feel like I had this same complaint last season, too. No one else I’ve seen has mentioned this, so I’m glad it’s not just me.

    The case wasn’t anything to write home about, but I honestly didn’t mind it all that much. It was just a bit hard to take seriously because everyone felt kind of like a caricature, but I I guess the exaggerated and slightly ridiculous feel is what they were going for.

    My biggest gripe is how Mulder and Scully were written and all their clunky dialogue. Most of the time I wanted to hide my face. Unlike last episode where they felt more natural in how they talked to each other, this one felt awkward and forced. Like, maybe instead of having them talk about having kids (which they obviously should have talked about waaaay before now and I imagine they have) maybe they should more talk about what was causing tension between them in IWTB: Mulder’s propensity to throw himself into the darkness and then bringing it home with him and then between him and Scully. I thought that was basically the reason they “broke up” last season. Scully could have been afraid about that happening again, but nooooooo…she has to worry about her ticking biological clock (isn’t she 53? So biological kids are way off the table) and if she is looking old and Mulder will leave her for a younger woman. What? Really? These two barely dated when they were young and then they were living in an isolated house together for years. Do either of them even have any friends??

    I just wish that CC wasn’t the one to write this and that he actually consulted women about, you know, things that are important to them and worries that they have at that age instead of just guessing. Mainly because his guesses always revolve around kids and women’s reproductive system or being withholding and kind of manipulative with sex and affection. That’s not Scully. I mean, yes, she was concerned about her inability to have children, but that was years and years ago. Why can’t they just be together for the sake of being together instead of it always having to do with babies? As you say, they can be together in the background and solve cases at the same time. It’s not that hard. The relationship doesn’t have to be in the forefront of the episode to talk about it and then become nonexistent again when they want to focus on something else. Also, if you are going to do an episode that basically focuses on our duo having sex can’t we at least have ONE KISS? ugh. I think also my problem is I have read this kind of scenario so many times in fanfic that this is one just mediocre at best. There are so many way better stories out there, this just happens to have the visuals to go along with it and I guess that’s why it seems most people don’t mind it? This honestly feels like someones first try at fanfic.

    I did enjoy Scully talking to her double in the car and kind of reasoning her away with logic and the final scene of the episode. Also that conversation Mulder and Scully had outside the motel about evil felt very much them. And Scully’s wig looks a million times better than last year. Anyway, again, I basically enjoyed it (anything is better than my struggle 1, 2, and 3), but I like This much much more. I think it really comes down to the fact that CC wrote this one and he just can’t write them being natural with each other anymore. I guess he doesn’t write established relationships well.

    • Well, I thought I was the only one jarred by the editing! It’s really not like it’s bad, it just feels odd for The X-Files.

      And am I the only one who’s slightly afraid of CC making Scully pregnant again? It’s not impossible even at 53 (or is she 54?). Especially if she’s only recently started menopause.

      Seriously, though. Who is Mulder going to leave her for? For 25 years it’s been just the two of them with barely a date between them.

      “Mainly because his guesses always revolve around kids and women’s reproductive system or being withholding and kind of manipulative with sex and affection. That’s not Scully.”

      And that bothered me. I was getting more of the IWTB Whiny Wife Scully.

    • P.S. I was thinking about The X-Files in the shower, because who doesn’t? And I think a large part of what’s bothering me is CC’s ham-fisted way of trying to roll the clock back. As I said in a comment on Facebook, if Seasons 6-9 and IWTB had never happened, this conversation would actually make some logical sense (minus the part about her already having a baby). It makes me wonder if this wasn’t CC’s idea for bringing them together in the first place, especially since Scully’s loneliness forcefully reminds me of the “Trust No 1” plot: Scully feels lonely, has a mid-life crisis, wonders about her future, sleeps with Mulder to make herself feel better.

      And after IWTB and MSI, why would Scully wonder about her job security and what they’re going to do when they’re done with the X-Files??? She’s already had two different careers post-FBI, and that’s after having a hit put out on her by the government. That’s a question she could’ve asked herself Season 7, but not now.

      This might’ve even been where he was going with their characters Season 7, thinking back to “Requiem”. But “Requiem” was note-perfect emotionally, not clunky at all.

      It’s hard for me to enjoy the Shippyness of this episode since what makes me a Shipper is the quality, the selfless dedication, and loyalty of Mulder and Scully’s relationship. If he takes that quality, dedication, and history away, my care meter drops like a cold thermometer.

      • YES. THIS.
        “Its hard for me to enjoy the Shippyness of this episode since what makes me a Shipper is the quality, the selfless dedication, and loyalty of Mulder and Scully’s relationship. If he takes that quality, dedication, and history away, my care meter drops like a cold thermometer.”

        Their conversation in bed was indeed bizarre.

        Is it sad that my bar has dropped so low that now I rate them by asking, “was it Babylon? No. Awesome! A+. “

        • Yes! I was about to rate it a B until I remembered I had given MASMTWM a B+. Nowhere near it. “Babylon” has forever skewed my mental ratings system.

      • I double checked her birthday and she was born in 1964. So she’ll be 54 on 2/23 🙂

        And I agree. This kind of conversation could have happened early on in their relationship…honestly before she was pregnant with William because after that I imagine it would be a very touchy subject and the conversation would go a bit differently. But it’s not how they would talk about things at this stage after ALL they have been through together.

        There is talk on the inter webs about whether this is all leading towards Scully being miraculously pregnant again, but the general consensus (and hope) is that CC wouldn’t go there again. I don’t even want to think about this as an option. It’s like CC had all of these ideas planned for his continuation of the series, but didn’t bank on there being this many years before he could actually do them…and yet he is trying to do them all anyway.

  3. Other than the conversation about her having more natural children (that ship sailed years ago since she’s in her 50s), I enjoyed this one. The opening scene I found to be creepy.

  4. Okay, maybe it’s because I’ve spent the rest of the week’s evenings watching The Cranberries concerts on YouTube and saying, “I can’t believe Dolores is gooooone!!!” but I didn’t mind this episode so much. Am I the only one who got a bit of a Syzygy feel from this one?

    Maybe it was the shallow plot, but I did find myself asking myself if “Dookie” was supposed to be the actual name of a pudding or the concoction inmates make out of their excrement and bodily fluids to throw at CO’s when they’re pissed off…I think CC was going for the latter but just made it “cuter” with pudding. This is what I thought about during this episode…

    The pillow talk conversation didn’t really phase me that much because, hey, this is Chris Carter we’re talking about, that’s just par for the course. I kinda just let them talk while I only focused on the fact that they were snuggling again. But still, the last episode was fun because it showed that, above all else, Mulder and Scully are best friends, which was really always the heart of the series. It sometimes had a COTR or COTL feel to it at times: two friends shooting the crap while in harrowing situations. Because of this, I didn’t even mind all of the somewhat out of character, ad-libbed dialogue because it felt like that’s how they just talk when they’re hanging out together. I think that might be why the dialogue in this episode felt even more off. That being said, i.e., Mulder and Scully being best friends, why would she fear that they wouldn’t be friends when the X-Files are over again?

    What was really off-putting for me was Scully saying evil and the Devil are just constructs. First, Scully, my Scully, my “you’re my only superhero-ish female icon whose actually Catholic so that means I don’t have to be a square so there’s proof that I can have my beliefs and still be smart and cool” Scully doesn’t believe in Evil with a capitol E anymore? WHAT? Did CC forget about Irresistible and Orison? Scully LITERALLY SEES A DEVIL AND KILLS IT! Second, a construct of what exactly? Don’t screw with my Scully, Chris Carter. The only other Catholic superhero(ish) character that I know of is Daredevil…and that’s Marvel…

    Also, am I the only one who thinks this episode was written to come after last week’s episode but just shown out of order? I think this was actually supposed to be the second episode but the other writers were like, “Yo, Chris. Thanks for our jobs and everything, but, ahhh, don’t you think it’d be good to have another writer’s work in between your’s, ya know, just to break things up and everything.” After all, they felt more together last week and Scully did call the Unremarkable House “our home.” She also said they hadn’t talked to Skinner in a couple of weeks.

    Wasn’t it a bit schizophregenic to have Mulder say that Scully wasn’t old and then a few scenes later have him say “what do you mean WHEN” we get old? Apparently Scully is only old to Mulder in the context of himself.

    And can we stop with the stupid political BS already? It takes me out of the episode and just makes me roll my eyes. It’s just too gratuitous and never actually makes any sense in the context of the story. You’re worried that you’re gonna lose your jobs? Really? Scully, as mentioned before, apparently knows more about baby brains than Dr. Carson and Mulder is loaded with old New England money. I think you’ll be fine.

    Now if you excuse me, I’m gonna go watch the “Zombie” music video again… : (

    • It’s like CC’s afraid no one will notice he’s a Democrat…

      Now, let me tell you what I’m afraid of. I was trying to pinpoint that sinking feeling I was getting and I think I have it.

      “Plus One”? Scully just got knocked up.

      I just couldn’t figure out where the title fit it, but a lightbulb has gone off. I’d like to believe I’m wrong but… my Catholic Comrade, they had sex in *St. Rachel’s* Motel.

      ……………

      • NOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        No. Just, No. She’s like 55 years old!!! It makes the kind of sense that’s NOT!
        If they name the kid Rachel, I will facepalm myself into a coma.

        • I knew you’d get that. I just needed someone else to share my terror.

          • The title definitely made me think of a baby after I finished the episode. I just don’t want this all to go in that direction. Oh please no! So I’ve been rationalizing that plus one had to do with you and your (plus one) evil self. But I guess it could mean both things.

            I didn’t even catch the name of the motel. I wasn’t worried about this before, but now I actually am. oh man…

            • Right? I didn’t watch it until Thursday. And I was so irritated by the conversation that I was distracted. I’ve now grown highly, highly suspicious.

              It would give a method to CC’s madness, that he forcefed us this conversation, shoehorned this conversation into Mulder and Scully’s history, because he wants to introduce a new plot element: Baby #2.

              BUT HE HASN’T FIXED THE ISSUE OF BABY #1.

              • AND he made them have sex and the only other time he let them have sex in the past was, supposedly, to make baby number 1 in all things (because you can’t just have sex with the person you love for fun). This fits in with the red herring of CSM potentially getting Scully pregnant in En Ami mentioned earlier because then CC can be like, Haha! See? It was Mulder’s magic sperm all along as it worked again a second time…18 years later! Why can’t we just focus on William??

                I can’t believe this might actually be our new reality. Scully pregnant at 54. And she was worried what they’d do without the x-files in their golden years. Raise a baby, of course! I swear, if she has a girl and they name her Samantha I might just puke.

                I hope we are wrong. I really, really do.

                • I hope we’re all crazy. But I’m just crazy enough to think we’re not.

                  If they name her Samantha… well, I’d like to say I’ll be done. But I’ll be done regardless.

                  • Scratch that about not feeling too badly about this episode, but if Scully is preggers from this encounter, this is LITERALLY THE WORST PLOT LINE I’VE EVER SEEN! (on the X-Files), And I will officially hate this episode after that. What is wrong with CC that he doesn’t get that his fan base, i.e., the people who actually watch his stuff and subsequently pay his bills and stuff, Hate The William Storyline; why would he EVER in his wildest alien-immortal-Cancer-Man-end-of-days-reality ACTUALLY think that any of us would want to see anything remotely like that again? My master’s in psych. makes me qualified to say, I think Chris needs to take that dementia test….

                  • I wasn’t even going to post about this episode because I found it so wholly unremarkable and I’m tired of griping about the same things and whats more I didn’t want to waste space griping about what others have already covered.
                    BUT now that I’ve read this thread I just might not sleep tonight. Or ever again. I’m desperate to get to next week’s episode and for all the wrong reasons. I will never forgive CC for making Scully a geriatric mother, not after everything and not like this. No wonder GA announced she’s never coming back.

                    PS: After a rewatch I noticed Scully’s doppelganger totally watched her and Mulder getting it on. So evil Scully( who I’ve decided to christen ‘Skulky’ is a creepy voyeur. Nice. :/

                    • I was worried, but now I refuse to care. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully, I went much ado about nothing. Regardless, I know I’m going to ignore most of what I’ve witnessed in the revival.

                      P.S. Talk about creepy!

      • I suppose that Reyes will deliver the baby in some rat-hole in the middle of nowhere while bus-zombies try to kill her or whatever. This show needs an enema.

      • Oh dear God, no!!
        (Covers face with hands)
        I know you’re totally right Salome. He’s going to do it.
        What is wrong with chris carter??
        Whyyyyyy

  5. I enjoyed the pacing and some of the comfortable X-Files tropes that you mentioned – office banter, jail cell interview, hallway medical discussions. It felt X-Filesy, and that was nice. But how exactly does psychic hangman result in doppelgänger murder? Did I miss something? I don’t understand the connection at all.

    • I guess it’s just another unexplained phenomena, this time with one of CC’s quirky twists. The rationale was never explained. Could they have killed people psychically without Hangman? CC spent more time getting Mulder and Scully back in bed together than in solving the mystery.

  6. Still, will someone please explain to me of what “evil is a construct?” Wouldn’t “evil” be a construct of the devil? If so, how is the devil a construct too? Chris Carter makes no sense some times…or maybe a lot of the time…

  7. I’ve been thinking about this way too much. Scully does have alien DNA in her, so maybe not outside the realm of possibility in CC country. But why he’d go down that road again is beyond me. And to add further fuel to the fire, apparently somebody on eBay, I think, is selling a wedding dress supposedly worn by GA on the X-Files. What the hell?

  8. Plot twist: the baby is actually William’s twin brother who’s just been gestating for the past 17 years. After all, we all remember how long Scully’s pregnancy with William was.

  9. I was also jarred by that weird bed conversation. Actually, by the whole situation, because they seemed to be back together in the last episode with none of the tension they had here (Scully did say “our home” and Mulder did mention THEY had to take a trip to IKEA – not to mention the handcuff joke!)
    So all through that weird bed scene I was thinking NO! NO! CC just wants to hammer it into our heads that they are not together anymore.
    This is not the conversation two people who have lived in their own little universe for 25 F%$^ing years have! Why would scully worry about Mulder meeting someone? when will he ever meet someone, his with her all the time! And no one in their right mind says to their ex-lover that they never had another kid because they had no one to have it with WHILE SAID EX-LOVER IS SPOONING THEM. I imagine that would be painful for Mulder. Also, it hurt me that the conversation implied that they have absolutely nothing in common but their work. I’m sorry, but their personal relationship actually outlived their job on the X-files by many, many years. Did they have nothing to talk about all this time? Do they really know so little about each other?
    Also, why was Scully was so cold to him after the fact? “I can’t imagine that I will.”
    Come on.
    What CC fails to grasp that the shippers want Mulder and Scully to have a RELATIONSHIP, not casual sex. Mulder and Scully as friends-with-benefits makes me gag. I want them to be happy, and it makes me sad that CC can’t see them being happy together. In the background, of course.
    Also, please don’t get Scully pregnant. She’s 53, leave her alone. The baby storyline was so badly handled the first time around (it actually always reminded me of how they killed off Scully’s dog because they couldn’t find anything interesting to do with it). Giving Scully a new baby will not fix it.
    BTW, I always suspected that CSM got Scully pregnant during En-Ami, since she had no ova and really couldn’t get naturally pregnant no matter how many times she and Mulder went to Happy-Town. The timeline was also fitting. I just didn’t think he used his own sperm (CC said in an interview that he’s the metaphorical father, not the actual bioligical father, so I still have hopes).
    Anyway, sorry for the rant. Have the feels.

    • RIGHT?
      It was so weird. Since Maggie Scully’s demise, other than two brothers Scully doesn’t even speak to anymore, their families are dead. They’ve only ever had a few friends. Three of which are dead, one is MIA and the other two have allegedly joined The Dark Side.
      “We’ll reitre one day. Will we still spend time together?”
      YOU LITERALLY HAVE NO ONE BUT EACH OTHER!!!!
      WTH Scully?????
      Fox William Mulder stopped being some guy you only work with the day you threw yourself into his arms shivering and terrified in your underwear sometime circa 1993.

      Also, the last time one of you “retired” you shacked up for over a decade.

      End rant.

      • “YOU LITERALLY HAVE NO ONE BUT EACH OTHER!!!!”

        I’m sayin’!

        “Also, the last time one of you “retired” you shacked up for over a decade.”

        Right?? I don’t understand the sudden career/post-FBI panic. Scully has had several careers and she’s more of a jack of all trades than ever. And the idea that she and Mulder wouldn’t see each other after the X-Files ended… well, that sounds like she was looking for some ego stroking. If that were going to break the team up, it would have done so years ago.

    • “This is not the conversation two people who have lived in their own little universe for 25 years would have… Why would scully worry about Mulder meeting someone? when will he ever meet someone, his with her all the time!”

      Just signing off.

      “What CC fails to grasp that the shippers want Mulder and Scully to have a RELATIONSHIP, not casual sex. Mulder and Scully as friends-with-benefits makes me gag. I want them to be happy, and it makes me sad that CC can’t see them being happy together. In the background, of course.”

      That’s it. And it’s not too much to ask.

      The only one who seems to want this relationship out front and center is CC himself.

  10. As I haven’t seen this remarked upon, I’ll start with: did anyone else notice the nanosecond after it said “EPs CC and GM” and the screen goes black, there was the sound of a sword unsheathed? Get the boy humor there? Mulder unsheathes his sword? *sigh*

    Finally, after reading the remarks here and other (generally more positive reviews elsewhere) my curiosity got the best of me and I broke down and watched the episode. The temptation of seeing them *together* was far more than my shipper heart could withstand.

    I watched it, then I promptly watched it again. After the wasteland that has been the majority of S10 and S11 IMO this felt most like an original X Files episode. Not a great XF episode but at least a passable MotW-ish episode; Mark Snow’s music was noteworthy, MS’s wardrobe was downright FtF-level awesome (except for Mulder’s Stevie Wonder shades, they must go), excellent performances from GA/DD, I loved director Kevin Hooks’ treatment of the overall story – especially the MSR portions – and WITHOUT QUESTION KARIN KONOVAL SHOULD GET AN EMMY NOD. She Tatiana Maslany’d the heck out of this script. I honestly had no inclination she played good and bad Chucky until this afternoon when I happened upon an article regarding her performance and a kudos tweet from GA to KK.
    There is so much to like about this episode. And for the third time in my XPhile life (out of eleven seasons, mind you) IMO CC’s episode was better than Glen’s previous outing. “Plus One” lacked the usual explanation of several story aspects however it seemed far less muddled to me than the anemic (but for the MSR) “THIS”.

    One note about the plot that I thought unique, the Den of Geek review observed, “…. Scully’s decision to eat the bread pills that supposedly provide immunity to the doppelgänger violence. What better metaphor for Scully’s adherence to her Catholic upbringing despite her scientific approach to everything else than for her to take communion in such a superstitious guise?” This, I suppose, gives the bread pill business some credence given CC’s quasi-obsession with Catholicism. (I know I’m stretching Eugene Victor Tooms-style to make sense if it.)

    My gnashing of fangirl teeth comes from, as everyone else here has so well observed, the displacement of MSR’s timeline and MS’s accounting of their relationship. It makes more sense to me that this episode occurred around “All Things”; they’ve consummated their ship *swoon* and they’re awkwardly working through how to handle business travel sleeping arrangements (“knock three times”, “I just need to get some shut-eye”). Mulder’s in happy puppy mode because “Scully naked with me, yes please” and Scully’s probably all, “We’re on the clock, how do we keep this separate from business because dayum Mulder looks good in that t-shirt but the last time I mixed business with actual pleasure my former FBI lover died, was resurrected and taken over by an evil bank robber?” This, I understand. However Scully’s one-sided behavior regarding the (not)sleeping arrangements is far too extreme here.

    CC has written MS as though they’re experience a folie à deux amnesia regarding their relationship history. The abomination that was, “Besides the fact that the first one was a miracle and I don’t have anyone to have one with, even if I could?” and no mention OF THEIR SON WILLIAM is beyond the pale. How many times over the years do I think of my favorite Galaxy Quest quote (“Did you *WATCH* the show?!?”) when straining to grasp CC’s bizarre pronouncements and retcon writing? Infinity, Plus One.

    MSR is my hallowed ground and CC (and DD/GA apparently?) are asleep at the wheel. So I will tolerate re-watching this episode as I do so many others, by putting my proverbial hands over my ears and declaring “BLAH BLAH BLAH” during the retconned/kludgy dialogue moments then enjoying what remains. As Mark Snow’s instrumentation, sounding like an angelic chorus swelled and I saw MS lying next two each other, I had a few moments where all was right in the world.

    Darin next week. Thank the gods. Let’s hope there’s the slightest bit of continuity regarding the relationship but it’s Darin, not Vince, so I’m not optimistic.

    /rant

    • “MS lying next two each other”
      two — my Freudian slip is showing 🙂

    • I didn’t hate the plot, and I didn’t even hate the lack of complete answers since that was The X-Files’ modus operandi from the get-go. I do wish CC had spent more time building up and fleshing out the plot, though, especially since it had real potential. He seemed a little too intent and delving into the state of Mulder and Scully’s relationship affairs.

      Karin Konoval did steal the show.

      “How many times over the years do I think of my favorite Galaxy Quest quote (“Did you *WATCH* the show?!?”) when straining to grasp CC’s bizarre pronouncements and retcon writing? Infinity, Plus One.”

      Too funny.

  11. What’s going on with Mulder and Scully on The X-Files? (http://ew.com/tv/2018/01/10/x-files-mulder-scully/)

    “Mulder and Scully worked together, slept together, fell in love, broke up, had a baby, gave up their child, lived together as outlaws, maintained a platonic working relationship, spent long lonely nights wondering what could have been, spent lazy nights on the couch falling asleep with the TV on. That chronology’s not clear; it involves surprise twists and circle-back plotting.” ….

    “Carter wrote next week’s episode, and it feels like another expression of his weird relationship to his own show’s history. The Scully/Mulder scene works best if you ignore the last 20 years of X-Files history…”

  12. The only thing I will add is that I agree with the C grade…perhaps a C- but..

    Is it just me or do Scully and Mulder just not seem serious about the situations they find themselves in? It appears they are always on the cusp of looking at the camera and winking at us..”you know, it’s just a show kids”.

    While I liked the premise for this episode I feel the flow and time is not being taken to ramp up the suspense. It did pick up right at the end but it just seemed so laid back generally.

    My only thoughts on the pillow talk was that is seemed unnatural.

    • You make a good point. DD & GA always did a great job, especially in the early seasons, of selling the horror and the intensity of the situations they found themselves in. One of GA’s wide-eyed stares could make the most mundane coincidence feel monumental.

  13. Well, I’m late to the party. For the first time in…well, as long as I can remember since becoming a fan of The X-Files, I wasn’t able to watch the premiere of an episode live. It sucked BIG TIME!!!

    Anyway, although jet-lagged and extremely tired, I watched the episode recorded while gone. Perhaps it was my exhaustion talking, but I enjoyed the episode. Granted, I was in no state to question or nit-pick as normal, but found it rather enjoyable. My shipper heart throughly ate up the flirtations and “shared suite” moments between Mulder and Scully.

    So…now that I’ve had a few days to catch up on sleep and adjust to my normal time zone, I’m checking out your blog. I see and fully understand your criticisms. The storyline…there just wasn’t much meat to the hang-man playing siblings that created murdering doppelgängers to everyone featured in their game. This certainly wasn’t a Clyde Bruckman-type masterpiece. However, I did like the pace to this episode much better than any of the others this season. It felt more in line with classic X-Files instead of this fast pace, throw-it-in-your-face style of X-Files that seem to dominate the 10th & 11th seasons thus far. It’s unfortunate that this pace wasn’t used more for deeper characterization or a more interesting MOTW.

    While I was shipper fan-girling the moments between Mulder and Scully, I can appreciate your view on Chris Carter’s sloppy writing here. What you mentioned caused me to stop and think. Perhaps if I was in a different state of mind at the time, I might have felt similarly. However, I have to wonder if this “hold me” moment was all about the ticking of Scully’s biological clock or more about pausing and stoping to reflect on her life. We know Scully did something very similar in “All Things” just prior to hooking up with Mulder. Likewise, as she takes a glimpse back, she may well realize that besides her careers (both in the FBI & medical field) she’s got little else in her life. So, if she retires, what is she left with? Mix in that being in love with Mulder was the happiest time in her life, and I can see her glances turning back to him to see if perhaps it isn’t too late for them. Yes, Chris Carter can’t exactly write like he’s a woman facing a transition into post-child-bearing years, but I can look past it in a sleepy haze.

    I’m going to give this episode another watch to see if I still feel the same about it, or if your critiques rise more to the surface.

    • I’ve been Grumpy McGrumperson as far as the Revival goes these days, so take my complaints with a grain of salt.

      It definitely had that classic feel. It’s too bad CC didn’t roll with that….

  14. CC has long ago lost the ability to “roll with” anything. Think he’s been out of ideas for a long time, and simply throws something together when he needs a few dollars. It’s sad. Why use a toss spaghetti against the wall technique with no real plan to see what sticks instead of developing a real plan…and at this point, an appropriate ending? If nothing else, I hope the X-Files gets a satisfying ending, but I may be asking for too much.

  15. OMG, I JUST SAW A CLIP FROM THE NEXT EPISODE AND IT LOOKS LIKE WILLIAM DOES HAVE A SNOW-GLOBE! SOMEONE SHOOT ME, THIS IS SOOOO DUMB!!!!!

  16. Hi Guys, my native language is Portuguese and I still learning to write in english, so I apologize for any mistake and I would love have new friends to help me, and I could teach some portuguese 🙂
    I didn’t watch The X Files in the 90’s, in fact, I just binge-watching the whole series in January and I very disappoint with Chris Carter. Can I say somethings the I have feeling and have no one to talk about?
    I can’t stand how he deal with MSR, if he just admit the they kiss and have sex and are romantic wuith each other, this whole thing wouldn’t be so important and matters to much. Would’t be the thing the people ask or remember the most.
    If Chris Carter don’t created the William plot, in the 8 season we would have Scully work more with Dogger while search for Mulder. If William had been kidnapped in season 8 finale, than we would have a reason for Mulder’s absence in season 9.
    How Mulder and Scully was running away and still keep their names?
    Why Chris Carter write about Mulder and Scully “having sex” without a single kiss?
    Why did he brought the “mistery” of William’s paternity again? And with CSM, which is disgusting.
    I doubt about Skinner’s loyalty again? Why Skinner don’t open up about what CSM said to him?
    I can’t guys, CC is killing this amazing show without possibility of a another movie, ’cause who would like to watch when the story is gonna that way?

    Why CC hate us so much?

    Sorry about the text and thank you so much about the website. He really help me. 😉

  17. I just discovered your blog, and have been reading a number of the reviews. I love your analyses of the episodes; they’re really thorough and in-depth. Can’t believe I only just found your blog. I’ve been a fan of the show for twenty years, and am a big MSR shipper. I just finished watching this episode about forty minutes ago, and I’ve got to say your C rating in generous. ‘Plus One had a lot of potential to be something good, but CC ruined it by focussing (poorly) on Mulder and Scully’s relationship rather than the plot. If more time was spent on the plot, then the hangman storyline could have been pretty neat, but it ended up just being very one dimensional. Mulder and Scully’s investigative skills took a real downturn too. Mulder didn’t bother checking the Hangman drawings for the names of other victims, and instead of analysing the pills, Scully wolfed them all down in one (how she swallowed without water, I don’t know) without a clue what they would do. She is a medical doctor, right? They were completely out of character, and the references/conversations they had didn’t make any sense. First of all, weren’t they living together in the same house just the episode previous? They were all snuggled up on the couch when they got a call from Langley. So what’s with the needing separate rooms? And the bedroom conversation was not only cringeworthy, but non-sensical. Even if Scully hadn’t been infertility since her 30s, she’s probably going through the menopause right now (hey, maybe we can blame her odd behaviour on that?) Not to mention the fact that with everything she went through with William, I seriously doubt she could go through that again – and if she did, she’d just feel all the more guilty about letting William go. They replies to each other were actually pretty insensitive to each other’s feelings.

    Like others have said, is it too much to ask for them just to be in a relationship behind the scenes, without having to make forced conversation? Seriously, Scully worrying about her age and her looks? She’s not like that.

    There were bits I did like, such as Mulder waking her up about the murders, and then a role reversal later on. I also liked the ending; Scully’s smile there reminded me a bit of her smile in the Pilot as she follows Mulder out his office.

    I liked their conversation in the car park about ghosts not existing, but I found it very weird that Scully said evil is just a concept. We’ve seen in many episodes how Scully does believe evil can manifest itself.

    Anyway, I look forward to reading through the rest of your reviews on here. It will take me a while to catch up.

    • Thank you! And I agree, a “C” was generous. I feel like I’ve been generous this whole revival. It’s so hard to grade these against the original show now. A “C+” back in the day is 10x better in terms of atmosphere and characterization than a “C+” in the revival.

  18. Upon seeing who was the writer of this episode I had a sense of dread and fear. I hate the music the band was playing in the start of the teaser, so that was not a good start. Then when the guy see’s himself I thought oh no… “Fight Club” territory. Please no. When he appears next to him when he’s in the car driving that was quite creepy.

    So Mulder and Scully are on the run last episode and cannot get into their office, but this episode they are there as if nothing has happened. How and why? Mulder’s office looks a lot more bright, clean and sanitised compared to previous years. I’m guessing by act one this is a story about doppelgänger’s again, somehow being controlled by the lady in the psychiatric facility. Although why Mulder singles her out is a bit of a mystery, considering all the inpatients are rather odd. By this point I’m feeling this episode is not going to be amazing. So much for telling fresh stories Chris Carter.

    So when trying to get a motel room we can take it Mulder and Scully are not back together. I think the break up was utterly pointless. The scene later in the motel was touching when Mulder says Scully still has it. They obviously love each other deeply. But why is Scully still rejecting Mulder’s advances? I don’t buy they split up because Mulder has depression. They would stick by each other through thick and thin. It’s nice to see them exchanging ideas first paranormal, and then scully adding possible scientific explanations. I like that. I find these charcacter moments more gripping than the actual x file they are investigating. The moment of both of them in bed at the end talking about their future is heartbreaking in a way. Scully feeling old and no longer able to have children. These scenes are really the meat of the episode. This really is the Mulder & Scully show now, and the x files are a side dish. It’s comparable to the early part of season six when Mulder & Scully were off the x files, they didn’t need them, nor the audience. It was Mulder & Scully show.

    Ok by this point I take it that a game of physic hangman is going on. And I fear Chris Carter is going to offend people by linking it to mental health issues. Also I feel Carter is still trying to put in his politics into the episode (Trump). I don’t appreciate that at all. I’m not interested in your political views Chris. In addition I’ve noticed in season 10 and 11 the cast has become a lot more diverse with regards to race. Political correctness again? Also the issue with the women’s writers and directors being under represented and addressed.

    That house the brother lives in looks suspiciously like the house from “Home”, “Aubrey” and the Millennium TV series. Oh and thanks Mulder for advertising the Samsung phone. Also the motel I’m sure is the one from “Deep Throat”. It’s kind of comforting seeing Mulder and Scully in these same locations again, but seeing how different they are now compared to then.

    Ok so now I’m thinking Chris Carter wants to do the evil twin idea. Wasn’t this already covered in “The Calusari”. When Scully is talking about evil has she forgotten all her own experiences of evil? “Irresistible” and “Orison” spring to mind. How can she discount it so easily.

    Why is Mark Snow using the x files theme within the score? I thought he only did this on special occasions.

    Love Mulder fighting Mulder, love evil Scully sitting in the back of the car with her. Love scully being rational which saves her.

    Overall this episode is a lot better then I feared, due to the Mulder & Scully interactions and scenes. So I take it by the end of the episode they are back together? Here’s hoping. This is how “Fight Club” should have been.

    B-

    • Gosh. I’ve just realised after reading an interview that the actress Karen played both her and her male twin.

    • I think many of us were having “Fight Club” flashbacks. Frankly, I think CC’s obsession with “fighting twins” goes all the way back to “Syzygy”, an episode I don’t hate. But I don’t know why he thinks fighting twins and doppelgangers are so amusing.

      Scully no longer believes in evil, but she’s still wearing a cross. Let’s ignore how CC ignores previous characterizations for the sake of a single, stand-alone episode, shall we? *cough*BABYLON*cough*

  19. Pingback: My Struggle IV 11×10: I am tired of looking at him on video. | Musings of an X-Phile

  20. Didn’t the episode cheat on the Hangman smokescreen – is it SCULLY or is it MULDER in final game? The 3rd & 4th letters of Scully are UL, but 2nd & 3rd of Mulder. So why was Little Judy asking for a second L to make Scully?

    Though I’ve got to admit if fooled me while I was watching it.

    D’oh!

  21. When we return to the bed after the “hold me” scene, Scully is wearing rather fewer clothes under the bedsheet. Some hanky and indeed some panky having taken place. So why so coy later on?

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