The words “written by Chris Carter” have been an immediate cause for dread these past two seasons, but thankfully last night’s episode “Plus One” was an exception to that rule. As far as X-Files episodes go, it wasn’t a stand-out, but I think we can all agree that it could have been so much worse. It was even a little surprising that Chris Carter is still capable of writing a standard Monster of the Week episode, but I’m willing to give him (a little) credit for it.
We’re back in the basement! How exactly are Mulder and Scully back as Special Agents working for the FBI? Who knows! Let’s overlook that huge plot hole and just appreciate that our favorite G-people are back to their Believer v. Skeptic bantering in the dusty subterranean floor of the J. Edgar Hoover building. Mulder was back behind his desk, while Scully was yet again in the visitor’s chair because after 11 years, she still doesn’t get a desk. The poster is back. As are the tacked up files. And I am absolutely sure that if the camera panned up, we would have seen pencils in the ceiling. But my favorite nostalgic hit came from Mulder and Scully investigating the road skid marks from a car crash at the beginning of the episode. I was expecting Mulder to walk over to his rental, pull out a can of spray paint from the trunk of the car, and mark an ‘X’ on the road. It was a beautiful moment, a scene so typical of the early seasons, that I was willing to completely forgive Chris Carter for betraying the memory and spirit of the show (and then I remembered the season premiere Scully/ CSM plot and realized that I’ll never forgive him for that).
But what about the episode itself? It was pretty standard stuff. Evil twins. Doppelgangers. A fatal game of hangman. Judging the episode on the plot itself garners a very weak grade. There wasn’t much science or unexplained phenomenon for Mulder and Scully to Sherlock It Out; it was merely a backdrop for the two of them to keep busy while the episode served it’s true purpose: the final, nail-in-the-coffin answer to Mulder and Scully’s relationship status. This episode was pure fan service to those of us who waited for years to see Mulder and Scully finally get it on. And they did. TWICE! However, was it truly a surprise to anyone? After all, they (to their knowledge) have a child together. We’ve already seen them snuggle in bed (The X-Files: I Want To Believe). And there were many episodes during the later seasons where they kissed and implied they were in a relationship. I think the era of the Will They/Won’t They tension is long past, and Chris Carter trying to resurrect it with Scully asking for two motel rooms is foolish.
Overall, this was an average episode. The weak plot was balanced by the lovely moments between Mulder and Scully. Their affectionate exchange in the motel room regarding their future was a refreshing update to their character’s arcs, although to be honest, it was a little scary and depressing to think about them losing their jobs or getting old enough for wheelchairs. I’d like to preserve the image of Scully and Mulder kicking ass forever.
Ursula is putting a dimmer on her X-Files afterglow. You can chat with her here.