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THE X-FILES “Plus One” Was One for the Shippers

The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for The X-Files episode 11.3, “Plus One.” We encourage you not to read the below until you’ve seen the episode. Because, after all folks, the truth is out there…and in here.

With the recent confirmation from Gillian Anderson that the current season of The X-Files is the last time she’ll playing Dana Scully, this more or less means the show is going to be done forever too. Through that lens, “Plus One” comes into much sharper focus, finally bringing to a head something a certain subset of X-Philes have been wondering about for a very long time: will Mulder and Scully just become a couple already?! Creator Chris Carter delivered easily his best episode as writer in the rebooted series with a story that answers that question and gives us a creepy horror story to boot.

After the continuity-shattering abomination that was “My Struggle III,” it’s especially funny that Carter scored a solid base hit with another story that more or less messes with people’s perception. This time, however, he focuses on his main characters–who, let’s remember, are the reason people kept watching the show in the first place–and had them discuss getting older and finally coming to some kind of terms with their relationship beyond work and friendship. I mean, sure it was revealed that William is their child (pre-“My Struggle III,” of course) and that they at least attempted to have some kind of something, but it was this episode that finally showed they’re willing to say what the hell.

In that sense, the title “Plus One” is especially apt. Even when a romantic relationship has been hinted at, it’s mostly been shown off screen, mostly unrelated to the case at hand. Here, we get Scully wondering about whether she’s passed her prime, and she sort of sees Mulder as the inevitable choice she never wanted to make. Let’s be honest, unrelated to David Duchovny’s attractiveness, Mulder is not a catch. He’s…kind of the worst. And he’s obviously very in to the idea of them getting together, but Scully–rightly–has known that despite their connection and fondness for one another, he’s almost too close to be a romantic partner. Even after they sleep together in this episode, she’s like “Nah, I’m good,” only to reconsider. It’s an example of the show answering questions and not answering them at the same time.

As for the rest of the episode, the ghost-murder plot is an effectively creepy one. People are haunted by their doppelgangers who eventually kill them. It makes for a very intense first act, one reminiscent of some of the best monster-of-the-week episodes in the original series. When the plot starts to come in to focus, we have an even weirder “explanation,” involving fraternal twins (both played by Karin Konoval, who memorably portrayed Mother Peacock in the infamous season fourĀ episode “Home”) who psychically play hangman with each other using the names of people they hate. This creates the ghostly doppelganger, which sort of replicates the twins and their weird invisible doppelgangers. It’s honestly a very weird premise, but it’s the kind of thing a show like The X-Files can pull off nicely, and it largely does here.

Ultimately, “Plus One” managed to be an episode about relationships while not skimping on the weird horror stuff. And it was full of humor: poop is flung at Scully’s head, and a lawyer who owned roughly a million firearms was killed by his ghost doppelganger with a samurai sword of his. I mean, it’s nuts. But, it’s the truth in our main characters that made the episode succeed, and as we ramp down to the final end of The X-Files, its character matters most.

Images: Fox TV

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!

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