The X-Files :: Death by doppelgänger

FOX

After two weeks of dramatic, mythology-heavy episodes, The X-Files serves up its first stand-alone episode of the season, and a pretty lightweight one at that, striving for a bit of humor but nothing close to what we’re going to get in next week’s episode courtesy of Darin Morgan.

This episode, titled “Plus One”, concerns a growing list of folks in a small town who seem to have committed suicide under mysterious, and sometimes improbable, circumstances. One thing they all have in common is that they all reported seeing their own double leading up to their deaths. But there has been a lone survivor now, a young man named Arkie who nearly died in a car accident when his double grabbed the steering wheel of his pickup and stepped on the gas while the real Arkie stepped on the brake.

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Of course Mulder is buying into the doppelgänger story while Scully is offering one scientific explanation after another. But when they meet Little Judy Poundstone (Karin Konoval), things get a little complicated. Judy is in a mental care facility and all she does is play Hangman with her brother. Psychically. She also claims there is another woman in the room with her. Mulder pays a visit to Judy’s brother twin Chucky (also played by Konoval with slicked back hair, sideburns and a mustache) and notices pages of Hangman games on the wall, one with the name Arkie on it? A coincidence? Especially since Arkie suddenly turns up dead in his jail cell, hanged even though his hands were cuffed behind his back?

Then Arkie’s lawyer Dean Cavalier also turns up dead, another suspected suicide … even though he was beheaded. Like Scully says frequently in this episode, not outside the realm of extreme probability. Uh huh. After confronting Judy again, although this time it’s Bad Judy who takes pleasure in flinging Dookie at people (yes, a really cheap joke as Dookie is some kind of canned food stuff that happens to look like … dookie), and the confrontation ends with Scully seeing her double. After Mulder threatens Chucky, he’s also paid a visit by himself and once he realizes their lives are in danger, they spring into action. But the game of Hangman got a bit contentious as Chucky was playing the name MULDER and Judy was playing the name SCULLY, both six letter words and both with a U and L in the same place. Judy really wanted the name to be Scully and someone the pair psychically killed each other, sparing the lives of our two favorite FBI agents.

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Of course nothing is explained as to how Judy and Chucky were able to communicate — aside from their twin power — and conjure up the murderous doubles, but it did give us a couple of good things. First, the performances from Konoval. She had recently been seen on Fox’s other supernatural drama The Exorcist as the possessed and demonically integrated Sister Dolores. Here she gets to play the sweet and innocent Little Judy, a very childlike persona, and the much more mature (she wears bright red lipstick to prove it) Bad Judy, as well as the twin brother Chucky, who also has a bit of a split personality. Each character had a very distinct personality, and Konoval was almost unrecognizable as Chucky, but it was a great idea to have Konoval play the part. It’s just a shame she couldn’t have done this in a Darin Morgan penned episode which might have been much more remembered than this piece.

We also got some nice character moments from Mulder and Scully, particularly after Bad Judy told her that she was old, dried up and the her sexy partner wouldn’t want anything to do with her once he had a taste of Judy (ick). Scully tried to brush it off, not willing to play into her own vanity, but it did weigh on her especially after spotting her double. Does Mulder think she’s old? Of course not. But what happens to them when they are old (to which Mulder replies “When?”). Have a rattled Scully ask to climb into bed with Mulder to be held while they contemplate their mortality and their lives once they retire — or lose their jobs under the current administration … yes, the season is apparently taking place in real time — was a nice moment for the characters, even with Mulder’s little snark telling her he’d always be around to push her wheelchair … with his wheelchair.

As the case wrapped up and the pair prepared to head back to DC, Mulder needed to grab a couple hours of sleep before taking off, and he told Dana all she had to do was knock three times if she needed anything. Closing the door between the adjoining rooms, Scully said again that Mulder’s suggestion was within the realm of extreme probability and when she opened the door, he was standing there waiting. I think it’s safe to assume Mulder got something more than sleep. But what does this mean for the pair over the course of the next — and probably last — seven episodes? Will they get a happily ever after ending? Stay tuned.

The X-Files airs Wednesdays at 8:00 PM on FOX.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below!

 

 

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