The X-Files Review by John Keegan

The X-Files 11.03: Plus One

The X-Files 11.03: Plus One

Written By:
Chris Carter
Directed By:
Kevin Hooks

I was a bit wary when I saw Chris Carter’s name in the credits for this episode, after the ugly revelations of the season premiere.  Would Carter continue to demonstrate the lack of perspective regarding his own characters that has plagued the revival?  Or would he deliver a solid stand-alone entry?  The results are a little muddled, especially when it comes to tying the mysteries to the relationship between Mulder and Scully.



Frankly, ever since I Want to Believe, the relationship between Mulder and Scully has been a confusing mess.  They’re not technically a couple, but it’s practically impossible not to see them as one when they reserve a certain easy banter and chemistry for each other.  Even those who didn’t want them to be an active couple would likely agree that they had a particularly strong bond, despite the undertones of co-dependency involved.


The general rule of thumb for any stand-alone episode is that the central plot concepts and the character work should add up to a certain amount of novel storytelling.  If the central plot, from location to mystery to twists, is strong enough, then letting the characters remain relatively static usually works, since the audience is fully engaged.  So-called “bottle episodes” are the other extreme, where the lack of variation and novelty in location is counter-balanced by character exploration.  The Holy Grail, of course, is a strong combination of the two, where the plot progression neatly dovetails with character insight.



So the main problem with this episode is that the central conceit is an interesting enough idea, but the execution is all over the map.  Not only that, but in the interests of nostalgia, Carter once again has Mulder and Scully working out of the old office, which seems contrary to the point of the previous two episodes.  What exactly is their status now, anyway?  These questions plague the episode in a number of ways.


The same problem pervades the mysterious doppelganger powers themselves.  Frankly, things just happen without much theorizing or investigation of any import or interest.  Mulder and Scully are largely in reactive mode, and that is never a good sign for any episode of The X-Files.  But it’s especially problematic when the audience really is just watching things play out, too.  It’s the very definition of pedestrian, and it’s a story about killer doppelgangers, so that’s quite an accomplishment of sorts.



Even with the occasional cute moment that kinda-sorta meshes with the previous episode’s portrayal of their relationship, Mulder and Scully seem almost disinterested over the whole thing.  They might as well shrug at the fact that people are dying, and there’s just a lack of energy from them throughout.  The guest cast tries to make up for it, but it’s just not enough.  It’s hard to believe that a limited stretch of episodes would so quickly deliver what feels like filler.


Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Mulder and Scully at least discuss some of their later-life relationship thoughts
The Bad:
  • The end of the episode gets maniacal in a way that is more exhausting than exciting

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

The X-Files by - 1/18/2018 8:49 AM172 views

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