July 13, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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The X-Files “Plus One”

Fraternal twins play deadly games of Hangman.

Actror Karin Konoval, who played Maurice the orangutan in the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy with Andy Serkis as Caesar the chimp, here plays fraternal twins Judy and Chuckie Poundstone, two decidedly unpleasant people with a psychic connection and really bad intentions.

The Case:  Killer Doubles!  Killer Hangman Games!

The Rest:  Chris Carter wrote the script here, so the story didn’t work for me as well as it could have.  But to be fair, there’s a lot to like about this one, or at least the case Mulder and Scully are investigating; there are other things here that strike me as pure Carter stuff.  Circumstances force Mulder and Scully to share a motel room, and that creates some moments where they share a bed and talk about their aging and whether or not either of them wants more children after Judy pointed out Scully was too old to have more kids.

Eh, probably not, but that’s neither here nor there.

The case itself is good enough for the episode, even if Mulder points out (accurately) that this isn’t the weirdest case they’d ever looked into.  Judy and Chuckie have a psychic link.  Judy can sometimes be pleasant, but Chuckie can’t hide his general unpleasantness for very long.  Mulder goes to deal with Chuckie, a prison guard, while Scully spends time with Judy, a patient at a mental hospital.  The twins play hangman games long distance, the answers always being the name of someone they want dead, and then their target finds themselves facing off against a murderous double of themselves.  Most of the deaths look like suicides, but the last guy was a lawyer decapitated by his double with a sword, so that one looks a lot less self-inflicted.  Or it could be depending on how one defines “self-inflicted.”

Naturally, Mulder and Scully find themselves confronted by their doubles, but Scully manages to beat hers by swallowing a placebo and then refusing to believe that an evil version of her is out there.  Mulder actually gets beaten up and shot at by his double.  It’s good to see Scully’s ironclad skepticism works in her favor sometimes.  But then Judy and Chuckie turned on each other and were killed by their own doubles.  Problem solved!

Kinda creepy that Chuckie’s old puzzles showed they killed their parents that way.

So, creepy case, less compelling character work.  Sounds like a Chris Carter script.

Up next, Reggie.