June 22, 2019

The X-Files 11.3, Plus One: Mixed Doubles

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:14 pm by Jenn

They did it, y’all!

Summary: A very loud rock band is playing for an energetic crowd. One fan jumps on stage, then crowd-surfs, which I didn’t think was still a thing in 2018. He sees someone who looks exactly like him in the crowd and follows him outside, but the doppelganger disappears. The fan drives off in his truck, and when a police officer comes up behind him with his lights and sirens on, the fan thinks he’s getting pulled over for speeding. The officer goes after someone else, but the fan realizes he’s not alone – the doppelganger is in his truck. He grabs the wheel and makes the fan crash.

Despite being thrown through the front windshield (always wear your seatbelt, everyone), the fan – Arkie Seavers – survives the crash and ends up in the local jail. He’s claiming that someone who looks exactly like him caused the crash. Scully thinks this is a simple case of confusion while drunk. Mulder, however, has heard stories over other people in Henrico County, Virginia, dying after claiming they saw their doubles. The diagnosis is a rare form of schizophrenia.

Mulder continues that many of the dead people took their own lives. Scully hears the numbers and realizes they’re dealing with a “mass phenomenon.” That definitely makes this an X-File. The agents head straight to the Henrico County jail to meet with Arkie, who says he’d seen his doppelganger a few times over the past week. Scully confirms that he uses drugs, which would certainly explain his story. But Arkie says he can prove that there really was a double.

The agents go to the scene of the crash, debating whether Arkie fell asleep at the wheel and is making up a story about a double. Then they meet with Dr. Babsi Russel, who treated a number of the victims at Henrico County Psychiatric Hospital. Though none of the victims had been treated for psychiatric problems before, they were all “arguably not upstanding citizens.” Russel thinks they all developed mental illnesses in a sort of outbreak.

As Scully and Russel discuss the possibility of mass hysteria, Mulder peeks in on a patient who’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia. She also exhibits split personalities and has wild mood swings. Mulder wants to take a closer look at her drawings, as the woman has pages and pages of Hangman games covering her walls. Russel lets the agents meet the patient, Judy, who claims to be a famous actress whose fans call her Little Judy. She plays Hangman telepathically with her brother.

Mulder sees that one of the words used in a Hangman game was “Arkie,” so he asks if Judy knows Arkie Seavers. She doesn’t, but she points to an empty chair and says “she” might know him. After the agents leave, Judy draws a frown on the hanged man on Arkie’s page, then frowns at it herself. At the jail, Arkie is put in another cell and told he’s going to be transferred somewhere else. His double is waiting for him in the cell.

Mulder and Scully check into the St. Rachel Motel for the night, but there’s only one room, so they’ll have to share. X-Files fanfiction writers around the world scream with joy. Sometime during the night, Mulder leaves his pull-out couch to tell Scully that Arkie was found dead in his cell. His lawyer, Mr. Cavalier, is skeptical that he could have strangled himself while wearing handcuffs, but Mulder knows it’s possible. (I…don’t want to think about that any further.) Mr. Cavalier denies that Arkie was suicidal.

Scully tries to preemptively shut down any theory Mulder might be developing that connects Judy’s Hangman game to Arkie’s death by hanging. He wants to find Judy’s brother and see if he’s somehow involved. So Mulder goes to a rundown, hoarded house and meets with Judy’s brother, Chucky, who happens to be the guard who found Arkie’s body in his cell.

Chucky has the same Hangman games on his walls that Judy does. He complains that Judy cheats when they play. Mulder guesses that Chucky and Judy are twins, and Judy’s the good one. Chucky laughs at that. He says the use of Arkie’s name in a Hangman game was meaningless; he just liked it. Chucky makes a snide remark about Mulder to an unseen person in the room.

Scully returns to the hospital, where Judy has become difficult. Two nurses say they call this version of her Demon Judy. Scully knows that people with split personalities sometimes respond well to strong authority, so she’s going to give that a try. A nurse tells her that Judy’s parents both hanged themselves. Scully decides she needs the nurses as backup, but they’re not going in.

Judy flings crap at Scully as she tries to ask questions about Arkie and Chucky. Judy says that Arkie killed himself, though how would she know that if she wasn’t involved? She asks if Scully’s trying to trick her. Scully says she just wants the deaths to stop. Judy asks what Mulder sees in her. If he hooked up with Judy, he’d forget all about Scully. Maybe Judy can make her go away, too. She mocks that Scully’s dried up and past her child-bearing years. Scully says Judy can’t hurt her, but Judy knows the truth can do a lot of damage.

Back in the motel that night, Mulder visits Scully from his part of the suite (separated by a door) and they discuss the weird influence Judy seems to have over the victims. Mulder thinks ghosts are involved, but Scully wants to go with psychic transference. She asks if Mulder thinks of her as old. “You still got it going on,” he assures her. She sends him back to his part of the suite, but he tells her to “knock three times,” meaning he’d welcome a late-night visit.

Chucky reads a poorly copyedited newspaper headline about Cavalier claiming that Arkie’s death was supernatural. He starts a new Hangman game, indeed playing telepathically with Judy. She guesses a letter out loud, and when he writes it down, it appears on her paper. It looks like the word is “Dean,” which is Cavalier’s first name.

The next morning, Mulder visits Chucky again and asks how he’s able to commit his murders. He must choose the victims at the jail, then hangs them psychically. Chucky says he’s questioning the wrong person. Mulder threatens to have Chucky arrested or committed for intending to commit a crime. Chucky knows he’d easily be released, and would then have Mulder censured. Mulder gets Chucky riled up and warns that he’s going to eventually hang himself.

Scully goes back to see Judy, who’s back to the pleasant person she was when the agents first met her. Judy insists that she’s not a killer – when she was an actress, she never even played one. She blames her unseen roommate for whatever Scully thinks has happened. Scully thinks Judy has some sort of power to influence people’s lives. “I think you mean people’s deaths,” Judy corrects. But people can protect themselves with pills, like Judy does. Every day, the nurses give her pills that have secret powers.

Scully sees that she’s playing Hangman and asks her to stop the game. Judy can’t – she’d go mad. Scully shows the pills to the nurses, who tell her they’re really made of bread, rolled by Judy herself. The nurses take them, though, just in case Judy’s right about them having secret powers. Scully might want to take them, too.

Cavalier goes to a restaurant and flirts horribly with a waitress. He sees a guy outside who looks just like him and chases after him. He goes to the motel and tells the agents about the double, whom he thinks he may have also seen a few days ago. Scully tries to calm him down, telling him that mass hysteria is just fears gone wild. Mulder thinks there’s an actual threat, though, so Cavalier should take some precautions. “It can’t haunt you if you don’t let it,” Scully says.

Mulder tells Scully that he really thinks there’s a dark presence in the town. Scully says there’s no such thing as evil – it’s just a concept, like the Devil. Mulder asks about dark sides that humans might have. She thinks people can act out dark impulses, but that doesn’t mean everyone has an evil twin. Mulder asks about Judy and Chucky. Scully thinks there’s a rational explanation, though she admits that she’s superstitious enough to sleep with her back to the door, in case the Devil comes for a nighttime visit.

Cavalier goes home and dumps all his weapons and sharp objects in his driveway. As he’s gathering his ties and belts, Judy and Chucky continue their Hangman game. Cavalier accidentally cuts himself on one of his many, many swords, and as he’s taking care of the cut in the bathroom, he hears another sword being unsheathed in the other room. The last thing he sees is his double.

Once again, Mulder wakes Scully during the night so they can go to a crime scene. Cavalier’s neighbors called the police when they saw him dumping weapons in the driveway. Though the front door was locked, Cavalier was killed with one of his swords, and there’s no way he could have killed himself, because it’s pretty impossible to decapitate yourself. Scully things the slight possibility is enough to hold on to.

As Scully goes out to the car to leave, she spots her own double in a crowd of nosy neighbors. She has a restless night in the motel, expecting the Devil to come through her door. She goes to Mulder’s part of the suite and asks him to cuddle her. The fanfiction writers scream again. Scully asks what will happen when they’re old. Will they still hang out after they retire? Mulder promises that he’ll always be around to offer up his wild theories. She says she’ll always be around to shoot them down.

Scully asks what might happen if Mulder meet someone younger who wants to have a family. Mulder says she could also meet someone she wants to have kids with, but Scully knows it’s too late for that. She would have liked to have had another one, though. Mulder asks what’s stopping her. Scully reminds him that William’s conception was a miracle. Plus, she doesn’t have a partner to conceive a baby with.

Sometimes she feels like the world is going to Hell, and the two of them are the only ones who can save it. They both wonder what they would do if they lost their jobs. Scully says they’ll think of something. As she smiles at Mulder, ready to take her clothes off, her double glares at them from the doorway.

Judy and Chucky have started a new round of Hangman, and it looks like the word is Mulder. He happens to be awake in the middle of the night, and when he goes to the bathroom for water, he sees his double in the mirror. He wakes Scully, who tells him she saw her own double, too. She thinks Judy and Chucky are trying to make them victims of the mass hysteria.

Mulder tells Scully to “put a dimmer on that afterglow” (they totally had sex, y’all) and go to the hospital so she’ll be in a safe place. He thinks her name is the one Judy and Chucky are playing right now. Judy does, too, but Chucky wants to get rid of Mulder, thinking Judy’s in love with him. Judy tries to change the word to “Scully.”

Scully takes some bread pills as she leaves for the hospital. Mulder goes to Chucky’s house to arrest him, but instead runs into his double. Scully’s double is in her backseat, and Scully tries to explain her away with logic. Maybe she’s just evil incarnate. The double has no time for this, I guess, and disappears.

Mulder fights his double as Chucky scraps his Hangman game to write in Judy’s name. Judy does the same with Chucky’s name. Their doubles both appear to them. When Scully gets to Judy’s room, Demon Judy is ready for her, but the real Judy is dead. Mulder’s double vanishes, and he finds Chucky as dead as his twin. He also finds two very old Hangman games on the wall, with the words “Mom” and “Dad.”

Back at the motel, Mulder suggests getting a couple of hours in before the agents check out (though he says he means sleep). Scully sends him off to his part of the suite, saying she won’t need anything. But after he leaves, she changes her mind and goes to the door. He’s right on the other side, waiting for her to join him.

Thoughts: Judy and Chucky are both played by Karin Konoval, who was also the creepy mom in “Home.” She does an amazing job in this episode. Dr. Russel is played by Denise Dowse, AKA Mrs. Teasley in Beverly Hills, 90210.

Arkie? Babsi? Who was in charge of naming characters on this show?

Where does Cavalier live, an armory? Who needs that many guns and swords?

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