The X-Files (2018) – Plus One, and The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

Series creator Chris Carter pens Plus One, which first aired on 17 January, 2018. Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) get pulled into a weird one, when they hear about a rash of phenomenon relating to the appearance of doppelgängers, and they all seem to relate to a pair of twins, Chuck and Judy (both played by Karin Konoval) who share a telepathic link and engage in deadly versions of the game hangman.

Edged with humor, this one has a cool sense of mystery to it, ties into the idea of seeing one’s doppelganger is a harbinger of one’s death, and has Mulder and Scully slowly finding their way back to one another (again) after falling apart over the past couple of years following the events of I Want to Believe (and realizing they are both getting older, and confronting those fears of loneliness).

Konoval gets to chew scenery as not only the twins, but their alter-egos (arguably their darker sides) and Mulder and Scully both have to confront their other selves in the course of the episode, and both do it in truly character-fitting fashion.

There’s a sense of fun throughout the episode, some great quips, and honestly, I feel this is a great one for Konoval, because despite the fact that she’d shown up before in Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose, she’ll always be remembered for the infamous Home episode.

Fun, dark, it also gives us our first monster of the week episode of the season, as arguably, the events of This tie in with the new mythology the series is spinning. And it ends up being damned good fun.

The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat, brings back fan favorite Darin Morgan, who wrote and directed this episode that was first broadcast on 24 January, 2018. When we are given a black and white opener featuring Morgan regular, Alex Diakun, that feels like an odd Twilight Zone episode we know we’re in for something special.

The episode explores the Mandela Effect, which is when one’s memories don’t match up with accepted norm, the most common of which is the whole Sinbad/Shazam/Shaq/Kazam thing, but in this instance, it’s the X-files themselves that may be suffering from it, when the agents are approached by a man calling himself Reggie (Brian Huskey) who supplies evidence of something (someone) manipulating memories of the past to change and control people.

It seems Reggie was there all through the X-files, and now, we don’t remember him that way – we even get a titles sequence featuring him, but now They (specifically Dr. They (the wonderful Stuart Margolin)) is working on erasing him, turning him into a Mandela Effect, or as he calls it a Mengele effect.

What follows is an examination of memory, how it changes and affects us, as per usual with a Morgan script, lots of laughs, tied up perfectly at the climax of the episode with the arrival of Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) who asks a reality shattering question.

So much fun, raises all kinds of questions, and watch for an appearance by Bill Dow, who had shown up as Chuck in earlier seasons of The X-Files, but is a shopkeep in this one.

We’re almost halfway through the final season of The X-Files, but the truth is out there…

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