What’s That Supposed to Mean?

Mulder and Scully have a history of speaking in riddles. Their words often don’t express what they’re really feeling, leaving us to ask one of Mulder’s favorite questions, “What’s that supposed to mean?” I find this an endearing quality for the most part. These are complicated characters, and it wouldn’t make sense if their innermost thoughts and feelings came pouring out of their mouths in a way that left no room for us, or them, to question what they mean. But sometimes I need a little more clarity. Sometimes I wish they would just come out and say what they really mean!

This feeling struck me the hardest after THAT SCENE in Plus One. You know which one I mean. The scene with a conversation that just seemed so off, so wrong, so confusing and unsatisfying but then led to a very satisfying reunion. So what did I miss? What were they really saying to each other? I actually had to sit down and translate the scene for myself to make any sense of it, focusing on their facial expressions and body language. And I found it helped. In fact it was really kind of cathartic. So I decided to give it a shot for some of their more enigmatic exchanges. I’ve chosen some lighter moments, just for a bit of fun. Maybe I’ll do an angstier version later.

Tooms

What they said

Mulder: They’re out to put an end to the X-Files, Scully. I don’t know why, but any excuse will do. I don’t really care about my record, but you’d be in trouble just sitting in this car, and I’d hate to see you carry an official reprimand in your career file because of me.

Scully: Fox. …

Mulder: (chuckles) I, I even made my parents call me Mulder, so … Mulder.

Scully: Mulder, I wouldn’t put myself on the line for anybody but you.

Mulder: If there’s an iced tea in that bag, could be love.

What they meant

Mulder: I’d hate to see you carry an official reprimand in your career file because of me. I meant it when I said you could be head of the Bureau someday. I don’t want to stand in your way.

Scully: Our work is more important to me than any career advancement; you’re more important. I need to make you understand that, Fox …

Mulder: That look on your face is scaring me, so I’m going to back off a bit. I need to keep you at arm’s length for now because I may be getting too attached to you, and that won’t do you any good.

Scully: I don’t scare that easily MULDER. I need you to understand, so I’m going to be very clear. I wouldn’t put myself on the line for anybody but you.

Mulder: I’m a little overwhelmed by my feelings and your honesty, so I need to make a joke, but I hope you understand. Iced tea or not, it could be love.

Triangle

What they said

Mulder: Scully, I love you.

Scully: Oh brother.

Mulder: *enigmatic smile*

What they meant

Mulder: I know this isn’t the best time, and maybe you’re not ready to hear it, but I can’t stand the thought that something could happen and I missed my chance to tell you. So you’re going to laugh this off or pretend you think I’m delirious, and that’s okay. You do what you need to do. But what I need to do right now, without waiting another minute, is tell you that I love you.

Scully: Now? You’re going to tell me that right now? When I don’t even know if you’re lucid? But that look on your face, the tone of your voice, I could almost believe you mean it…I’m not ready for this Mulder! I need to process, I need time to think. I…I…I’m not ready for this.

Mulder: *will be waiting when she’s ready*

Existence

What they said

Mulder: What are you gonna call him?

Scully: William, after your father.

Mulder: *meaningful look*

Scully: *soft smile*

Mulder: Well, I don’t know. He’s got your coloring and your eyes, but he looks suspiciously like Assistant Director Skinner.

*Both laugh softly*

Scully: I don’t understand Mulder. They came to take him from us, why they didn’t.

Mulder: I don’t quite understand that either, except that maybe he isn’t what they thought he was. That doesn’t make him any less of a miracle though, does it?

Scully: From the moment I became pregnant I feared the truth, about how, and why. And I know that you feared it too.

Mulder: I think that what we feared were the possibilities. The truth we both know.

Scully: Which is what?

Mulder: *Leans in to kiss Scully*

Mulder and Scully: *Kiss, softly at first but then digging in*

What they meant

Mulder: What are you gonna call him?

Scully: William. That should be sufficiently frustrating to those idiots at the Bureau betting on who’s the father, with all the Williams in both our families. But we’ll be sure anyone who needs to know understands he’s named after your father.

Mulder: *It’s up to you whether you want to tell anyone Scully. It always has been.*

Scully: *It’s been nice keeping this to ourselves, but we can let others in on the secret now.*

Mulder: I don’t know, he looks a little like Skinner. I wonder if anyone bet on him in the pool.

*Both chuckle softly. They’ve been joking about this for a while.*

Scully: I don’t understand Mulder. They came to take him from us, why they didn’t.

Mulder: I don’t quite understand that either, except that maybe he isn’t what they thought he was. That doesn’t make him any less of a miracle though, does it?

Scully: From the moment I became pregnant I feared the truth, about how, and why. And I know that you feared it too.

Mulder: We’d been told this wasn’t possible for us, and we’ve been through so much that we had to wonder how it happened. But in the end, that just doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what we already know.

Scully: Which is what? I need a little more reassurance after all we’ve been through.

Mulder: *We love each other and we have a baby*

Mulder and Scully: *That’s our truth, and no one can take that from us.*

Plus One

What they said:

Scully: Can you hold me?

Mulder: Yeah, I can do that.

Scully: What’s gonna happen?

Mulder: What’s gonna happen when?

Scully: When we’re old.

Mulder: What do you mean “when”?

Scully: I mean, sooner or later we’re gonna retire, and …

Mulder: I’ll come push your wheelchair with my wheelchair.

Scully: *chuckles* That’s not what I mean.

Mulder: Oh I’ll always be around, Scully, offering bullet proof theories of genius that you fail to assail with your inadequate rationality.

Scully: And I’ll always be around to prove you wrong. No, but that’s not what I mean.

Mulder: What do you mean?

Scully: What if you meet someone? What if you meet someone younger who wants to have kids?

Mulder: Oh, that’s what you mean. Well…you could do the same. You could meet someone and have kids.

Scully: *laughs* That’s not gonna happen.

Mulder: That’s nonsense.

Scully: No it’s not. I’m at the end of that journey.

Mulder: Do you want to have more kids?

Scully: Well, I would have liked to have had another one.

Mulder: Mm. At the risk of sounding insensitive, what’s stopping you?

Scully: Mm…besides the fact that the first time was a miracle? And besides the fact that I don’t have anyone to have one with even if I could?

Mulder: You’re a woman of science.

Scully: *laughs* Mulder, sometimes I think the world is going to hell and we’re the only two people who can save it.

Mulder: The world is going to hell Scully, the president working to bring down the FBI along with it.

Scully: What if we lose our jobs?

Mulder: Yeah, then what would we do?

Scully: We’ll think of something.

What they meant:

Scully: What would you think if I told you I wanted to come back? I don’t just want to work with you; I want to be with you. Do you still see me that way?

Mulder: That’s what I’ve been waiting for. Are you sure that’s what you want?

Scully: We make sense together. I don’t want anyone else, I never have. I think I’m ready to start over with you.

Mulder: I’ll always be here Scully. It’s your move.

Scully: Let’s get it on.

6 thoughts on “What’s That Supposed to Mean?

  1. Oh this is great! I think you got all of these translated perfectly. When Mulder starts feeling overwhelmed by his feelings he often makes a joke. That is so true!

    Like

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