in reply to Did I get what I expected (an array)?
When you return @x into scalar context, you get the number of elements in @x. (Aside: to return the "right thing" in whatever context the user called, use wantarray) So, your test will always work, because you are doing the same thing twice.
Perhaps you should ask, "Why do I care if I have a list/array vs a scalar value?" There is no difference between your example (returning one value) and return 'test' (also one value) (except, of course, your array will not return 'test' into scalar context...).
Does it really matter, as long as you get one or more correct values?
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