The X-Files: Redux

Case: Scully helps Mulder fake his own death to buy them time as they piece together the conspiracy afoot.

Destination: Washington D.C.

It's quite possible that ‘Redux’ is guilty of some quasi-lackadaisical storytelling because it is an exposition-necessary sandwich in between last season's finale "Gethsemane' and 'Redux II'. But contained in this episode is a HUGE turn in the series’ stakes and goals. And that turn is a welcomed one, especially if you're shipper. Maybe even if you're not.

In the second act of 'Redux', Mulder is in a hushed heated conversation inside the Pentagon with DOD employee, Michael Kritschgau. Kritschgau manipulates Mulder into pursuing a more cloaked path in this Pentagon visit by offering him "what you want most desperately of all" to which Mulder answers, "The cure for Scully's cancer?" In an instant, the premise of the show pivots away from Mulder's pursuit of his sister at any cost towards his preserving his partnership with Dr. Dana Scully at any cost. The episode makes no apologies, offers no wordy explanations -- it doesn't even acknowledge that the show was firmly rooted one thing and will now be rooted in something else hence forth. It's a beautiful thing, really because the Mulder and Scully relationship is nothing if it's not organic.

In addition to this shift in his life quest, Mulder is faced with trying to comprehend the level of lies he has been fed by the government (in an extremely categoric and precise fashion, if you think on it) in the time he's spent working on the X-files. And Kritschgau has an answer at the ready for pretty much everything that's ever happened, ever, in all time. So while Mulder is engaged in the longest tracking shot in TV history to date, Scully is following up with Holly ('Pusher') and ice core samples. She acts on a hunch that the chimera in the ice is made up of the same stuff as her cancer and dons her scientist hat to set out and prove it. And there's lots of voiceovers. Lots and lots of voiceovers. But some of them take a page from 'Memento Mori' in that Mulder and Scully are 'talking' to one another through the VO and that's pretty excellent.

So in the end, Scully pulls off a medical miracle when, in record time, she pulls together the documentation that shows whomever is orchestrating this alien hoax also gave her cancer, just as Mulder narrowly escapes being seized by the military upon his exiting the same Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse seen in the show's pilot, Scully's cure firmly in hand. All of this, on both sides, collapsing (literally!) in the last three minutes when Scully faints at her FBI inquisition, overcome with her disease, and Mulder finds out that the vial that contains Scully's cure is just... deionized water. TO BE CONTINUED. As it's wont to do.

Other Thoughts

* Hi, again, The Lone Gunmen!

* There are lots of callbacks to previous episodes here, and sometimes actual footage!

* And a lot of montages with archival footage and newspaper clippings and iconic images from our actual history. From the first time I saw this episode, I always loved the pacing of that whole revelation with Kritschgau leading Mulder through the hallways of the DOD.

* Did the writers sit around the table in the writers' room and enthusiastically brainstorm, “Hmmmm, what’s the perfect Nefarious White Men pastime? Oooh, I got it! Horse racing!”

* I wanted to focus on Mulder and Scully in this review but there is a shift in the relationship the Cigarette Smoking Man has to Mulder and the show in these eps, too. The plot thickens.

Quotes

Mulder: “Keep going, FBI woman.”

Mulder: “In four years, I have shared my partner's passionate search for the truth. And if my part has been a deception, I have never seen her integrity waver... or her honor compromised. But now, I ask her to lie --”

Michael Kritschgau: “You’ve seen what they’ve wanted you to see.”

Final Analysis: I love a re-invention as much as any gal. Bring it on, The X-Files, I say.

4 comments:

ChrisB said...

This is such a good episode for all of the reasons you state. There is a huge and welcome shift in Mulder's mind that has been coming for quite a while. I just love the way these two interact, when they are together and when they are not.

I'm so glad you included Mulder's quote about Scully's integrity and honor. For me, if was one of the most important things he ever says.

Great review!

Heather said...

Chris,
I, of course, totally agree that Mulder's line about Scully and her solidarity etc. is one of the best things he says in the entire series about anything. And the voiceover juxtaposed with her spot-on deceiving of the officers in his apartment when she comes to ID the body, is just so damn great. She does wobble the tiniest bit in Skinner's company in the hallway but it's the best tell ever because he knows that she knows that he knows and so on, because this show. Ha.

drnanamom said...

I agree - great review, great episode. And I also especially liked Scully and Skinner in the hallway. The respect that Mulder has for Scully is so beautiful (and warranted) that you can almost forgive him for what has happened to her.

Heather said...

Doc,
It's true that you forgive his deficits knowing how high in esteem he holds her. I always remember this XF special Fox ran where there were clips and interviews with the actors and Duchovny said Scully made him more endearing to others (particularly with her astute social graces but I think this might be a little piece of what you're saying) because god knows he came across like 'one sorry son-of-a-bitch' at times. ;)