Did he or didn’t he? That’s the question were supposed to be asking ourselves at the start of Season 5. If Mulder didn’t actually kill himself, he was surely thinking about it. But I doubt anyone seriously expected that Fox would pay David Duchovny according to his contract without reaping the benefits of having him on a hit TV show. Oh, no. It doesn’t take more than a thimble full of brains to realize Mulder is very much alive. Instead, the dramatic tension is held aloft by another question: Does Scully know or doesn’t she?
The good news is that the answer is given rather quickly. Mulder’s alive and Scully knows it, she’s just a very, very good actress. Maybe she should quit her day job, although it’s probably too late for that since she’s about to go the way of the Dodo, but still.
Let speed on along right to my favorite moment of this episode, shall we?
Mulder: I need to know who did this to Scully.
Kritschgau: What you can have, what you may find is so much more than that.
Kritschgau: What you want most desperately of all.
Mulder: [Hopefully] The cure for Scully’s cancer?
Oh, Mulder. Right answer. Give the man a cookie.
I let out the “squee” heard ‘round the world the first time I heard that one. If the question is about what Mulder wants most, surely he’s going to mention Samantha, I thought. Isn’t the mystery surrounding her disappearance the backbone of the entire series and Mulder’s driving force in life? My how the times are a changing.
There was evidence way back in “End Game” (2×17) that Samantha and Scully had become about equal in Mulder’s mind. But the “Gethsemene”/”Redux”/”Redux II” arc is where the switch flips for Mulder in this little Phile’s opinion. After this, there’s never a question that to get to Mulder, your best bet is to push the Scully button. Consequently, the whole tone of Mulder and Scully’s relationship, or I should say, at least in the direction of Mulder to Scully, changes distinctly for the needy in Season 5. There’s an extra level of protectiveness regarding Scully that we haven’t seen from him since Season 2. Now Mulder pretty much turns into a mad man whenever Scully’s in trouble. He can live, albeit painfully, with the mystery of Samantha. But can he live without his only source of solace?
Speaking of the deep and wide mysteries of the Mulder family, Cigarette-Smoking Man seems to be mourning Mulder with a little more than the respectful regret due to a fallen foe. The way he lovingly gazes at the picture of little Fox and Samantha, it makes one think that the sly remarks he made to Teena Mulder back in “Talitha Cumi” (3×24) were more than just wishful bravado. There had to have been something between them. The question is exactly what relationship he has to Mulder, both biological and conspiratorial. Is he Samantha’s father? Is he Mulder’s father? Does he know he’s Mulder’s father? And taking his not necessarily truthful assertion that he “created” Mulder at face value, all these years has he been manipulating him through the X-Files partially in order to protect him? There’s food for thought.
In case you thought the Cigarette-Smoking Man realm of the conspiracy wasn’t far fetched enough, there’s a new game afoot. According our newly sanctified informant Kritschgau, since The Civil War, America fights wars solely to drive the economy. The alien abduction phenomenon is merely a cover so that the military can get access to our DNA. Why? Not for the sake of creating alien-human hybrids. After all, there are no aliens. But in order to have the tools and the power to successfully wage war, supposedly America’s dearest business. Flying Saucers? Hokum. Little Green Men? Bunkum.
I’m ashamed to say it, but I was initially completely fooled by Kritschgau’s confident assertions. I, somewhat gleeful at watching Mulder be proved wrong, dismissed the alien conspiracy altogether… don’t ask me how. Maybe I was too busy concentrating on MSR because how I explained the existence of The Alien Bounty Hunter to myself I do not know.
Unfortunately for Mulder and Scully, this military conspiracy only serves to point the finger firmly back in the FBI’s direction. And who at the FBI would make the most shocking Judas? Well, since Mulder and Scully haven’t actually depended on anyone else except… yep. Again, we’re back to the Skinner trust issue and considering how many times we’ve already been there, it’s amazing that the tension filled scenes between him and Scully are so compelling. I’d love to say this is the last time dear Skinner’s loyalties will be questioned, but…
And the Verdict is…
This is the second in a three-parter and as such, is heavier in information and exposition than actual action. But let that not be held against it. The revelations, true or not, are of the game-changing kind. And Mulder has finally been brought to recognize his own arrogance. Who would’ve thought that could happen?
This has always been my favorite mythology story arc, and deservedly so when I see again how little the tension deflates in “Redux”. Usually, part two can be all but assumed to be a bit of a dud when it comes to a three-part arc. Not so here because while it’s low on action, the drama between Scully and Skinner and Mulder and Himself only escalates. Not to mention, I love those Pentagon scenes.
We end with Scully on the verge of death and Mulder powerless to help her. If that doesn’t compel you to tune in to the next episode, what will?
What’s interesting about Mulder’s near suicide is that what stops him is Scully. What propels him and prevents him is Scully. He can’t let her go it alone when he got her into this mess.
Mulder: If only the tragedy had been mine alone, might it be more easy tonight to bring this journey to its end.
Oh the voiceovers in this one. I say voiceovers, but it’s really one giant voiceover. Thankfully, I’m so caught up in the drama that it doesn’t turn me off. Besides, it’s nice to get some primary source insight into the mind of Fox Mulder.
Nice touch bringing Scully back to Blevins’ office. There’s some beautiful déjà vu going on in “Redux”.
Again, we have Mulder and Scully on the same hunt but on two different trails. I love it when they do this.
I read somewhere, maybe one day I’ll find where it was, that Season 5 was supposed to mark a division of trust between Mulder and Scully, starting with Mulder killing Osselhoff and Scully not knowing whether to believe he’s telling her the whole tale about the man’s death. If that’s what they tried, they failed, because all I read from that scene is Scully’s almost unnerving ability to believe the best of Mulder. With one significant exception, Season 5 ends up being the most delightful example of Mulder/Scully solidarity since Season 2.
Cigarette-Smoking Man: I’ve always kept Mulder in check. I put this whole thing together. I created Mulder.
Elder: Agent Mulder is dead. Our FBI source confirmed it this morning. Mulder killed himself. Mulder was an asset. Without his partner you may have underestimated his fragility.
Cigarette-Smoking Man: I’ve never underestimated Mulder. I still don’t.
Kritschgau: You’ve heard the recent denials about Roswell by the military and the CIA? And what’s been the effect? Even wilder and more widespread belief; the American appetite for bogus revelation, Agent Mulder.
Mulder: But I’ve seen aliens. I’ve witnessed these things.
Kritschgau: You’ve seen what they wanted you to see. The line between science and science fiction doesn’t exist any more. What this is about is control… of the very elements of life: DNA. Yours, mine, everyone’s.