Redux 5×2: What does any of this have to do with flying saucers?


Mulder goes down the rabbit hole.

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.
Mulder: What?
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?

A

Peanut Gallery:

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.

Best Quotes:

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.

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13 responses to “Redux 5×2: What does any of this have to do with flying saucers?

  1. One of my favorite episodes. Really powerful especially when they have Mulder being questioned by the panel and then the camera goes back on Scully in the hospital, that music, the building of suspense, Mulder’s coolness. Wow…he was so cool like James Bond cool..Then he delivered that punch line..It is the section chief I am about to name..BAME like a bomb exploding wow that was just too great. There was nothing on tv at that time as well directed as athe X Files.

  2. You’re absolutely right about this episode. The tension doesn’t abate because the cancer is still there and that’s what kept me on edge until Redux II came. I also love this 3-parter and I’ve watched it more than any other mytharc episode. What I always thought was definitely true about Kritschgau’s speech was the part about wars boosting the economy. For any country, from the past centuries until 2000 for sure.

    • I totally bought Kirtschgau telling Mulder that the aliens didn’t exist. I sometimes wish that had been the case and it was all just a distraction from him finding the real truth. I love me a good scary government conspiracy theory!

    • Same here!

      And while it’s true that wars usually boost the economy, I just can’t see the bloodiest day in American history, Antietam, going off like a light bulb in the government’s head. “Ah hah!” But a conspiracy wouldn’t be a conspiracy if it wasn’t far fetched!

  3. If Season 5 was supposed to be a division of trust, then that doesn’t jive with the other rumors that Morgan & Wong wanted to divide them by the end of Season 4. Why would Morgan & Wong be flamed for trying to do that when the other producers wanted to in Season 5? I think its just that, a rumor, but its an interesting thing to know since I wasn’t a fan then.

  4. I really hated this episode. All the scripted voiceovers, including Kritchgau’s history-of-the-US monologue in the Pentagon were all vomit-inducing, scripted, artificial trash. Like you’ve mentioned earlier in your reviews, no one talks like that. I suppose I can accept it from the Voiceovers as they’re meant to be typed reports or some such, but still, I hate Scully when she does hers, and Mulder’s are just boring. The whole episode was boring, not even the Pentagon scene was interesting. We learn nothing new, it’s just he same old regurgitated conspiracy hocus pocus. At this point, I can hardly tolerate Mythology episodes, and only look forward to MoTW ones..at least they have some g’damn conclusion even if the majority of ’em aren’t solved. Oh, and how many freaking times do we have to listen to Scully’s sob lie in front of the board about Mulder killing himself?! At the end, when she does it for the 3rd time, I wanted to shoot MYSELF. Complete garbage..bring on Bad Blood already.

  5. I loved the trilogy. I remember the critics liking Mulders Character to James Bond. it was pow wow in our face. The scene when Mulder reveals who the crook is. The shifting of scenes was very good direction. Yeah the voice overs got a bit much but they were essential to the story. Were you aware that Mulder went to Scully’s apartment and told her he shot a man who had been spying on him in his apartment? scully lied to them and told that story repeatedly because Mulder had asked her to. They played the same tape over and over again of scully telling Mulder was dead. That I think is what scared the story a bit. They should have had her repeating it instead of showing a tape.

    • Yeah, it’s the exact same footage is what peeves me so much. It screams of laziness and cheap production. Take Bad Blood for example (I couldn’t wait, and skipped ahead to it today…teehee!). It repeats a lot of the same information we know, but in different ways, different angles, etc. Very little, if any, was repeat footage though, even when there were parts they could have easily done so. Part of the problem was I watched this episode yesterday when I was ornery, but I’m still frustrated remembering the kritzgau and autopsy scenes, thinking this is yet ANOTHER red herring thrown at us that I gotta keep track of. The mythology episodes are becoming a chore to watch.

  6. Pingback: One Breath 2×8: We all know what can happen in the course of a game. | Musings of an X-Phile

  7. One thing I don’t get is the plot hole with oseloff (the man assigned to surveillance on mulder) once he dies wouldn’t they know mulder was still alive? Who did that guy report too. It’s very poorly written. They would of instantly knew mulder didn’t die because their man wouldn’t be there to report it. How do you explain that. And if it’s a skinner thing, then how come the man was dod..that’s a higher level than any Fbi branch.

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