Redux II 5×3: I will calm down when somebody gives me a reason to calm down.


"My belief is in The Truth."

Oh, this opening scene. It’s really hard not to compare Mulder’s explosion by Scully’s bedside with, well, his previous explosion by Scully’s bedside in “One Breath” (2×8), so I won’t bother not trying to do it. In both episodes he starts out almost eerily calm and then crescendos. It’s beauty to behold.

Now, I had this habit back in the day where immediately after I watched a brand new episode, I’d rewind it and watch it again. (Don’t judge.) This episode took me forever to rewatch because I kept rewinding precious moments like it was going out of style, starting with this brief, two minute scene that I quickly memorized. Mulder in a tizzy over Scully – It never gets old.

There are so many utterly rewindable (add it to your dictionaries) moments in this episode that I hardly know how to touch on them all and I probably can’t. But since “Redux II” is told mostly from Mulder’s point of view, his dark night of the soul as it were, we’ll start with him.

Mulder gets hit from all sides this episode. Bill Scully gives him an unjust, and yet somehow not quite undeserved dressing down, one that still raises my blood pressure but in an oh so delicious way. There may only be one character on The X-Files I love to hate more than Bill Scully, and she has yet to make an appearance. Bill Scully doesn’t hold back with Mulder. After all, if it weren’t for Fox Mulder, one sister would be alive and the other wouldn’t be dying. Mulder, to his credit, shows an amazing amount of restraint, far more than he showed with Melissa Scully back in “One Breath”. I guess that’s what guilt, fear and shame will do to a person.

Poor Mulder walks straight from that drama into a web spun by Cigarette-Smoking Man who attempts to lure him into his service with the bait of a cure for Scully’s cancer. When that doesn’t work and Scully’s health continues to deteriorate, he dangles the carrot of a reunion with Samantha in front of Mulder’s nose.

In “Redux” (5×2), we watched Cigarette-Smoking Man gaze longingly at a picture of young Mulder and Samantha and visions of paternity tests danced in our heads, now here’s Samantha, or more likely, “Samantha”, calling him Daddy. Coincidence? Never. While the shenanigans Cigarette-Smoking Man is playing with Mulder in order to finally collect him as a trophy on his shelf is doubtless a load of falsities, lies always go down better flavored with truth. We know Samantha was taken. By the government, the Syndicate or aliens who can say? But what if she was returned, only not to Mulder? Is this Samantha, another clone like in “Colony” (2×16), or even one of the drones from “Herrenvolk” (4×1)?  Could the real Samantha be living another life somewhere? Could she be living that life awash in Cigarette-Smoking Man’s smoky haze?

Whatever the case, Cigarette-Smoking Man is having so much fun weaving his little tale, true or not, that he fails to notice the Elder giving him the evil eye. What a shocker that is, a hit being put out on Cigarette-Smoking Man himself. Not that there hasn’t been ample evidence of the tension between him and the rest of the Syndicate. Yet, he’s the villain, the Satan as it were, of The X-Files. Who would have thought that Chris Carter would have been willing to take him out when the show was at its most popular? Then again, that’s probably why he did it. Pop goes the weasel.

And now for Scully… Chris Carter scripted this episode and we all know that he loves dramatic bookends and parallels. Yes, he’s a man after my own heart. This time around, he makes us watch Mulder lose his faith just as Scully regains hers. The floor has opened up under Mulder, his pride is gone, his foundation shaken, just as Scully has shed her pride but in doing so regained her footing and her humanity. Interesting that in the first part of this arc, “Gethsemene” (4×25), it was Mulder who appeared to be on the verge of solidifying his faith once and for all with tangible proof of alien life and Scully who tried to nonchalantly keep her own at a distance through her rejection of Father McCue. Brilliance? Quite possibly.

Verdict:

Need you even ask? It’s a good thing no one could witness me grinning and giggling and exclaiming while I was watching (and rewinding) this episode for the review. Yes, even 14 years later.

I couldn’t possibly have asked for a more satisfying start to the season. Even the shipper in me was appeased.

Well… okay. Maybe I still felt a little gypped that Mulder and Scully don’t have a deathbed goodbye scene. Not to mention we miss the revelation of her miraculous cure as well. But that’s so minor in comparison to all the other pop culture goodness.

For instance, there’s the glorious climax that, don’t laugh, reminds me of the ending of The Godfather in its pacing and editing. Skinner sweats it out trying to prevent Mulder from mistakenly naming him as the mole in front of the panel, Mulder bullies ahead anyway, Cigarette-Smoking Man is clueless to his own imminent danger, and all the while a skeletal Scully is chanting Hail Marys. And then when Mulder finally names Blevins as the man… oh the face. The face! The gangsta lean!

Whew.

Among the fans nowadays, I’m sad to say it, but there’s quite a bit of disparagement for Chris Carter’s writing skills out there. Why?? Have you seen this episode???

A+

The Big Qs:

How did Mulder find out Scully was in the hospital and which hospital she was in? We can be sure he didn’t call up Skinner. The Lone Gunmen perhaps?

How did Skinner find out about Cigarette-Smoking Man’s death? I doubt his obituary made the papers. I would have thought the Syndicate would have cleaned that mess up privately.

What was Scully afraid to tell Maggie Scully? And why didn’t we get to hear it??

Useless Commentary:

Mulder really is being stripped of everything this episode. Scully’s dying. Samantha rejects him. The truth isn’t out there. It’s no wonder he nearly ate Scully’s hand off in desperation.

If Scully had died, who else thinks Mulder would have gone on a vengeful, murderous rampage? Show of hands?

Who’d have thought there’d come a time when Mulder didn’t want to talk about his precious conspiracy but would rather hold Scully’s hand and talk of nothing? How ‘bout those Yankees indeed.

Wait… wait… yep. Still swooning.

Best Quotes:

Blevins: Agent Mulder, we’re here informally to give you the chance to help yourself.
Mulder: Help myself how?
Senior Agent: By allowing any facts or details which might serve to let us go forward with this enquiry in a more informed manner.
Mulder: That helps you. How does that help me?

——————–

Mulder: [To CSM in the hospital] Please tell me you’re here with severe chest pains.

——————–

Langly: That’s unreal.
Frohike: Too freaking amazing.
Mulder: Watch your language, Frohike, and grab me some tweezers.

——————–

Bill Scully: You’re one sorry son of a bitch. Not a whole lot more to say. [Leaves]
Mulder: [Answering phone] One sorry son of a bitch speaking.

——————–

Waitress: Tabasco. Cures anything.
Mulder: I’ll keep that in mind.

——————–

Scully: Mulder, even with the ballistics evidence I can still be the shooter…
Mulder: Scully, I can’t let you take the blame… because of your brother… because of your mother… and because I couldn’t live with it. To live the lie you have to believe it. Like these men who deceived us, who gave you this disease. We all have our faith and mine is in the truth.
Scully: Then why did you come here if you’d already made up your mind?
Mulder: [Laughing] Because I knew you’d talk me out of it if I was making a mistake. [Editor’s Note: ::tear::]

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28 responses to “Redux II 5×3: I will calm down when somebody gives me a reason to calm down.

  1. Ah, shipperfest! You were not the only one to rewind again and again….
    I really have nothing substantial to add to your review, except my take on the Big Q’s: I guess Mulder went back to Scully’s apartment and when she didn’t come home, he called the gunmen. I’m sure there was a 911 call from the FBI, maybe they found out about that. And I think Scully was afraid of dying and all that.
    For years I wished that this had been the real Samantha. Would’ve been great drama if she didn’t want to have contact with her real family because she went on with her life and was afraid of bringing up the past and what happened to her. On the other hand a desperate Mulder trying to convince her otherwise. But in the meantime I’m okay with the way they solved the Samantha storyline.

  2. So many rewindable moments! I love the three-parter in its entirety, but this episode is definitely my favorite of the three. Mulder is just so pathetically adorable it breaks my heart. Although I, too, was a bit miffed at being denied a scene where Scully tells Mulder that she’s in remission. Shipper gold, that would have been. Which is why we were denied it, I’m sure.

  3. OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!! Forgive me while I channel my 8th grade self watching this episode!!! Like everyone else this is my favorite 3 parter and I, too, am guilty of rewinding to the point where I wore out the original VHS I had taped this on!!! In my opinion, this is some of the most honesty we ever see between Mulder and Scully (be it while they are trying to deceive/inveigle/obfuscate when it comes to everyone else.) This is stripped down, vulnerable, desperate Mulder (my favorite Mulder ❤ ) and Scully still seeking the truth even at the final hour. I remember being disappointed that Mulder wasn't at Scully's bedside every moment but now I appreciate his desperate search for a cure as the clock keeps ticking. Like you said, Salome …. swoon!!!!!!

    • So, so true. It’s like the cancer broke down the last of their reserve and they’re just frank with each other, which was just so touching to see. (I’m not usually a sucker, Mulder and Scully do this to me.) Did you notice how even though they don’t usually have physical contact, Scully didn’t so much as blink during all of Mulder’s ministrations at the hospital? It wasn’t unnatural at all. Why? Their affection was always understood even if it was on the down low.

  4. I always felt like all of Mulder’s ministrations (great choice of words) were because he realized he’d taken for granted for so long the belief that Scully would always be there for him no matter how many times he ditched her/lost sight of her/etc. He’s suddenly realizing maybe she *won’t* be there the next time he needs her and he’s trying like hell to hold on; both literally and figuratively. The fact that this doesn’t continue after she goes into remission (though they do seem closer) is actually very true to real life. It’s the “please, God, I will never do (insert anything) again if you just let this work!!!” syndrome. Once we have the desired outcome, we go right back to doing (insert anything). Once Scully is better he goea back to the old Mulder ways of ditching her and pushing her away (particularly at the end of the season when Diana makes her appearance.)

    • “It’s the “please, God, I will never do (insert anything) again if you just let this work!!!” syndrome. Once we have the desired outcome, we go right back to doing (insert anything).”

      It’s so funny that you should say that because that’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately, not in relation to The X-Files, but just human nature. Even after “life-changing” events, it’s hard for humans to change themselves, no? And even when we change our behavior, changing our nature is a much slower process. But I digress…

      You’re right that they pull back again after the crisis is over. Probably in large part to CC not wanting to overdo it on the shipper slide, and he’s right since it would have been overkill after a very short while. It was fun while it lasted! I think we can safely say, though, that after this Mulder has a panic button when it comes to Scully that’s more openly exposed. Not that he didn’t rush to her aid before, I mean, look at “Unruhe”. But, I dunno, once we hit Season 5 and lead up into the movie it’s clear for the audience that the stakes are higher. Post-cancer, the M&S thing reaches a whole new level.

  5. I love everyone’s comments! I agree with all! If I can hit the rewind myself… I remember I was a brand new baby phile when this premiered, butt already hooked! It was the beginning of my sophomoe year of high school and I had to be in a play on this night. I gave my sister a very grave warning if she didn’t tape this for me to watch the second I got home! Ha!

    I love that you mention human nature and I guess that’s why I always loved M&S so much- because they are written in such a ‘human’ way, which is so important considering everything else is paranormal and a conspiracy. We can knock Mulders behavior- but so many of us are so guilty of the same thing -examples: when he ditches Scully, lies to his superiors, let’s his ego run out of control, (insert your own here). We forgive because we’ve all done something we’d like to kick ourselves in the ass over, in hindsight.

    I guess I just love that we can still adore these characters even we don’t always agree with everything they do. That’s great writing!

    Also, I so wish we could’ve seen the. (Warning – god-awful pun ahead) remission admission, too… but we can always imagine how awesome it was!

    • I swear, Mulder and Scully are such fleshed out personalities that they’re the first characters I ever remember actually getting angry at! As if they controlled their own script. Ah, those were the days… back when I felt motivated enough to yell at my TV screen.

  6. Agreed all around. That is why we ALL love the M&S relationship so much, whether someone considers themselves a shipper or not (which, trust me, I TOTALLY am!) because they are just so real and flawed and beautiful in that they are so like us. I am absolutely inspired now to go home and watch this episode again. I’m on season 8 of my most recent re-watch, but a masterpiece like this one never gets old!

  7. Good thing we have DVD’s now, cause my VHS tape would be broken. This episode always comes out on top when thinking about favorite episodes, everything about it is wonderful.

  8. the first time I saw this episode struck me as totally brand relationship between Mulder and Scully, the way he demonstrates his total dependence on her, to the extent that the only thing that mattered was her smile, no conspiracies or anything like that.
    not tire of seeing again and again, a good start to the season for all things to come .. especially proving that their strength is mulder and without that it will crumble in its entirety.
    so if my attention is that scully bill not to be amused that his future brother has serious fox.
    how they create a whole web of lies and slander to separate them and put the blame on someone else (Skinner was the nominee) is so great that among themselves (namely the union) is not an iota of confidence and want at any price see fox and defeated and killed Dana.
    a trilogy that has an unexpected ending that ends with a bittersweet taste for Mulder to see his beloved (because so considered if they say otherwise) had been victorious against cancer and other hand the pain of seeing his sister will never return with him because their networks have the smoker.
    considered one of my best and favorite episodes of the series.
    there will be no other relationship on television as enigmatic and tangible as Mulder and Scully that although not physically show (kissing and touching) affection and love that existed between the two, with just a glance or when taken from hands expressing what actually double what they said.
    though that if there were a few kisses that left us wanting many more

    • Hey, Marian! I’m glad it’s not just me and that this ep is a favorite all around. I was checking on Wikipedia, even CC, FS, and GA had nothing but high praise for it! All the plot threads just came together so perfectly.

  9. I much prefer MOTW episodes to serious, multi-part, season premiere/finale-type episodes 99% of the time, largely because I never understand the latter type. But this three-episode arc, and especially this final episode, are some of the best episodes of the entire show.

    One of my favorite moments of the episode–and possibly of the entire series–is when grumpy Bill is chewing Mulder out about his quest killing off the Scully family one by one, and he demands to know what it is Mulder’s looking for, “little green aliens?” Mulder’s response gets me every time. This is his life’s work being disparaged but he doesn’t fight back because he’s not so sure of himself right now, and he’s terrified for Scully and knows her brother has a right to be angry, not to mention I imagine everything Bill’s saying are things that Mulder’s been saying to himself. So he pauses, then gives a pained smile and agrees, “Yeah, little green aliens.” Such a simple but moving way of showing the turmoil Mulder’s in, and such a great moment by DD.

    And then, of course, every single one of M&S’s interactions is this episode is absolute gold. And Skinner is fabulous. And the ending is so well put-together. And suddenly I really need to watch this episode. I guess I know what I’m doing when I get home from work.

    • While I enjoy both, I’m more of a MOTW kinda gal myself, so I know exactly what you mean. But this arc and this episode are just two awesome. It’s amazing how that one moment of interaction between Bill Scully and Mulder is so brief but so memorable. Other than that, we never see them on screen together again, but it’s legendary.

      YES. Go watch! (My job here is done.)

  10. Fave episode of the series. I’ll be back later with more comments. But for now, just know I’m fanvidding this arc, and majorly swooning.

  11. OHHHHH LAWD this episode. I’ve seen it many times, but I think with this series rewatch, this time was the most intense, since I’ve been picking up on things I hadn’t noticed before throughout the series, so everything just added to it.

    I agree, I desperately wanted a deathbed goodbye. But Mulder sobbing in the dark while Scully slept was enough for me. How about that scene when he sees her for the first time, all the tubes attached, unconscious, and he is so racked with emotion that he doubles over? Just kill me. So glorious.

    I also loved the whole angle that CC added in that Scully struggled with her faith. Any time it was presented in the series, I loved it. Somehow makes her even more human.

    Anyway, I can’t really talk much about mythology because I am too busy swooning. Onwards… 😀

  12. I can’t even read these reviews anymore, they’ve become so sappy. They used to be good, now it’s nothing but Mulder and Scully xoxoxox. You girls make me wanna puke! I miss the times when you were more objective 😦

  13. “The gangsta lean”

    Haahahahahaha, that cracked me up !:

  14. @Farfolomew, It seems like you have trouble dealing with women points of view of the series, and with shippers’ as well. I have never been interested in M&S relationship in the show, but these reviews are almost always spot on, whatever point of view you’re having.
    No one gives a duck about your petty opinion. Leave. Or make your own reviews.

  15. Samantha pissed me off beyond belief in this episode. First time viewer btw, just watched this one last night.

  16. Pingback: Closure 7×11: I guess I just want it to be over. | Musings of an X-Phile

  17. Pingback: The Gift 8×11: Are you calling Mulder a liar? | Musings of an X-Phile

  18. Loved the suspense being built before the traitor is named by Mulder.

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