Redrum 8×3: I’m sorry it’s not under better circumstances.


Redrum80.jpg

“Casey” and the Sunshine Band

I can’t watch “Redrum” and not hark back to “Mind’s Eye” (5×16), an episode that is similar in a lot of ways. It features a guest star well-respected in movies and television. The featured guest star plays the protagonist rather than the focus being on our two leads. It’s also a fairly quiet, psychological mind game of an episode. Like “Mind’s Eye”, “Redrum” both works and doesn’t work for all the above reasons.

This was the third episode filmed but the sixth episode aired of Season 8. I actually can’t imagine this playing right after “Without” (8×2) as the episode that introduces Scully and Doggett as a partnership. For one thing, it wouldn’t make sense for us to see Scully and Doggett working fairly comfortably together without seeing how that evolution happened. For another thing, in order for a series to temporarily ignore its leads, its leads have to be so established and their relationships so understood by the viewers that you can take a storytelling detour without the audience losing interest or getting lost. That’s why “Hungry” (7×1) could tell its story completely from the monster’s perspective, because the audience knows Mulder and Scully like the back of its proverbial hand.

Truth is, it’s still too soon. With only three episodes as partners under their belt, we still don’t know Scully and Doggett very well at all. Sixth is better than third, but it’s not great.

The bigger issue for me, though, is that Scully and Doggett aren’t merely peripheral they’re replaceable. There’s nothing about this episode that requires the characters of John Doggett or Dana Scully. Martin Wells could’ve had any old friend who was in law enforcement, anyone who would have been willing to let him stay the night at his place. There’s nothing about Doggett in particular that makes him necessary for this episode. And as for Scully, she’s just tagging along. She too could have been anybody. That tacked on speech about how Martin Wells may already have the answers within him is just that, tacket on. It doesn’t make sense in context that she would humor him and believing his story under the circumstances is not like Scully at all. No, those thoughts had to occur to Martin Wells for the plot to go forward and Scully was just the vehicle used to bring them to him.

To compare again, “Mind’s Eye” required Fox Mulder. No one else would have responded to protagonist Marty or have known how to help her even if they did. And back to “Hungry”, the forward movement of the plot is dependent on the particular rhythms of the way in which Mulder and Scully solve cases. It depends on us to know those rhythms and to be able to follow along without sheet music, without having to hear Mulder and Scully say what they’re thinking.

I’m sure this sounds unfairly minute and it probably is. I do think “Redrum” is a good piece of television but I don’t think it’s a great X-File. It would have made a better television movie, extended and without token appearances by our two leads.

Guest star Joe Morton’s acting is great and the concept is good. The message is thoughtful: Painful though it may be, you need to face up to who you are before it’s too late because justice is coming.

Even so, I remember being bored with it the first time I saw it. All I wanted was some more information on Mulder’s whereabouts, pleasethankyou. In lieu of that I would take a creepy campfire tale. This time it kept my interest, but I still wasn’t engaged. I wasn’t exactly engaged with “Invocation” (8×6) either, but at least that gave me atmosphere and more information about Doggett. At least I was watching characters I was already emotionally invested in.

Verdict:

And that’s all I have to say about that. “Redrum” is neither here nor there for me. I like it as a piece but I don’t feel it an an X-File, so there’s nothing to get worked up about. Oh, except for a Danny Trejo sighting. Because I love it when The X-Files and Breaking Bad meet.

B

Musings:

I could’ve done without that spider just fine.

Doggett, I’m pretty sure that entry was unlawful.

There are echoes of “Monday” (6×15) here too, but there the same day repeated until someone made the right choice. Here, someone sees the future their actions lead to and gets a chance to do the past over.

Timeline Problems – This episode takes place in December. Scully found out she was pregnant in May. Thoughts?

I know he’s been in just about everything, but Joe Morton imprinted on me in childhood as Whitley’s one-time love interest and Dwayne’s rival on A Different World.

Also, the actress who plays his attorney, Bellamy Young, gives me Law and Order flashbacks.

“So put on that engineering hat, Casey Jones, because you’ve got a whole lot of trains to be pulling…” – The strangest cultural reference to ever come out of the mouth of a fictional prison roommate.

Someone fact check me, but isn’t this the second time we’ve heard the phrase “This is not happening”? The first time was “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’” (3×20). The third time I’d rather not remember at the moment.

Mercy triumphs over justice.

Best Quotes:

Trina: M… Mr. Wells, I…

Martin Wells: Trina, you knew about the Nanny-cam, didn’t you? You told the killer about it. You must have given him my key card, too.

Trina: Mr. Wells, I.. I… I wasn’t even there that night.

Doggett: First thing you’re supposed to say is: “What nanny-cam?”

———————–

Martin Wells: Are you trying to tell me that your brother is not a drug dealer?

Cesar Ocampo: My brother was a busboy when you sent him up. He had two strikes on him. He wasn’t dealing no more. You sent him up for who he used to be… and ’cause it was easy.

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16 responses to “Redrum 8×3: I’m sorry it’s not under better circumstances.

  1. Hey, FYI, Redrum is 8X6.

  2. I always remember Joe Morton from his death scene in Terminator 2. Freaks me out every time, him sitting there and knowing he’s going to die.
    I’m always fascinated by the concept of time in this episode. It’s got to be frustrating trying to explain to people that you know what’s going to happen tomorrow because today is your yesterday…I think. Anyway, I agree that it’s not much of an X-File, but I still enjoyed it.

  3. Despite the fact that I had to keep reminding myself that I’m watching the X-Files, it was a good episode. It kept me engaged even though Mulder is still missing and Scully is barely in it. You basically pointed out the issue here, which is that Doggett and Scully don’t really have a purpose. They’re just kind of there and could really be replaced with any other cops.

    I’m so glad you mentioned Scully’s pregnancy! When I saw December I couldn’t help but try and figure out how far along Scully is and how long Mulder has been gone. I have some thoughts…

    If anyone is reading this who hasn’t seen the series before, I’m warning you that HERE BE SPOILERS.

    Ok, so the only way I can rationalize Scully’s pregnancy is that Requiem takes place in late summer/early fall, probably September. Does the episode actually give a date? Well…I don’t care because unless her baby IS an alien and they have longer gestation periods, there is no way Scully is pregnant for 12-13 months. Anyway, she is pregnant the entire episode of Requiem, so we have to figure that she was pregnant before that…maybe even a few weeks. I’ve never been pregnant so I have no idea how long it takes to start feeling symptoms like dizziness/morning sickness. At the very least, she’s been pregnant since some time in August. This would make a May birth realistic. So Mulder, in my mind, has been missing since some time in September. At this point in season 8, that would be about three months. Scully will be about 3-4 months along, so it’s still easy to hide. We still have a good amount of episodes before Mulder comes back (9) and I honestly don’t remember if there are any dates mentioned. All I do remember is that Scully doesn’t start to show by the time they find Mulder and then Mulder is “dead” for three months. So, in order for all of this to make actual sense, the rest of these episodes have to take place in about one month’s time because after Mulder returns Scully will have to be about 7-8 months along. I can’t imagine he was only back for one month. I’m going to keep a better tab on the dates, if there are any.

    I feel like the writers put both Mulder AND Scully’s baby in that desk drawer at the end of Patience. They painted themselves into a corner because they really didn’t want to deal with, nor did they know how to deal with, a pregnant Scully. So they just jump from the beginning, when she can still run around, fight crime, and look pretty, to right before she’s going to pop. I’ll vent about this later, but was it REALLY necessary to have Mulder dead for THREE MONTHS?? Didn’t Scully suffer enough?? I should learn by now that this is the x files and we can’t have nice things.

    Wow…sorry about this long post that doesn’t really have anything to do with this episode. I should have saved it for Per Manum. It’s just…Mulder and the baby are on my mind and this show is trying, and failing, to distract me.

    • Actually, Mulder disappeared in May! A fact they’ll stress again later. Which means that Scully was pregnant in may. Which means her flat tummy in “Redrum” makes no sense.

      And I too resented Mulder being dead for so long, but mostly because I think after you’ve mentally, emotionally and physically buried someone and are in the process of moving on, it actually wouldn’t be as easy as they showed to so readily rejoice over having them back. If Scully was already smiling again pre his return, and she was, then I think she would’ve been more conflicted about his return. Not that I would’ve liked to see that. I just think they ramped up the drama stakes higher than the show was prepared to deal with… which also applies to the pregnancy storyline. Like you said, they painted themselves into a corner.

      • I just remembered, Mulder’s funeral is in the winter because of snow. If we say that it’s January, then Scully should be (according to their timeline) 8 months pregnant there. She definitely looks it. Then, three months later when Mulder comes back, that puts her at about 11 months. Perfect! Because that gives her about another month before she gives birth in May. This is the biggest unspoken x-file of all. Such missed potential.

        Thanks, 1013, but I think I’ll stick with my timeline.

        • The pregnancy timeline is *completely* messed up, as in beyond correction. There’s no way to make sense of it. You’re forced to either close your eyes to the inconsistencies or make up your own fictional reality.

  4. Well, *throws up hands*, 1013 has stumped me again. I have no way to actually explain their completely messed up time line. I treat this whole pregnancy time line just like I do Mulder’s illness: disregard it. In my head, Scully’s pregnancy happens like I described above because I refuse to believe she’s pregnant for 12 months. I know William is a miracle, but he’s not THAT much of an anomaly. Maybe somebody on the writing team should have made some sort of chart tracking Scully’s pregnancy/belly size. She is most definitely not 6 months pregnant in this episode.

    I have so much to say about Mulder’s death and return that I’m just going to save it for later. But I agree with what you said.

  5. Just re-watched. I’m just gonna’ make bullet points:

    *T-2 Reunion; YAYYYY! “I haven’t seen you in three years,” more like, “I haven’t seen you since you prompted Sara Connor to try to kill me.”
    *Those aren’t full restraints; where’s the bloody black box…
    *…and a defendant wouldn’t be in court for a charge like that in full restraints; it’s considered prejudicial.
    *Scully’s baby has the gestation period of a manatee.
    *No one interviews an inmate in their cell like that. That’s why they have interview rooms. WAY DOES HOLLYWOOD INSIST ON CONSTANTLY GETTNG THIS WRONG?!!!!
    *In in the biz, we call them HO’s. Habitual Offenders don’t get life in prison for drug dealing (unless there was a racketeering charge as well). WHY DOES HOLLYWOOD INISIST ON CONSTANTLY GETTING THIS WRONG?!!!!!!
    *This really is a good idea for a movie/show (hee, hee; time travel episode amidst a T-2 reunion), but not a great X-File. Although, when Wells says he thinks he had a premonition and Scully automatically believed him, I wanted to cry a little bit. Oi, with the Elegy feels already!!!!!
    *Who would stay in a hotel for a case in DC when they live in Baltimore (the ‘City that Reads’)? Baltimore is literally like 20 minutes away from DC. REALLY?????
    *John has a lovely house…But doesn’t his lovely house have a guest room? Why is Wells on the couch? Seriously. Was he a bad boy or something?
    *Once AGAIN Scully is such a great doctor that she’s qualified to check someone’s pules and yell for a paramedic. For real, man, I miss pimp slapping Scully.
    *It might not seem like it, but I actually enjoy this episode very much.
    *I don’t know if it was the writer or the acting, but Joe Morton and his character sucked in Smallville. How is the guy who does a great job here show such a crappy performance elsewhere?
    *Wells really wouldn’t get that much time for prosecutorial misconduct. The C/O was probably on his way to let him out for Work Release/Home Confinement at the time of that horrid voice over at the end. Unless he got charged with negligent homicide as well, which I really don’t see. Knowing how politicians work, I’m surprised he got any time at all. WHY DOES HOLLYWOOD INSIST ON CONSTANTLY GETTING THIS WRONG?!!!!!!!
    *Spiders don’t scare me. However, I need my plush Superman to watch Signs and Wonders. Snakes. GUAAHHHHHHHggggg!!!

    • I’m actually at “Per Manum” on my rewatch and I’ve completely given up on Scully’s pregnancy. The timeline is unsalvageable. It’s completely bonkers. And in order to pretend it works, they go back and bring Season 7 into this mess and confused the established timelines for Season 7 too.

  6. Pingback: 4-D 9×5: Who eats polish sausage with plates? | Musings of an X-Phile

  7. I agree with the review.

    Good idea and good television but not an X-File.

    Is it because I’m a guy that I don’t even think about Scully’s pregnancy? 🙂

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