The X-Files #121: Redux

"All lies lead to the truth."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Scully studies the alien virus responsible for her cancer while Mulder, alive and well, seeks a cure.

REVIEW: It's like the X-Files knew I'd have taken a three-week break to review the first season of Millennium, what with over-narrated attempt to encapsulate four years of meta-arc. But of course, for the viewers of the time, it would have been equally important after a bleak summer hiatus. Of course, Redux isn't so much about reminding us of the past as it is about debunking it. The previous season's finale had to be unmade, of course, and it's no surprise that Mulder didn't commit suicide after all and that Scully was lying about that while he used death's anonymity to investigate the Conspiracy. Michael Kritschgau's big reveal that there are no alien and it's all been a hoax to manipulate American history, and much closer to home the X-Files, isn't terribly convincing however, not with eye-popping shots of alien bodies in close proximity to where they're doing the "pregnant belly" experiments. And face it, even if Mulder loses faith, we the audience have seen too much by this point. The other unconvincing element is Scully's mistrust of Skinner - she's even about to finger him as the man behind the manipulation at the FBI - a trope I'm pretty much done with. Yes, yes, Skinner is slightly sinister, but even Mulder and Scully should know by now he's on their side. I'm tired of the scripts preventing him from saying things which would exonerate him in their eyes. Let's move on.

Most of the episode takes place on the day before Scully's hearing, so we do see repeated moments from "Gethsemane", as well as flashes from other episodes. The worst of the repetition, however, comes from the narration itself. How many times must Scully talk about the "cancer invading [her] body" before it's too much? My answer would be 1; Chris Carter seems to think it should 3 or 4. But while the narration does deaden the episode somewhat, there's still a lot of exciting stuff happening. Mulder's murder of a spy living above his apartment, breaking into Scully's bedroom, and subsequent descent into the Pentagon's bowels, full of alien experiments and vast stores of library cards, features some nice tension and cool visuals. Scully's science montage works well and provides the shocking realization that her "viral cancer" shares DNA with the body found in the glacier ice (again, can the aliens really be fake?). The "cure" Mulder finds appears to be distilled water, which is a nice mysterious, downer of a cliffhanger (maybe get a second opinion, Fox).

It's important that, starting a fifth year, the show still asks questions you want answers to, and it does. If neither Cancerman nor the Syndicate were spying on Mulder, who's this third party exactly? What is Kritschgau's motivation? Is he lying, or simply wrong about the alien hoax? He claims UFOlogy was created as part of a chemical weapons program and that he needs a "cure" for his son's Gulf War-related infection, but it doesn't negate either possibility. When the Cancerman lets Mulder go with the "cures", is it because they really are bogus, or because he promised Skinner he would cure Scully of her cancer, and this is the best way to do that without showing his hand to his Syndicate masters? And of course, who IS the top FBI man acting as part of the Conspiracy? Is it Blevins? Because there aren't a whole lot of these guys that have names.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: "I created Mulder", says the Cancerman. He's been Mulder's secret handler since the beginning, and was even behind the event that so scarred a young Mulder. But is there a double meaning? Does this hint to the possibility of Cancerman being Fox's biological father? And is that why Cancerman seems to have a painful twinge when he sees Mulder's alleged chalk outline in his apartment?

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Strong reveals as we head into a Part 3, but the repetitive narration is tiring after a while.



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