All Lies Lead To the Truth
"Redux" Plot Summary:
Twenty-four hours before Scully will testify to the Bureau that Mulder committed suicide, Mulder receives a phone call warning him that he's under surveillance. Upon discovering an intruder living a floor above him and going through his things, he shoots the man, then visits Scully and asks her to lie so that they can find the truth. He takes the identification of the dead man, who had a high security clearance from the Department of Defense, and heads to the Pentagon via an underground route which Scully's stalker-informant Kritschgau shows him. Kritschgau tells him an elaborate story about how UFOs were concocted as a means to promote the post-war economy so more weapons could be manufactured, but the only thing Mulder's interested in at this point is finding a cure for Scully.
Scully begins to suspect that Skinner is in on the hoax when he asks her to identify Kritschgau and she learns that suspicious phone calls could be traced to his phone. Then she recieves a call from the lab examining the ice core samples found near the so-called alien body; when she arrives, she learns that what's been found in the ice is an entirely new life form. Scully is unsure whether that life is alien DNA or something engineered like her cancer, but she is determined to find the connection to expose the conspiracy either way.
Mulder finds an enormous collection of records and uses them to track down a specimen which he believes may hold the key to saving Scully. He also stumbles upon what appears to be a room full of alien corpses and some bizarre-looking aircraft, but doesn't waste time examining them. Meanwhile, Cigarette-Smoking Man learns that Mulder is alive and has used the dead man's ID to sneak into the building, and follows him.
Scully confronts Skinner at the lab where she's working, accusing him of having used her for years. Her research reveals that in fact the mutation in the ice core sample and her cancer have the same genetic markers. She goes to the committee, testifies to Mulder's death though she knows Skinner can disprove her, and then says that the same person who is behind the alien hoax gave her cancer and she has proof. Then she faints as Skinner comes in and catches her. Finally, when Mulder has his lab sample tested by the Lone Gunmen, he learns that it's merely ionized water.
I didn't realize what a long summer it had been till I watched this episode, which I found myself shrieking in delight throughout. I don't mean about Mulder being alive; we ALL saw that coming, didn't we? And it wasn't exactly a surprise that Scully knew all along, and was faking the tears before the committee.
In fact, there wasn't all that much in this episode which was surprising. So Cancer Man doesn't like being left out of the loop, and might actually consider switching allies if he doesn't trust his cohorts; so Scully's finally suspicious of Skinner's motives in all this; so Mulder's finally realized that saving Scully is the most important thing left in his life, not finding his sister, not proving the existence of alien life. I was SO proud of him for not even looking up Samantha in that huge hall of records, especially when one of the flashbacks (a superb sequence that flipped through the past several seasons of X Files episodes in a very condensed space) reminded us that he did so the last time he found a set of records like this one, at that base in West Virginia.
Mulder's narratives throughout this episode traced his path as a skeptic, a man convinced that his beliefs of the past several years were a fabricated lie, which made a fascinating and poignant contrast with Scully's voiceovers. The scientist, the skeptic, has come to the inexorable conclusion that the stories of UFOs are really no more unbelievable than the conspiracy she and Mulder have uncovered, and that science, which has never failed her - even though it may be the instrument through which she was sentenced to death - can provide her with the proofs she needs. She's almost poetic describing research as the light that guides her, though she knows it can't save or protect her - it can merely illuminate the darkness she's fighting.
I don't know what to make of Skinner. We've gotten mounting evidence over the past year that he has very, very strong feelings for Scully, which I've assumed were romantic in nature. What if they stem from guilt, instead? He appears to be far more involved with unknown conspirators than we've seen evidence of in the past; when he made a deal with Cancer Man to save Scully, it looked like desperation and weakness, but perhaps he's been more involved all along than I've wanted to see.
The directing was wonderful and creepy--labs that look alternately like haunted houses and overbright circuses of primary-colored liquids and materials, flashing lights in the underground...Cancer Man out in the light of day at the racetrack, Skinner in claustrophobic closeups. There were some silly plot moments, like Mulder entering the Department of Defense without even wearing sunglasses to hide his identity after he was supposed to be dead - and when he was using a fake photo ID. But for the most part, the episode was taut and moving. I can't wait for part two, when, according to previews, Scully will face death and Cancer Man will ask his potential prodigal son to work for him.
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