Reality Is Just a Crutch
"Redux Two" Plot Summary:
In the hospital, Skinner tells a distraught Mulder that he's been hiding forensic evidence that would implicate Mulder in the shooting of the man found dead in his apartment. Mulder says he committed the crime because someone at the bureau gave Scully the disease which is killing her. When she awakens, Scully asks Mulder to testify that she killed the dead man, so that he will be protected.
The Cigarette-Smoking Man meets Mulder at the hospital and suggests that Mulder take a closer look at what he discovered in the Department of Defense. When Mulder checks the vial, he finds a microchip, which he brings to the hospital. Though Scully's brother and doctor are skeptical, Scully asks that the chip be implanted in her. She also tells her mother that she fears she has lost all her faith, and asks for the family priest to visit her.
Questioned about his revelations to Mulder and Scully, Kritschgau tells section chief Blevins that he knows of the conspiracy, which he blames for the death of his son. He also reveals that he's working for a lobbying firm called Roush. When Skinner learns this, he attends a congressional hearing on cloning; the conspirators discover his presence there and demand neutralization of the F.B.I. problem.
At CSM's invitation, Mulder meets with - SHRIEK! - his sister Samantha. To Fox's shock, Samantha remembers almost nothing of their childhood, and believes Fox died on the night he saw her disappear. She believes that Cancer Man is her father, and has a family of her own now. She is horrified and disbelieving when Fox tells her that CSM has known of his whereabouts for years, and tells her brother she doesn't want to stay and talk, nor to see their mother. Mulder is devastated. When he next sees CSM, demanding to know what the older man wants from him, CSM invites Mulder to come work for him and he'll tell all. Mulder says no deal.
Blevins interrogates Mulder about Skinner and suggests that Mulder testify against his director. Mulder goes to Scully, tells her of the various deal offers put before him, and says that his faith is in the truth - he will not lie to implicate either her or Skinner. At the hearing to determine Mulder's guilt in the killing of Osselhoff, Mulder announces that Blevins lied to them all, spied on him, and turned Scully over to the people who gave her cancer. Fleeing, Blevins is shot in his office by a gunman who makes it look like a suicide. Almost simultaneously, CSM is shot by an assassin who has stalked him for several days; he falls to the floor clutching a photo of young Fox and Samantha.
Skinner finds Mulder at the hospital and tells him that CSM is apparently dead - he lost too much blood to have survived - and reports that Blevins was on the payroll of Roush, a biotech firm. Mulder announces that Scully's cancer is in remission and he could not be happier. But the episode ends with him in tears, staring at the photo of himself and his sister which belonged to CSM.
There are a few things I have to get off my mind:
1) CSM is, of course, alive. Even if we had seen a body, I'd think he was alive. I can't believe Skinner thinks the Devil can be killed. People come back from the dead on this show with alarming regularity even without shapeshifting aliens to revive them. I'm starting to wonder whether Melissa Scully and Bill Mulder are alive.
2) I believe that she's Fox's sister because he believed it so thoroughly, but I don't believe that the woman we saw at the restaurant is the last Samantha we'll ever meet. My bet is that she's a clone, but she could be a shapeshifting alien or some other interloper...or she could be the real thing, and the child kidnapped before Fox's eyes could have been the duplicate.
3) Mulder did more crying this episode than he's done in four years of the series, but, then, Mulder cries very effectively. As far as I'm concerned, he and Scully can get together as long as he cries regularly. I'm the sort of 'shipper who pukes at the idea of the two of them settling down, going to P.T.A. meetings and fighting over the grocery list. Still, after the way Mulder kept kissing Scully and sobbed silently against her bed while she slept, I was sold on them as a couple - I forgive him for treating her like crap last year if she does. I wouldn't be devastated if Scully chose Skinner, though.
It will be much easier to evaluate this episode in another year, after we presumably find out more about Samantha, and clones, and whether CSM is really Mulder's father, and how much Skinner knew and when he knew it. This wasn't the strongest plot The X Files has ever done, certainly not in terms of the suspense - one could see everything coming, from Blevins' likely role as betrayer to Scully's probable cure. Samantha was a bolt out of the blue, but I don't really believe that that was what it looked like - hey, Fox found his sister! His mission in life has been accomplished! End of series! I suspect that it's just the beginning of a whole new angle on CSM and the conspiracy, which obviously has a few internal problems.
Three themes resonated through this episode. One was the image of the assassin stalking CSM, who first appeared innocuously at the racetrack. We were shown early on that Mulder wasn't his target - he had a clear shot and didn't take it. Why the conspirators would choose at this point to neutralize CSM and NOT Mulder is an interesting question - I'd think they'd want them both dead.
Mulder was told repeatedly to remember who his friends are. I bet Mulder had no idea how popular he was - Skinner, Blevins, even Cancer Man (to whom Mulder delivered the episode's one priceless line, upon seeing him in the hospital: "Please, tell me you're here with severe chest pains..."). And Mulder did remember who his friends were - of course he spoke of Scully as the one person with real integrity before the inquiry board, but I found his belief in Skinner to be even more moving. How could he be so sure, when even Scully wasn't? I guess it's a matter of faith.
Which brings us to the third recurring theme of this episode. Scully didn't feel very present - she was fading away, with others fighting over her and for her. She asked her doctor whether he believed in miracles and asked her mother why she wears a crucifix when she's lost all her faith, but, in the end, we're led to believe that faith cures her as much as anything else. I don't think that Scully will ever be a skeptic again.
I wonder, though, whether Fox is now capable of being anything else.
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