X-Files Flashback: ‘Redux Part One’

Redux Part One

Season 5, Episode 1
Director: R.W. Goodwin
Writer: Chris Carter

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a very hard time reviewing episodes that aired separately but were effectively conceived as a complete episode. “Redux Part One” kicked off Season Five of The X-Files and was followed by “Redux Part Two.” The episode is largely dedicated to Mulder gaining entrance into the Department of Defense in order to find a cure for Scully’s terminal cancer. The avenues he uses to get there, however, are hard to believe and even more difficult to follow. Ultimately, this one feels like a bit of a mess, but I’m reserving full judgment until I see its second half.

We flash back in the beginning to Mulder sitting alone in his apartment. Now, this is “pre suicide” Mulder, so we will see exactly what happened to Mulder and whose body that actually was that Scully positively identified. Mulder receives a phone call from Kritschgau who tells him he cannot talk over the phone – “they” are watching. Mulder glances up at the ceiling and sees a small hole next to a light fixture. He rushes upstairs and discovers someone watching. Threatened, Mulder shoots the man and uses the body as a delaying tactic that will be corroborated by Scully. As Scully is called to testify in front of the FBI investigative committee (the events of which we saw in “Gethsemane“), she investigates calls made from the surveillance into the FBI and determines they have been made to Agent Skinner.

Mulder manages to use the dead agent’s credentials to (impossibly) sneak into the Department of Defense undetected. There, he manages to wind his way into the Pentagon where he discovers a room full of either real or fake alien bodies (it’s never really confirmed) and a room where humans are apparently being experimented on. Then, he finds the elaborate and extensive filing room The Smoking Man used at the end of “Pilot” to store evidence. He finds a box labeled with Scully’s name and removes a vial that he believes will contain the cure for her illness. When he asks the Lone Gunmen to investigate, they tell him the vial is nothing but deionized water. Meanwhile, Scully becomes agitated in the interrogation and passes out after bleeding profusely from the nose.

The ultimate problem with “Redux Part One” is that it bases all of its plot on convenience and unbelievable circumstances. In no way do I actually believe Mulder was able to gain access so easily into the Department of Defense using a missing agent’s credentials. There are protocols for this kind of thing, and that access would have been turned off. Also, the episode never clarifies whether or not the experiments and alien bodies are real or faked for Mulder’s benefit. If they’re faked, then how did they even know he would see them? Are they just depositing these things all over the globe, an impressive feat given how many times we’ve seen these alien carcasses over the course of the series.

One nice touch of the episode is the small moment when the Smoking Man breaks into Mulder’s apartment and sheds a tear over a photograph of Mulder and Samantha. Why is he crying? Is it for the dead Mulder? Is it for the long-lost Samantha? We aren’t specifically told, and, in this case, it’s okay with me. That is one of the aspects of the Mulder / Smoking Man backstory that I’m satisfied with having a little mystery around.

Apart from that, “Redux Part One” is a bridge episode, so it doesn’t really have a clearly defined beginning or end. And it’s not supposed to have one. It’s better served when watched as a part of the complete whole, so I’m hoping the events raised here will be satisfactorily resolved in “Redux Part Two.” Guess I’ll find out very soon.

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