season 5, episode 2, “redux II”
this has got to be one of the most feels loaded episodes in “the x-files” so far. scully is at death’s door. mulder is desperate to save her and meets his own family heartache at every turn. mark snow has this particular score for the scully hospital scenes that just makes you want to cry. mulder’s gentleness with scully and his own internal angst is so well acted by david duchovny. gillian anderson, as always, hits you right in the feels. if you ever need a good cry, this is your episode. it ties up the previous two episodes and advances the mythology.
mulder finds scully in the hospital. seeing her lying there actually takes his breath away from the amount of pain he feels. he’s reliving one of the worst moments of his life which was when scully turned up comatose after her abduction. he also knows the direness of the situation. kritschgau told him that the plan was for scully to die and the “cure” he found at the pentagon was nothing more than a vial of deionized water. all hopes seem to be lost. but, when you are a man that lives his life by the phrase “i want to believe,” you don’t give up.
the FBI now knows that mulder is alive and they want to know who killed the man that was laying in his apartment and why scully lied about it. blevins is putting together a hearing to discuss these facts. (that seems to be all he does. arranging formal FBI panels.) mulder is at risk of being prosecuted for the DOD employee’s death. mulder is now in a race against time to save his own professional life and scully’s actual life. true to MSR fashion they want to save each other. mulder wants to save scully from dying from her alien cancer and scully wants to save mulder from being found guilty of murder. she tells him to lay it on her, to say that she was the one who killed the spy. he won’t let her do that. their love and dedication to each other causes them to be completely selfless, each willing to sacrifice everything to save the other.
we’ve seen hints that csm was very close to mulder’s family since he was little. we saw him argue with teena mulder in “talitha cumi” and flashbacks of him in mulder’s childhood memories in “demons.” we get a couple more pieces to the puzzle here. in “redux” we saw csm somewhat protective over mulder. when he thought he might be dead, he showed up at his apartment and looked sadly at a photo of him and samantha. he let him evade detainment for breaching security at the pentagon. csm reaches out to mulder and offers him some incredible things all in an effort for mulder to come work for him, to switch sides. he tells him that the cure for scully’s cancer was in that vial, he just didn’t see it. when mulder goes back to check, he finds a microchip inside the vial. scully agrees to try it. he then arranges a meeting for mulder with his sister. she looks like a clone from “colony/end game.” we all know that it can’t really be his sister, but he wants to believe so bad that he falls for it. she says that csm is her father and that he’s cared for her ever since her abduction. seeing mulder is too much for her and she pulls away.
mulder angst is in full force. scully is dying, he’s about to be prosecuted for murder, and his sister was just shown to him and then yanked away. let’s add some more, shall we? enter bill jr., scully’s older brother. bill blames mulder for his families tragedies and he lets him know about it. this episode is the first time they meet and bill proceeds to shit all over him. mulder doesn’t defend himself. he blames himself already. and he is unaffected by all the digs about aliens. he’s been ridiculed for so long about it, he knows arguing or defending his beliefs is futile. bill is unrelenting and can’t seem to fathom the fact that mulder is grieving scully’s decline, too. bill is just a big ol’ jar of salt pouring into the gaping wound that it is fox mulder.
following suit of the past two episodes, the tension and desperation is heightened in the last moments. mulder has refused to take the deals offered to him by csm and blevins. the chip has shown no signs of working. and now the time has come for mulder to answer to the FBI. the distressing final scenes are intercut between scully praying for her life and mulder making his case in the hearing. he deflects their questions and then fingers blevins as the mole in the FBI. he was guessing and he guessed right. blevins is assassinated and so is csm. skinner tells mulder that blood was found in csm’s apartment, but no body has been located. the photo of young mulder and samantha was found at the scene. all the evidence is being cleaned up. mulder says, “not everything. scully’s cancer has gone into remission.” you gotta love “the x-files” for keeping it mysterious. was it the chip that worked? was it a prayer answered? mulder says “it’s the best news i could’ve ever heard.” but, as he rejoices in her recovery, he can’t avoid the feeling of loss over his sister again.
while this episode is the pinnacle of scully’s cancer arc, i find that it’s more about mulder. we all rant about all the horrible things that have happened to scully, but so much has happened to mulder, as well. anderson is amazing in this episode and her scenes are incredibly moving, but duchovny really shines as angst-riddled mulder and his performance really makes this episode work. one that is disguised as being scully-centric, but really is major character development for mulder.
mulder being pulled away looking at scully in the background and scully in the foreground and then we hear mark snow’s cancer arc score for the first time. good luck getting up off the floor from that feels attack.
mulder looks flawless in this entire episode.
frohike’s vest = fashion goals
this FBI panel has zero sympathy for people’s suffering and loss. kritschgau tells them that his son died this morning and they’re all, anyways…
in mulder’s meeting with samantha, mulder does this little whimper thing that is so effective. he is really excellent in this scene.
gillian anderson really has this one heartbreaking tear thing down. her tears should have their own show.
in less capable hands, the scully spiritual crisis could come off as corny, but anderson pulls it off flawlessly. sheila larkin as maggie scully also does well in these scenes.
skinner: “you’re moving pretty good for a dead man.” m: “i’m only half dead.” half dead? because scully is dying and she’s your other half?
“who’s protecting whom, agent mulder?” mulder hangs his head. he was unable to protect her.
there is so much in this episode: cheek kisses, hand holding, hand kisses, face touching. a shipper’s dream.
in their first scene together, the way mulder looks at her is pure love. people in platonic relationships do NOT look at each other like that.
she wants to take the blame for the murder of the DOD employee to save him. as like a last dying wish. “if i can save you, let me. let me at least give some meaning to what’s happened to me.”
m: “if scully dies, i will kill you.”
mulder cries at scully’s bedside. he’s so lost and he goes to scully.
a time after she first offers to take the fall for him, she urges him to let her again. he won’t. “i can’t let you take the blame. because of your brother. because of your mother. and because i couldn’t live with it.”
m: “i knew you’d talk me out of it if i was making a mistake.”
m: “she lied because i asked her to.”
m: “please tell me you’re here with sever chest pains.”
bill jr: “she’s your big defender, but i think the truth is she just doesn’t want to disappoint you.” jeez, give her some credit, man, but, also, yes. m: “if it works i don’t care what you think she thinks.”
bill jr: “i’ve already lost one sister to this quest you’re on. now i’m losing another. has it been worth it? have you found what you’ve been looking for?” m: “no.” bill jr: “you know how that makes me feel?” m: “in a way, i think i do. i lost someone very close to me. i lost my sister. i lost my father. all because of this thing i’m looking for.” he beats himself up for these things along with everything that’s happened to scully, he doesn’t need bill to do it, too.
m: “one sorry son of a bitch speaking.”
csm: “quit the FBI, come work for me. i can make your problems go away.”
m: “to live the lie you have to believe it. we all have our faith and mine is the truth.”
m: “have the father say a few hail mulders for me, ok?”
m: “that agent scully did not follow these orders is a testament to her integrity as an investigator, a scientist, and a human being. she has paid dearly for this integrity.”