CTP Episode of the Day - 08.04.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Redux (5x01)
Original Air Date: November 2, 1997
Written By: Chris Carter
Directed By: R. W. Goodwin

After faking his own suicide to shake off Syndicate and FBI surveillance, Mulder secretly searches for the cause of -- and cure for -- Scully's cancer.

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"I have held a torch in the darkness to glance upon a truth unknown. An act of faith begun with an ineloquent certainty that my journey promised the chance, not just of understanding, but of recovery, that the disappearance of my sister 23 years ago, would come to be explained. And that the pursuit of these greater truths about the existence of extraterrestrial life might even reunite us, a belief which I now know to be false ... and uninformed ... in the extreme. My folly revealed by facts which illuminate both my arrogance and self-deception. If only the tragedy had been mine alone, might it be more easy tonight to bring this journey to its end."

Some "Redux" Tidbits & Musings:

-- In most uses, the word "redux" means "brought back, revived, restored." But it also has a specialized medical meaning, indicating the return of an organ or organism to a healthy state. It's an appropriate title for both the second and third parts of this trilogy, as in "Redux" Mulder is "brought back" to life, and in "Redux II," Scully's health is restored.

-- Tagline change: All lies lead to the truth.

-- Thanks to baseball on Fox, the wait to find out whether or not Mulder was pushing up daisies took longer than usual. "Redux" was the latest season premiere of the series up to that time.

-- And Fox was quite manipulative in making sure we would all tune in on November 2: the commercials advertising the season premiere (which ran extensively during the baseball playoffs) showed Mulder with a gun to his head, yet that scene was not included in the episode. (If you have the Season 5 DVDs, you can watch that 20-second promo for the episode.)

-- It was a looooong summer, with speculation running rampant on whether or not Mulder was really dead, part of the speculation created because David Duchovny's contract was up and he had started to express publicly his desire for production of the show to move to Los Angeles (so he could actually live with his new wife, Téa Leoni). But before the season began, Duchovny renewed his contract for two additional years with the provision that if the series continued to be filmed in Vancouver beyond 1997-1998, he could opt to appear in only eight episodes per season. It was announced that the series location situation was being reevaluated; and that was how the fifth season -- with plans to produce 22 ambitious episodes -- began. Everything was back to normal.

-- Well, not quite. In order to have a fighting chance to complete the show's network episode order, production in Vancouver *had* to start by the final week of August 1997. Unfortunately, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, still filming the X-Files movie, were tied up in Southern California until the beginning of September. So a "Lone Gunmen episode" ("Unusual Suspects") began filming on August 20, but would air as the third episode of the season. Filming of "Redux," the first show of the season, started as soon as Duchovny and Anderson were available.

-- Mulder's line of "Keep going, FBI woman" pays homage to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In the movie, the character played by Katherine Ross is in her room and is just beginning to undress when Sundance calls from the shadows, "Keep going, teacher lady." Another Butch & Sundance reference would be found in Season 8's "Vienen."

-- "Why are you sitting in my bedroom in the dark?" How depressing that she asked that question instead of just taking advantage of a golden opportunity! < veg >

-- In his discussion with Scully, Mulder said, "I will not allow this treason to prosper, not if they've done this to you." This is a paraphrase based on the verse: "Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason? / Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason." It is usually attributed to the Roman poet Ovid. Credit has also been given to English epigrammist Sir John Harrington. The point of the verse is that if treason succeeds, it becomes law. Mulder fears that if the people he opposes win, their lies will be accepted as fact.

-- One of the phone calls that Scully checks (made by Ostelhoff from above Mulder's apartment) was placed at 11:21 (Chris Carter's wife's birthday is November 21st). There was also a 12:11 (which would be 11:21 backwards) when Cancerman met the others at the horse track.

-- A line so simple but it spoke volumes regarding a change in priorities -- When Kritschgau offers what Mulder wants most desperately of all, there's no mention of finding out what happened to Samantha. Only a cure for Scully's cancer.

-- The scene where Kritschgau is describing the government conspiracy to Mulder is much like a scene in Oliver Stone's JFK between Kevin Coster's Garrison character and his informant "X," played by Donald Sutherland. The scenes were very similar, including the stock footage. JFK also featured a "secret meeting" that took place at a race track (much like the meeting between Cancerman and the First Elder). In yet another parallel, in an early voice-over, Mulder said, "Let the truth be known though the heavens fall," which is quite similar to Garrison's line in JFK, "Justice be done though the heavens fall."

-- Director Bob Goodwin noted that the dialog page for this scene looked like it came from "the yellow pages" as actor John Finn had the unfortunate assignment to fill everyone in on what happened over the last 50 years. But Goodwin noted that Finn did an excellent job with the extensive dialog block. John Finn joked that while they were filming the scene, every time he would forget his lines and pause too long, David Duchovny would say, "Yeah, and then what happened?"

-- The Cold War montage includes a shot of "Abductee" magazine with Amy Cassandra as its cover girl ("Demons"). Good to see old props recycled.

-- Using her usual array of camera and post-production tricks, visual effects supervisor Laurie Kallsen-George turned 20 of makeup and special effects master Toby Lindala's gelatin alien bodies into five times that many for the warehouse scene.

-- A Southern Blot is one way to analyze the genetic patterns which appear in a person's DNA.

-- For the pivotal scene in the Level Four DARPA facility, production designer Graeme Murray, construction coordinator Rob Maier, and set decorator Shirley Inget teamed up to conceive and build the mammoth wood and stainless steel cabinets that hold the microchip-bearing test tubes. "There were ten thousand drawers," said Inget, "so we had to set up a production line to type up ten thousand labels. We had to custom-order ten thousand identical drawer pulls, and we had several little men on several big ladders with several little screw guns. Afterward, we realized we didn't have space to store the drawer pulls, so they probably all ended up in the dumpster."

-- Given the assignment to create a specialized holder for Scully's microchip, props master Ken Hawryliw designed one and had it custom-built out of nickel-plated stainless steel. The card-operated security gate was also built from scratch.

-- The monitor that the guard is watching as he witnesses Mulder's wanderings through the top secret areas is labeled with the brand name "ETAP." "ETAP" is a commonly used brand name on the X-Files because it is prop-master Jim Pate's name spelled backwards. There were also "ETAP" references in "Unruhe," "Small Potatoes," "Christmas Carol," and "Travelers."

-- Once and Future Retreads: Many the same as in Gethsemene (Charles Cioffi, John Finn, Steve Makaj, and Barry W. Levy); but also Ken Camroux who played a Senior Agent in this episode as well as in the "Pilot," "Anasazi," "Herrenvolk," and "Redux II"; Julia Arkos (Holly) who also appeared in "Pusher"; and Don S. Williams, who appeared as the First Elder in this and many other episodes.

-- Even though this wasn't technically the first episode of the season, Chris Carter felt there were still some cobwebs. He was disappointed with the lighting and the two montage sequences showing Scully's Southern Blot DNA test and the archival-footage history of the Cold War. "These were brand new to us," he said. "We'll do better next time."

-- The start of Season 5 marked the beginning of filming XF in wide screen.

-- The question of Mulder's Mortality was a popular one: "Redux" was the highest rated episode of Season 5, with a 16.1 rating and 22 share, drawing 27.34 million viewers.

-- IMHO, "Redux" suffers from the problems usually found in the middle episode of a trilogy -- it ties together the beginning and end of the story, but what really happens? Besides a lot of lovely Carteresque soliloquies (most likely a record number of voiceovers -- six for Mulder, three for Scully), Scully science experiments, and Mulder hide and seek, not a whole hell of a lot. This is one trilogy that I think would have been better served as a two-parter. Once we found out that Mulder was alive and that he and Scully were pulling a scam, we could have forged ahead. In the end, they probably had a little too much for a two-parter, and not enough for a trilogy, and therefore, we got filler ... lots and lots of filler.

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(Thanks to chrisnu for today's episode pics.)

Please share your first impressions, favorite (or cringe-worthy) moments, classic lines, favorite fanfic, nagging questions, repeated viewing observations, etc., as today we celebrate "Redux"!

Polly