Sunday, April 1, 2012

The X-Files: Redrum (8.6)

Forcing Mulder and Scully to take a backseat and thrusting a guest star center stage has had mixed results in the past, but Redrum quietly falls into the more successful category of this type. While it's again a little unusual to see Doggett get pushed into the background for the second time in just six episodes (surely the writers should want to utilize him more?), Redrum is brilliantly carried by Joe Morton, who manages to convince as a character stuck in an unusual sci-fi predicament of experiencing days unfolding in reverse, except he only has memories of the future. It takes a while to wrap your head around it, but this eventually proves to be pretty fun.

There are various layers to this story, with allusions to corruption and the thin line between criminality and law enforcement, as well as the reliable concept of revenge in the form of Danny Trejo's spider-tattooed convict. Joe Morton makes for a compelling protagonist in all of this, somebody who is at first in awe of the situation he's found himself in, before becoming a strong hero as he tries to do the right thing at the expense of his own career and reputation.

Naturally, this is all very engaging. As an X-Files episode, you could argue that it feels so unrelated to the show as we know it that it weakens the whole thing. But is this just the new X-Files? It feels a lot this season like the writers are trying to figure out just what kind of show this is, and what kind of identity they need to run with. As an experiment, this is a winning exercise. But you can also sympathize with the flip-side opinion that it's all pretty redundant, generally. Me? -- I liked the thing, what can I say. B

Guest stars Joe Morton (Martin Wells); Bellamy Young (Janet Wilson); Guy Torry (Shorty); Joanna Sanchez (Trina Galvez); J. Patrick McCormack (Brent Tufeld); Jack Shearer (Judge Kinberg); Lee Duncan (Al Cawdry); Cynthia Martells (D.A. Carter); Roger Hewlett (Tall Guard); Danny Trejo (Cesar Ocampo)
Teleplay Steven Maeda Story Steven Maeda, Daniel Arkin Director Peter Markle

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