"I don't think this is working. OH MY GOD!"

Imagine my surprise. It's been a long time since we had this 
satisfying a cliffhanger follow up. I'd gotten used to being 
offered less instead of more in the conclusion to a two part 
episode (and actually in mythology episodes on the whole) so 
I'm delighted for the most part in "The Red and the Black".
Thankfully, there was a lot less filler and a lot more answers 
here. Plus we were treated to some great emotional confrontations 
that continued to follow Scully's story. Instead of explosions 
(though we did have those) Carter directs the script he wrote 
with Spotnitz by keying on the emotions and pain of Scully and 
Mulder and effectively draws us in through closeups and caresses.

The episode's real highlights for me were that wonderful hospital 
scene followed by Scully's scary trip down memory lane. Scully has 
talked about perhaps not being able to follow Mulder before, but 
now she makes it clear that if she has followed on his faith before, 
and now he no longer trusts that, she has to find her own memories 
to act on. She can't go on blindly. This was such a painful 
conversation brilliantly played out with such honesty on the 
part of both actors. Then there was the hypnosis scene with the
beautifully shot dreamy bridge sequences juxtaposed with our first 
true glimpse of an unfiltered Dana Scully, her voice hoarse, in 
sheer writhing terror while Mulder tries to reconcile what he is 
hearing. After watching the composed Scully, who has never been a 
fan of hypnosis, move through that and come back to herself I had 
to shake my head at the Screen Actor's Guild's choice to honor 
someone other than Gillian Anderson this year. Oh well, I guess 
she can't get all the prizes. 

Mulder is still a bit of a puzzler until Krycek alternately beats 
and kisses some sense into him. (And by the way, kudos to Nick Lea 
for *always* making this character fascinating to watch). Mulder 
is hanging fast to his new "Redux" theory and seems none to pleased 
when Scully consents to be hypnotized. The amazing thing about this 
scene (besides Gillian Anderson's performance) was that both Mulder 
in "Patient 'X'" and later Spudner, uh, I mean Spender act as if 
Werber is doing something terrible and yet as far as I can tell he 
didn't lead Scully at all - she just starts blurting all this stuff 
out.  While she reaches out to Mulder in this state he obviously 
doesn't like what he has heard and ends up walking away. So Mulder 
tries to twist all this into a typical abduction fantasy in front 
of Skinner. Since when does the typical abduction story involve 
faceless aliens setting a large group of people on fire? Mulder 
just can't win as a non-believer. Even Skinner is convinced that 
the old Mulder was right - either that or he was a little too
taken with listening to Scully scream "Oh my God" that many times 
on tape.

Things are finally starting to really make sense from a mythology 
standpoint, though I am still very curious if we will ever get a 
straight answer about Scully's abduction. Perhaps she ought to 
visit Dr. Werber again since they got such good results the first 
time. Lucky for us, one of those alien ships crashes (well what do 
you expect, they have no eyes) conveniently right by an air force 
base thus allowing us to learn a little bit more about the rebel
without a face. As much as I hate to mention the bees, it seems 
they and the hybrid clones were the only things left out of all 
this. I suppose we will find out how they figure into the mix a 
bit more with the season ending episodes.

What didn't work for me can be summed up in one word. Spender. 
Instead of allowing the audience to see Mulder and Scully sifting 
through what they just experienced and finding a united common 
ground we get Agent Spender's valentine from Canada. Wouldn't it 
have been nice to see Mulder actually verify to Scully that he 
saw some of the things she did - to see them on the same page for 
once about these issues? But nooooooooo. I think Scully says it
best when she asks "Why are you here Agent Spender?". So, the 
CancerMan who tells us he has no family in "One Breath" now 
suddenly has not one, but two children springing out of the 
woodwork this season. Sure. Fine. Whatever. While I found Chris 
Owens' character to be a rather dull nonentity in "Patient 'X'", 
here he graduated to just plain annoying. I think that "patron" 
of Spender's Skinner spoke of "with a high level of influence" 
is Chris Carter. I have to really wonder why it is so necessary 
to introduce what appears to be a surprise critical player this 
late in the game while consistently killing off or not using 
established and interesting characters. 

I am hoping that, even though it was left up in the air, this 
"reconsidering" both Mulder and Scully speak of is not meant to 
align them back in their rigid roles and instead allows them to 
meet in the middle on at least this one important issue. I'm not 
asking for, nor do I want, Scully to believe in everything 
paranormal, and skeptical Mulder bothers me more often than not.
However, there really is no reason that I can see that Scully 
can't be allowed to be a bit of a believer and Mulder someone 
who questions. It is when they are at their most inflexible that 
they become caricatures. While I have not been a fan of Mulder's 
about face (mostly because of his amazingly abrupt and equally 
extreme skepticism), Scully's journey has been realistic and much 
more tempered. It is a treat to see her looking for answers even 
when they aren't easy instead of slipping into the denial patterns 
of old. I want to see what destiny holds for a Mulder and Scully 
who are united in knowing what they are up against. They've enough 
problems to face without fighting each other on this.

Random Musings
-I guess maybe if you actually thought CancerMan was dead that the 
teaser and ending were surprising.

-Now, I know I'm looking a gift horse in the mouth here, but why 
did the Oilien put Marita into a coma? It didn't have that effect 
on anyone else. I guess I should just be thankful and move on. At 
least with that tube shoved down her throat she can't lisp out bee 

-Now we did see Quiet Willy really really quiet on the bridge, but 
even though The Well Manicured Man tell us young Dmitri is dead I 
couldn't help but notice he was being worked on in the tent with 
the other survivors.

-If the spaceship aliens killed all the faceless "flam" aliens then 
how exactly did Scully get those burns on her face and hand?

-That was a cute moment when Scully awakes in the hospital thinking 
that she has overslept and is being woke up my Mulder.

-Frank's Fashion Spot: I always enjoy seeing that wine suit on 
Scully, and from a hair standpoint I think her hospital bed hair 
where she wakes up is the worst I've seen it look since that 
unfortunate curling iron period she went through. It's nice to 
know she doesn't always wake up perfect looking.

-Anyone else surprised that Scully was able to relax her usually 
quite strong filtering processes so quickly? Maybe is was being 
told to relax her pelvis that did it. That's the closest she's got 
to someone talking dirty to her in God knows how long.

-Did those alien rebels really need to resort to self mutilation 
to prevent infection? Couldn't they just morph their faces that 

-That Scully may not remember much about those 3 months but she 
always seems to remember a face. She pegs the Bounty Hunter/Quiet 
Willy in the dark and rain much like she caught Crew Cut Man in 
"Red Museum".

-What's with Mulder shooting at aliens. Does he not recall the 
toxic blood thing? Did it slip his mind?

-Actually I guess since Carter gave us so many answers here he 
felt obligated to cheat us out of the ending. What happened after 
Mulder pulled the trigger? Does he really not remember?

"What time is it?"

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