I caught a rerun of this episode by chance and decided to evaluate it, especially since it had three existing reviews already. Reviews that lack objectivity. Two of the reviewers admit they have a soft spot for time-anomaly stories. Well, unfortunately that throws their objectivity right out of the window. As an aside, I see that two reviewers make a spelling mistake when typing "The X Files" - but I can't blame them; they must have been conditioned as the error is so commonly forced upon us that most of the world doesn't seem to even realize that there is *no* hyphen in "The X Files".
With that out of the way, I can say that this one has withstood time better than most of the episodes. It takes a really non-objective fan to claim that at this point the show was more than a shadow of its past glories. Unlike most episodes that lack Mulder, this turns that handicap to its strength by starting with the idea of the writer deciding to make a Format Breaker. Since the classic format of "The X Files" is "Mulder and Scully investigate strange goings-on", most of the "Scully and Doggett (who came up with that silly name?) investigate strange goings-on" era episodes were never able to rise to the same level. Breaking the format by making Scully and Doggett minor characters is a stroke of genius. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with Robert Patrick - over the years he's proved that he is not just a T-1000 but an actor with wide range. It's just that anything else than Mulder & Scully *feels* wrong. Of course, had Fox not been so eager to flog a dead horse, The X Files could have ended with dignity instead of becoming an unintentional parody of itself.
Just doing a Format Breaker doesn't make anything automatically 10/10 or even 9/10. I give this one a more realistic 8/10 because it really doesn't break any new ground - time anomaly stories being a staple of practically most of fantasy and science fiction. Sure, the episode is well made and Joe Morton is excellent, proving he also is more than just a character from Terminator 2, but that isn't enough to make this episode pitch perfect. Achieving a 9/10, or even 10/10 requires something *exceptional*, like "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'", the best X Files episode ever made. Sure, it was a Weird One episode, which allowed it freedom that Stand-Alone or even Format Breakers can only dream of, but it was the way that freedom was used to its fullest potential that makes it the crown jewel of "The X Files" episodes. The more times you watch "Redrum" the more it loses its shine because its main power is in not knowing the outcome whereas "Jose Chung..." is practically impossible to fully absorb on the first viewing and only improves the more you watch it - even the director famously had to read the script multiple times before he understood it.
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