'Exiting the prison of time doesn't free you from the prison of your own character... one from which there is no escape.'

Title: Redrum
Season: Eight (2000)
Duration: 43m
Written by: Steven Maeda
Story by: Steven Maeda and Daniel Arkin
Directed by: Peter Markle
Rating: ****

Season eight was the season where Robert Patrick was given the thankless task of stepping into an established show as new headlining star. Originally assigned to the X-Files to hunt for an abducted Mulder, he eventually becomes part of the investigating team and then sole member as Scully gives birth and Mulder is fired. The 21 episodes of season eight are always generally watchable with only a handful of truly weak entries (Patience, Roadrunners, Surekill, Salvage and The Gift) but after seven years on air the series was beginning to get tired, and most of the episodes are just okay without really showing the wit, urgency or invention of previous years. It doesn't help that, while well played, Patrick's character of John Doggett is an eternal sceptic, leading the series down a predictable path of someone refusing to believe in the paranormal and then being proved wrong every single week.

Redrum is probably the standout of the season, a far-fetched gimmicky episode in the same mindset as aliens that steal invisible elephants or a man who has his own portable dark matter. Or, perhaps most closely, the season six 'day repeating' episode Monday. Monday is probably the superior episode, yet while it does feature death for a punning take on 'rip', it doesn't feature death in the joint. More importantly, Redrum acts as a representative of this time of transition in The X-Files' history.

Like The Goldberg Variation it's probably not even a top 100 episode in terms of quality, but it does act as an example of the final days of the programme. Taken on its own terms it's also pretty good stuff, a nice mystery played out in reverse as a condemned man experiences his life backwards. The title, of course, is 'murder' spelt backwards, as first implemented by Stephen King in The Shining. On the subject of trivia, then look out for 18 minutes into the episode... a couple of shots have been reversed so that the mole on Joe Morton's cheek appears on the opposite side.

Select A Track
1 Rocks Off: Never Again

2 Rip This Joint: Redrum

3 Shake Your Hips:
The Post-Modern Prometheus

4 Casino Boogie:
The Goldberg Variation

5 Tumbling Dice: Improbable

6 Sweet Virginia: Small Potatoes

7 Torn and Frayed: Home

8 Sweet Black Angel: One Breath

9 Loving Cup: E.B.E.

10 Happy:
Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man

11 Turd On The Run: Tooms

12 Ventilator Blues: Anasazi

13 I Just Want To See His Face:
Clyde Bruckman's Finale Repose

14 Let It Loose: Humbug

15 All Down The Line: X-Cops

16 Stop Breaking Down:
Jose Chung's From Outer Space

17 Shine A Light: The Pilot

18 Soul Survivor: Beyond The Sea

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