Season 3, Episode 1
Director: R.W. Goodwin
Writer: Chris Carter
Well, if ever there were a way to take “Anasazi” (The X-Files’ Season Two “cliffhanger”) and make it worse, then it would be add a dash of a Navajo healing ceremony, a tablespoon of a near-death journey for Mulder, and a heaping amount of mythology conspiracy. Then, underbake for forty-five minutes and call it “The Blessing Way.” Please take me back to the “monster of the week” shows – this mythology is killing me.
In a nutshell, “The Blessing Way” picks up where we left off with the mysterious government agents, allegedly responsible for Mulder’s death, hunting both him and the encrypted data of which he was in possession. Scully arrives to search for Mulder, but he is nowhere to be found. Believing him dead, she returns to headquarters to be stripped of her badge and placed on administrative leave (without pay, even). But, shock and awe, Mulder is not dead. Instead, he’s mysteriously buried under some rocks. Yes, folks, he was in a subterranean railroad car that was full-on napalmed but apparently survived long enough to hide himself under red rocks for safely.
The local Navajo Indians find him and begin to perform a traditional healing ceremony called “a Blessing Way” to bring him back to life. At one point, he was covered with leaves. I have no idea. Mulder’s spirit goes on a journey similar to Scully’s near-death experience where he reconnects with Deep Throat and his own father, one of them spouting some complete horse shit nonsense (the script is credited to Carter who clearly should never write poetry for dialogue) that convinces Mulder to turn away from the light. Where is Zelda Rubinstein when you need her?
Mulder returns to health, but Scully continues to suffer his absence. Her sister convinces Scully to undergo regressive hypnotherapy where she begins to recall her abduction. Later, she discovers a tiny microchip implanted just under the skin. Continuing her party week, she attends Mulder’s father’s funeral where, get this, she meets a man apparently called “the Well-Manicured Man” (a low-rent Sir Ian McKellen but just as dandy) who tells her “Scully, girl, you in danger!”
Ok, that may have been Whoopi Goldberg from Ghost, but you get the idea. She is in danger, but she wrongly assumes it’s from Assistant Director Skinner who actually wants to share the top secret data tape with her. The real danger comes from rouge Alex Krycek who shoots her sister, mistaking her for Scully. Guess sis wasn’t psychic after all? (Cue Nelson Muntz “HA HA.”) The episode ends with an unseen individual opening the door to Mulder’s apartment where Scully and Skinner are holding each other at gunpoint. To be continued… Again…
First the good stuff in “The Blessing Way.” Gillian Anderson proves herself the MVP of the series by allowing us to see the broken Dana Scully retreating to her mother for comfort. She even cries, which is a great moment for Anderson. And… that’s it. Someone close to me once told me that the mythology eventually overtakes the series, becoming so obtuse and annoying that people longed for the “monster of the week” outings. Count me as one of them. The worst news of the day is clearly there is at least one more of these episodes to go before I can cleanse myself of this journey into the banal. The Navajo ceremony was ridiculously staged and unnecessary – no fault to the actors, it’s Chris Carter’s foolhardy way of forcing mysticism into the mix. Then, if you want to take someone on a mystical journey of reflection and self-healing, then it’s clearly not David Duchovny. These mystical scenes of cheesy graphics with beds made of leaves often resemble modern cologne ads starring Brad Pitt (Fox Mulder’s OBSESSION… for truth.).
And the conspiracy theory lingers and doubles back on itself with the Smoking Man’s “consortium” revealing itself further, and the “Well-Manicured Man” helping Scully for no apparent reason. To me, these scenes are symptomatic of a show that badly needs to get out of his own asshole. I sound infuriated because, well, I am. The X-Files is capable of such amazing brilliance that to deliver these flat mythology-based episodes (particularly three in a row) feels like such a massive waste of time and effort.
Take me back to the Fluke Man or the moths that cocoon you – you can have this alien crap.