Re-Opening The X-Files: Anasazi, The Blessing Way, Paper Clip

Anasazi 7

They’ll kill you one of two ways. They’ll send someone, possibly two men. They’ll kill you in your home or in the garage with an unregistered weapon which will be left at the scene. Using false documents supplied by associates of mine, they’ll be out of the country in less than two hours.

Anasazi/The Blessing Way/Paper Clip

There are times when The X-Files requires a huge willing suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience.  No, I’m not talking about things like alien invasions or crazy monsters lurking in sewers or even a vast global conspiracy that has been controlling out lives for decades.  No, I’m talking about the suspension of disbelief that no matter where you are on the planet, you will have cell phone coverage.

Cell phone coverage even extends inside elevators or out in the middle of the desert inside a metal box car that is buried in the ground!

Chris Carter has stated many times that The X-Files was a show that he couldn’t have done as effectively without the rise of cell phones.  But I still find it amusing to look back and see how much coverage and reception Mulder and Scully have at various points in the show.   It’s especially blatant here with Mulder inside a boxcar filled with alien bodies and he only gets cut off from Scully when the CSM shows up in his helicopter (leaving us to believe that Mulder cut off the call and it didn’t just drop out).

This three-part story that spans seasons two and three is all about the series going global — and no, I don’t mean in terms of popularity.  Up to this point, we’d had hints that our government was involved in the conspiracy to cover up the existence of extra-terrestrials.   But with this one, we see that the conspiracy is far more reaching than we originally thought possible.  The opening scene of “Anasazi” where the Thinker (a great case of the show paying off something that had been hinted at earlier in the season) downloading the files onto a digital audio tape (DAT) shows us multiple countries that are involved in the cover-up.   

Watching “Anasazi,”  I get the same feeling I do when I watch Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Best of Both Worlds, Part One.”  Namely that the creators are crafting a season finale where they throw in everything and the kitchen sink and then leaving it for a few months to try and figure out what comes next.   In the course of an hour, we find out that Mulder’s father is part of the conspiracy (or was at some point), we see his father get killed, we see Mulder slowly discredit himself personally and professionally thanks to his drinking water being contaminated and then we see Mulder possibly lose his life as well just as he’s on the cusp of finding the truth.

I wonder if Chris Carter were really honest with us if he’s tell us that he really had no idea how to write himself out of the corner that he and David Duchovny created to finish off season two.

And I haven’t even got into the revelation that Scully’s name is in the files or that the CSM is apparently buddies with Mulder’s dad.

I didn’t have to wait long to see the second installment of this trilogy when I first started watching, but I can imagine those who did watch the season finale or or close to its original airing saw a long summer ahead of them.

And then we come back with the next two installments which, while good, don’t feel quite as mind-blowing as “Anasazi.”   I will admit the show has some huge shoes to fill in following up on what happened in the season finale.  And I’m sort of glad that Carter and company took two episodes to get everything back to status quo (well, as much as you can) but it still feels like some portions of “The Blessing Way” are just treading water as we hear people repeatedly wonder where the DAT is lurking.   The quest of the actual files drives the second two installments to large degree — as does the question of who is loyal to who and where trust can and should be placed.

And yet for all the scenes of Mulder on the spirit plane communing with his father and Deep Throat, I still wouldn’t trade in any of the Scully character work that’s done in part two.  In particular, the conversation between Scully and her mother about her being blind to possibilities that exist beyond the neatly defined parameters of science. We also begin to see that something more went on with Scully during her abduction — the chip in her neck (similar to Duane Barry), for example.

We also get Scully sort of getting her own version of Mr. X and Deep Throat with the Well Manicured Man.  His coming to Scully with a warning that her death is imminent and telling her how it will happen is interesting.   I find it fascinating to see how various members of the conspiracy react to our heroes and just how readily they will lie to each other.  CSM assures everyone he’s got the files back, when he really doesn’t have a clue where they are.  Well Manicured Man visits Scully and later our heroes to give them an important clue toward finding the answers they’re looking for.

Over the course of these three episodes, just about everything we knew (or thought we knew) up this point is fundamentally altered.  Skinner gets a bit more onto the side of Mulder and Scully, both Scully and Mulder lose family members (I pity Mrs. Scully who has lost a lot of family in the past year and a half) and we find out the conspiracy is far more reaching than we originally contemplated.

The end to season two is a strong one and it sets the trend for future season finales to give us a cliffhanger. The show would try to top this season finale and premiere in the future and it never really got quite as close to what we get here.

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Filed under Re-Opening the X-Files, review, The X-Files, TV review

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