With all our favorite shows taking their usual break in the summer months, this opens up an opportunity to watch some of our old favorites. That’s where the Multiversity Summer Binge comes in. Last year, I took a look at the entire first season of my favorite show ever, The X-Files and this summer, I’m back with a vengeance covering season two. The first season of this show was more of a prelude. It teased all the things that were to come and spent a lot of time doing the ground work. In the second season, the show really kicks into gear. Truth be told, of the 11 seasons, this is easily top three for me. I’m really excited to be writing about these episodes, particularly the middle of the season. This week, we hit the end of season two with the literally explosive “Anasazi.” This is one of my favorite mythology episodes so I’m excited to jump into this one. Let’s do it.
1. The Premise
“Anasazi” is not a monster of the week episode. This is the start to what is basically a three part mythology arc. There’s this episode, “The Blessing Way” and “Paper Clip.” The latter two are usually grouped together as a two parter because this falls as a season finale but usually in a rewatch you watch them together because they all tell one big story. Anyway, the episode begins with Mulder not really feeling like himself. He’s not sleeping and he’s running a fever. He gets his night at home interrupted by The Lone Gunmen who tell him that they have ended up with what is basically the Holy Grail for guys like them. A hacker has apparently been able to get all the UFO files the government has from the 1940’s until the present day. The Lone Gunmen set Mulder up to meet him and now Mulder has the files. As this is happening, the Cigarette Smoking Man and the Syndicate know about it and are now taking action to stop Mulder from not only finding out the truth but also from exposing it.
When Mulder gets the digital files, he shows Scully what he has and thinks that he’s being pranked in the worst way. He gets given something that he believes will have all the answers he’s ever wanted only to find out that it’s all in what he believes to be gibberish. He’s livid until Scully takes a look at it and realizes that it’s all actually code and written in Navajo. You see, during World War II, people from the Navajo tribes here in the U.S. joined the military and used their language to develop code that could be sent back and forth to troops in Japan because this was the only language they couldn’t decipher. There were only a handful of people who could actually translate these messages and since Scully’s dad was in the military, she knew about this and recognized a little of it. Scully tells Mulder that she’ll try to find someone who can decipher this for him but Mulder is on to the next thing almost immediately but we’ll get to that. As all this is going on, we’re introduced to Albert Hosteen and his family out in New Mexico living on a Navajo reservation. A teenager there has found something in a boxcar that doesn’t look quite human and he brings the body to Hosteen who tells him that he needs to return it because “they” will be coming. The X-Files isn’t the least progressive show of its time but like many shows at this time, it doesn’t quite understand how to write other characters that aren’t straight and white. This show is kind of awful when it comes to dealing with Native American people, specifically their very valid conflicts with the U.S. government. It has really fallen back on some stereotypes and doesn’t do very well in handling things. I am not the person who should be discussing this because I barely have any insight at all but as you watch this arc unfold, pay attention to all this. That’s the best we can do as we watch things we love with a critical eye. Here’s a good starting point for some of the criticism I’m getting at.Continued below
3. Sins Of The Father
In “Anasazi,” as Mulder continues to spiral after getting into a physical fight with Skinner and arguing with Scully, he gets a call from his father who tells him he needs to come see him immediately. Bill Mulder is visited by the Cigarette Smoking Man who tells him that Mulder has this tape and that he knows Bill’s name is in there and that Mulder will know what he did. Mulder goes to Martha’s Vineyard to see him and really learns nothing. He’s about to learn everything but Bill Mulder is shot and killed by that bastard Alex Krycek, who’s back and doing Alex Krycek things knowing that he’s in the past and I can’t retroactively go back and punch his dumb face. “Anasazi” teases a very huge thing we will learn about Mulder’s father later in the show. I won’t spoil that here but it’s huge and Mulder really isn’t ready yet. What’s really interesting is the inclusion of the Cigarette Smoking Man. What are their ties to each other? CSM is trying his hardest to stop Mulder and he gets extremely close by going after his family because this a man desperate. We’ve never seen CSM like this and it’s pretty scary as we’ll see at the end of the episode.
4. What About Scully?
Yes, what about Scully. “Anasazi,” as I’ve mentioned, is really the start of something and it’s the start of something that directly impacts Scully. Scully fully realizes that something is not right with Mulder and if it weren’t for her, Mulder would have ended up dead in this episode multiple times. She notices immediately how he’s acting very out of character, she realizes he’s running a fever and when his dad is shot, she goes out of her way to miss a disciplinary meeting and gets proof that he didn’t shoot his own father. Scully, because she’s far more calm and aware when things are not right, also figures out that someone has been poisoning the water in Mulder’s building with drugs. It’s why there was a shooting in his building involving an old married couple and it’s why he’s been acting how he’s been acting. When he confronts Krycek and almost kills him, Scully shoots Mulder in the shoulder to subdue him and she takes him to New Mexico when she’s able to find someone to decipher the disk. Scully also finds out that the tapes he has mention her and Duane Barry and really what I’m getting at here is that Mulder would be lost without her. He’d be lost and then dead without her in this episode. The finale of the first season pushed Scully towards believing but this finale pushes the two of them closer together in a way that work partners are not usually together. There’s a lot in here with Scully protecting him and a lot between the two of them about the trust that exists between them. It’s not quite “shipping” material but it matters.
5. Mulder Sees The Truth…And Gets Blown Up
After searching his whole life for the truth, Mulder gets into the boxcar we saw in the beginning of the episode and sees the burned up bodies that definitely don’t look human and almost has the whole truth in front of him. He’s almost got it all and he knows this but he’s stopped and probably blown up because CSM has shown up and is pissed off. The kid from the beginning of the episode tells CSM nothing, the troops search and say that Mulder is not in there. There’s nowhere for him to go and CSM knows this so he orders them to blow it up and they do just that. One of the patterns we’ll see over the course of this show is Mulder get to the edge and get stopped. He’s not an idiot but fate and powers above him will always fight against him and it’s a real dramatic struggle that mostly works. CSM being this violent and desperate sets us up for this conflict for years to come. We end the episode with the boxcar on fire and Mulder is a really bad place. Is he dead? No, but we’ll check in season 3 to find out exactly what happened to him.
On that note, thanks for sticking around for my rewatch of the second season of The X-Files! I’ll be back with a rewatch of season 3 much sooner than you think.