Wednesday, 25 April 2018

X-Files Rewatch | Anasazi

image credit: fox entertainment/dvd bash
Here it is, the second season finale, ‘Anasazi’. A term often used to refer to the ancestors of modern Pueblo Indians, the finale begins in the desert near a Navajo Indian reservation in Two Grey Hills, New Mexico. A teenage boy comes across a mysterious boxcar buried in the ground, which will late be a major key into Mulder’s search for the truth and will uncover a whole lotta government cover-ups, conspiracies, and lies.

Back in Virginia, a computer hacker known as ‘The Thinker’ to those in his circles hacks into the Defence Department database and manages to get his hands on the original UFO intelligence files collected by the Defence Department. This includes everything from the 1940s to the then present; Roswell, Majestic 12 and beyond. To make sure that these government secrets are revealed, ‘The Thinker’ puts them onto a digital tape that will eventually fall in the lap of the one and only Special Agent Fox Mulder, which will be one of the only times Mulder has gotten so close to the truth he has desperately been seeking for.

Mulder eventually receives the tape and is ecstatic on what he might find on it … but of course, it’s encoded. Scully recognizes the language used in the encryption as Navajo, which was used in World War II as it was the only code the Japanese couldn’t’ recognize. Oh, Scully, your knowledge surpasses Mulder – and myself – with every passing episode. All she has to do is find someone who can encode it – who are few and far between.

Why did I mention that this is one of the only times Mulder gets so close to the truth? Why, the Syndicate, of course.

As soon as they learn of the data breach, the Smoking Man ‘deals’ with the source of the link, and then neither confirms or denies his involvement in the Syndicate’s attempts to make Mulder look as un-credible as he possibly can. This involves contaminating his apartment building’s water supply with hallucinogenic drugs that will slowly cause Mulder to act irrationally, dangerously and inevitably make him look shady as hell when it comes to his father’s eventual death in the episode. Basically, the CSM plans to frame Mulder for his father’s death and have him either committed, dismissed from the FBI or killed.

Mulder’s ‘symptoms’ begin lightly. It’s known that Mulder suffers from insomnia and will sleep in unconventional places like his couch, but this contamination causes him to not sleep at all. This lack of sleep begins to make him easily agitated, snapping at Scully in the basement over the apparent gibberish presented in the files, and eventually getting so riled at Skinner asking questions about the tape that he resorts to using Skinner as a punching bag.

At this point, Mulder’s so far down the rabbit hole that Scully has to step in. ‘Anasazi’ demonstrates a real testament to her empathy, strong will and her commitment to Mulder. Scully instantly knows that something is wrong with him, just from the tone of his voice when he snaps at her and his absence of sleep. She immediately steps up to push him out of harm’s way, taking the brunt of the repercussions of his actions in front of the board, well and truly saving his ass. Mulder may be referred to as a martyr consistently by the Syndicate, but Scully is as much as one as he is. When Mulder is incapacitated, it’s her duty to act on his behalf. She puts her career – and life – on the line for him, lying and covering his tracks and further their cause.

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The thing with The X-Files is the true depth given to these characters; Mulder has so many psychological issues from his childhood that push his innate obsession of finding the ‘truth’ (his sister), without anyone to prevent him from getting too close to the sun. Mulder trusts no one; the people he does form deep connections with are either taken away from him or go against him. He holds people at arms-length – that is until Scully walked through that basement door.

Originally put down there to set his sights away from the truth and led him back to a conventional job at the Bureau, Scully’s innate empathy allows her to see the sensitive, goofy, caring side of his personality that he has hidden away and becomes his only ally; his one in five billion, as he proclaims later in the series. Scully enables Mulder to trust again – even if it is only one person – whereas Mulder opens Scully’s eyes to a whole other realm of possibilities and allows her to feel true emotion from someone that just … loves her unconditionally.

I’m getting sappy, I know, but the depth of their connection – intentional by Carter or not – is so overwhelming in some episodes. The sequence where Mulder comes back to Scully’s apartment after the death of his father says it all really, in so few words. That truly is the beauty of this show – and Duchovny and Anderson’s chemistry – that they can create so much emotion between these two characters with so little words. Thank God that at least they know how Mulder and Scully’s intrinsic balance works, Carter certainly doesn’t – just look at the recent revival.

Anyway. To sum up ‘Anasazi’, Mulder is dealt with even more heartache by the loss of his guilt-ridden father, who tragically asks for his son’s forgiveness as he dies in his arms (hasn’t Mulder suffered enough, ffs?!), Scully detoxes Mulder in the New Mexico desert after shooting him in the shoulder, where she has found a Navajo decoder – Albert Hosteen. Scully reveals to Mulder that the tape mentions her name next to Duane Barry’s, which further spurs Mulder to find out what happened to both Scully and his sister. Mulder is eventually led to the boxcar seen in the cold open, where he discovers piles of alien-like bodies, all with a strange commonality – smallpox vaccination scars.

Before Mulder can find out what this means, the CSM traces his Mulder’s location via a call to his mobile and sets the boxcar alight after not finding Mulder inside. Where did Mulder go? Did he get out? Is he alive? How did he get mobile reception in a fucking boxcar? We’ll never know … that is, until the season three double premiere (hoo boy): ‘The Blessing Way’ and ‘Paper Clip’. 

 Forget Mulder having a headache, can we talk about that tank-top and jeans combo? Yes, please. 

 Bill Mulder drinking scotch/whiskey. Never seen Mulder drink, other than in Fight the Future. Maybe Bill’s an alcoholic? (I mean, I wouldn’t blame him). Nice little look into Mulder’s character, there. Mulder has never resorted to drinking even in the direst situations. Instead, he just gets more invested in whatever he’s investigating. 

 Scully jumping Mulder by accident when entering his apartment. He could have easily shot her if he didn’t knock the gun off the table when he jumped. 

 Seriously, how the hell does Mulder get enough mobile reception to phone Scully and receive a phone call from CSM in the middle of a desert in a boxcar?! 

 Mulder and Scully are shot for the second time in the series. Scully gets grazed by a bullet in Mulder’s apartment, and Scully shoots Mulder so he doesn’t kill Krycek. I really need to print out those autopsy body diagrams and mark how much they get injured and wherein the show lmao

● Navajo Reservation, Two Grey Hills, New Mexico¹: 
‘The Chuska Mountains are an elongate range on the southeast Colorado Plateau and within the Navajo Nation whose highest elevators approach 10,000 feet.  
The Chuska Mountains are sparsely populated. Nearby settlements are small, including Crystal, New Mexico, Lukachukai, Arizona and Toadlena, New Mexico. Trading posts at Crystal and Two Grey Hills (about 10km east of Toadlena), are associated with distinctive used in Navajo rugs.
● ‘To create the New Mexico rock quarry in the episode, the producers painted a disused quarry in Vancouver with 1,600 gallons of red paint, and also composited images shot in New Mexico and a blue sky to make it look more authentic.'²

 ‘Series creator Chris Carter noted that the episode’s creation “was the culmination of a lot of ideas. Generally, when we pitch stories to the staff everyone comments on them, and Darin Morgan called this the kitchen episode because it had so much in it, he didn’t know how we would pull it off. But I’m very proud of the script. David Duchovny and I worked quite closely on the story and he had a lot of input, and then I sat down and wrote the script.”

● The title card is in Navajo and translates to ‘Trust No One’ 

● 'The Axis powers, also known as the Axis and the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis, were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allied forces. The Axis Powers agreed on their oppositions to the Allies but did not completely coordinate their activity.’³

● [Lone Gunmen knocking at the door]
MULDER: What are you doing here?
BYERS: Can we talk inside?
MULDER: I’m not feeling well. I didn’t sleep last night, really not in the mood for the three stooges.
FROHIKE: I don’t think we’ve been followed.
MULDER: Ugh, who would follow you?
BYERS: Multi-national black ops unit codenamed Garnet.
LANGLEY: Trained killers. School of America’s alumni.
MULDER: You boys been defacing library books again?

● THE THINKER: I don’t want you to know my real name, I just don’t think it’s that important that you know.
MULDER: Sounds like a line I used in a bar once.

● CSM: Your father may have told you things, Mr. Mulder. I should warn you against taking those things at face value.
MULDER: Which things are those?
CSM: He was never an opponent of the project. In fact, he authorized it. That’s what he couldn’t live with.
MULDER: No, he couldn’t live with it because you had him killed.
CSM: We weren’t involved with that.
MULDER: Listen to me you black-lunged son of a bitch, I’m going to expose you and your project. Your time is over.

● SCULLY: Your shoulder is going to be fine, the round went through nice and clean.
MULDER: You shot me.
SCULLY: Yes, I did. You didn’t give me much choice, you were about to kill Krycek.
MULDER: Why did you shoot me? He’s the one!
SCULLY: If he is, then his weapon is probably the same one that killed your father.
MULDER: What are you talking about?
SCULLY: If you killed Krycek with that weapon, there would have been no way to prove that you didn’t kill your father. I’m sorry about your father, Mulder. I haven’t been able to tell you.
MULDER: How’d you know it was Krycek?
SCULLY: I didn’t. I went back to your apartment to pull the slug from the wall. But I noticed an unmarked van delivering soft water, and I found this in one of the servicing tanks servicing your building.
MULDER: What is it?
SCULLY: It’s a dialysis filter. It’s a device used in the transmission of substances to solution. Considering the level of psychosis you were experiencing, it was possibly LSD, amphetamines or some kind of exotic dopamine agonist.

● SCULLY: Where are you?
MULDER: Nowhere I expected.
SCULLY: What’d you mean?
MULDER: I’m in a boxcar, buried inside a quarry. There are bodies everywhere.
SCULLY: Bodies?
MULDER: Stacked from floor to ceiling.
SCULLY: What happened to them?
MULDER: I don’t know.
SCULLY: Mulder, in these files I found reference to experiments that were conducted here in the US by Axis Power scientists who were given amnesty after the war.
MULDER: What kind of experiments?
SCULLY: Some kind of tests on humans, what they refer to as merchandise.
MULDER: But these aren’t human, Scully. From the look of it, I’d say they’re alien.
SCULLY: Are you sure?
MULDER: I’m pretty damn sure … wait a sec. This one. This has a smallpox vaccination scar.
SCULLY: Mulder-
MULDER: Oh my God, Scully. What have they done?

● MULDER: Are you familiar with the ten commandments, Scully?
SCULLY: You want me to recite them?
MULDER: Just number four, the one obeying the Sabbath. The part where God made heaven and Earth but didn’t bother to tell anybody about his side projects?
SCULLY: What are you talking about?
MULDER: The biggest lie of all.
SCULLY: … what is this?
MULDER: The Holy Grail [he’s so excited about this, bless him]. The original Defence Department files. Hard evidence that the government has known about the existence of extraterrestrials for almost fifty years.
SCULLY: Where’d you get this?
MULDER: You’re friendly neighborhood anarchist.
[Mulder is so excited to have ‘the holy grail’, it makes the disappointment that the files are encrypted with Navajo that more devastating. Both for him and for us – but luckily Scully is there to calm him down.]

 ● MULDER: Dammit! I’m so sick of this crap! The BS and double talk, I can’t believe this.
SCULLY: Mulder, this may be gibberish.
MULDER: It’s a joke, Scully. It’s a bad joke.
SCULLY: I think it’s just encrypted, and I think I recognize it. It looks like Navajo. It was used during World War II. My father told me that it was the only code that the Japanese couldn’t break. I remember the long strings of consonants.
MULDER: Can you find out?
SCULLY: Well, only a handful of people can decipher it.
MULDER: Well, find one of them.
SCULLY: Mulder, are you okay?
MULDER: Yeah … I just haven’t been sleeping.

● MULDER: I took a pill.
SCULLY: I couldn’t find you at work, I was worried about you.
MULDER: I came home, must be running a fever. Maybe it’s the threat of being burned at the stake.
SCULLY: They called me in today.
MULDER: What did you tell them?
SCULLY: That nothing was wrong.
MULDER: You told them the truth, them.
SCULLY: Mulder, you opened the door form them. They’re just looking for a good reason now.
MULDER: Okay, I’ll say I’m sorry [he is such a child here]
SCULLY: Mulder, these files … who knows you have them?
SCULLY: Because I had to lie today. And I put my job in jeopardy in order to do so. If they find out about those files-
MULDER: How would they find out?
SCULLY: Maybe they already know. The question is, it is worth it? Is this cassette worth risking everything?
MULDER: I’ll tell you when I find out what’s on it! Now just tell me who I can talk to about breaking that code!
[Mulder has never shouted to Scully like this. Or looked at her that menacingly, she knows something is up.] 
SCULLY: … I’m meeting with somebody in an hour. I might know something later tonight. I just need some kind of reassurance that they’re not going to let us hang ourselves with this, that I’m doing the right thing!
[MULDER proceeds to get up and tape an X to the window] 
MULDER: I’ll try to find out.
SCULLY: I need to know one more thing, Mulder. Why did you attack Skinner?
MULDER: I’ve thought about that, Scully … I honestly can’t say.
[After his outburst with Scully, you can tell by his face that he regrets doing so. She walks out of that apartment so fast.]

● MULDER: What about you?
SCULLY: I’m afraid you’re on your own with this. I didn’t show you for a meeting with Skinner the day before yesterday and I don’t know what the repercussions will be.
MULDER: You’ve taken a big risk.
SCULLY: I was certain that would have killed you, Mulder.
MULDER: Thank you. Thank you for taking care of me.

SCULLY: There’s something else … my name is in those files. It appears in the latest entries between Duane Barry’s.
MULDER: In what context?
SCULLY: It’s not clear, but it has something to do with a test. I want you to find out, Mulder. I need you to.
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