Wednesday, 6 June 2018

X-Files Rewatch | The Blessing Way

image credit: fox television

In Chris Carter’s mind, ‘The Blessing Way’ was all about Mulder. His fight for the truth. His reaction to his father’s death. His ultimate realization that the truth will, eventually, set him and his sister free. In reality, ‘The Blessing Way’ demonstrates the equal narrative between Mulder and Scully, and the balance they bring to one another by running Mulder’s recovery parallel to Scully’s psyche in crisis. We’ll get into that later — and they will, much, much later — but season three is really where the co-dependence and reliance Mulder and Scully have for each other really comes into play, their friendship blossoming even more so because of it.

In short, ‘The Blessing Way’ follows Mulder’s recovery from certain death, Scully’s wavering belief as to whether Mulder survived the boxcar implosion of ‘Anasazi’, and her own quest to find the truth for both herself and for Mulder. Scully is put on mandatory leave by the FBI for doing so once she returns from New Mexico (without pay, the board seems ecstatic about it — bastards) and comes to find that the tape of Navajo code that Hosteen had translated has disappeared from Mulder’s office. Scully doesn’t know where it is, and the Syndicate doesn’t know either. It’s disappeared; their evidence of the truth has disappeared, and Scully won’t leave it that way.

Mulder isn’t dead though, of course, he isn’t. He’s eventually found buried under some rocks near the boxcar by Hosteen’s grandson. He is taken back to the reservation and into a sweat lodge, where he is healed through the ancient Navajo ‘Blessing Way’ ritual. During this ritual, Mulder has visions of Deep Throat and his father, who urge him to recover, survive and continue his quest for the truth and answers regarding the fate of his sister — for his and her sake.

Although, it’s revealed that Mulder is pretty much done with his life at this point. Hosteen fears that Mulder’s spirit did not want to be healed — that it had suffered enough pain, had become tired and weak from a search that had been going nowhere. But it’s the knowledge that the truth is still out there regarding his sister and that ultimately brings him back, along needing to be at Scully’s side — even Scully can sense this. Can you two BE in any more love?

This episode begins to highlight the important bond that Mulder and Scully share with one another, mostly through an equal balance of character development between the two. Carter and Duchovny may have wanted the focus to be more on Mulder’s journey regarding his father’s death, but ‘The Blessing Way’ ultimately bridges back and forth between Mulder’s spiritual journey and recovery, and Scully’s interactions with her family, Skinner, and Mulder’s mother.


The inclusion of both Scully and Mulder’s families in this episode further the emotional foundation of the episode, especially for Scully. It benefits her tangled emotions regarding not having answers as to what happened to Mulder, whilst giving her the appropriate backbone and confidence to get answers no matter the consequences. And as we all know, comfort can go a long way, especially when its from your mum. Scully goes all the way to her mother’s house without shoes on — “because they started to give [her] blisters” — for simple comfort.

The combination of Mulder missing and being given mandatory leave for what she’s done for Mulder — lying — understandably becomes too much, and in turn opens a new side of Scully that we haven’t seen before; our connection with her definitely deepens, just in time for the upcoming cancer arc that begins to rear its ugly head in this episode, and the eventual death of her sister that gives her something else to blame herself for (oh honey, no).

‘The Blessing Way’ also acts in parallel to Scully’s abduction back in the second season, albeit in a much shorter format. Mulder’s near-death experience and healing process are very similar to Scully’s in ‘One Breath’, and Scully’s realization that Mulder could actually be dead mirrors what Mulder felt towards Scully in ‘Duane Barry’, ‘Ascension’, and ‘3’. The two literally cannot function without the other, which is pretty astounding for being so early in the series and their friendship/relationship. Both Mulder and Scully now have experience of nearly losing the other, and God they don’t want to go through it again (Sorry you two, but you will. Multiple times).

The intricate lines of Scully’s abduction and the closest Mulder has ever gotten to the truth truly sets the show’s mythology in motion. The abduction set this in motion, but through ‘The Blessing Way’ we are introduced to some of the key players of The Syndicate of whom we haven’t met before — The Well-Manicured Man — and Scully meets Mulder’s mother for the first time.

It’s here that Scully’s mission truly becomes merged with Mulder’s, and it needs to. The X-Files couldn’t have just been a show about one man’s quest when there is another person involved in the journey. Scully supported Mulder’s cause in the beginning, and it needed to become her cause for her own personal reasons rather than just his. The overall narrative of the show needed to weave a quest for the truth in general with Scully’s beliefs into always being on the victim’s side and her insane empathy for others, a trait she shares with Mulder.

This also establishes why Mulder and Scully’s bond is such an integral part of the show. They both provide each other support in regard to their shortcomings. Mulder makes Scully believe in herself, whilst Scully makes Mulder believe in the feeling of being cared for, and well, loved. The pair balance each other perfectly, and it’s this season that begins to cement this aspect of their relationship. They rely on each other equally, and both become better people for it.

• What I don’t understand is that CSM gets so worked up and angry about wanting Mulder and the files, but he won’t kill him? Like dude, you’re going to have to go through this every time something you want is taken or discovered by Mulder if you refuse to kill him.

• I miss Deep Throat. He was so passionate and happy, especially compared to X. Deep Throat ended up being more of a friend to Mulder than an informant.

• Again, A+ casting with Mulder’s mother (Rebecca Toolan). She looks so much like David it’s weird. 

• The Blessing Way: 
Blessingway – hozhooji:

A ceremony to awaken one to natural order (hozho); choosing constructive and life-affirming choices; healing from intentions and decisions that destroy oneself and others.

You can read more about the ceremony here, but in summary ‘the four phases of the blessing way ceremony is a healing process that leads to curing.’ 
“This healing ritual called a blessing way has been passed down by our ancient Navajo ancestors. Its songs and prayers must be followed just as they have been for centuries, or the holy people will not be summoned. I watched my father perform the chants as a young boy and saw their healing magic."

 • HOSTEEN: You must be careful now to end the ceremony properly. If you leave, you must not to do any work, change clothes or bathe for four days. 
MULDER: That’s really going to cut into my social life. 

• Melissa wants Scully to go under hypno regression therapy. Something that Mulder has done and mentions a lot. I don’t think he’d make Scully do it like Melissa is, only if she wanted to. 

MULDER: I have been on the bridge that spans two worlds. The link between two souls by which we cross to our own true nature. You were here today looking for a truth that was taken from you, a truth that was never to be spoken but which now bins us together in dangerous purpose. I have returned from the dead to continue with you, but I fear this danger is now close at hand and I may be too late.

Scully dreaming of Mulder, or Mulder communicating with her in her dream – coming to her.

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