Season 2, Episode 25: “Anasazi”
I can’t tell you the amount of affection I feel for this episode. “Anasazi” has been one of my favorite episodes of the show from the moment I watched it. Why, do you ask? Well, I think I’ve figured that out, but I want to talk about the episode first.
There’s nothing specific about “Anasazi” that really puts it on the level of what are considered the best episodes of The X-Files, but even taking that into account, it’s still a really solid hour of television. And it is by far the best mythology episode of the first three seasons.
That’s right, I said three seasons. (Well, that depends on if you count “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space'” as a mythology episode, which I don’t. But I’m getting ahead of myself.)
In “Anasazi” the stakes are higher, the conspiracy more expanded, our agents put into more suspenseful situations than ever before. We start out with your average hacker breaking into the Department of Defense’s top secret files, files that are apparently so secretive that you’d think they wouldn’t have put them online. In any case, all the CSMs from every country are notified, and they make a phone call to Cancer Man, who turns to the “gentlemen” (our first reference to the Syndicate?) and tells them that was the phone call he never wanted to get.
[At this point, the Blog Writer has sat up in her seat and has fixated her gaze on the screen.]
We then cut to a sick-looking Mulder in his apartment. He’s visited by The Lone Gunmen, who tell him that a man called “The Thinker” has hacked into the Department of Defense’s files and wants to meet with him.
Mulder obtains the files, and shows them to Scully. After he loads them, though, he sees they’re written in what looks like gibberish. This don’t make Mulder too happy. In fact, he kind of flips.
MULDER: I don’t believe this. This is just gibberish.
( He stands up and hits a pencil holder).
Damn it! I’m so sick of this crap, BS and double talk. I can’t believe this.
Scully, however, keeps her head and tells Mulder that the files are encrypted. They’re in Navajo, which was used as code in WWII (nice little chunk of history thrown in there). Mulder tells Scully to find someone to encrypt it, and then he goes and assaults Skinner. Which is never a good idea.
Now, I’m not going to give you a scene-by-scene summary of the episode, but I do want to point out what’s going on here. “Anasazi” gets it spot on in terms of what makes a good season finale. It’s not just the conspiracy that’s grown in scope, we’re also testing the fundamentals of Mulder and Scully’s relationship. Which is, as I’ve already stated a million times, what the show’s about.
You see, Mulder’s been drugged, and he’s not thinking straight. He says things to Scully that questions the trust they’ve put in one another. And while on first watch we might dismiss this as a result of his drugging, bear in mind that neither Mulder nor Scully have questioned each other like this before. You can tell it really hurts Scully when Mulder yells at her on the phone, and I was just as shocked as Mulder was when Scully shot him.
It seems strange that Mulder wouldn’t have questioned Scully about her “real” assignment on the X-Files after “Pilot”. Or maybe that’s the biggest indicator of the nature of their relationship. He didn’t need to question her trust. There was nothing to question. Only an LSD-type drug can make Mulder say these things to his partner.
Now, it’s time for me to be a nerd.
I have always been fascinated by the Anasazi. They were the ancient group of Pueblo peoples living in parts of Arizona, California, Utah, and New Mexico, and they created buildings out of the side of the canyon wall. They disappeared suddenly and no one knows what happened to them. (ALIENS? You think I jest, but the theory has been proposed.)
It has always been a goal of mine to visit Chaco Canyon or Mesa Verde, where the Anasazi ruins are, and the fact an X-Files episode is even CALLED “Anasazi” warmed my little history geek’s heart. I mean, LOOK at this place. (Mesa Verde, Colorado)
But I digress. What is it about this episode that I love so much?
In preparing for this review, I gave “Anasazi” another watch. I couldn’t figure out why I loved this episode when, though it is very good, there’s nothing about it in particular that is anything too special or amazing. But when I did watch it again, I was filled with the remnants of a particular feeling, a feeling I had when I watched it for the first time.
And then it hit me.
“Anasazi” might be the only episode of The X-Files that I remember exactly where I was when I first watched it. It was late, 2 in the morning. Everyone else in my house was asleep. I had the covers pulled over my head, and I was clutching my little Kindle Fire for dear life. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen. Nothing else existed but me, Mulder and Scully, and the hot desert sand. And when it was over, I felt something that had undoubtedly been building up through most of Season 2 but suddenly struck me at that very moment:
I loved this show. I loved it with every fiber of my being. I loved Mulder and Scully, I loved the conspiracy, I loved the suspense, I loved the writing, the acting, the music, the directing, The Lone Gunmen, the “Executive Producer Chris Carter” that appeared at the end of every episode, the opening credits, I loved it all. This wasn’t just any show – this was my show. I had discovered it on my own; nobody had recommended it to me. I had come across it while scrolling through the TV shows on Amazon Instant Watch while I still had my free month of Amazon Prime. I had given it a chance, skeptical though I was about television shows – I had always been more of a movie watcher. But I stuck with it, and now I felt it was rewarding me. Even more than that, it had handed me a badge and a certificate that read, “Congratulations. You are now an X-Phile.”
And as any true X-Phile knows, once that happens, there is no going back.
Final score for “Anasazi” is 10/10. The suspense is raised, the conspiracy grows, Mulder and Scully’s relationship is questioned, an X-Phile is born. I couldn’t possibly ask for more.
- We have what is possibly the Shippiest moment in the show so far, with Mulder basically collapsing on Scully in her apartment and Scully putting him to bed. In the next scene, his shirt and pants have been removed. Wonder how that happened?
- Chris Carter makes a cameo appearance in this episode, as one of the FBI people asking Scully questions.
- Krycek, Mulder’s father, CSM, Albert Hosteen…these are all things I will address in the upcoming two reviews. Adios, Season 2.