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The Blessing Way

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"The Blessing Way" is the first episode of the third season of The X-Files.


As Navajo Indians try to save Mulder from death, Scully comes to terms with her assumption that he has already died and is warned that her own life is in danger.


Albert Hosteen and his family are beat up by the Cigarette Smoking Man's subordinates, who are searching for the whereabouts of Mulder. Scully is pursued by a helicopter from which soldier arrive, taking all her paper copies of Albert's translations of the digital tape. Scully denies having the DAT copy of the tape, saying it is in Mulder's possession. Upon return to Washington, Scully is put on mandatory leave and is forced to turn in her badge and gun. Scully complains privately to Skinner. Upon returning to her office in the basement, she finds the digital tape missing.

Chip Implant Scully The Blessing Way

The implant removed from Scully.

In New York City, the Cigarette-Smoking Man meets with a group of older men (known as the "Syndicate"), including the First Elder and the Well-Manicured Man, who question him to ensure that their work hasn't been compromised. Mulder, still alive but severely wounded, is found buried under some rocks near the boxcar. Albert begins the Blessing Way chant in order to heal Mulder.

Frohike arrives at Scully's apartment and shows her a newspaper article reporting the death of Kenneth Soona. Mulder has visions of both Deep Throat and his own father. Scully returns to FBI Headquarters and the metal detector oddly goes off, as she enters. She shows Skinner the newspaper article, thinking that the data from Soona's death can clear Mulder in his father's murder, but Skinner refuses to do any follow-up on it. Leaving the building, the metal detector once again goes off. Scully sees a doctor, who removes a small metal implant from her neck.

Mulder Hogan Fire The Blessing Way

Mulder sits alone, undergoing the final stages of his recovery.

When Scully confides in her sister (Melissa) about the implant, her sister urges her to see a regression hypnotherapist, to recover her lost memories. Scully heads there but becomes scared and stops the session in the middle of things. Returning home, she finds Skinner leaving her apartment and driving away. Mulder, recovered from the Blessing Way chant, is told by Albert Hosteen that he can't bathe or change clothes for four days. Scully calls Skinner, who denies having visited her apartment.

Scully heads to Boston for the funeral of Mulder's father and introduces herself to Mulder's mother. Afterwards, the Well-Manicured Man introduces himself to Scully and warns her that she is about to be killed, either by someone she knows or by two men who will kill her at her home. Mulder returns to his mother's home in Connecticut and questions her about a photograph of his father from 1973.

Melissa Scully The Blessing Way

Melissa Scully lies on the floor of Agent Scully's apartment, having been shot to death.

Melissa calls Scully and tells her she is coming over. After receiving a call from someone who immediately hangs up, Scully leaves her apartment and tells Melissa that she'll head to her home instead. As she leaves, Skinner pulls up in his car, telling her that they need to speak in private. They head for Mulder's apartment. Melissa shows up soon afterwards and is mistakenly shot by Luis Cardinal, who is hiding there with Alex Krycek. Realizing that they have shot the wrong person, the pair of assassins flee. At Mulder's apartment, Scully holds Skinner at gunpoint, suspecting that he was about to make an attempt on her life. He tells her that he is in possession of the digital tape. Just then, someone steps outside the door. This distracts Scully enough for Skinner to pull out his gun on her.


MJ documents; The Thinker; New Mexico; Washington D.C.; Deep Throat; implant; abduction; Navajo

Background InformationEdit


  • Frank Spotnitz said of this episode, "The expectations were very high, coming after a summer's worth of anticipation to see how Mulder got out of the boxcar. We knew we had to answer that question and still leave an intriguing enough dilemma at the end of the show to bring viewers back for the third and final part. I also thought it was a big gamble to do all that Indian mysticism stuff. I thought a lot of people would not necessarily respond to that. So I was nervous about that, but very excited about the Scully storyline and the way all of that played out with Mulder and Skinner."
  • Series creator Chris Carter attended Navajo chants and rituals in order to ensure the accuracy of the events in this episode, after being alerted to inaccuracies in the previous episode by Navajo scholars. A sand painter was brought in to create the two sand paintings for the Blessing Way sequence, which took an entire day to create.
  • Visual effects producer Mat Beck considered the sequence where Mulder has a vision of Deep Throat and his father the most difficult of the season.
  • The end of this episode reads "In Memoriam, Larry Wells, 1946 - 1995." Wells was a costume designer on the show.
  • Mark Snow slightly changed the piano melody from the opening theme music (and the corresponding shortened theme in the credits) from the first two seasons, in this episode. The music would remain unchanged for several years.
  • The title of this episode refers to the Navajo ceremony of the Blessing Way. This is the first episode in which Skinner actor Mitch Pileggi is credited under "Also Starring", during the opening credits.
  • This episode includes the only encounter between Krycek and Melissa Scully in the series. The actors of both characters – Nicholas Lea and Melinda McGraw, respectively – were dating, at the time this episode was produced.
  • This episode also features the first appearance of the Syndicate's headquarters, on New York City's East 46th Street.

Cast and CharactersEdit



Also Starring

Guest Starring




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