Jonathan Hargadon continues our alphabetical breakdown of The X-Files by looking at the history of healing on the show…
The phenomenon of healing has featured in The X-Files many times over the course of its duration. The season one episode Miracle Man introduced us to the faith healing character Samuel Hartley (Scott Bairstow – later to be seen in Harsh Realm). Hartley performed many miracles and brought a man named Leonard Vance back to life by praying and laying hands on him after he was found dead in a fire. The creator of The X-Files, Chris Carter stated that for this episode he was basically trying to create the image of the Son of Jesus.
“Samuel was a kid who had been given a gift. Our premise was, what if a prophet or certain someone with special powers was sent down to Earth? What would happen to him?”.
In the season three episode ‘The Blessing Way’, FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) is found near death on a Navajo reservation, and is nursed back to health by the tribe, led by Albert Hosteen (Floyd Red Crow Westerman). The episode’s title The Blessing Way is a Native American concept and refers to a ceremony to awaken one to the natural order, choosing constructive and life-affirming choices; healing from intentions and decisions that destroy oneself and others. The four phases of the blessing way ceremony is a healing process that leads to curing.
In the final episode of season three, ‘Talitha Cumi’, the character of Jeremiah Smith (Roy Thinnes) was introduced. In this episode a man draws a gun in a cafe and shoots three people before being shot by police snipers. Smith revived the gunman and his victims by touching them with the palms of his hands. It transpired that Smith not only had healing abilities but also shape shifting abilities. In this episode it is also has revealed that the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) is dying of cancer.
In the first episode of season four, ‘Herrenvolk’, Mulder’s mother Mrs Teena Mulder (Rebecca Toolan) is healed by the bounty hunter (Brian Thompson) who places his hand on Mrs Mulder’s forehead who proceeds to open her eyes. The bounty hunter was summoned to the hospital by the Cigarette Smoking Man whom once had an affair with Mrs Mulder.
In the season seven episode, ‘All Things’. which was written and directed by Gillian Anderson, Scully enlists the help of a healer to provide alternative treatment for her ex-lover Dr. Daniel Waterson (Nicolas Survoy) whom she had an affair with whilst at medical school who is recovering in hospital following a previously undiagnosed heart condition – Waterson fully recovers from this alternative treatment given to him.
In season eight, Jeremiah Smith re-appears in the episode ‘This is Not Happening’. Smith has been helping a cult based on the beliefs that an apocalypse is coming and that aliens are taking over. Smith works with the cult’s leader Absolom to heal abductees who have been returned, whose bodies have been left in a battered and mutilated way by the aliens. Mulder who was abducted in the season seven finale returns and FBI Special Agent Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) asks Smith for his help to heal Mulder. However, this is not possible as Smith is abducted by the UFO.
In another season eight episode, ‘The Gift’, we learn that Mulder was slowly dying of a brain disease. In a series of flash-backs we discover that Mulder visited a soul eater creature, who subsists off human disease, to heal Mulder of his brain disease. Mulder however, took pity on the soul eater. The soul eater does heal Marie Hangemuhl (Natalie Radford) of renal failure, at the hospital, her kidneys are described as “spontaneously healed”. FBI Special Agent John Doggett (Robert Patrick) is also resurrected by the soul eater after he is shot dead, however, in resurrecting Doggett the creature has eaten death and subsequently dies.
In conclusion, healing plays a very important theme in The X-Files and had introduced new characters into the mythology of the show such as Jeremiah Smith and the bounty hunter. Healing has saved Mulder several times from the brink of death, the bounty hunter has saved Mulder’s mother and the soul eating creature resurrected Doggett back to life. Scully (previously a skeptic) also went down the alternative healing route to save her ex-lover and also attempted to get Jeremiah Smith to help her to heal Mulder.
You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @believer1013.
Next week… I is for IMMORTALITY