The show has put us as an audience into a daring position following the return of Mulder. One of the lasting images from Deadalive was Doggett's saddening step back as he saw Mulder and Scully's reunion at the hospital, something that threatened to leave Doggett out in the cold. But here, in the first real episode with the three of them together, it's actually Mulder who suddenly appears so alien and detached from the X-Files universe. Presumably to make up for lost time, he's brash and dangerously determined, breaking orders and casting suspicion on literally everyone he stumbles upon-- in particular Doggett. With this, Mulder isn't somebody we can entirely root for anymore. And that's a scary new development.
Doggett has already proven his strength and reliability, so seeing Mulder treat him as the enemy is pretty uncomfortable. But, true to Doggett's character, he strives to protect him even though he treats him so badly. I like Doggett a lot, particularly his determination to keep safe those he cares about. He did the same thing with Scully even after she abandoned him back in Per Manum, and it's a quality that is particularly admirable.
Besides the characterization, Three Words didn't entirely work for me as an episode. The structure felt overly familiar, right down to the Adam Baldwin interaction and the repeated breaking in-and-out of sterile labs. The promise of a new mythology continues to be welcome, but there was something a little 'going through the motions'-ish about most of the hour. Leave it to Robert Patrick to raise the bar, though. C+
Guest stars Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner); James Pickens, Jr. (Alvin Kersh); Tom Braidwood (Melvin Frohike); Dean Haglund (Ringo Langly); Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers); Judson Scott (Absalom); Adam Baldwin (Knowle Rohrer)
Writers Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz Director Tony Wharmby