|Beyond the Sea||Credits||Gallery||Transcript||Background Information|
- “The soul of Luther Boggs drowns in hell's sea of fire”
- — Luther Lee Boggs
"Beyond the Sea" is the thirteenth episode of the first season of The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on January 7, 1994. The episode was written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, directed by David Nutter, and is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, unrelated to the series' Mythology arc.
After Scully's father dies suddenly, her skepticism is put to the test by a prisoner on death row, who claims that – by using recently gained psychic powers – he can help her catch a kidnapper.
Shortly after Christmas, Dana Scully's parents, Margaret and William Scully, are visiting her, having come to her apartment for dinner. After making smalltalk with his wife and daughter, William Scully asks Dana, acting on secretive prompting from Margaret, how her work is going; she happily agrees it is going well. Her parents then leave, with Dana wishing them a safe journey home.
At 1:47 the next morning, Dana – having fallen asleep with her television on – awakens and is surprised to see her father sitting in a chair near her, silently mouthing words. She is momentarily distracted when her telephone begins to ring and, when she turns back to the chair, she sees there is no-one there, startling her even more. She races to the phone and answers the call to hear quiet grieving from her mother, who gradually explains Dana's father died of a massive coronary an hour ago. Still holding the phone to her ear, Dana looks back to the chair where she saw her father sitting; she is now completely shocked.
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
At night, two smitten teens – Elizabeth Hawley and James Summers – are making out in a car parked on the grounds of Jackson University in Raleigh, North Carolina. A darkened figure holding a flashlight knocks on the car door. The man behaves like a police officer, instructing Jim to exit the vehicle and show his identification. Jim steps out of the car but becomes suspicious as the man shines his light in Jim's face and is dressed far too casually to be a cop. Just as Jim demands to see some identification, the man strikes him in the face with the flashlight, causing Liz to scream in horror.
Two days after the teens' abduction, Agent Mulder is in his basement office at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., avidly reading a criminal profile he wrote about Luther Lee Boggs, when Scully enters, joking that the last time she saw Mulder so engrossed was when he was reading the Adult Video News. Despite being concerned about how her father's death is affecting her, Mulder lets Scully know about the recent abduction as well as evidence that there is likely only five days before the two kidnapped teens are killed. Mulder also tells Scully about Boggs, a killer on death row who has recently claimed to have psychically obtained information regarding the abduction. Scully realizes Mulder is unusually skeptical about Boggs' claims, believing they are an attempt to escape his imminent fate, and Mulder explains that Boggs alleges to have become psychic as a result of a temporary visit to the gas chamber, partly due to Mulder's profile. Additionally, he details Boggs' inherently violent past, subsequently notifying Scully that Boggs has requested to speak with him personally. Scully is eager to go with Mulder but her father's funeral is soon and she takes Mulder's advice to take some time off, Mulder cupping the side of her face in one hand as he apologizes for her loss before leaving the office. She looks up X-File X-167512, concerning "visionary encounters [with] the dead", but quickly returns it to its filing cabinet.
At the funeral, a man standing on a little boat casts her father's ashes into the sea while the song "Beyond the Sea" plays and a small group watches, the observers including Dana and her mother, the latter of whom is very tearful. Both women refer to the Navy background of Dana's father – her mother implying that only family are currently present – and, although Dana acknowledges that her parents were both disappointed that she chose a different career path than medicine, she is curious to know if her father was at all proud of her. Her saddened mother simply reminds Dana that "he was your father."
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
While witnessed by Mulder and Scully in a holding cell of Raleigh's Central Prison, Boggs – who bears the word "kill" on the knuckles of one hand and "kiss" on his other – starts to behave as if he is assuming the identities of other people. Mulder decides to test him and hands the prisoner a blue scrap of clothing. Holding this material, Boggs appears to experience a painful vision of James Summers and his torture by the kidnapper. Mulder takes the fabric back and reveals the surprising news that the scrap is from Mulder's own New York Knicks t-shirt, being entirely unrelated to the kidnapping. He leaves the room but, as Scully is about to follow him out, Boggs apparently assumes the identity of her father, first softly singing "Beyond the Sea" to himself, then physically appearing to her as her father (albeit wearing Boggs' prison clothes) and next asking her – in the voice of her father (once his appearance has returned to that of Boggs) – if she received his message. Clearly disturbed by this, Scully hurries out of the cell, where she meets up with Mulder. He is ignorant of the factor that has caused Scully to become emotionally distressed and is led by her to assume that she is merely being affected by her father's passing. Mulder recommends she drive to their motel while he intends to continue interrogating the prisoner, still suspecting that Boggs' claims of psychic ability are a scam but hopeful that he knows where the teens are. The sight of Boggs still quietly singing "Beyond the Sea" and being led through a nearby corridor spurs Scully on her way.
She is later driving, in the darkness of night, when she comes across several landmarks that match descriptions which Boggs gave during his seemingly psychic vision of the teens' location. These clues lead her to a condemned warehouse where, on the ground, she finds a small charm as well as telltale signs that the kidnapper has been in the building.
Alone in the agents' motel, Scully sees a flash of her father's face, recalling her earlier vision of him. Mulder arrives with news that Liz's family has confirmed the charm belonged to her and that police are searching the warehouse but have not yet uncovered any further evidence. He notifies Scully he has been interrogating Boggs for the past five hours and jokes that – after three of those hours – the prisoner complied with his request to summon up the spirit of Jimi Hendrix. The atmosphere of the agents' conversation becomes much more downbeat when Scully admits to having lied to the police about how she found the warehouse, now revealing the truth to Mulder. He is angered that Scully has apparently believed the prisoner and advises her to back away from her work if the death of her father is compromising her. Mulder is adamant Boggs knows where the teens are and advises Scully that their only advantage in the convicted killer's stratagem is time, showing her a newspaper article which demonstrates their time is running out.
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
Mulder shows Scully another newspaper, this one reporting the teens have been found. Even though Scully is amazed at this news, Mulder explains the article is bogus and an attempt to fool Boggs. Mulder also mentions that, later in the day, the prisoner will be granted his weekly phone privileges, which Mulder hopes the killer will use to contact his accomplice.
The faked newspaper is later passed to Boggs through a slot in his cell door. On a video monitor, Boggs can be seen returning to his bunk with the publication. Mulder and Scully are watching this monitor and Mulder notes that Boggs' phone privileges will be in two hours.
After these hours have elapsed, the agents are watching the monitor with a few prison wardens as Boggs is taken to a booth with a telephone. A phone in the observation room rings and, despite Mulder asking for the phone to be switched off, Scully realizes it is Mulder's own cell phone that is ringing. He answers his phone to discover the caller is Boggs himself, who – on the monitor – looks up at the camera and asks Mulder why he does not believe the killer's claims, even though Scully does. Claiming Scully believes (like everyone else) that Boggs has the teens, Mulder demands to know where they have been taken. Boggs simply goes limp, however, and Scully cautions Mulder that – due to their lack of time – they have no choice but to deal with Boggs.
Having been returned to his cell, Boggs describes the kidnapper to the FBI agents, starting by saying he is tempted by the prospect of becoming a killer. As the kidnapper assaults Liz, Boggs once again dramatically details the scene. He makes mention of a small boathouse on Lake Jordan and warns Mulder to avoid a particular white cross, cryptically adding that he (referring to himself as "we") sees Mulder down, with his blood spilling on the white cross. Now equipped with more information about the kidnapper, the agents walk out of Boggs' cell.
In the small boathouse which Boggs described, the kidnapper is about to attack Liz when he senses motion outside; Mulder and Scully have come with FBI backup. The agents, each wearing an FBI uniform jacket, raid the boathouse, soon finding Liz, gagged and bound. Mulder is shot by the kidnapper, hiding inside a small powerboat that then accelerates away from the docks, as Scully comes rushing to Mulder from Liz's position. She begins to tend to Mulder but notices the large wooden beams of the boathouse are white and crossed over one another, with wide metal straps that have rusted to the extent they seem like streaks of blood.
Scully watches as Mulder is wheeled into a hospital by the ambulance technicians who brought him there. As the medical staff rush to save him, their voices echo in Scully's ears and she closes her eyes.
In another room of the hospital, Agent Thomas later shows Liz Hawley a series of black-and-white Polaroid photographs while she lies in bed. Each of these photographs show a possible suspect and, when shown one in particular, Liz looks away from the sight, indicating the subject of the image is her former kidnapper. Agent Thomas hands the photograph to Scully, who stands nearby and immediately looks at the image.
In a corridor outside this ward, Agent Thomas tells Scully about the kidnapper, who has been identified as Lucas Henry. After Thomas mentions that Henry once witnessed an auto accident which resulted in the deaths of his mother and high school girlfriend and that the seven-year anniversary of the accident is in three days, Scully voices her belief that these facts explain the deadline regarding the still-missing James Summers. Agent Thomas also tells her Boggs is suspected of having committed his last five murders with a partner, who police firmly believe was Lucas Henry.
Scully rushes into Boggs' cell, convinced he has set up the kidnapping with Henry, and furiously insists that, if Mulder dies due to his injury (for which Scully blames Boggs), she will execute the prisoner herself. In an attempt to make her believe him, Boggs first appears to her as Mulder and then seemingly conjures up one of her childhood memories while behaving as if he is channeling her soul from when she was a young girl, but Scully responds to both with firm disbelief. After she – on the verge of tears and speaking in a quivering voice – vows to believe Boggs if he lets her talk with a particular male whom she does not name, Boggs apparently takes on her father's identity but not his appearance, this time. Vehemently, Boggs fights back his change of identity, refusing to let anyone talk to any of the souls he can seemingly summon until after he has received a deal to save him from the gas chamber, and characterizes his dread of the chamber. He then lengthily recalls the experience of being sent there, including his alleged encounter with many souls who witnessed him being led to the chamber and rushed into his body while he was strapped to the chair.
- A black-and-white depiction of Boggs' first visit to the gas chamber, including apparitions of souls, is shown at this point. It accompanies his description of the experience for Scully.
Boggs describes the source of these souls as a "cold, dark place" and claims Mulder is now looking in on that place. Scully replies the place may be cold and dark for Boggs but is not so for both Mulder and her father. Boggs and Scully both repeat their opposing viewpoints, with Scully denying that she believes him (which Boggs actively doubts) and the prisoner quietly but firmly insisting on a deal. As she makes her way out of the cell, Boggs tells her that, if he dies, the kidnapped boy will also go to the cold and dark place. Visibly shaken by their conversation, Scully exits the cell while watched by Boggs.
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
In his prison office, Warden Joseph Cash informs Scully no deal will be made with Boggs, mentioning he himself is certain in his belief that Boggs is orchestrating the kidnapping. The Warden also declares the prisoner will be sent to death when his time comes, which the Warden believes is overdue.
With no sign of Lucas Henry or Jim Summers, Scully later worries (to the hospitalized Mulder) that time is running out. The agents discuss whether Boggs can be believed but Scully ultimately takes note when Mulder strongly advises her not to deal with Boggs, suspecting the prisoner is seeking to gain the next best thing to revenge for Mulder having placed him on death row by claiming Scully as his last victim.
Boggs is later led to a holding cell of the prison, where Scully lies to him that she has been able to arrange his deal. The prisoner profusely thanks her and dramatically notifies her of Jim's location, revealing he is being held in an old Blue Devil Brewery and that Lucas Henry is preparing to kill him. Scully is about to admit to Boggs that she lied to him regarding his deal but he finishes her sentence for her, admitting he already knew she had; he also adds that he knows she tried to acquire such a deal for him. Before Scully exits the cell, Boggs cautions her to avoid the devil and to leave him to follow Henry to the devil, rather than doing so herself.
Seething with anger and wielding an ax, Lucas Henry is getting ready to use the ax on Jim Summers when he is interrupted from doing so by the arrival of an armed detachment of FBI agents, led by Scully. She tries to persuade Henry to drop his weapon and he initially seems compliant but he then raises the ax above him, preparing to throw it, so Scully shoots him. Her shot merely wounds Henry in his chest, however, and a chase ensues, culminating in her alone following him into a room where he is standing on a catwalk. Scully lowers her gun when she sees a giant blue painted devil behind Henry and a section of wooden boarding gives way under him, causing him to fall to his death.
- This scene ends with a close-up of the blue devil's face that fades away, replaced with the face of Luther Lee Boggs.
Scully once more pays a visit to Boggs' cell, where he asks if she has come to wish him goodbye. In response, she lengthily acknowledges the help he has been, crediting him for having saved the lives of both Jim Summers and herself. Boggs steps close to her face, the two individuals separated by the bars of the prisoner's cell, and admits to having realized that the reason Scully has returned is to hear her father's message. Although Boggs does not give her that message yet, he tells her she will be granted the message if she comes as a witness to his execution that night.
Later, Boggs' last meal is taken to him and he sees a family of souls clustered nearby. Secured in handcuffs and chains, he is forcibly led through a corridor where he sees souls lining the walls; he begins to turn away from this sight but is guided onward against his will. He is then finally strapped to the chair inside of the gas chamber. Warden Cash asks if he wishes to make a statement, while a priest reads the Lord's Prayer to him. Boggs denies the offer and, following a gesture from Warden Cash, a lethal chemical reaction is deliberately begun. Whilst breathing in resultant deadly fumes, Boggs wears an expression of total terror.
In Mulder's hospital ward, Scully starts to realize the entire case could have been arranged by Boggs. She is interrupted by Mulder, who is curious to know why – even after all the sights and evidence she has encountered – she still has such difficulty with believing. Although Scully admits the reason is that she is afraid to do so, Mulder asks her in disbelief if she couldn't overcome the fear, even if it meant learning what her father had been trying to tell her. She finally accepts she already knows this information, however, and tells Mulder that the reason she knows is that the man they are both talking about was her father.
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
Special Guest Starring
- Lawrence King as Lucas Henry
- Fred Henderson as Agent Thomas
- Don MacKay as Warden Joseph Cash
- Lisa Vultaggio as Elizabeth Hawley
- Chad Willett as James Summers
- Kathrynn Chisholm as Nurse
- Randy Lee as Paramedic
- Len Rose as E.R. Doctor