|Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose||Credits||Gallery||Transcript|
"Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" is the fourth episode of the third season of The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on October 13, 1995. Written by Darin Morgan and directed by David Nutter, the episode is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, separate from the series' Mythology arc.
Mulder and Scully receive help in the investigation of a murder case from a reluctant psychic.
In a liquor store, an elderly man, Clyde Bruckman, is reading predictions made by the Stupendous Yappi in a newspaper article, skeptically criticizing each one. Confused by the unusual-sounding name of an event that according to Yappi, Buddy Holly will play at, Bruckman asks the store's proprietor what the word means, but the shopkeeper does not even know who Buddy Holly is. Bruckman orders several items from the shopkeeper, including the newspaper containing Yappi's predictions.
Bruckman exits the store, softly singing "That'll Be the Day" to himself. He nearly collides with another man and they try to dodge each other but take a while to separate, after which the other man remarks that Bruckman is a better dancer than his last date. The other man walks to the office of palm reader Madame Zelma where upon believing Zelma should have foreseen his immediate actions, he promptly murders her.
3 DAYS LATER
Entrails and a pair of eyeballs sit amid a crime scene inside the home of another murder victim. A trio of investigators argue over the fact that one of them - a Detective Cline - has invited a source who is thought to be somewhat "spooky". Mulder then enters, but Cline is at first unsure who he is. Scully follows Mulder inside and despite Detective Havez saying that the detectives suspect a Satanist is responsible, the agents have their own profile of the killer. Mulder spots evidence that the victim read tea leaves and knew she was about to die.
Bringing a mob of fans with him, Yappi arrives. He quietens the hubbub and begins to theatrically detail several visions he apparently experiences involving the murder, but stops, claiming he is detecting negative energy that he eventually alleges is coming from Mulder. Mulder is then asked to leave, despite insisting that he is a believer in the psychic phenomenon. He is later waiting outside the apartment. As Yappi passes on the way out, the two have another confrontation. Mulder re-enters the apartment and doubts Yappi's vague predictions, although Cline seems convinced of their authenticity.
In the meantime, Clyde Bruckman, an insurance salesman by trade, tries to sell insurance to a young couple. Although the young husband had intended to buy a boat, Bruckman attempts to persuade the man not to, even predicting the man's death, which only serves to spook the latter.
Sighing, Bruckman returns home to his own apartment. As he later bins a vegetable, he is disgusted to see it become a vision of a man's severed head. Collecting garbage from his elderly neighbor (Mrs. Lowe), Bruckman sees a vision of her dog nibbling at entrails, so he tries to ask its owner whether she has enough dog food. Being slow on the uptake, his elderly neighbor merely closes the door on him. Bruckman later disposes of the garbage, but in shock, he slowly turns back to the dumpster into which he dropped it. The dumpster contains the body of Madame Zelma, as Cline and the agents later find. The agents question Bruckman, asking how he knew certain details. Despite trying to explain away his information, Bruckman is forcefully asked by Mulder to accompany the agents.
He is later taken by the agents into the apartment they visited earlier, Mulder considering that the murder that took place there may have been committed by the same person who killed Madame Zelma. Mulder implies that he suspects Bruckman of having a psychic ability but Bruckman reacts by asking to see both their badges. He doubts that Mulder's name is a real one and is initially reluctant to participate in the investigation. Overcome by a vision near a blood stain, he rushes past Scully into the washroom and vomits. Despite Mulder seeming convinced that Bruckman is genuinely psychic, Scully complains that Bruckman is performing a similar routine to Yappi. Bruckman returns and continues to describe his visions of the murder, at one point reacting in puzzlement to the phrase "negative energy." While lengthily wondering why the victim chose to become a doll collector, he is disturbed to see one of the dolls appear disfigured. He predicts to the agents that they will find the victim's body floating in Glenview Lake, near a "fat, little, white Nazi storm trooper." Bruckman then excuses himself from the room, disturbed by his own visions of death.
Watched by a crowd, a woman's body is pulled from Glenview Lake. Scully, after much deliberation, admits to Mulder that she, like him, sees a resemblance between a nearby propane tank and a "fat, little, white Nazi storm trooper." With Mulder doubting that Bruckman is the killer but Scully doubting that he is psychic, Scully suggests another alternative: that he may simply be lucky.
At his home, Bruckman is frustrated to find that a lottery ticket he owns is not a winning one. Mulder knocks at his apartment door before entering, while the annoyed Bruckman holds his head in his hands. Although Bruckman seems to know who the visitor is, he looks up at Mulder and is surprised that the visitor is him. Bruckman refuses to help Mulder catch the murderer. Nevertheless, they subsequently discuss Bruckman's ability, with Mulder remarking that he finds it enviable, although Bruckman complains about having it. Bruckman also lengthily explains his refusal to assist with the investigation, but ultimately implies that he will help.
In a police questioning room, Mulder tests whether Bruckman can receive any impressions from several objects, but Bruckman struggles to do so. At one point, he mistakes a blue piece of fabric as being from Mulder's New York Knicks t-shirt. Scully arrives and Mulder privately tells her that he is now convinced Bruckman has only one psychic ability: to divine how people will die. Scully hands Bruckman one of three identical keychains that were each found on the victims, emblazoned with an insignia that Scully reveals she tracked to a company known as Uranus Unlimited. Bruckman seems to divine many details about the owner of the company, Claude Dukenfield, but explains that his means of determining the information is due to a coincidence—he sold Dukenfield insurance a couple of months previously. Scully mentions that the investigators are trying to find Dukenfield, but Bruckman reveals that the company owner is now dead.
In a car, Bruckman works on leading the agents to the body's location, insisting to a curious Mulder that he does not know how he is receiving the whereabouts. Bruckman also mentions to Mulder that there are not many more undignified ways to end up dying than autoerotic asphyxiation, although Bruckman then tries to cover up the reference, saying it is none of his business. They arrive at a wooded area that Bruckman deems as being the right place. While the trio search the forest, Bruckman recounts that he first gradually developed his ability in 1959, after obsessing over the chances involved in the death of the Big Bopper, who sang Bruckman's favorite song of the period, "Chantilly Lace". The Big Bopper won a coin toss for a seat on a plane with Buddy Holly that subsequently crashed. Both Scully and Mulder question where the body is, but Bruckman says his difficulty is seeing "the forest from the trees." The group later try to maneuver their car out of mud, with Scully driving as Mulder and Bruckman attempt to push the vehicle from behind it. Mud splats Mulder's leg and he sees that Bruckman has adopted an expression that Mulder initially mistakes for a smile but is actually a wince at a hand sticking out of the mud, under one of the car's tires.
Mulder hands Bruckman a fiber, the only evidence from Claude Dukenfield's body, as an FBI crime lab will take much more time. Although Bruckman is preoccupied with thoughts of his own work, he reluctantly examines the evidence. He describes visions that the killer sees, featuring Mulder trying to catch the killer in a kitchen where the murderer is armed with a bloodied knife and the killer approaching as Mulder steps on a pie that distracts Bruckman's account. He dismisses the visions as the hallucinations of a madman and reveals that they are not deduced from the tiny fabric but from a letter he shows the agents. It is a complex death threat from the killer and mentions them, despite being postmarked on the day before Bruckman joined the investigation. Mulder hopes to protect Bruckman, who replies that no matter what, he himself will be dead before the killer is caught.
The killer has a reading done by a tarot dealer who finds that his customer is searching for someone, a person, the killer clarifies, whom he is going to kill. Now nervous, the tarot dealer says the person is a special man with special wisdom.
LE DAMFINO HOTEL
In a hotel room, Bruckman enjoys cake as Scully studies paperwork on potential suspects. He asks if she is jealous of his ability.
The tarot dealer continues to draw the cards, predicting that the killer's extreme confusion will abruptly end with a woman who will possibly be a redhead, but the killer warns the dealer that the final card is meant for him; it turns out to be the death card. Meanwhile, Bruckman foretells of a special moment in which he and Scully will end up in bed together, but she profusely doubts the prediction. Scully, preparing to leave Mulder to watch over Bruckman, privately asks the psychic how she dies, but Bruckman claims she does not. Mulder tells her the fabric was from actual Chantilly lace, but Scully is insistent that this is merely a coincidence.
Later that night, Mulder and Bruckman talk while lying in separate beds. Mulder wonders if Bruckman ever has prophetic dreams, but Bruckman describes the only dream he ever has, of his own naked, dead body disintegrating, before wishing Mulder goodnight.
In the morning, Mulder answers the door to Scully and Detective Havez, explaining that he did not sleep well. He leaves with Scully, heading to the scene of the tarot dealer's murder, but they unknowingly pass the killer, dressed as a bellhop, as they head away.
In Bruckman's room, Havez finishes telling the psychic a joke Bruckman already knew without ever having heard it before. Havez is relieved when Bruckman lets him know that he will not die from cancer and heads to have a smoke in the restroom that Bruckman lights for him before Havez instructs Bruckman not to answer the door to anybody. Nevertheless, Bruckman knowingly answers it to the killer, and even allows him inside.
Having clearly recognized each other, Bruckman and the killer calmly chat about the extraordinary odds of them meeting one another. Bruckman seems amazed that the killer is still unsure why he is motivated to commit such atrocities, but Bruckman clarifies for him that the reason is that he is a homicidal maniac, which makes a lot of sense to the killer. When the murderer is about to kill him, Bruckman prevents his own death, saying that the killer does not murder him at this point, even though Bruckman is admittedly unsure of why not. A reason arrives in the form of Havez, who the killer charges and attacks.
As the FBI agents and Detective Cline examine the site of the tarot dealer's murder, both Mulder and Cline remark on the killer's apparent sloppiness. As they work on employing traditional police methods to solve the murder, Scully is distracted first by a crowd standing outside, and then her finding another strand of Chantilly lace. Having seen the killer in crowds since she began work on the case (with the exception of the one now gathered outside), Scully realizes that the bellhop at the hotel is the killer. She races away without further ado, leaving Mulder to tell Cline that her deduction was based on female intuition.
The killer hurries out of Bruckman's room and downstairs while Scully returns to the hotel. She enters Bruckman's room, finding that he is no longer there but that Havez's cigarette is lying on the floor, still lit.
Meanwhile, Mulder and the killer catch sight of each other in the basement of the hotel. Mulder chases the murderer into the hotel's kitchen, where Mulder steps in a pie on the floor. Mulder, suddenly realizing that exactly what Bruckman predicted would happen is happening, spins around, just as the killer attacks him from behind, knocking him to the ground. The murderer is poised ready to stab Mulder when Scully exits a nearby service elevator, armed with her gun. She orders the killer to drop his weapon, but he persists so she shoots him, much to his confusion, and he bloodily collapses. Scully lets Mulder know that her arrival there was purely by chance; she entered the service elevator by mistake. She also tells him that the killer murdered Havez but that she was unable to find Bruckman, so Mulder wonders where he is.
The agents proceed to Mrs. Lowe's apartment, where they find her dog whimpering, as well as a letter from Bruckman addressed to Scully. The letter states that Mrs. Lowe passed away on the previous night, asks if Scully would like a dog and implies that the dog ate some of the remains of Mrs. Lowe's body. The agents enter the apartment, and in a moment of emotional significance, Scully finds that Bruckman's deceased body lies on a bed, a bottle of pills in his hand and a plastic bag over his head.
Late at night, Scully is watching television when she sees a commercial for the Stupendous Yappi's hotline. She picks up her telephone, as Yappi suggests his viewers do, but then throws it at the television.
- This episode was the second of four from The X-Files television series to be written by Darin Morgan. His conception of this episode started with him being assigned the task of making this episode a scary one. (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "Chris Carter Talks About Season Three"; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose")
- A prime early influence on this episode was one of the series' previous episodes - "Beyond the Sea", which was Morgan's favorite episode of the series at the time of writing this one. Looking for inspiration, he rewatched the earlier episode several times. His initial intention was to write an episode that would be similarly dark and be very depressing. Morgan ended up adding jokes into the script as he simply could not help himself from doing so. (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies)
- Although this episode merely implies that Bruckman's death was probably a suicide, and does not explicitly establish that it was such (leaving open the possibility that he was referring to his own cause of death upon mentioning autoerotic asphyxiation to Mulder), Darin Morgan has since confirmed that his intention was that Bruckman did actually commit suicide at the end of this episode. The reason Morgan added this to the story was that he was feeling somewhat suicidal himself, at the time he wrote it.
- The joke about autoerotic asphyxiation developed out of Mulder's interest in erotica as well as a book about homicide investigations that Morgan had read, as the book actually included a section about autoerotic asphyxiation, a cause of death that is often misinterpreted as suicide. Viewing pictures in the book, Morgan concluded that they showed a complete lack of dignity and "a horrible way to be found dead." (Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files)
- Similarly, Clyde Bruckman's psychic ability was influenced by Morgan's viewing of intensely graphic crime scene photos that were included in a research book his brother, Glen, had. (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies) Darin Morgan recalls, "I was looking at crime scene photos and I just thought, if a person was psychic, they'd be able to see how a person was going to die, just like these pictures. And I just thought, if someone could do that, they would go insane. It ruins the guy's life, which is the point of the show." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "FX: Behind the Truth"; "Clyde Bruckman") Morgan also states, "The idea was that if you can foresee the events of someone's life, you should be able to foresee their death; and if you could foresee their death, you would be seeing pictures like this all the time." (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies)
- In reality, Clyde Bruckman was a Hollywood screenwriter who wrote for Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd in the era of silent film, but ultimately committed suicide.
- Similarly, the surnames of both Detectives Cline and Havez were taken from other film crew from that period, namely Eddie Cline (the director of several Buster Keaton comedies) and Jean C. Havez (a silent movie writer), respectively.
- The name Claude Dukenfield was actually part of W.C. Fields' real name (William Claude Dukenfield).
- The name of the hotel where Bruckman stays, "Le Damfino," echoes the name of a boat used by Buster Keaton in the movie The Boat. (Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files)
- The character of the Stupendous Yappi (including the character's speech pattern) was based on Jaap Broeker, David Duchovny's stand-in. (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "FX: Behind the Truth"; "Stupendous Yappi")
- The first cut of this episode overran by more than ten minutes, despite Darin Morgan being cautious about his scripts being overlong, after that had been the case with his first script for The X-Files, Season 2's "Humbug". Morgan found that this episode was disastrous in that respect and that it was at first "humongously long."
- The episode originally included two more scenes between Clyde Bruckman and Scully, as well as many additional gags. These were filmed but removed during editing. (Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files)
- Another edit involved shortening the first act scene wherein Mulder re-enters the victim's apartment and doubts Yappi's predictions, followed by Scully sarcastically commenting that the case is as good as solved. Originally, the scene continued with Mulder picking up one of the victim's dolls and musing over his wish to someday meet a genuine psychic. The scripted version of the scene's continuation is as follows:
- “MULDER: I've worked with a lot of 'psychic detectives.' They've all been more pathetic than prophetic. But I know there's someone out there. Someone who possesses the ability to 'see.' Who can be used in such a way that'll change the nature of criminal investigations for--
He becomes aware that Scully is looking at him amusedly.
MULDER (con't): Well, I can dream, can't I?
SCULLY: Don't worry, Mulder -- some day your psychic will come.”
- — "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" script
- Chris Carter says of this edit, "It's funny to me now, looking back, that we actually cut this scene out because I didn't remember that it had been cut out [....] This is one of those scenes that plays very funny but the whole scene is extraneous to the picture but, because it's so well written, it remains almost intact, only a small portion I think was cut out which was after Scully's kind of scene-ending line about, I think, 'the case is almost solved.' The scene actually has two endings - that line, which is now the ending, and an ending after Mulder walks over and picks up a doll and ruminates on the nature of psychics and psychic phenomena, and what he wishes were a psychic who would come out and explain all things paranormal. It's probably a scene that could have stayed in and been very charming but, because of airtime and pace, probably was omitted." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Chris Carter"; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose")
- Some censorship difficulties regarding the voice-over in the scene that features Clyde Bruckman's recurring dream caused the script to be edited. Darin Morgan explains, "There's a scene in there when Clyde Bruckman's describing this dream that he has every night, where we see the dream, and it's him lying in a field and his body just dissolves - what would happen if a body was decaying. And I'd written, as a voice-over, a very specific description of what would actually happen to a body if it was a corpse, if it was decaying outside. And the censor just wouldn't have any of it and there was no offensive words or language or anything like that, but I just couldn't use the word 'maggots', I had to use 'insects', which seems really silly, especially considering other stuff we've done on the show. And there's one part where I talk about the tissues liquefying and the innards rupturing or something, and I couldn't use that. And I ended up, the line I ended up using was, he says, 'The inevitable follows, putridity and liquescence.' I don't even know what that means! The character would never say that, would never use the word 'liquescence', no-one's ever used that word! But I agreed to put it in there as my own sort of joke. I laugh every time I hear it. 'What does that mean?!' No-one's paying attention to the voice-over anyway, as they're watching the effect of the guy dissolving, so it doesn't make any difference. But dealing with the censors, it was just... What's wrong with maggots?!" (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "The Truth About Season 3")
- During production, Anderson kept laughing whenever the crew tried to film the scene wherein Yappi closely inspects Scully, attempting to find the source of some troublesome "negative energy."
- During production, Gillian Anderson got the impression that Peter Boyle was at first unsure of what to make of the situation, but warmed up by the time they got to the scenes that both featured them together and were, as Anderson puts it, "really sweet." All in all, Anderson found Boyle to be "a lovely man to work with."
- Due to personal close calls with his own health issues, Peter Boyle had some real issues with death that influenced him to extremely dislike filming the dream scene wherein Clyde Bruckman decomposes. On the set of this scene, the discomforted Boyle remarked to Toby Lindala that having to appear in the scene represented the "worst day of [his] life." Lindala then went about his work, apologetically saying he would try to make the sequence quick and painless for the actor. (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies)
- Initial plans for the process of creating the dream sequence were only half successful. Mat Beck recalls the process that was ultimately used. "What we were doing is we were lying him down in the same spot in the set - like four different times - with Peter perfectly healthy, Peter dead, Peter dead for a day or two, and Peter dead for a week. And the difference was some nasty make-up that got applied. So, there was a real Peter lying there who's getting kinda purple and then, beyond that, we then had dummies that were put in - at successive stages of putrefaction - followed by a completely computer-generated skeleton." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "The Truth About Season 3") In fact, the effect involved eight different stages of decomposition, ranging from the actor in makeup to a dummy created by Toby Lindala's special effects team and finally to the computer-generated skeleton, which took the place of a physical skeleton piece that was used on the set. Each separate stage had to be physically aligned with the previous one but the crew continually adjusted the different setups so that Bruckman's remains would seem to slowly move once the shot was composited together. (Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files, The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "Special Effects with Commentary by Mat Beck"; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose")
- Toby Lindala recalls the effect and his role in its creation. "That was a really fun gag. We made first a dummy of Peter Boyle, painting it with a little bit of marbling and some veining, and then that was composited and then some copper tubing duplicate of a ribcage and sat it under a gelatin torso and then we had six heatguns." While heat was used to wear away the bogus skin, the gelatin melted around the ribs. Says Lindala of the melting effect, "It was a great look. The skin first starts to fall around the ribs, and then break away and peel back." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "FX: Behind the Truth"; "Clyde Bruckman") Mat Beck comments on the dummy. "It's like various kind of meltable materials and wax and stuff like that and we have to hide the places where we've actually got the ability to puppeteer it a little bit, i.e. to move it, and things that we pull apart to make the chest fall in, along with the melting [....] The heatguns make it melt faster because everything took forever; we had to speed up this process a lot." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "Special Effects with Commentary by Mat Beck"; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose")
- The elaborate setup also involved the use of a blue screen - so that the crew could later add a background to the shots - as well as many adjustments made to the separate prosthetic pieces during filming. (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "Special Effects with Commentary by Mat Beck"; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose")
- Chris Carter summarizes the effect's creation process. "The effect of Clyde Bruckman imagining his own death, which is done in a rather horrifying visual sequence, was a result of some real computer-generated imagery tricks, some physical effects, heating ribs that needed to heat up to burn the flesh away, flowers that wilt on camera to give the effect of a time-lapse, of things decaying. And we had to try to recreate it using Clyde Bruckman's body in his underwear." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "Chris Carter Talks About Season Three"; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose") The crew actually tried to make the flowers surrounding Bruckman's decomposing remains look as pretty as possible, to accentuate a gruesome contrast between those two elements of the scene. Finally, the stages of decomposition were morphed together, showing the slow disintegration of Bruckman's body. (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "Special Effects with Commentary by Mat Beck"; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose")
- Completing this sequence involved a race against the clock. In a mad scramble to finish it, audio of Clyde Bruckman ending his voice-over - with the words "And then... I wake up" - was rerecorded, inserting the pause so the moment worked exactly as intended in the script. (Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files)
- This episode was not only influenced by "Beyond the Sea" but also includes an in-joke reference to that earlier episode, when Clyde Bruckman announces that he thinks a scrap of fabric came from Mulder's New York Knicks t-shirt. "Beyond the Sea" includes a scene wherein Mulder fools self-professed psychic Luther Lee Boggs into thinking that a similar scrap of fabric is a clue, even though it is actually from Mulder's New Yorks Knicks t-shirt.
- Queequeg (Scully's pet dog) makes his first appearance in this episode. The animal would subsequently appear in the later Season 3 episodes "War of the Coprophages" (another episode penned by Darin Morgan) and "Quagmire".
- Although the character of the Stupendous Yappi first featured in this episode, Yappi would also make a later appearance in the third season, specifically in the episode "José Chung's From Outer Space". Yappi actor Jaap Broeker considers this episode to be his favorite of the two, as he was "let loose." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "FX: Behind the Truth"; "Stupendous Yappi")
- Following Clyde Bruckman cryptically telling Scully that she does not die, her "death" would later be taken by Alfred Fellig, a man who could not die, in the Season 6 episode "Tithonus", implying that Scully could subsequently no longer die.
- Chris Carter recalls his reaction at watching this episode's first airing: "I remember calling Darin Morgan after seeing 'Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose' on the air. And I'd seen it finished previous to that, but when I saw it on the air, it blew me away because it was so good, it was so funny, poignant. A great character piece, terrific performance by Mr. Boyle. It, for me, took the show to a new level." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "The Truth About Season 3") Carter also remarks, "[The episode] was a complete surprise to me and to everyone else [...] 'Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose', I think, is a perfect little episode. And it's helped a lot by wonderful direction, by Peter Boyle in the role of Clyde Bruckman, and by David and Gillian who turned in great performances." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "Chris Carter Talks About Season Three"; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose") Carter additionally comments, "I think that this is one of those perfect little episodes. It was charming and well written, and well directed by David Nutter, written by Darin Morgan." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Chris Carter"; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose") Summing up his feelings regarding this episode, Carter says, "It is a comedy episode which, I think, helped to really show the range of The X-Files, what we could be and what the actors could do [....] It is funny, it is poignant, heartbreaking and one of the best X-Files episodes ever." (The X-Files: Revelations)
- Peter Boyle won an Emmy Award for his role in this episode as Clyde Bruckman. Chris Carter comments on the performance. "Peter Boyle ended up being the perfect person for the part, it ended up becoming an Emmy Award-winning performance, and it was just perfect. You can't imagine anyone else in the role now. It's really a high point, I think, not just in The X-Files series but in prime-time television." (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "Chris Carter Talks About Season Three"; "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose") Frank Spotnitz explains the impact of this episode on Boyle's career. "It ended up being a very important piece of work for Peter Boyle, who's fantastic in the episode, but it really led to a new recognition of him and then he was on Everybody Loves Raymond, subsequent to that." (The X-Files: Revelations)
- The episode also won an Emmy Award for Darin Morgan. Comparing this episode with "Humbug", Frank Spotnitz remarks, "I felt that this episode - while very, very funny – had a much more melancholy, even tragic, dimension to it that really made it resonate [....] And like all of Darin's episodes, it's as much a story about the characters as it is a critique of The X-Files and this whole enterprise that Mulder and Scully are engaged upon."
- Of the episode in general, Spotnitz says, "It's a beautifully executed episode, again by David Nutter, and beautifully written, beautifully crafted, like every idea in the episode that's introduced comes back - by the end - in a different way." (The X-Files: Revelations)
- David Duchovny loved this episode and it was a favorite of his from the third season of The X-Files.
- Similarly, David Nutter found the episode to be "one of the most enjoyable shows [he had] ever done." (Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files)
- In the 28 June 1997 edition of TV Guide, this episode was declared number ten in a list of 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
Cast and Characters
- The role of the Stupendous Yappi was not only based on Jaap Broeker but was also especially written with the intention that he would play the part. Originally, Broeker was standing on The X-Files' set when Darin Morgan approached him and admitted that he planned to create a part for Broeker, who at first thought Morgan was joking. After the script was turned in, however, Chris Carter walked by the set and said, "Hello, Yappi" to Broeker, indicating to him that the part had been written for him. Broeker thereafter prepared for the role by taking a week off from his usual stand-in duties. Ultimately, he not only enjoyed working on this episode but also felt grateful to Morgan, Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. (The X-Files (season 3) DVD; Special Features; "FX: Behind the Truth"; "Stupendous Yappi", Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files)
- The killer in this episode was played by Stu Charno, whose wife, Sara Charno, had previously been a writer on The X-Files. (Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files)
- The casting choice for the central role of Clyde Buckman was at first different from what it ultimately became. Frank Spotnitz recalls, "It was interesting because our first choice to play Clyde Bruckman was actually Bob Newhart and we couldn't get Bob Newhart. And we went down a list of other people and we settled on Peter Boyle." (The X-Files: Revelations)
- Although Chris Carter usually resisted casting big-name guest stars (despite interest from some celebrities who were fans of the series) due to Carter's fear that extremely recognizable performers might hamper the viewers' suspension of disbelief, Peter Boyle was a marquee actor at the time he was cast. His name was first suggested to Carter by Rick Millikan, who thought Boyle would be perfect for the role of Clyde Bruckman. Carter's initial reaction was thinking the actor might come across as a little too crazy but Millikan then rhetorically asked if such a quality was not exactly what was sought after for the role and, after Peter Boyle was indeed cast, Carter later commented that Boyle was such a skilled character actor that he didn't invoke the loss of belief that Carter had feared. (Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files, The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies)
- Peter Boyle was originally drawn to this episode after reading its script, but was initially unfamiliar with The X-Files and unaware that his role would be as demanding as it was. Director David Nutter consequently spent two or three hours with Boyle, over the weekend prior to filming, during which time Nutter talked to the actor about the episode and the character of Clyde Bruckman. (Trust No One: The Official Third Season Guide to The X-Files)
- Dwight McFee (Detective Havez) previously played David Gates in The X-Files episode "Shapes", Commander in "Little Green Men" and Suspect "Irresistible".
- Frank Cassini as Detective Cline
- Dwight McFee as Detective Havez
- Alex Diakun as Tarot Dealer
- Karin Konoval as Madame Zelma
- Ken Roberts as Clerk
- Jaap Broeker as The Stupendous Yappi
- David MacKay as Young Husband
- Greg Anderson as Photographer