Silver Screams V: The X-Files – Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (1995)

Silver Screams V continues with Leon Nicholson looking at Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose starring Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and Peter Boyle.

Season Three of The X-Files saw the series heading in a slightly different direction. More offbeat stories started to appear and various mythology plotlines entered the fray. However, as with most of The X-files, it was the monster of the week that featured the best episodes and the one in question here was (even though slightly offbeat) Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose.

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Clyde Bruckman (Peter Boyle) is a life insurance salesman who has a gift – or a curse – of being able to foresee an individual’s death. In the meantime, there is a serial killer on the loose who seems to be targeting fortune tellers and leaving various body parts of their victim lying around. Mulder and Scully are sent in to investigate and it is here that they bump into Clyde Bruckman. After questioning him, Mulder believes him to be psychic whilst sceptical Scully is just that… sceptical. As time goes on however, it seems as if the beginning of a father-daughter relationship develops between Bruckman and Scully and she starts to believe that there is more to Bruckman than meets the eye. Questions remain however – is Bruckman psychic and will Mulder and Scully and catch the serial killer?

As per usual David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are on top form as Mulder and Scully but here they had to be with the masterclass performance from Peter Boyle. Anything less from Duchovny and Anderson would have been embarrassing for them and this episode would not have worked and thankfully they were experienced enough not to be blown away by Boyle. As Clyde Bruckman, Peter Boyle produces one of the best performances ever seen by a guest actor in The X-Files. Well the proof’s in the pudding as Peter Boyle won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. Let’s not forget Stuart Charno as Killer who also puts in a great performance and is over-shadowed by Boyle’s Bruckman.

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Darin Morgan, brother of Glen Morgan, is a superb writer who undoubtedly deserves more recognition. Yes, he did pen some of the best X-Files episodes and he did deservedly win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series but post X-Files he never seemed to hit the heights expected from him. Nevertheless, Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose is an example how talented Morgan the younger is and why his writing should be celebrated. He manages to mould wit, sorrow, poignancy, fun and the macabre in forty-five minutes. Everything comes together and works so perfectly and whilst it seems the episode is about catching a serial killer it hinges on Scully and Bruckman’s relationship. Let’s also give credit to David Nutter’s direction as he both the glue and cogs that keeps Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose ticking together.

The beauty with Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose is that it possesses one of those rare qualities and that is it gets better with each viewing. Not only that but it has almost everything including humour, sadness and irony. It’s beautifully written, wonderfully performed combining in one of the best episodes from The X-Files vaults. A hardcore fan will obviously love everything about it and someone who have may have watched it sporadically will appreciate it. A must watch.

FMV Rating *****

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