Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose
|"Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"|
|The X-Files episode|
A tabloid that introduces the Stupendous Yappi. The character would reappear in other episodes written by Darin Morgan, most notably "Jose Chung's From Outer Space".
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||David Nutter|
|Written by||Darin Morgan|
|Original air date||October 13, 1995|
"Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" is the fourth episode of the third season of the science fiction television series The X-Files. The episode first aired in the United States on October 13, 1995, on Fox. It was written by Darin Morgan, directed by David Nutter, and featured a guest appearance by Peter Boyle, who portrayed the titular Clyde Bruckman. The episode is a stand alone episode, like most episodes of The X-Files, and follows the normal Monster-of-the-Week pattern of the show. "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" earned a Nielsen household rating of 10.2, being watched by 15.38 million people in its initial broadcast. The episode was also a critical success, winning two Primetime Emmy Awards.
The show centers on FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files. In this episode, Mulder and Scully investigate a series of murders of psychics and fortune tellers. The two are assisted by Clyde Bruckman, an enigmatic and reluctant individual who possesses the ability to foresee how people are going to die.
Morgan wished to write an episode of The X-Files wherein one of the characters commits suicide at the end. Although Morgan was initially afraid to add humor to his script, he created a compromise by making the episode as dark as possible. Several of the characters' names are references to silent film-era actors and screenwriters. Notably, the episode features a prediction by Bruckman—that Agent Scully will not die—that is later bookended by the sixth season episode "Tithonus."
In a store, Clyde Bruckman purchases a paper and a lottery ticket and leaves. In the street, he almost bumps into an inconspicuous man, who heads to a fortune teller. The fortune teller is a palmist who dresses and speaks like a gypsy. After seeking his fortune, the inconspicuous man attacks and kills her.
A few days later, a different fortune teller has been found with her eyes and entrails removed. Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully arrive at the scene of that murder to help the local cops, who have recruited the help of a psychic, the eccentric "Stupendous Yappi." Although the psychic delivers extremely vague clues, such as that the killer may or may not have facial hair, the cops are thoroughly impressed. However, both Scully and Mulder are skeptical, especially after Yappi diagnoses that Mulder, not Scully, is the skeptic in the room who is "interfering with his psychic energy".
Meanwhile, after Bruckman takes the trash out for his neighbor, he discovers the body of the fortune teller outside in his dumpster. When interviewed by Mulder and Scully, he reveals details about the crime that he could not have known from the media accounts, which causes Mulder to believe that Bruckman has the psychic ability to predict death. Mulder insists that Bruckman join them in a visit to the other crime scene. Thanks to information from Bruckman, another body is soon found in a nearby lake.
While investigating another suspect, Bruckman guides Mulder and Scully through the woods, where they discover the suspect's corpse, as Bruckman predicted. The agents find traces of silk fibers on the previous victims, which is later analyzed and found to be from lace. Bruckman explains how he gained his ability following the death of the Big Bopper in a plane crash. Bruckman foresees Mulder's death, getting his throat slit by the killer after stepping in a pie in a kitchen. However he tells Mulder he's not able to see what happens. While Scully does not believe in Bruckman's power, the two develop a fast friendship. Bruckman asks Scully why she is not interested in knowing how she will die. Scully finally breaks down and lets him tell her, to which Bruckman, joyfully, but cryptically, replies, "You don't." Bruckman later tells Scully that they will end up in bed together, in a very special moment neither of them will forget. This reinforces her skepticism.
Bruckman gets a note from the killer saying he is going to die. In response, the agents bring Bruckman to a hotel where a detective named Havez guards him. As the agents leave, they bump into a bellhop who is delivering food to Bruckman's room. It turns out that the bellhop is actually the murderer. He kills Havez and prepares to do the same to Bruckman. Meanwhile, Scully finds the same silk fiber on herself where she bumped into the bellhop's doily-covered tray, realizing that the bellhop is the murderer. They rush back to the hotel. Mulder chases the killer to the basement and the scene plays out as described in Bruckman's earlier premonition, but when the killer attacks him, Mulder is able to fend off the attack until Scully arrives and shoots him—what Bruckman had seen was the dying killer's last thoughts, not Mulder's death.
Unable to find Bruckman in the hotel, Mulder and Scully return to Bruckman's apartment to find that Bruckman has committed suicide by tying a plastic bag around his head. Scully sits on Bruckman's bed holding his hand, deeply moved, just as he had predicted. That night Scully sees a commercial for the Stupendous Yappi on TV, causing her to throw her phone at it.
Conception and writing 
This episode was the second of four episodes written for the series by Darin Morgan. Morgan was in a dark mood at the time, and decided to craft a plot around a character who committed suicide at the end of the episode. The joke in the episode about Fox Mulder's predicted death being by autoerotic asphyxiation was inspired by previous jokes in the series about Mulder's interest in pornography. It was also inspired by a book Morgan had read on homicide investigations. Morgan also claims to have watched the episode "Beyond the Sea", which features a questionable psychic, several times and wanting to write an episode in that vein. Morgan feared putting too much comedy in the episode, like his previous effort "Humbug", and purposely tried to make it as serious and dark as possible, only to end up adding a lot of jokes by the time the final draft was completed. The name 'Clyde Bruckman' refers to an actual screenwriter and director of silent comedies named Clyde Bruckman who committed suicide. The names of characters Detective Havez and Detective Cline are also references to a writer and director from that era (Jean Havez and Eddie Cline, respectively). One of the victims, Claude Dukenfield, is a reference to the real name of W.C. Fields. The name of the hotel in this episode, "Le Damfino" is a reference to a boat used by Buster Keaton in the movie The Boat.
Bruckman's cryptic prediction that Scully would not die was the inception of a lesser-known story arc that was originally supposed to reveal that Scully was immortal. The sub-plot, popular with fans on the internet, was verified by Frank Spotnitz. However, Spotnitz later admitted that this sub-plot was bookended by the sixth season episode "Tithonus," which showed Scully starting to die, only to have her come back, fulfilling Bruckman's prophecy. Spotnitz later called this ending "very satisfying."
The role of the title character Clyde Bruckman was originally written with Bob Newhart in mind, but was eventually cast with Peter Boyle. Chris Carter preferred to not cast well-known actors, but felt that Boyle was such a gifted character actor that he ignored that preference for this episode. The character of the Stupendous Yappi was specifically written for Jaap Broeker, David Duchovny's stand-in. The character later appeared again in the episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space". Stu Charno, who played the part of the killer in this episode, is the husband of Sara Charno, a former writer on the show.
Filming and post-production 
Visual effects producer Mat Beck and Toby Lindala created the elaborate dream sequence where Bruckman's body decomposes. The two used a skeleton rib cage made of copper wire along with fake skin that melted into gelatin when the wires were heated. Eight different stages were used for the effect, starting with Boyle in makeup, progressing to the dummy, and eventually a computer generated skeleton which were morphed together. The episode's original cut was 10 minutes too long, resulting in multiple scenes with Bruckman and Scully being removed from the episode.
"Clyde Bruckmann's Final Repose" earned a Nielsen rating of 10.2, with an 18 share, meaning that roughly 10.2 percent of all television-equipped households, and 18 percent of households watching television, were tuned in to the episode. The episode was watched by 15.38 million viewers. It was named the tenth greatest episode in television history by TV Guide. The success of the episode led to it earning two Primetime Emmy Awards—writer Darin Morgan won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, while Peter Boyle won the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
David Duchovny considers this episode one of his favorites of the third season. David Nutter called it one of the most enjoyable shows he had done. He also said of the episode "The writing was so tight and so crisp and so fresh that I think, as a director, the only thing you have to do is create the atmosphere, set up the characters, set up the shots and you are basically invisible. Then you step back and just let it happen." Frank Spotnitz stated that the episode worked on every level and is his favorite of those episodes written for the show by Morgan.
"Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" received praise from critics as well. Author Phil Farrand rated the episode as his third favorite episode of the first four seasons in his book The Nitpickers Guide to the X-Files. Entertainment Weekly gave the episode a rare A+, writing "Boyle gets lots of help from another superlative, laugh-a-minute script [...] Nicely captures one of the overarching themes of the show: fate and man's isolation." Reviewer Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A and wrote positively of the ending, saying "For an episode that ends with a likable character killing himself, 'Bruckman' isn't what I'd call a downer." Review website IGN named it the best standalone X-Files episode of the entire series, writing that the episode " is a distinctive episode of the series, mixing a healthy amount of humor [...] with some very nasty business [...] In just 44 minutes, Boyle creates a fully formed character who makes a big impact in his one and only appearance." Topless Robot named it the ninth funniest episode of the series. Starpulse listed it as the third best X-Files episode. Charlie Jane Anders and Javier Grillo-Marxuach of io9 included it on the list of "10 TV Episodes that Changed Television".
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: TXF Season 3|
- "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" on The X-Files official website
- "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" on The X-Files Wiki, an external wiki
- "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" at TV.com