This is the best episode of season 1 and one of the best of the entire series. Both Gillian Anderson and Brad Dourif give terrific performances. Yes, the episode is VERY similar to Silence Of The Lambs. But that's okay with me. It had enough original elements in it that I was able to get past that. Also, the first time I saw this episode I had never seen SOTL, so that helped.
I had a very similar experience to the one Scully has at the beginning of this episode when she sees her father sitting across from her. When I was a boy I also saw my father standing in the doorway of the my bedroom. I sat up in bed and started talking to him but soon realized that it wasn't really him. I froze there, lying on my back staring up at the ceiling unable to move. I couldn't scream for help or move. It could very well have been a hulicination brought on by sleep poralysis. At least that's what the adult me tries to say to convince myself that I didn't really see what I saw. But try telling that to the 12 year old me. Back then I knew what I saw.
So, like Scully I too have had a hard time allowing myself to believe. I related to her plight in this episode, the delicate balance of being a person of science and rational thinking while at the same time being unable to deny what I had experienced.
This is one of the best Scully episodes, but Mulder is also in fine form. This episode adds depth to his character that previously had not been seen. Its good that Mulder isn't always the one who's willing to believe in the unbelievable. That charlatans and schysters like Boggs are where he draws the line. But it is Brad Dourif who really steals the show here. At first it seemed like he was just doing a Jack Nicholson impression, but that's not the case. This is probably the second best guest star in the history of the show, second only to Peter Boyle in Clyde Bruckmans Final Repose, an episode with a similar pshycic theme.
Clyde Bruckman is by far the best episode of the entire series, but let us not forget about Beyond the Sea, which I consider to be a true hidden gem of an episode. And the best of season 1.