The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 4

Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Oct 13, 1995 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (23)

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  • Best Episode Ever.

    Absolutely amazing episode would be an understatement. Superbly done and well thought-out, well written and just overall an incredible episode. Deeply frightening and thrilling to the core - I absolutely LOVE IT. Greatest episode of all time. Ended it on the note of asking my brother if they had won an award for it, which I'm glad to find out that they have. Astounded by the brilliance of this show. Found this to be the scariest episode of anything I've ever watched - and also loved the jokes that they threw in. Peter Boyle's performance was one of the finest I have seen.
  • First-time X-Files viewer

    This is one of the finest hours of television I've ever seen. Funny and clever, with great characters and dialogue. Believe I'll be watching more of this show.
  • Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose

    Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose was a truly superb episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was well written, the guest cast was amazing and there was a lot of action and suspense. It was awesome watching Mulder and Scully work on this case and I liked when Bruckman told Scully she doesn't die. I am intrigued to learn how this episode will come into play down the road. The ending was great, and I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • A quality episode, but not, in this reviewer's opinion, deserving of the amount of praise it has received.


    I saw that this episode made TV Guide's Best Television Episodes Ever at #10. I was shocked. Don't get me wrong, it's a great episode. It has solid writing, an exciting plot, and it is well paced. However, there was nothing about the episode that screamed "best episode ever' to me.

  • There are hits, and there are misses, and then there are hits. This one is destined for immortality.


    Superbly embodied veteran character actor the late Peter Boyle, Clyde Bruckman is surely one of the more tragic and courageous figures to ever cross the X-Files screen. Even Fox Mulder, who says he envies Bruckman's gift, does not have the courage to face the knowledge of his own death. Bruckman himself fears and loathes his power. Unable to tame his own wild talent, he gives in to despair, denying all hope of change. Of course, by retreating to this passivity, he guarantees that his visions will come true. He fails, for example, to warn Mrs. Lowe of her impending fate, fails to warn Detective Havez of his imminent murder. Left in ignorance, of course, these individuals cannot make the choices that might avert their ends, and events fall out as Bruckman foresaw. This moral cowardice in an otherwise appealing character was unsettling, but entirely believable, and served to delineate Bruckman even more clearly as a living, breathing, flawed human being.

    The setting for this morality play is simple: Mulder and Scully are called in to consult with St. Paul cops who are trying to find a serial killer preying on fortune tellers. Gruesome as the murders are, even more grotesque is the performance of "The Stupendous Yappi", a TV- prophet fakir of such obvious shallowness that he makes last season's "Dr. Blockhead" look like a pillar of rectitude. When a body is discovered by Clyde Bruckman, a reluctant oracle, Mulder is delighted to find an actual, genuine psychic involved in the case. His eager-beaver questioning ("Pinch me!"), in which he treats Bruckman like a lab rat to be poked and prodded for answers, reveals the insatiable curiosity behind Mulder's "obsession" with the supernatural. Clearly an expert in various forms of divination, from anthropomancy to tea-leaf reading, Mulder is overjoyed to find a real psychic on whom to test his theories. Scully, who does not believe in psychic ability, is free to treat Bruckman as a real human being, and the relationship between them moves from strained tolerance to a warm understanding. Perhaps unconsciously, Bruckman reacts to this treatment by telling Scully that she will not die, and then turns around and keeps the pesky Agent Mulder up all night by telling him horror stories.

    Throughout "Clyde Bruckman" the tension between Mulder, pressing for more information, and Bruckman, reluctant to exercise a talent which has never made any difference in people's lives anyway, drives the show through deeper and deeper layers of angst and dread. Mulder, clearly in the free- will camp, demands information which will let him act. Bruckman, convinced all action is unavailing because the future has already been written, sees the engagement of his powers only as a painful exercise in futility. Both men's points of view are borne out, as the incidents foretold by Bruckman come to pass--but with a different twist. Bruckman accurately foretells Mulder's assault in the kitchen--which permits Mulder to defend himself effectively.

    Morgan plays diabolically clever jokes on us. Scully plays poker with a clairvoyant--not a bright idea--who holds the infamous "Aces and Eights" Dead Man's Hand that Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he died. But Morgan, typically, goes Wild Bill one better--Bruckman is holding a full house whereas Hickok was only holding a measly two pair. The in-joke is doubled in value and we get twice the kick out of it. At the end of the episode, we see a clip from a Laurel and Hardy film, with excellent special effects that make the duo look like skeletons. We are reminded simultaneously of the skeleton that Clyde Bruckman dreamed of, and for those movie fanatics among us, of the "real" Clyde Bruckman, the scriptwriter who worked for Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Laurel and Hardy, who committed suicide. This level of subtlety is almost fiendish.

    Director David Nutter rings in with some truly wonderful moments: the wordless instant of horrified recognition between the killer and Clyde Bruckman, the infinitely gentle look of pity on Scully's face as she sits beside Bruckman's body, the stark terror in Mulder's face as his throat is cut in the fantasy sequence. The pacing of the opening sequences--almost cartoonish in their garish light and sprightly movement--contrast very energetically with the brooding, somber displays of Bruckman's despair and resignation. Scully standing like an avenging Valkyrie in the service elevator, shooting down the killer without blinking an eye, drew outright applause from me. The scene in the forest where the team is hunting a body, which ends with Scully, Mulder and Bruckman dwarfed by the huge trees and thick ferns, lent balance to the scenes where we are so intently focused on a grimace, a blink, a smile.

    Morgan resists the temptation to make the nameless killer of this episode more important than he is. In a whodunit like this, for example, there is no point in looking for a motive. The motives of psychotic killers are beyond our comprehension anyway, and to have elaborate psychological profiles of them may well be a waste of time. Bruckman explains the killer to himself at the end: "Don't you get it? You do the things you do because you're a homicidal maniac!" While this is like explaining that someone is fat because they are obese, it is still true. There is no point in seeking a deeper motive than disconnected psychosis.

    Bruckman's sly tease to Mulder, wherein he hints that Mulder will die of autoerotic asphyxiation, made me laugh until I cried. Mulder's quote from "Chantilly Lace" alone--"you know what I like" stole the scene. The joke of having Scully park on the body they are looking for, the slyness of having the frustrated Clyde Bruckman identifying Mulder's own Knicks' T- shirt from "Beyond the Sea" (and then having Mulder deny it!), and the sheer silliness of The Stupendous Yappi's scene-stealing eyebrows are examples of black humor at its finest.

    I cannot close without adding that the relationship between Mulder and Scully *has* definitely changed in this episode, and for the better. The teasing is back--you would have to kill Mulder to stop him from teasing--and the teamwork is back, even better. Scully and Mulder back one another to the hilt. Mulder drops his gun, naturally, but finally Scully does not. And Morgan's skill is echoed by Duchovny and Anderson, who manage to show us Mulder's skeptical side and Scully's nascent "believer" side without distorting either character. It is tough to do that, and they did it very, very well.

  • The Best Episode Period.

    Darin Morgan wrote this beautifiul episode that aired in the show's best season. Morgan's writing is beautifully nuanced and is some of the shows best, if not the best. And Peter Boyle's performance is award worthy (He infact won an Emmy for this performance. This episode and Beyond The Sea are by far my favorite episodes of one of the greatest shows ever on telivision. Gillian Anderson's acting performance in both episodes are amazing. Morgan infact wrote this episode after viewing Beyond The Sea several times. This episode is so beautiful that the episodes surronding it are almost unwatchable in comparison. -Paul McDonald
  • Mulder and Scully look after a guy killing psychics, tea leaf readers and other similar people

    For a stand-alone episode, this was pretty fantastic. Peter Boyle guest-stars as an insurance salesman who also reluctantly deals with having psychic powers. Mulder and Scully begin using him to try and find this serial killer who's killing off people who read crystal balls or read Tarot Cards and other similar things. However, they soon learn that he isn't necessarily psychic. Instead, he can see how people will die and uses that power to infer certain things. Clyde Bruckman ends up being a very strange guy but compelling as hell to watch. Peter Boyle may have delivered the best guest-star performance of the show here... it's subtle but excellent.

    It also had its fair share of humor mixed in with the eerieness and sadness; the psychic at the beginning that calls out Mulder's negative energy is hilarious, and for a show that's so dark at times, they can really bring out the laughs.

    The episode was written by Darin Morgan, who also did the Humbug episode with the circus freaks. Darin Morgan seems to be really good at combining the dark/macabre and the humor. Hopefully he writes more episodes in the future.

    This was a pretty great episode, and along with the previous few episodes, it's a good sign that Season 3 of The X-Files may be even better than the rest of them so far.
  • Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose in Season Three is by far the best episode since the beginning of the X-files, in my opinion. I just wish that there’d be more episodes like it. It’s funny, exciting, dramatic, and creepy, which basically makes it a perfect X

    Long story short, Mulder and Scully are investigating a case in which the help of a so-called psychic is used. This psychic, The Stupendous Yappi, does not establish an impression of real telepathy. Meanwhile, Mulder and Scully stumble upon a real clairvoyant. Clyde Bruckman can see exactly now everyone is going to die. He helps Mulder and Scully with little hints showing the future, and almost all of them turn out to be true. I’m not putting the following as a spoiler, but rather as a way to increase your anxiety and convince you to watch this phenomenal episode: among Clyde’s predictions, Bruckman sees Mulder die. He is doing a building search of a kitchen when the killer comes up from behind and slashes his throat. And now, I shall leave you all at a cliffhanger, and I do sincerely hope that if you watch any of the x-files, you watch Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose.
  • The Great Yappi

    “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” see’s a killer who doesn’t like people who can see the future. Mulder and Skully investigate and find someone that they believe is truly psychic; the only problem in catching the killer is he could be psychic too. This is an ok episode, which I though was a bit silly. A the start of the episode we are introduce to “The Great Yappi” , a Uri Geller like man who is a bit of a fraud. Queue lots of seeing in to the future, which makes the episode a bit “I know what’s coming next” and even with out these future flashes the view can easily guess what is going to happen. I don’t know where, but Im sure I have seen something similar to this episode. Fair
  • Everybody Loves Bruckman

    It's amazing how you can feel differently toward an episode by viewing it at a different time in your life. Upon viewing this episode again, I remembered liking this less than Jose Chung's "From Outer Space", another Darin Morgan written episode from later in this season. However, after seeing Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose and the other mentioned episode, I can say I like this one more, both of them being great episodes. What makes this episode a 10 is Peter Boyle's guest performance. This is the best guest star performance I have seen in the x-files. Peter Boyle plays the reluctant seer. There is just such a believability to his character that makes you feel sorry for him. And now to other parts that I like about the episode. At the beginning, the police talking about a man helping them. You think they are describing Mulder, when it turns out to be the Stupendous Yappi, whom they are describing. Yappi is a hilarious character. I love how he uses his eyebrows in his expressions. I like how the killer is seen in the background of all the crime scenes. There is a cheesy deleted scene towards the beginning. You'll understand why it was deleted. They throw in a 'Beyond the Sea' inside joke when Clyde Bruckman says a blue piece of cloth is from Mulder's New York Knicks t-shirt. If, for anything, just watch this episode for Peter Boyle's excellent portrayal of Clyde Bruckman. It's a "can't miss" performance.
  • Emmy award winning episode

    Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose is by far one of the best episodes of the entire series. With an Emmy winning performance by Peter Boyle how could you go wrong. He brings in just exactly the right kind of dark humor that I think Darrin Morgan had in mind when he wrote the script and it works perfectly with the X-Files atmosphere. He plays an unlikely psychic who can see how people are going to die and fittingly makes a living as a life insurance salesman. The case is about a serial killer who targets fortune tellers because he feels he is not in control of his actions and is trying to find out why he is killing them. As we find out so eloquently when Clyde and the puppet meet the reason is because he is a homicidal maniac.

    There are so many wonderful lines and moments in this episode that trying to list them or mention them all would make this a very long review so I will just name a few. I like in the beginning when the detectives are talking about hiring a specialist in to help with the case and specifically describe him as "spooky" which is a commonly known nickname at the FBI for Mulder and then when Mulder and Scully enter gracefully as is they were expected Cline only says "Who the hell are you?" and then "Oh I forgot you were coming." The episode also brings in a number of in-jokes and myths that will be used throughout the series. One of course is the Stupendous Yappi, then we have the introduction of Queequeg who will soon after be taken from us *sniff*, and finally the first hint that Scully is immortal and/or won't ever die.

    This episode of course gets a 10/10 from me because you just can't get much better.
  • Awesome...

    What I love so much about this show is that no matter what the episode they always deliver in the good episode department. It's not just the mytharc episodes that are great but the Monster of the week story lines can just as great as the mytharc ones if not greater. As always Peter Boyle brings us an amazing performance. He always seems to be the funny characters. He p[lays a psychic and Scully thinks he is a fake surprise, surprise. This episode didn't seem to focus on the villain to much but I don't mind that to much anyway. In the end Scully gets a dog.
  • One of the greats

    A joy from start to finish, "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" finds "The X-Files" flexing its creative muscles to considerable (and Emmy-winning) effect. Having unleashed Darin Morgan's goofy sense of humour, married to some seriously strange notions, on us before in Season 2's delightful "Humbug", it was only natural that Morgan would come back for another gig. And this is one is twice the beast that "Humbug" was.

    For all the subversive glee we derive from Morgan's well-aimed potshots at Mulder and Scully's iconic status and at Mulder's unusual habits in particular, it's worth remembering that there's still quite a dense story at the centre of the episode, with plenty of the nasty detail we've come to expect from this show. Not only does it feature an uncontrollable killer but, more tellingly, Clyde Bruckman is a tortured soul who goes through life seeing how everyone will die, himself included. In the sure hands of Peter Boyle, there's real heart to the character and we can't help but feel for him in the same way that Scully does with her characteristic empathy and tenderness at his demise. And of course, the irony for Bruckman of possessing this "gift" is that all he can see with it is death. He can't even predict the lottery. Accordingly Boyle plays it relatively straight. As written, with his sarcastic rebuttals to the likes of Mulder, he could have come across as a really wacky character, but Boyle plays him as an exasperated man who is now very tired of his premonitions, especially his nightly dream of his own decomposition. It's a captivating performance and both Duchovny and Anderson clearly enjoy his presence. Regular "monster of the week" episodes generally afford them less material to play big off against, so it's nice to see then energised by their guest star (and of course, a very playful script). Another reason why this episode works so well is all because it is fully aware of how much a cult item the show – and Mulder and Scully – have become. Nowhere is this more clear than in Mulder's entrance. We're expecting the nutcase that is the Stupendous Yappi, and then in walks our favourite G-man. When Yappi is unable to pursue his sideshow psychic routine because of negative energy, it's a nice joke that that energy comes from Mulder, and not from its usual source, his partner. The episode is peppered with lots of lovely little digs at Mulder too, just to show that although "The X-Files" may be a worldwide hit, it's still got a damn fine sense of humour about itself. "I'm supposed to believe that's a real name?" Bruckman asks when he sees Mulder's ID. And I particularly like his out-of-the-blue comment to Mulder that auto-erotic asphyxiation is an awful way to die. Scully is the more stabilising influence here. She is the one that seems more committed to solving the murders instead of wasting too much time getting Bruckman to feel various objects and say what he thinks. Morgan can't resist an especially well-aimed punch at her though when she does a complete Mulder at the end and plays a huge hunch about the identity of the killer which of course happens to be correct. It's also very funny when she comes wading in at the end, blasting away the killer in supercool form, only for it all to transpire that she only saved Mulder by complete accident. At least she gets a dog out of this episode (although Queegueeg wouldn't unfortunately make it to the end of the season). Got to single out Anderson's performance at the end of this episode though. The look of ineffable sorrow on her face, the biting down on her lower lip, as she holds the dead Bruckman's hand is a beautifully understated piece of acting from her. It's the valediction that a wonderful character like Clyde Bruckman richly deserves.

  • Woman's Intuition:)

    This episode was a classic for the series, I loved the whole scene with Mulder and Bruckman, ... "Or was it banana cream..?" Hahah, then at the end when Mulder steps in the pie and turns around all fast, - So cool! Anyways, when i saw this episode, the whole time I was rocking back and fourth, it made you freak! The scene with the maniac guy and the death card... chills:) This just goes to show an X- File can be hilarious, and creepy, at the same time! I laughed through so much of it! Aww, Mulder and Scully you never dissappoint. :)
  • Peter Boyle as a psychic cynic!

    When I viewed this episode, it was one of seven or so that I watched over a single day. Each episode was becoming increasingly frustrating and difficult to watch. I nearly didn't watch it (especially with the clunky sounding title). Luckily, I noticed that Peter Boyle was in it, as I have been a fan of his since Young Frankenstein. So I gave it a shot. It was a breath of fresh air. Interesting, intriguing (why is the homicidal maniac seeing the future and why is he going after fortunetellers and why is he so connected to Clyde, and is Scully immortal?). Peter Boyle is a joy to watch in this episode. I was not surprised to learn that he earned an Emmy for this episode. I even thought that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were more "present" and focused in this episode. Their acting is above par in this episode too. This is the type of episode that typifies what I like about the Horror/SF genre.
  • I completely love this episode!

    I love the way this is written. This by far is one of the greatest episodes that have ever been written for the X Files Peter Boyle gave a rock solid performance. Raymond who? This was one of his finest pieces of work. Also i like the twist ending and the fact that Scully doesn't die it leaves you satisfied but wanting more. Another bonus is how they are able to interject clever comedy into the episode without over doing it. David and Gillian as usual gave an awesome performance too.I like when Scully finally believes him in the end and saves Mulder and the moment when she holds his hand on the edge of the bed. This was one of the best ever!
  • Autoerotic Asphyxiation

    Another solid self-contained episode that is slyly funny. I loved the crack about Mulder's name being fake and the bit with Clyde guessing that the cloth was a piece of Mulder's Knicks shirt was sublimely hilarious. Peter Boyle absolutely owned this episode and he was helped by a very witty, very literate script. The plot was first rate and keeps you guessing and wondering when Clyde is for real and when he is just pulling Mulder's leg and whether he just might be involved in the murders in some way. It was also nice to see Scully being allowed to warm up to a character like Clyde's, further illustrating that the series is becoming less Mulder-centric. I don't think the self-contained episodes get any better than this.
  • "Mr.Yappi , read this thought." -Mulder

    This was one great episode, Peter Boyle did an Excellent Job as Clyde the old man/Psychic I Just loved him. :D there were lot of funny moments in this episode as well as great quotes though the sad part was when Clyde Died, but still it was a great epsiode.
  • A great installment, if a little wierd..

    This episode is a good installment and addition to the season 3 episodes it sits besides. Peter Boyle as a man who can see death just works. H ehas some great lines and he pulls it off so well!The Episode, to me, seems a little wierd even for X files. I do love it, but some of the things in there try to be funny and sometimes just dont really work. I love the X files and this is one of the episodes i do not love without question. Which is good for 9 seasons worth. A good episode, Great if you want a laugh and a stand alone story, and your a big fan of peter Boyle.
  • Great writing, great acting, but no more so than other Emmy-deserving episodes.

    I really enjoyed this episode. It's a classic example of the great writing of Darin Morgan and the fine acting of Peter Boyle, but how is this episode more deserving of an Emmy than One Breath or Paper Clip? Who can tell. But I love the comedic episodes, so yes I love this episode. "Yes, it looks like fat little Nazi stormtrooper." And the poor Clyde is an incredibly lovable character. I have to wonder about the prophecy about Scully never dying. I wonder how that comes into play in later episodes, and whether it ever does. And the line about Mulder's death by autoerotic asphyxiation? Classic.
  • "Down comes the knife and... bananacream!"

    Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose is one of those silly episodes that doesn't take things too serious.Even though the subject (a serial killer) is a serious matter the creators take it lightly.

    Different murders on fortune tellers take place and Mulder and Scully are of course sent over to investigate.

    The best thing about this episode is "The Great Yappi". A fraud psychic who the local police hires in an attempt to solve the murders. The way this character goes about, lifing his eyebrows with every thought is really funny.

    Mulder and Skully on the other hand use the help of Clyde Bruckman, a genuine psychic who can predict people's deaths. He predicts mulder will be killed while he stepped in a coconutcream pie... or was it bananacream...?

    That's the silly thing about it. It's a serious subject but they treat it with a twist and with lots of jokes.
  • The one with the old man who can look into the future


    The first X-files episode to won an Emmy, and for a damn good reason too.

    It’s all about future tellers, a very complicated and well thought episode. Filled with great dialog and well put story.

    I only didn’t see a point in that other annoying guy who saw the future, or acted as if he could and Scully watching him at the end and throwing a phone at the tv, Yeah I didn’t get that.

    So it’s about a guy who can look into the future and wants to know why he is committing murders, He kills other seers but none can tell why he is doing what he is doing and they all say he is some sort of puppet.

    Anyway, we meet Clyde who is played by Peter Boyle, He is also someone who can look into the future and he can see all the deaths. That made for some very effective scenes. She told how Mulder was going to die, his throat cut by the killer while looking at a pie.

    Clyde also doesn’t want to change the future, he says that if they change it that too many things could change that weren’t supposed to. So anyway, both future seers see what is going to happen next, it’s like faith. When they meet each other Clyde tells the killer that he kills because he is a psycho, that makes a lot of sense.

    When Mulder is attacked by the killer, this time Scully arrives on time and shoots the guy and before he dies he says that it wasn’t supposed to happen that way. When they go back, they find Clyde dead. Clyde had told Scully that he would tear when she’d find him and he does. Made up for a beautiful and powerful scene.

    This episode was strong, without a doubt the best written episode so far.
  • Mulder and Scully stumble across a man who's psychic abilities seem to haunt him.

    Peter Boyle plays Clyde Bruckman, a distraught man who's psychic abilities are terrorizing him. All he sees when he looks at a person is how they are going to die, and it has ruined his life. He is stumbled upon by Mulder and Scully and help them track a serial killer who has been killing in the area. It takes time for the FBI agents to give credibility to his skills, but are fianlly convinced by stating the descriptions of where the bodies will be found. Peter Boyle plays a hopeless character who does not see any more joy in life. The episode is wonderful and forshadows events of importance to Mulder and Scully's life.