Monday, August 9, 2010

Review - The X-Files Season 3 Episode 4 Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose

"Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" is one of the all-time classics--and for good reason. Written by Darin Morgan, it's not laugh out loud funny with gags every few seconds, but there's a clever humor inside the dialogue, somehow coming through the very frank discussion about death, a morbid subject which takes an odd tone when described by Peter Boyle.

Imagine being able to know how anyone will die. Images of random people's death pops into your mind. What do you do?

In the case of Clyde Bruckman, it makes his life nearly unbearable. He has this amazing ability, but it has no real upside. He's forced to see death day in and day out, knowing exactly what will be the end. After that, everything else seems insignificant. What more is there?

His indifferent attitude is foisted upon Mulder and Scully who discover him while on a pretty normal case. The investigation is mostly an afterthought, although is plotted well and would be excellent by itself. Clyde Bruckman, though, is the heart of the episode and probably gets the most lines of any guest in the entirety of the series. Sprinkled throughout the episode are delightful one-liners, which make you smile at first and then consider the deeper meaning. The episode never fully descends in darkness, despite Clyde ending himself with a plastic bag, just as his ability gradually choked the life out of him. We are given a moment of levity in the end as Scully chucks her phone at the Stupendous Yafi on the television.

In accordance with the different tone, the usual supernatural element of The X-Files is explained with a line about Clyde fixating on a coin flip which doomed the Big Bopper, an outlandish thought that Mulder doesn't bite at. With Clyde, we never know exactly what the truth is, especially when he tells Mulder he die from autoerotic asphyxiation and Scully she won't die. While Clyde's search for a meaningful life is over, his death and ability proves to Mulder there is more, and even though Clyde made fun of fixation, the search is still on.

Score: 9.6/10
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