I don’t know how much influence The X-Files has had on me, but it’s been significant. I’m grateful it aired when I was an adult, both because I was able to clue into most of the cultural references of its best writers, and because, growing up, I had enough nightmares as it was.

I started to write this post about the five scariest episodes of The X-Files, but ran into a problem I’m not willing to resolve. All the lists point to “Home” as either one of or the most frightening episode of the series. After seeing the preview of that episode back in 1995, I refused to watch it. (I have a deep and ongoing problem with monsters under the bed.)

clydeb2So today I’ll remind you of one of the very best of the frightening standalone episodes the series had: “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” about a psychic whose gift is the ability to see how people will die. The late Peter Boyle played this character with grace and melancholy, and the writing and directon by Darin Morgan and David Nutter are both creepy and morbidly humorous. It remains one of the most human of the series episodes–what, after all, is more human than death?

When I recall watching this episode, I remember the joy I felt at the skill of the writing, at the brilliance of Boyle’s portrayal. It’s been a favorite “ahhh” moment in my long history of TV-watching.



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