Beyond The Sea | The K Files | The X Files Podcast | Case File 104
The K Files investigates first season Scully-centric episode, Beyond the Sea.
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“Beyond the Sea” is the thirteenth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files. It was written by co-executive producers Glen Morgan and James Wong, and directed by David Nutter. The episode is a “Monster of Week” story, unconnected to the series’ wider mythology. The episode first aired in the United States on January 7, 1994, on the Fox Network. Despite a mediocre Nielsen rating compared to other episodes of the first season, “Beyond the Sea” received a generally positive reception amongst critics.
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. The plot of the episode sees Scully’s father die and her skepticism put to the test by Luther Lee Boggs, a prisoner on death row who claims to have psychic powers.
The episode showed the protagonists reversing their usual roles of “believer” and “skeptic” for the first time, and introduced the theme of father-figures that was continued throughout the series. Critical commentary has noted parallels between the character of Dana Scully and that of Clarice Starling from The Silence of the Lambs.
Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) entertains her parents, William Scully (Don Davis) and Margaret Scully (Sheila Larken), shortly after Christmas. After they leave, she falls asleep on her sofa. Several hours later, she wakes up to see her father sitting across from her, speaking silently. The telephone rings, and after looking at the phone, she finds the chair empty again. She answers the call—from her mother, who tells her that her father died of a heart attack an hour earlier.
Meanwhile, in Raleigh, North Carolina, a young couple are kidnapped by a man dressed as a police officer. Several days later, Scully and her partner Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) discuss the case in Mulder’s office at FBI headquarters. Mulder relates that the case seems to be the work of a repeat offender, and there is reason to believe the couple will be killed in a matter of days. He also tells Scully that Luther Lee Boggs (Brad Dourif), a serial killer he had helped to apprehend years before, has claimed to have had psychic revelations about the kidnapping and has offered to help police in exchange for his death sentence being commuted. Mulder is unusually skeptical about Boggs’ claims.
Later, the agents visit Boggs in prison, where he makes an impassioned revelation about the kidnapped couple based on a piece of “evidence” that is really a shred of Mulder’s T-shirt. Satisfied that he is lying, the pair prepare to leave. Scully looks back at Boggs and sees another vision of her father, speaking to her and singing the song that had been played at his funeral, “Beyond the Sea”. She does not tell Mulder about this, and the pair discuss the possibility that Boggs has orchestrated the kidnapping with a partner to avoid execution. They have a fake newspaper made which declares the couple to have been found, hoping to trick Boggs into contacting his accomplice. He does not fall for the trick, but gives the agents vague clues about the case. Scully, acting on these, first finds a warehouse where the couple had been held, and later leads Mulder and several other agents to a boathouse where the kidnapper is holding the couple. The girl is rescued, but the kidnapper shoots Mulder and escapes with the boyfriend.
Convinced of Boggs’ involvement in the kidnapping, the prison warden rules out any kind of clemency. Boggs speaks to Scully again, claiming to be able to contact her father. He offers to relay one last message to her from him if she will attend his execution. He also gives her information about the kidnapper’s new location, warning her to avoid “the blue devil”. Scully then leads several agents to the location Boggs gave her—a brewery—where they are able to rescue the kidnapped boyfriend. Scully chases the kidnapper as he flees, but stops in her tracks when he runs along a gantry beneath the brewery’s logo—a leering blue devil. The gantry gives way, and the kidnapper falls to his death.
Boggs is led to his execution and sees that Scully has not attended. Scully visits Mulder in hospital, where he is recovering from his gunshot wound. She has come to believe Mulder’s assertion that Boggs arranged everything. Mulder asks her why she refused the chance to hear from her father again through Boggs. She tells him that she did not need to hear anything, because she already knew what her father would have said.
The Truth is Already Here.