'Don't you understand yet, son? Don't you get it? You do the things you do because you're a homicidal maniac.'
Title: Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose
Season: Three (1995)
Written by: Darin Morgan
Directed by: David Nutter
Throughout its run The X-Files was nominated for 62 separate Emmy Awards, winning 16. Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose was the individual episode that was joint most successful in this regard (along with Nisei from the same season, which won two Emmys for sound editing and mixing). Peter Boyle won an 'Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series' award for his portrayal of the title character, while Darin Morgan received the 'Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Drama Series' award.
Usually comedy episodes of drama series, particularly American ones, tend to over-egg the comic pudding: the music gets tinkly, the leads begin to mug shamelessly, the guest cast get more broad... The X-Files isn't immune to this phenomenon, but the quality of the scripts, by Darin Morgan particularly, sees eight comedy episodes make this list, and Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose fully deserved its Emmys.
Despite my belief that The X-Files doing comedy is completely outside of its remit, this is arguably the best episode they ever did. Morgan's finest script is a potent mix that has dark ruminations on fate, predeterminism, the compulsion to kill and the urge to commit suicide. It's wonderful stuff, with a great central performance by Boyle as Bruckman. The real-life Clyde Bruckman was a silent movie director who had worked with, among others, Laurel and Hardy; and although the clip of The Bullfighters seen in the episode isn't one that Bruckman worked on, it's a witty nod to this fact. As always, Morgan's scripts are full of witty intertextual remarks and deconstructions of the series itself, not least here the acknowledgement of a suspect reading Fox Mulder's ID that 'I'm supposed to believe that's a real name?'