Season 1

1x12 Beyond the Sea

Air date: 01-07-94
Writers: Glen Morgan and James Wong
Director: David Nutter
Editor: James Coblent
Director of Photography: John S. Bartley, C.S.C.
Documented Phenomenon: Visitation, Psychic Transmission, Channeling

Episode summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

It's after Christmas and Dana Scully's father asks his daughter if she's going to leave her tree up all year. He and his wife Maggie are visiting Scully for a meal and are preparing to leave, while Dana starts clearing up after them. Maggie hugs her daughter goodbye affectionately. A slightly different ritual takes place between father and daughter. She salutes him and says, "Good sailing, Ahab"; only then does he hug her, replying, "Goodnight Starbuck". His wife gives him a look, prompting him to bring up the subject that he has avoided all night, so he finally asks her how her work is. Dana's brief reply that it's good suggests that this has been a point of some tension between them. Bill Scully seems happy enough to drop the subject at that. The parents leave, and Dana falls asleep on her sofa, awakening at 1:47am, with the TV still blaring. She is bewildered to see her father in the room, sitting on a chair, mouthing something. He doesn't respond to her questions, and before she can process how odd his appearance back in her apartment is, her phone rings. Distracted by it, she looks back to see that she is in fact alone. Confused, she answers the phone, only to hear her distraught mother on the other end of the line, telling her that her father had died from a massive coronary about an hour beforehand. Scully looks back at the empty chair in bewilderment.

Meanwhile, on the campus at Jackson University in Raleigh, North Carolina, a young couple are making out in the front seat of his car. They are interrupted by a knocking on the window from a police officer. The young man, Jim, winds down his window to apologize, only to be told by the officer to step out of the vehicle. He can't make out the officer's face, as the officer keeps his flashlight shining straight into Jim's eyes. It's only when Jim looks down and notices that the man is wearing jeans that he realizes that all is not what it seems. Jim refuses to show his ID until he sees the officer's. The officer responds by hitting him with the flashlight. Jim collapses against the car door, unconscious, with his girlfriend, Elizabeth, screaming in terror inside.

Later, at the FBI building in Washington, Mulder is surprised to see Scully back at work so soon after her father's death. His attempt at being sympathetic is awkward, but Scully gives him her standard response that she's fine. She's interested in the file he was so engrossed in when she entered. It turns out he's looking into the abduction of Jim and Elizabeth, which is very similar to an event that took place a year before at Duke University. The difference is that with the earlier crime, both of the students were found dead a week after, during which time they were kept alive and tortured. Mulder clearly believes that this is a serial offender, which means they have five days to find the two students. It's then that he introduces another element to the mystery: the imminent gassing of convicted murderer Luther Lee Boggs in a state penitentiary in North Carolina. Boggs claims to have information relating to the kidnapping, and does indeed seem to be in possession of some intimate knowledge of the case. Boggs is hoping to use his connection as a means of commuting his death sentence, though it appears that he has obtained this information, not by working in cahoots with the kidnapper as Scully assumes, but by psychic transmission.

For once, it seems that Mulder isn't really buying this story. It transpires that it was his profile that sent Boggs down, and that Boggs received a stay of execution previously. The trauma of being strapped into the chair, only to be pulled out at the last minute, opened him up to the ability to channel spirits and demons. Mulder doesn't dispute the existence of psychic ability; but he does as far as the manipulative Boggs is concerned and is convinced that Boggs is orchestrating the kidnapping from the inside and using his "knowledge" to get him off his date with the gas chamber. Not a particularly pleasant character, at the age of six, Boggs killed every pet animal at his housing project, and murdered five members of his family over Thanksgiving Dinner 24 years later, then settled down to watch a football game immediately afterwards. What makes Mulder so suspicious is that Boggs has specifically requested to speak only to him, as he believes that Mulder knows him better than anyone else, having profiled him. Mulder is caught off-guard when Scully says she'll accompany him to Raleigh, but only after her father's funeral that afternoon. Mulder seems to be a bit more understanding towards her grief, but she explains to him that she needs to get back to work. When he leaves the office, she makes a beeline for the X-Files filing cabinet, looking for incidents involving visionary encounters with the dead. But she decides not to read about them, thereby denying what she saw.

Bill Scully's funeral takes place at sea, as befits a sailor. (He could have been buried at Arlington, seeing as he was a captain in life, but Maggie Scully clearly felt that he would not have liked being buried on dry land.) His ashes are scattered over the water to the tune of "Beyond the Sea," which is playing in the background, watched by a small gathering of family and friends. Scully's mother explains that the song was playing when he returned from the Cuban blockade and proposed to her. Only then does Scully ask the question that has been eating away at her: whether or not her father actually approved of her ditching her career in medicine to go work for the FBI. All that Maggie Scully can say in way of an answer is that he was her father.

In Central Prison, Luther Lee Boggs, complete with "Kiss" and "Kill" tattoos on his knuckles, is talking to Mulder and Scully in an interrogation room. He is sweating and agitated, though there is definitely something untrustworthy and unsettling about the man. He wants to make a deal for the students' lives but Mulder will only agree to this if Boggs can prove that he's telling the truth. He produces an evidence bag, containing a scrap of blue cloth. Boggs takes it and seems to experience some kind of painful vision of Jim, tied up with packing twine, being whipped with a wire coat hanger. He's being held in a dark place, a cellar in a condemned warehouse, overlooked by an angel of stone and something like a waterfall. The effort of tapping into his psychic ability leaves Boggs physically drained--if he that was what he actually did. The only trouble is, the scrap of cloth is not from the victim's but from Mulder's New York Knicks T-shirt. As they are leaving the seemingly fraudulent convict, he starts singing "Beyond the Sea". This stops Scully in her tracks and she looks around, only to see her father in Boggs' place. "Did you get my message, Starbuck?" Boggs asks her. This sends her reeling, even after the vision fades. . She leaves in a hurry, clearly rattled by this. Mulder tells her to go back to the motel, and that he'll finish up with Boggs. Scully takes him up on this offer.

Driving back to the motel, Scully stops at a red light, still troubled by her first meeting with Boggs. It's as she's waiting that she notices a waterfall on a neon sign advertising the Hotel Niagara. It's opposite a statue of an angel. She pulls off the street, and, sure enough, finds a condemned warehouse. Somewhat rashly, Scully enters it alone. She encounters candles, Elizabeth's bracelet and a wire coat hanger.

Scully sits in her motel room alone, trying to conjure up another vision of her father. She is interrupted by Mulder knocking at her door. He informs her that the police have been unable to find any further leads at the warehouse she directed them to and that Boggs hasn't yielded any more information. Scully is distant throughout this exchange, until she blurts out to her partner how and why she came across the warehouse. Mulder is furious with her for buying into Boggs' story, telling it could have been a set-up. He is also indignant that she lied to the police about her reasons for entering the warehouse, attributing it to her lack of desire to be made to look ridiculous on the police report--something that Mulder is more than a little used to. An upset Scully can't understand why he's not pleased with her for opening herself up to the chance of extreme possibilities, and it is then that Mulder realizes the great hurt that Scully is carrying around with her regarding her unresolved feelings towards her father. She denies this, but Mulder suggests that she back off the case as her feelings are clouding her judgment, leaving her open to risk. Mulder tells her he's convinced that Boggs is working in conjunction with someone on the outside, meaning that he will have anticipated the FBI's next move.

Back at the prison, Mulder shows Scully a dummy newspaper article that reports the missing teenagers have been found alive. He's hoping that by showing Boggs the article, Boggs will then phone his accomplice to find out what happened. When Boggs is given his weekly phone privileges, while Mulder and Scully wait in an adjacent room, watching with a video monitor, the person he calls is Mulder instead, asking why he doesn't believe in him, especially in light of the fact that his partner does. Scully tells Mulder that time is running out and that they have to make a deal with Boggs if there's any hope of finding Jim and Elizabeth alive.

Boggs describes the kidnapper as being small, thin, in his late 20s and wearing a silver gray earring of a human skull. He tells them that he's in a small boathouse on Lake Jordan. He also warns Mulder not to go near the white cross. The Feds raid the boathouse and find Elizabeth bound and gagged. While the team are searching for the missing kidnapper, Mulder gets shot. And falls by a white cross. He's rushed to hospital.

Elizabeth identifies a mug shot of the kidnapper. He is Lucas Jackson Henry. It transpires that his kidnapping spree occurs on the anniversary that he witnessed his high school sweetheart killed and his mother decapitated in an auto accident. The police also inform Scully that, although it could never be proved in court, they are fairly certain that Boggs' murders were committed in conjunction with a partner--Lucas Henry.

Scully storms in to see a surprised Boggs, telling him that he had set them up. She screams at him that if Mulder dies, she'll be on hand to personally see that Boggs gets gassed. Before she can leave, Boggs plays his mind games on her again, talking of an incident in Scully's childhood when she stole one of her mother's cigarettes. Boggs sees right through Scully's aching need to ask him the burning question: will he channel her father so she can talk to him? Scully's at her most vulnerable but Boggs won't let her get her answers until he gets his deal. He's already stared death in the face--or rather, the vision of his victims--on his first excursion to the chair and he didn't like it one bit. Scully is now faced with the choice of letting Boggs get off from a crime that he's patently guilty of, or of never getting the chance to have one last conversation with her father.

The chance of a deal is denied by the governor. Boggs will go to the chair.

Scully is still convinced that Boggs has the answers, though Mulder tells her not to believe him. The next time she visits him in prison, she tells him he has his deal. Boggs then seeks out Lucas Henry and the missing teenager. As before, it seems to be a draining process for Boggs, but he identifies the Old Blue Devil Brewery out by Morrisville. With these details, before she leaves, she starts to tells him that if he really was psychic, he would have known--at which point, Boggs interrupts and finishes the statement for her: there was no deal. Just as she is about to go, he warns her to avoid the devil.

At the brewery, Henry is getting ready to kill Jim when the Feds arrive in the nick of time. Henry is shot and tries to make his escape, and Scully chases after him. Just as Boggs predicted, there is a mural of a blue devil on the wall. Scully holds back, remembering the prediction, only to see Henry plunge to his death.

She makes one final visit to Boggs. She tells him that she thinks he was genuine and had no part in the kidnapping. Essentially he saved her life. Boggs tells her that he will give her a message from her father when he's on the chair later that night. So, Boggs has his last meal and makes that long final walk. He is petrified of what awaits him. But Scully doesn't attend. She chooses to be by Mulder's bedside instead of watching the execution of this evil man. Mulder asks her why she chose not to receive that one last message from her father. She tells him that she's afraid to believe in such extreme things. But there is one thing that she has come to realize and that is that she doesn't need that kind of closure. She knows deep down in her heart that her father loved her, no matter what.

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

  • One could argue that Beyond the Sea is one of the defining episodes of the first season, purely in terms of the leaps and bounds forward it makes regarding the characterization of Dana Scully. Prior to this episode, we've witnessed Scully's scientific nature, her general air of seriousness and professionalism, and of course her cynicism. With this episode, we see a whole new side to her character, the vulnerable and naked side. This is the first time we see Scully cry, an understandable thing, given that she's lost her father. More importantly, this is also the first time that we see Mulder and Scully swap roles. You'd think Mulder would be all over this case because of its intimations of psychic channeling. However, he is the cynical one here, and it's Scully who goes with her emotions. Having Mulder spend part of the episode in hospital is merely a convenient way to allow Scully to take centre stage. Robin J. England
  • This episode demonstrates the first thematic example of an overriding thread that would run through the series' history. The conversion of Scully from a skeptic to a believer; that in fact, the series has always been told, arguably, from Scully's point of view. Matt Allair
  • This episode also sets up an intriguing little bit of business about Scully's latent psychic ability. It's something that is hinted at throughout the entire series, but the fact that she's able to conjure up visions of her dead father suggest that there's a bit more to the scientist than meets the eye. Robin J. England
  • On another point, family members having visions of deceased family, especially the death of parents or siblings, is a fairly common psychological phenomenon. For most people, having a dream about a just-deceased relative can have a powerful impact, or having a waking vision of the recently deceased demonstrates the wish fulfilling manifestations of the mind. Then again, one cannot rule out the possibility that, if there is such a thing as an 'afterlife', as many people believe, that the spirits of loved ones might contact the living through visions or through the subconscious, via our dreams. Matt Allair
  • The detail of Boggs' having "Kiss" and "Kill" tattooed on his knuckles bears a striking similarity to a similar character detail in Charles Laughton's classic 1955 film, The Night Of The Hunter, in which Robert Mitchum's psychopathic character 'The Preacher' had on his finger joints the words "Love" and "Hate" tattooed. Luther Lee Boggs seems to be the inspirational child of Hannibal Lecter and 'The Preacher' in one character. Matt Allair
  • The Scully family clearly have a thing for Herman J. Melville's seafaring epic Moby Dick. William Scully's nickname is Captain Ahab, Dana's is Starbuck, and later in Season 3, when Scully acquires a dog, she calls him Queequeg, another character from the novel. Robin J. England

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

This episode, like its predecessor Ice, demonstrates the show's willingness to break out of the norm. In hindsight, it is probably due to episodes such as Beyond the Sea, that allowed the series to last for nine seasons. The names of the two serial killers in this episode, Luther Lee Boggs and Lucas Jackson Henry, were both inspired by real-life serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas. This episode is Gillian Anderson's favorite of the first season, partly due to the amount of emotion she was able to explore for the character of Dana Scully. In the opening scene, when Don Davis, playing William Scully, is silently speaking, he is actually saying the Lord's Prayer. This episode marks the first appearance in the series by Sheila Larken, playing Margaret Scully. In reality, Sheila is married to one of the show's co-executive producers, R.W. Goodwin.

No one can argue that Gillian Anderson gives a thoroughly haunting performance. However, she was not the only member of the team to be at the top of their game. Director David Nutter extracts an equally remarkable performance from Brad Dourif as Luther Lee Boggs. This is the first episode that David Nutter directed and he would continue to play an important role in the series' history. Los Angeles casting director, Rick Millikan has acknowledged that certain actors were able to make David Duchvony and Gillian Anderson work harder; Brad Dourif was one of those kinds of actors. Mark Snow's score is more effective by its absence. Instead of filling the soundtrack with his trademark eerie tones, Snow slips back a little and lets the silence do the speaking. Editor James Coblentz won the International Monitor Award for Editing a Television Show for this episode, the only episode from the first season to be singled out for an award of any kind. Writers Morgan and Wong are Bobby Darin fans and added in the use of Mr. Darin's classic during the funeral. When they took over the second season of Millennium, they prominently used Bobby Darin's music to flesh out Frank Black's character. Robin J. English / Matt Allair

For the scene of William Scully's ashes being carried to sea, the locations used for the Oceanside / Boathouse was Garry Point Park on Chatham Rd and Britannia, as well as the Heritage Shipyard on Westwater Dr., Stevenston. On the Sandy beach point location, the wind was so ruthless that executive producer Rob Goodwin requested a special warming tent be placed near the set to shelter his wife, Mrs. Larkin. Later the production crew moved to Britannia heritage. Propane heaters were not allowed in the shipyard, due to the timber structures and the heritage nature of the site. The crew had to huddle around an old wood-burning stove in a small room and drink a lot of hot chocolate while trading stories. Matt Allair

This episode wouldn't be anywhere near as compelling without the brutally intense work of Brad Dourif. An Oscar nominee for his first film appearance in Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975, Dourif's career as a character actor has led him into some dubious projects, many of which have gone straight to video or DVD. But every once in a while he has produced something that has generated quite a lot of attention: his slightly crackpot minister in John Huston's Wise Blood (1979), the voice of Chucky in the Child's Play movies and, most recently, as the insidious Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) as well as the extended version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). Ironically, Dourif landing the role of Luther Lee Boggs was problematic, mainly because his salary was higher than the norm for the series. But he was firmly the first choice for writers James Wong and Glen Morgan. Chris Carter had already had to battle the FOX network over this episode as they felt it was too similar to The Silence of the Lambs. He found himself tussling all over again over the choice of this expensive guest star. Even writers Morgan and Wong were willing to give up their script fee to secure Dourif. The situation was finally resolved when Carter called Peter Roth, the president of 20th Century Fox, at home on Thanksgiving Day who gave his consent to paying the extra amount for Dourif's services. Robin J. English / Matt Allair

Mr. Dourif's career has reached an iconic status, considering the range of work he has produced that spans four decades--even when it has ranged in quality. Brad Dourif was born in Huntington, West Virginia in 1950. His biological father died when he was three-years old, after which his mother married Bill Campbell, a champion golfer who raised him, his brother and four sisters. Dourif attended Aiken Preparatory School in Aiken, S.C. where he eventually progressed to community theatre. While attending Marshall University in Huntington, he joined the Huntington Community Players. At 19 he moved to New York and joined the Circle Repertory Company where he appeared in several off-Broadway plays as well as Woodstock. When Foreman cast him to play Billy Bibbit in 1975, his breakout role led Dourif to win his first Golden Globe, a British Academy Film Award as well as an Oscar nomination. Skeptical of his stardom, Mr. Dourif returned to New York, continued to work in theatre and taught acting and directing classes at Columbia University until 1988. Mr. Dourif plays the Didgeridoo, an Australian musical instrument and has two daughters from his ex-wife, Joni Dourif.

The range of his feature film work includes recent films such as The Great War of Magellan, Vlad, The Calling, Urban Legend, Alien; Resurrection, and Final Judgment. Past feature work includes The Exorcist III, and Mississippi Burning, he appeared in David Lynch's Blue Velvet as well as Dune, Forman's Ragtime as well as Heaven's Gate and The Eyes Of Laura Mars. While his television appearances have been sporadic, Mr. Dourif appeared in another Ten Thirteen production, Millennium, for the season one episode, Force Majeure. He's appeared in several episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, in addition to Ponderosa, Babylon 5, Bless This House. Star Trek: The Next Generation, Murder, She Wrote, Miami Vice, Moonlighting and The Equalizer. Matt Allair

Actor Sheila Larkin, who regularly played Margaret Scully, has had a career that has spanned over four decades. Married to Bob Goodwin, she has two children. Her feature film work, while sporadic, includes Counting Days, and Dangerous Intentions. She is mostly known as a television actress and has appeared in such television movies as She Stood Alone: The Tailhook Scandal, Moment of Truth: To Walk Again and The Midnight Hour. Her television appearances include UC: Undercover, The Outer Limits, The Commish, Life Goes On, Mancuso FBI, L.A. Law, Simon & Simon, Quincy, Trapper John, M.D, Lou Grant, Dallas, Baretta, Police Story, Barnaby Jones, Gunsmoke, Hawaii Five-O, It Takes a Thief, Bonanza and Highway To Heaven.

Actor Don S. Davis, who played William Scully Sr, has had a varied career; he is a Twin Peaks alumni who appeared on that show with David Duchovny, Jan D'Arcy, Michael Horse and Michael Anderson. He is currently known for playing Brigadier General George Hammond on Stargate SG1 for the last eight years. His recent feature film work includes The 6th Day, Best in Show, and Con Air. Past feature work of note includes A League of Their Own, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Spielberg's Hook, Omen IV: The Awakening, Look Who's Talking, Bull Durham, Body Of Evidence, and Hero In the Family. His television appearances include The West Wing, Navy: NICS, Stargate: Atlantis, The Chris Issak Show, Just Cause, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Madison, The Outer Limits, Northern Exposure, Highlander, Knots Landing and Twin Peaks. His eighties appearances include Wiseguy, MacGyver, The Beachcombers, Amazing Stories, and his seventies appearances include Fantasy Island and Sanford and Son.

Lawrence King, who played Lucas Jackson Henry, is also known under the name King-Phillips. His feature film appearances include Flinch, Rolling Vengeance, the film Abducted and its sequel. His other television appearances include Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years, and The Campbells.

Episode synopsis and review: Robin J. England
Additional review and production notes: Matt Allair
Page Editor: XScribe

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