Director: David Nutter
Mulder and Scully are called in to assist in an investigation of a killer who is targeting fortune tellers. The investigators have very little to go on and need all the help they can get. They even enlist the service of a mystic, the Stupendous Yappi. Although for once Mulder is sceptical, not of psychic ability but of the Stupendous Yappi. When the body of the latest victim is discovered in a dumpster by an insurance salesman, Clyde Bruckman, he knows so many details about the crimes that Scully suspects he is the killer. Mulder however believes that Clyde Bruckman has psychic abilities and is divining the information that way.
They take him to one of the crimes scenes but Bruckman is reluctant to help them, he does however predict that another body will be discovered by a lake. When Bruckman's prediction comes true, Mulder brings him in to test his ability. Bruckman is unable to ID the killer in fact Mulder realises that his only ability is that he knows how people are going to die. Scully brings evidence to Mulder that all of the victims had key chains from the same investment firm and suggests they interview the owner. Only Bruckman tells them he has been murdered and leads them to the body buried in the forest. He also tells them that the killer is a psychic. When Bruckman receives a letter from the killer, Mulder and Scully put him in protective custody. But when the killer targets Bruckman, he foresees not only his own death but that of Mulder too.
Peter Boyle's Guest Actor ''Emmy'' for this episode is his only win from 8 nominations. He was nominated 5 times for his supporting role as Frank Barone in ''Everybody Loves Raymond''.
Peter Boyle and Darin Morgan both won Prime-Time Emmy awards in 1996 for this episode, for Outstanding Guest Actor and Outstanding Writing respectively.
The character of Clyde Bruckman is named after a screenwriter by the same name for Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd in the days of silent films. Also, the name of the hotel, Le Damfino, is a reference to the name of the boat used by Buster Keaton in the 1921 movie "The Boat".
This episode was named by ''TV Guide'' as one of the greatest episodes in TV history.
This episode marks the first appearance of Scully's dog Queequeg.
The actor who plays 'The Stupendous Yappi' is actually Jaap (pronounced Yapp) Broeker - David Duchovny's stand-in. Apparently, Darin Morgan saw Broeker on the set waggling his eyebrows and wrote a scene for him.
Mulder: Be honest, Scully. Doesn't that propane tank bear more than a slight resemblance to a fat little white Nazi stormtrooper?
Scully: Mulder, the human mind naturally seeks out meaningful patterns and configurations in things that don't inherently have any. Given the suggestion of a particular image, you couldn't help but see that shape somewhere. If that tank weren't there, you'd see it in a ...in a rock or in a tree.
Mulder: Did you answer my question?
Scully: Yes, it looks like a fat little white Nazi stormtrooper, but that only proves my point.
Clyde Bruckman: Do you want to know how you're going to die?
Clyde Bruckman: No, you don't.
Scully: You prognosticated Buddy Holly's death?
Clyde Bruckman: Oh, God, no. Why would I want to do that? But I did have a ticket to see him perform the next night. Actually, I was a bigger fan of the Big Bopper than Buddy Holly. "Chantilly Lace," that was the song.
Mulder: I'm not following.
Clyde Bruckman: There's... the Big Bopper was not supposed to be on the plane with Buddy Holly. He won the seat from somebody else by flipping a coin for it.
Mulder: I'm still not following.
Clyde Bruckman: Imagine all the things that had to occur, not only in his life, but in everybody else's, to arrange it so on that particular night, the Big Bopper would be in a position to live or die depending on a flipping coin. I became so obsessed with that idea that I gradually became capable of seeing the specifics of everybody's death.
Scully: All right. So how do I die?
Clyde Bruckman: You don't.
(In this episode, Clyde Bruckman says to Scully that she won't die, and gives no further explanations.In a later episode of the show, Scully sees the Reaper in the eyes of a dying person, so this could mean that she is actually immortal.)
Clyde: What is this?
Mulder: The only evidence recovered from Claude Duckenfield's body. That fiber may have come from something the killer was wearing at the time of the crime.
Clyde: Don't you have crime labs that could analyze these things for you?
Scully: (meaningful look at Mulder) Yes! Yes, we do.
Clyde: Look, I've got my own work to do. I'm not a crime fighter by trade.
Mulder: Mr. Bruckman. I can't speak for my partner. But I'm desperate. For some insurance.
Clyde: General Mutual has some very comprehensive coverage...
(Mulder waves the evidence bag in front of Clyde's face)
Clyde: Oh I can't tell you where this is from, but the killer is going to kill more people before you catch him.
Scully: Can you see him physically yet?
Clyde: No. No, just more insight into his character which I know you hate.