X-Files: Beyond the Sea

Comprehensive Storyform

The following analysis reveals a comprehensive look at the Storyform for X-Files: Beyond the Sea. Unlike most of the analysis found here—which simply lists the unique individual story appreciations—this in-depth study details the actual encoding for each structural item. This also means it has been incorporated into the Dramatica Story Expert application itself as an easily referenced contextual example.

Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Main Character Resolve

In spite of Scully’s momentary belief in Boggs’ psychic abilities, she returns to her skeptical nature.
MULDER:  Scully. . . after all you’ve told me.  After all the evidence. . .
SCULLY:  Because I’m afraid. . . I’m afraid to believe.
MULDER:  You couldn’t face that fear? Even if it meant never knowing what your father was trying to tell you?
SCULLY:  But I do know.
SCULLY:  He was my father.

Main Character Growth

Scully has to start to believe in herself apart from what her father may have thought of her life choices.  She must believe in her ability to solve this case without the guidance of her partner, and act effectively to save the kidnap victims.

Main Character Approach

In spite of the grief over her father’s death, Scully continues to work.  She accompanies her partner to the prison to assist him with the case.  When Scully sees the landmarks Boggs described as leading to the kidnapper’s lair, she immediately investigates the warehouse and finds valuable clues.  She takes over the lead in the case when her partner is shot; threatens Boggs when she believes he set her and Mulder up to be murdered; tries to obtain a deal for Boggs in order to get information to save Jim Summers; leads the chase after the kidnapper.

Main Character Mental Sex

Scully approaches problems using linear thinking:  She decides that since her father never told her he was proud of her being in the FBI, he must not have been; follows clues to an abandoned warehouse and finds evidence; decides that with only three days left to save the teenagers, they must deal with Boggs to get information; reasons that because Mulder was shot, Boggs must have orchestrated the attack.

Story Driver

The teenagers are kidnapped and Mulder and Scully investigate the case; when Boggs sends for Mulder, he and Scully question him; Boggs describes where the victims are being held which leads to Scully finding evidence that advances the investigation and raises questions as to Boggs’ involvement in the kidnapping; after Mulder is shot Scully threatens Boggs; when Boggs withholds valuable information, Scully decides to approach the warden on his behalf.

Story Limit

Scully and Mulder have only five days to find the two teens before they’re murdered—Lucas Henry, the kidnapper, is preparing to re-enact a grisly anniversary.  In one week Boggs, who claims to have powers to help find the victims, will be executed.  As the story progresses each deadline moves the story closer to its climax.

Story Outcome

Scully and Mulder achieve the goal of freeing the kidnap victims before they become murder victims.

Story Judgment

Scully resolves her doubts that her father was proud of her.  She recovers her self-confidence, and by the end of the story is assured that her partner will recover from his injuries.

Overall Story Throughline

""Portrait of a Serial Killer""

Overall Story Throughline

The objective characters have different ways of thinking:  Boggs thinks he can manipulate Mulder and Scully with demonstrations of his psychic abilities; Mulder thinks Boggs is a fake and, out of revenge, is setting a trap for him for sending Boggs to the gas chamber; Mulder tries to convince Scully not to fall for Boggs “trap”; Scully suspends her disbelief of extreme possibilities and thinks that believing in Boggs will aid the case and possibly ease her doubts about her father’s love.

Overall Story Concern

Jim Summers and Liz Hawley are afraid of becoming murder victims; Lucas Henry wants to become a full-fledged serial killer by ending the lives of Jim and Liz; Boggs uses this threat to escape becoming a resident of the cold, dark place he calls death; Scully wants to save the teenagers from becoming murder victims; Mulder shares Scully’s concern, and wants to prevent himself from becoming an object of Boggs’ revenge.

Overall Story Issue

William Scully has a commitment to support his daughter’s choices whatever they may be.  He’s urged to verbalize his commitment by his wife after a Christmastime dinner at Scully’s apartment.  Mulder is devoted to proving Boggs a fraud, and that he’s orchestrating the kidnapping from prison.  He interrogates Boggs for five hours, determined to get a confession.  Scully has a commitment to do everything possible to save the lives of Jim and Liz, no matter how painful it may be dealing with Boggs.  Boggs is so dedicated to getting himself off death row he threatens to withhold information that will save the teenagers’ lives.

Overall Story Counterpoint

Margaret Scully believes she knows best concerning how her husband wanted his funeral, a ceremony attended by just the immediate family instead of a formal burial at Arlington.  Mulder, who believes in psychic ability and knows Boggs’ history, thinks he’s the one who can prove Boggs is a fraud.  The warden has a responsibility to the community to see that Boggs pays for his crimes, and is never again to enter society.

Overall Story Thematic Conflict
Commitment vs.Responsibility

There is a fine line between commitment and responsibility in this story.  However, the ever increasing commitment between Mulder and Scully is demonstrated by his concern over her loss of her father.  Throughout the story he calls her by her first name, Dana, something he rarely does, and urges her to back away from the case if it hurts her to be on the job so soon after her father’s death.  Scully is committed to saving the teenagers when it’s obvious the case is causing her great distress—she could bow out since other FBI agents are responsible for the case as well.  Her personal commitment to Mulder shows when she threatens Boggs after her partner is wounded.

Overall Story Problem

Lucas Henry tries to avoid capture before he can kill his victims on the anniversary of his mother’s fatal accident, making it difficult for the FBI to find him and rescue the teenagers; Jim Summer and Liz Hawley struggle to escape being tortured and murdered, which causes them to be beaten by Henry; Boggs plots to escape the gas chamber and creates a difference of opinion between Mulder and Scully.

Overall Story Solution

From her hospital bed, Liz Hawley assists in the pursuit of the kidnapper, who still has Jim, by identifying him as Lucas Henry from a mug shot.  This limits Henry’s chances of avoiding capture as now the FBI has his history and has uncovered his motive for the kidnapping.  The closer the FBI gets to Henry, the more chances Jim Summer has to escape a gruesome death.

Overall Story Symptom

When Jim is first approached in the lovers’ lane, he is certain the uniformed man knocking on his car window is a police officer, not realizing it is a killer; Mulder doesn’t take Bogg’s claims of psychic abilities on faith, and is concerned with anyone who does, particularly Scully.

Overall Story Response

Once Jim gets out of the car and sees the “cop’s” shoes, he takes the direction of disbelief, asking for identification, but it’s too late.  Mulder disbelieves Boggs’ claim of being a psychic and tries to trick Boggs by giving him a piece of his old Knicks t-shirt to channel with.

Overall Story Catalyst

The use of responsibility by the characters accelerates the story:  Scully, feeling she’s best suited to assist Mulder in the case, doesn’t take a break after her father’s funeral, accompanies him to interview Boggs, and is confronted with Boggs’ claims that he can channel William Scully’s spirit.  Mulder thinks he’s the best one to judge if Boggs is a genuine psychic, and when Scully challenges Mulder’s expertise, a battle of beliefs erupts between them.

Overall Story Inhibitor

The objective characters’ use of denial slows down the story.  Mulder refuses to accept that Boggs is telling the truth about his psychic abilities, and refuses to act upon Boggs’ information until there’s only three days left to find the kids; Mulder’s stubbornness continues even after Liz is found, and he’s shot just like Boggs predicted.  Boggs’ refusal to channel more information until he gets his deal slows down efforts to find Jim Summers before he’s murdered.  Scully’s unwillingness to let her doubts about her father go causes her to lose focus of the vital issues in the case.  She spends valuable time arguing with Mulder over Boggs’ motives and abilities when they both should be tracking down the kidnapper.

Overall Story Benchmark

Examples of how “conceptualizing” is the standard by which progress is measured in the objective story are: Boggs’ plan to commute the death sentence; Lucas Henry envisions kidnapping the teenagers and holding them until it’s time to kill them.

Additional Overall Story Information →
Overall Story Throughline Synopsis

Dana Scully’s father dies suddenly after a visit, and she’s shocked when he appears to her in a vision.  In her newly vulnerable state, she’s deeply disturbed by a North Carolina death row inmate, Luther Lee Boggs, who claims to be able to channel the spirits of the dead, and is willing to trade information about a kidnapping in exchange for commutation of his sentence.  Mulder thinks the whole scheme is a hoax, but Scully is troubled by doubt.  Her belief in science is further shaken when she follows some of Boggs’ channeled “clues” to a crime scene; Mulder thinks Boggs is orchestrating the whole kidnapping with an outside accomplice.  Yet when Boggs accurately predicts Mulder’s shooting and a chase through an abandoned brewery, Scully must decide how far she is willing to go to test her faith in science. (20th Century Fox Corp., American Online)

Overall Story Backstory

Two days ago, a couple was kidnapped at Jackson University, Jim Summers and Liz Hawley.  According to Mulder’s files, this same time last year two other students were snatched, held and tortured for a week, and then killed.  He believes the same man has Jim and Liz, and only five days are left to find them before they’re murdered as well.  Meanwhile, Mulder has been summoned by Luther Boggs, a death row inmate, who claims he has details of the recent kidnapping received through psychic transmissions.  Boggs, who’s facing execution in one week, wants his sentence reduced to life in prison in exchange for his assistance in the case.  Mulder, whose psychological profile helped put Boggs on death row, believes Boggs is orchestrating the kidnapping from inside prison, and is running a scam to save his life.  Mulder and a grief-stricken Scully go to a North Carolina prison to interview Boggs and test his claims.

Main Character Throughline

Dana Scully — FBI Agent

Main Character Throughline

Scully finds herself in a situation where she’s forced to rely upon a killer to save two innocent people, and resolve a highly personal issue.  Her emotional state could be clouding her judgment and cost the lives of the two teenagers, and possibly her partner.  Never before have her personal needs been tied to her professional life.  It’s a situation that causes problems for her.

Main Character Concern

Scully is concerned for the lives of Jim Summers and Liz Hawley.  She also worries about living the rest of her life without her father, and without knowing if he was proud of her or not.  She’s facing a future without her father, and later, after Mulder’s shot, she may have to continue on without her partner.  She’s furious and so afraid of this prospect that she threatens Boggs with pulling the switch in the gas chamber herself.

Main Character Issue

Tempered by an unusual event following her father’s death, Scully is willing to accept the possibility that Boggs may have psychic abilities that can lead to the rescue of Jim Summers and Liz Hawley.  Her willingness pays off when she follows information given in a channeling session by Boggs and finds valuable evidence in the case.  Mulder is unusually skeptical and opposes Scully’s openness:
MULDER:  It could have been a set up.  You could be dead right now!
But Scully is not willing to state in her official report how she came upon the warehouse where she found Liz’s necklace.
MULDER:  What you’re saying is you don’t want to go on record admitting you believe Boggs.  The Bureau would expect something like this from “Spooky” Mulder, not Dana Scully.
SCULLY:  I thought you’d be pleased that for once I’d opened myself to “extreme possibilities.”

Main Character Counterpoint

Scully becomes prejudiced against Boggs after Mulder is shot.  Where before she believed he had true psychic abilities, she reverts to her intolerance for paranormal events and accuses Boggs of fakery and setting Mulder up for murder.

Main Character Thematic Conflict
Openness vs.Preconception

While Scully shows unusual openness during the case she falls back to her previous position of being closed-minded to paranormal events.
MULDER:  Scully. . . after all you’ve told me.  After all the evidence. . .  Dana. . . why can’t you believe?
SCULLY:  Because I’m afraid. . . I’m afraid to believe.
MULDER:  You couldn’t face that fear?  Even if it meant never knowing what your father was trying to tell you?
SCULLY:  But I do know.
SCULLY:  He was my father.

Main Character Problem

After her father’s death Scully’s reconsideration of her choice to join the FBI rather than become a medical doctor causes problems for her.
SCULLY:  Mom. . . I know you and Dad were disappointed that I chose the path I’m on instead of Medicine.  But I need to know. . . Was he at all proud of me?
And now, directly after her father’s funeral, she goes back to work being involved with nasty crimes and criminals. 
Mulder triggers her to reconsider her position again when he points out her conflict concerning her father.
MULDER:  You said he didn’t approve of you becoming an FBI agent.  If being on the job right now makes you feel guilty, you have to back away.
SCULLY:  I love this job.
MULDER:  You loved your father.

Main Character Solution

Scully contemplates her decision to join the FBI and comes to the conclusion that she made the right choice.

Main Character Symptom

Scully’s steadfast belief in science is shaken when she experiences a vision of her father, and it is apparent that a convicted killer can channel her father’s spirit.

Main Character Response

Scully thinks that using disbelief in the paranormal will solve her problems.  Even after everything she’s witnessed during this case alone, Scully maintains her distrust of extreme possibilities.
SCULLY:  I was considering Boggs. If he was aware that I was your partner, he could have found out. . . all he knew about me. . . about my father.  [. . .]  “Beyond the Sea” was played at my parents’ wedding.  Visions of deceased loved ones are a common psychological phenomenon.  If he knew that my father had recently. . .”

Main Character Unique Ability

Scully chooses to heed Boggs’ warning not to follow Lucas Henry to the Devil.  She stops chasing him in the brewery when she sees him running toward a painting of a blue devil.  He then falls to his death.  Her decision to believe Boggs saves her life and the life of Jim Summers.

Main Character Critical Flaw

Scully’s attitude that she must have absolute proof of something before she can believe it causes her great personal anxiety concerning her father.  All she has to do is trust her feelings that as a father he’d always love her, and be proud of her if she were happy with her life; it really wouldn’t matter if he wanted her to do something else.  Fortunately for the sake of the kidnap victims, she does not allow this attitude to stop her from following Boggs’ “psychic” clues to the killer.

Main Character Benchmark

As the story moves forward Scully judges her progress by what has already happened:  Every step she takes in this case is connected to her past disappointment in her father’s disapproval of her becoming a FBI agent.  When she’s with Boggs’ she imagines her father trying to tell her something; she’s uncertain how to proceed in the case because of guilt over past choices; she bargains for Boggs in part because she wants the approval from her father that she didn’t get during his lifetime.

Additional Main Character Information →
Main Character Description

Dana Katherine Scully is five feet, two inches, has blue eyes and red hair, and was born on February 23, 1964.  Her FBI Badge Number is 2317-616.  (Genge, p. 21) “She’s no-nonsense, unflinching, and obsessively skeptical (despite having seen more aliens than Steven Spielberg, she still finds ways of explaining them away); walking encyclopedia of pathology; can toss around perps twice her size.”  (Entertainment Weekly, p. 28)

Main Character Throughline Synopsis

Scully, on returning to work immediately after the unexpected death of her father, is particularly vulnerable to serial killer Luther Lee Boggs’ tantalizing glimpse into the world beyond.  When Mulder is shot and she’s left to continue the case alone, she must reconcile herself to her father’s death before she can put Boggs out of her mind and save the lives of two innocent teens.  (The X-Files, America Online)

Main Character Backstory

Dana Katherine Scully is a medical doctor with an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Maryland.  She was recruited for the FBI right out of medical school, and had been teaching at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA.  Dana had a special relationship with her father, Navy Captain William Scully, she called him Ahab, and he called her Starbuck (Ahab being the Captain and Starbuck being the Lieutenant from Moby Dick).  He disapproved of Dana’s decision to follow a career in the FBI rather than in the medical profession, much to Dana’s disappointment.  She was assigned to be Mulder’s partner in order to keep an eye on him and determine whether he is perhaps too obsessed with the X files.  Scully is skeptical of anything paranormal, believing that everything has a logical, scientifically-quantified explanation.  Though in most of the cases she and Mulder have been on she has not witnessed any overt paranormal activities, she has had brushes with unexplainable phenomena that may have her start questioning her beliefs.  (20th Century Fox Film Corp., American Online)

Influence Character Throughline

Luther Lee Boggs — Psychic Death Row Inmate

Influence Character Throughline

Boggs is determined to use his psychic ability to save himself from another trip to the gas chamber.  He repeatedly demands a deal of a commuted sentence to life in prison in return for information that will save the kidnapping victims.
BOGGS:  . . . whether I’m runnin’ the show with Lucas, or I’m channeling. . . no more information is coming until I have a deal.  I got nothin’ to lose.

Influence Character Concern

Boggs is terrified of facing the souls of his slain family in death.  He’ll do anything to save himself from being strapped in the gas chamber again.
BOGGS:  I know my Hell will be to go to that chair over and over again for all of time.  But in this life. . . my one and only life. . . I don’t ever want to go again.

Influence Character Issue

Boggs tries to postpone his fate—execution, the ultimate closure, because he fears facing the ghosts of his victims.  To him death isn’t the end, but the beginning of an endless hell.  But when Scully fails to get him the deal he desperately wants, he seems to accept that his life is ending.
SCULLY:  Luther. . . if you. . .  if you really were a psychic. . .
BOGGS:  I would have known you lied.  There never was a deal.
BOGGS:  I know you tried.  I’ll grant you a favor and keep this between you and me.
SCULLY:  Why did you tell me?
BOGGS:  In the hope there’ll be one less ghost when they walk me down that hallway.

Influence Character Counterpoint

Boggs refuses to face the fact that he’ll be executed in a few days.  He refuses to let go of the notion that if he helps save the two teens, he’ll earn himself a deal that will save him from the gas chamber.
BOGGS:  Nuh huh.  Let’s deal.  Boggs’ life, for the kids, know what I’m saying?
MULDER:  You have to prove you’re telling the truth.
BOGGS:  Je ne vous dois pas n sou.
SCULLY:  Then we don’t owe you any deal to keep Boggs out of the gas chamber.

Influence Character Thematic Conflict
Closure vs.Denial

While Boggs operates in denial during most of the story, closure is finally achieved.
BOGGS:  Not now.  Be here tonight.  My witness.  When they got me in the chair and they open them blinds. . . you’ll get your message.

Influence Character Problem

Boggs’ use of avoidance causes problems for Scully.  His obsessive efforts to avoid being sent back to the gas chamber involves pressuring Scully to believe that he is a true psychic when Mulder doesn’t, causing conflict between Scully and Mulder.  Boggs prevents the spirit of William Scully from speaking to her, and demands that she make a deal for a commuted sentence or she’ll never get her father’s message.
BOGGS:  Nobody talks to no one no more ‘til I get my deal.  Don’t underestimate my fear of dying.  Don’t down play my terror of going back to that chair.

Influence Character Solution

Boggs pursues a bargain that will allow him to escape the gas chamber and a cold, torturous Hell.  He summons Mulder to death row in an attempt to persuade the authorities that his psychic powers can save the kidnapped teenagers from death.

Influence Character Symptom

After he fails to convince Mulder of his psychic abilities, Boggs considers the possibility of trading a message from Scully’s dead father for her help in getting the deal that will save his life.  Being swayed by Boggs’ demonstration of his powers, Scully comes into direct conflict with Mulder, who’s sure Boggs is a fake, and is somehow orchestrating the crime from prison.

Influence Character Response

Boggs reconsiders giving information to aid the case and offers Scully an ultimatum:  No more information until he gets his deal.  Scully goes against her standing position of skepticism to act upon the notion that Boggs is genuine.  She comes into conflict with Mulder:
MULDER:  No matter what. . . don’t believe him.
SCULLY:  I never thought I’d say this to you. . . but what if there’s another explanation. . .
MULDER:  Don’t deal with him.  He could be trying to claim you as his last victim.

Influence Character Unique Ability

Boggs’ unique ability to conjure up the spirit world fuels his dream to escape death by execution.  His drive to fulfill his dream leads him to lure Scully to help him by promising to fulfill her dream of hearing her dead father’s last message to her.  Boggs almost succeeds in thwarting Scully:  she’s torn between her emotional need to have her father’s parting words of approval, her fundamental skepticism of extreme possibilities, her obligation to perform her job in a professional manner that will save the kidnap victims, and her loyalty to her partner.
MULDER:  Dana. . . open yourself to “extreme possibilities” only when they are the truth.  That goes for Luther Boggs. . . or feelings toward your father.

Influence Character Critical Flaw

Boggs gives in to his moral obligation to save the innocent Jim Summers from murder even when he can’t get his commuted sentence.  He channels information on Summers’ location that allows Scully and other agents to save him.  Giving the authorities what they want doesn’t save Boggs from having to face the ghosts of his victims on his way to the gas chamber a second and final time.

Influence Character Benchmark

As the story progresses, Boggs’ memory of his experience in the gas chamber moments before receiving a stay of execution fuels his desire more and more to save himself from the terror of death.  He remembers that as he was lead to the gas chamber the ghosts of his victims lined the corridor and watched him.
BOGGS:  Each of their fear. . . their horror. . . that I made them feel when I killed them was injected into me. . . that collective fear alone was a taste of Hell. . .

More Influence Character Information →
Influence Character Description

“Across the knuckles of the left hand is tattooed “KISS.”  Across the knuckles of the right hand is tattooed “KILL.”  . . . his eyes stare into a personal abyss.  A pair of small dice are tattooed on his neck.  He’s thin, cracked, and ugly.”  (Morgan and Wong, p. 13)

Influence Character Throughline Synopsis

Having acquired psychic abilities after his horrifying experience during his last trip to the gas chamber, Boggs is determined to use his gift to stop the state’s plan to send him back to the death chamber.  He offers information that will save two kidnapped teenagers, but only if his sentence is reduced to life in prison.  Boggs sends for Mulder to broker the deal, but the FBI agent refuses to believe in Boggs’ psychic abilities.  Boggs focuses on Scully’s desire to hear her dead father’s last words to her and promises to channel his spirit, but only if she gets Boggs the deal he needs to escape execution.  He challenges her to believe him, taunting her with the impending death of one of the missing teens.  When Scully tries but fails to get him a deal, Boggs seems to accept his fate and channels information that saves the teenager and saves Scully’s life.

Influence Character Backstory

Mulder explains to Scully that his psychological profile helped send Boggs to the gas chamber in 1992.
MULDER:  In November, ‘92, he was actually strapped to the chair before getting an Executive stay.  He claims the experience has activated the ability to channel spirits and demons.  [. . .] At six years old, Luther Lee Boggs slaughtered every pet animal in his housing project.  At age thirty, he strangled five family members over Thanksgiving dinner.  Then sat down to catch the fourth quarter of the Detroit-Green Bay game.  Some killers are products of society.  Some act out past abuses.  Boggs kills because he likes it.

Relationship Story Throughline

""Beyond the Sea""

Relationship Story Throughline

Boggs endeavors to secure a deal that will save him from the gas chamber and the horrors of death.  He demonstrates his “powers” to Mulder and Scully by describing a warehouse where the two teenagers are held.  Scully, recovering from her father’s sudden death, is susceptible to Boggs claims of psychic ability, especially when his information pans out.  Boggs is aware of this, and particularly works on her vulnerability to gain his freedom with the promise of a last message from her father in return for her efforts to stay his execution.

Relationship Story Concern

Scully wants to get information that will save the kidnapped teenagers, and she wants her father’s final message which only Boggs can give her.  But he demands a price for the information to get what he wants, another stay of execution and a reduced sentence to life in prison.  He insists that Scully believe in him, to act against her partner’s wishes and against her disbelief in the paranormal.  In order to get his deal, Boggs figuratively holds the endangered Jim Summers hostage causing Scully a major dilemma:
BOGGS:  If I die. . . then that boy’s gonna pay a visit to that cold, dark place. . .

Relationship Story Issue

Self interest on the part of Scully and Boggs creates conflict between them.  Boggs is only concerned with saving his life and sparing himself the hellish experience of seeing the ghosts of his victims.  He uses Scully’s vulnerability, especially her need to have her father’s message, to force her to make a deal for him.  Scully’s interested in easing her guilty feelings for disappointing her father by not practicing medicine, and tries to use Boggs to get a final word of approval from her father’s spirit.  Also, she’s so set on freeing Jim Summers and solving the case that she lies to Boggs about securing him a deal.

Relationship Story Counterpoint

Although Scully certainly has her own interests, between her and Boggs she is the one who represents morality.  Scully puts aside her personal problems and self-doubts to track down the kidnapper and save the two teenagers.

Relationship Story Thematic Conflict
Self-Interest vs.Morality

While self interest is shown throughout the story, morality eases the rift between Boggs and Scully.  Even though he does not get his deal, he knows she tried and he freely channels the location where Jim Summers is being held as a gift to Scully.  He also warns her to avoid the devil, a tip that saves her life.  Perhaps he does this as a belated effort to redeem himself.

Relationship Story Problem

Boggs’ use of temptation causes problems for Scully:  He tempts her to believe in his abilities by giving her glimpses of her father’s spirit; he sings “Beyond the Sea” which was playing at her father’s funeral; calls her Starbuck, her father’s nickname for Scully; interrupts her father’s spirit from talking to Scully and demands that she secure a deal for him before she can get her father’s message.  It’s extremely dangerous for Scully to succumb to temptation because she could endanger the innocent victims, her partner’s life as well as her own, and damage her professional reputation when she actually goes to the warden to bargain on Boggs’ behalf.
WARDEN:  . . . The only thing Boggs’ll get from me is a timely death. . . I’ll grant you a favor, Agent Scully.  I’ll keep this “request” strictly between you and me.

Relationship Story Solution

Boggs displays a conscience when he gives Scully valuable information even though she fails to get him a deal; warns her of dangers in chasing the evil Lucas Henry; indicates that he knows she’s worthy of being saved, and that he’s not.
BOGGS:  Scully. . . Avoid the Devil.  Don’t follow Henry to the Devil.  Leave that to me.

Relationship Story Symptom

Boggs tries to persuade Scully to have faith in him, but she’s so confused about why she’s seeing her father’s spirit that she can’t have complete faith in him.  Is grief and guilt triggering these aberrations?  Scully isn’t sure and the more Boggs pushes her the more she resists having any faith in him at all.  Boggs having been blessed with such an astonishing gift is predisposed to take a giant leap of faith in Scully’s ability to get him a reduced sentence, particularly if she’s given a strong enough incentive.

Relationship Story Response

Scully chooses to disbelieve in Boggs after Mulder is shot because she no longer trusts his motives, and she thinks refusing to accept him as a psychic frees her from dependence upon him to solve her personal problem involving her father.  Boggs is compelled to find Scully’s refusal to believe in him unconvincing because she’s his last hope to escape execution.
SCULLY:  I don’t believe you.
BOGGS:  There’s plenty of room in that cold place for liars, Scully.

Relationship Story Catalyst

The use of morality in the subjective story moves it forward:  Scully, thinking only of her partner who’s been shot and of Jim Summer who’s still a captive, blasts Boggs for his involvement in the kidnapping and Mulder’s shooting, and risks her chance to speak to her father’s spirit through Boggs.  This causes Boggs to withhold all information from Scully, putting Jim’s life in greater jeopardy.  He demands that she bargain with the warden for his life.

Relationship Story Inhibitor

After Mulder is shot Scully thinks she was wrong about Boggs and that he is orchestrating the kidnapping from prison and tried to kill her partner.  She refuses to re-evaluate her conclusion even after Boggs channels her own personal childhood experience right before her eyes.  Her position causes a stalemate in their relationship where he refuses to help her and she vows not to help him, either.

Relationship Story Benchmark

As the subjective story moves forward, understanding between Scully and Boggs grows:  He understands that she believes in him and says so in front of Mulder and the other agents, causing her embarrassment; he understands that she wants him to channel her father’s spirit and uses that to force her to bargain for him; after Boggs tells her of his terrifying experience, Scully understands how much he fears the gas chamber, and that he’ll no longer help in the case until he gets his deal.

Additional Relationship Story Information →
Relationship Story Throughline Synopsis

After Scully’s father dies suddenly, her skepticism is tested by Luther Boggs on death row who claims that by using recently gained psychic powers, he can help catch the kidnapper of two teens before he murders them.  Scully must decide for herself whether or not Boggs’ visions are truth or a by-product of her grief.  (The X-Files, America Online)

Relationship Story Backstory

Scully and her father share a special relationship, but he’s disappointed that she joined the FBI instead of practicing medicine.  After a Christmas visit by her parents, Scully falls asleep on her couch and wakes up at 1:47 a.m. to see her father sitting across from her saying something she can’t hear.  (It is, in fact, the Lord’s Prayer.)  At that moment her mother calls her to announce that her father has died of a heart attack.  Shocked by her paranormal experience and haunted by the need have her father’s approval, Scully goes back to work.  She assists Mulder in the interview of Boggs, a death row inmate who claims that the terror of his trip to the gas chamber before a last second stay of execution triggered psychic abilities.  He’s scheduled to be executed within a week and wants a reduced sentence to life in prison.  In return, he will help save two kidnapped teenagers from death.  Mulder believes that Boggs is a fake.  However, when Boggs sings a song associated with her father and then calls her by her special nickname, Scully begins to think that Boggs is genuine—he can help in the case, and he can give her her father’s final message.  Boggs is so afraid of facing the gas chamber again he’ll do anything to get Scully to secure a deal for him.

Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Overall Story Goal

Everyone is concerned with the kidnapped Jim Summers and Liz Hawley becoming murder victims.

Overall Story Consequence

If Mulder and Scully fail to save the teens, the victims lose their lives; Lucas Henry achieves the infamous title of killer; Boggs loses a chance to save his life from the gas chamber.

Overall Story Cost

Jim and Liz are deprived of their basic desire to live, and be free of pain and terror.

Overall Story Dividend

As the story progresses Liz Hawley, and later, Jim, are rescued and given a chance for a future; Mulder recovers from his wound assuring him a future of working with Scully and continuing his crusade for the truth; Lucas Henry is killed running from Scully, ridding the world of a crazed man and sparing future victims from his madness.

Overall Story Requirements

Lucas Henry imagines capturing two young people to represent his dead girlfriend and mother, hold them for a week until the anniversary of his mother’s accidental decapitation, and then murder them.  Mulder envisions that his phony newspaper article will trick Boggs into contacting his supposed accomplice, allowing the FBI to trace the call, and capture the kidnapper before he kills the teenagers.

Overall Story Prerequisites

Mulder and Scully must understand the meaning of Boggs’ visions if they are to save the victims.

Overall Story Preconditions

Boggs counts on Scully to believe in his psychic abilities after he recalls an incident from her childhood.
BOGGS:  . . . I was so excited. . . I shook. . . not ‘cause of the cigarette, it was gross. . . but because I wasn’t supposed to. . .
SCULLY:  That could be a moment from any kid’s life.

Overall Story Forewarnings

In the past Boggs was scheduled to be executed.  He was put through the ritual of the last meal and marched to the gas chamber.  He remembers that the souls of his family who he had murdered after their last meal watched him eat his last meal that day.  He’s terrified of experiencing the agony of facing his victims and going to that cold place in death.  Boggs’ past threatens to repeat itself and death threatens to touch Jim and Liz, and Mulder when he’s shot.

Plot Progression

Dynamic Act Appreciations

Overall Story

Overall Story Signpost 1

Lucas Henry acts like a campus cop to aid in his kidnapping plot; Liz Hawley and Jim Summers act like star-crossed lovers, sneaking off to be alone together; Mrs. Scully, fulfilling her husband’s wish for his ashes to be scattered upon the sea, acts as the head of the family.

Overall Story Journey 1 from Being to Becoming

Liz and Jim are violently transformed from young lovers to kidnap and torture victims.  During Boggs’ first channeling session he taps into Liz’s and Jim’s terror as they lie bound and gagged in a deserted warehouse.
BOGGS:  No. . . no. . . stop. . . pain.  Horrible pain. . . the boy. . . Jim, he’s tied with. . . twine. . . He whips them, with a hanger.  A wire. . . coat hanger. . . blood. . .

Overall Story Signpost 2

In this specific case, Mulder becomes a skeptic.  He sets a trap for Boggs with the phony newspaper article to make him reveal his supposed accomplice in the kidnapping.  According to Boggs the kidnapper’s aim is to become a killer:
BOGGS:  The “kidnapper” is aroused by the prospect of becoming a “killer.” 
Boggs becomes a fortune teller when he predicts that Mulder will be wounded in front of a white cross.

Overall Story Journey 2 from Becoming to Conceiving

Mulder is upset when Scully exhibits belief and trust in Boggs’ psychic abilities.  He admonishes her that she could have been killed by following Boggs’ “clues” to the warehouse.  More determined than ever to prove Boggs a fraud, Mulder comes up with the idea of the phony newspaper article to flush out Boggs’ accomplice.

Overall Story Signpost 3

Agent Thomas of the FBI comes up with the notion that Lucas Henry helped Boggs in five murders and may be controlled by Boggs now.

Overall Story Journey 3 from Conceiving to Conceptualizing

In the decaying brewery, Lucas Henry envisions beheading Jim Summers with his hatchet.  He works himself into a murderous rage as he yells, screams, and whacks a table with his hatchet.

Overall Story Signpost 4

Lucas Henry envisions that beheading Jim Summers will ease his rage at witnessing his mother’s death; Mulder envisions that Boggs, having failed to kill him, is trying to murder Scully by leading her into a trap with phony psychic information.
MULDER:  He could be trying to claim you as his last victim.

Main Character

Main Character Signpost 1

Scully’s unhappy that her father disapproved of her choice to join the FBI and not practice medicine; as passionate as she is about her work she reverts to acting like shy child when he asks how her job is going.  When her parents leave, her last words to her father are:
SCULLY:  Night, Daddy.

Main Character Journey 1 from Past to Progress

It’s established that Scully was hurt by her father’s disapproval of her choice to join the FBI.  Now facing his death and the lost chance to ever get the approval she so badly wanted, Scully approaches her mother at the funeral.
SCULLY:  Mom. . . I know you and Dad were disappointed that I chose the path I’m on instead of Medicine.  But I need to know. . . Was he at all proud of me?

Main Character Signpost 2

At first Scully feels her visions of her father are caused by grief, but things get more complicated when she starts to believe in Boggs.  Mulder insists that she’s put herself in danger by trusting Boggs’ information, tells her her judgment is impaired, and suggests she back away from the case; Boggs ruins her credibility when he insists in front of the FBI agents that she believes him, not Mulder; Scully urges Mulder to deal with Boggs as time is running out for the two victims, and he’s shot during a raid on the kidnapper’s hideout.

Main Character Journey 2 from Progress to Present

Events are not going well for Scully and the situation gets worse when Mulder is shot and now she’s afraid for her partner, alone, and angry.  Now convinced that Boggs set Mulder up, Scully threatens to:
SCULLY: . . . four days from now, nobody will stop me from being the one to throw the switch that’ll gas you out of this life, you son of a bitch.

Main Character Signpost 3

Scully watches as doctors work on an unconscious Mulder, worried about him; she realizes that the kidnapper and Boggs are probably working together just as Mulder suspected, and she may have lead him into a trap; she threatens Boggs and he refuses to give authorities any more information on the case.

Main Character Journey 3 from Present to Future

Scully successfully resolves the kidnapping case and her personal issue involving her father to the point where she doesn’t feel the need to be at Boggs’ execution to receive her message.

Main Character Signpost 4

Scully decides that how she will think about her relationship with her father no longer depends upon getting a message through Boggs.

Influence Character

Influence Character Signpost 1

Boggs channels spirits that voice their recollections through him.

influence Character Journey 1 from Memory to Preconscious

While channeling information concerning the missing teenagers, Boggs assumes the personalities of Liz and Jim, and even though he’s miles away from them when they’re being beaten, he flinches in reflex to their pain.

Influence Character Signpost 2

While channeling for information about Jim’s and Liz’s location, Boggs is helpless to block their innate responses to their fear.

Influence Character Journey 2 from Preconscious to Subconscious

Boggs’ reflex is to save himself from another horrifying experience in the gas chamber.  He explains to Scully just how deep his fear is:
BOGGS:  I felt myself leave my body.  I thought they had already killed me. . . It’s a cold. . .  dark. . .  place, Scully.

Influence Character Signpost 3

Desperate Boggs pressures Scully to get him a deal that will save him from the gas chamber.
BOGGS:  Don’t underestimate my fear of dying. . .

Influence Character Journey 3 from Subconscious to Conscious

Boggs is so driven by the fear of facing his murder victims in death that he blackmails Scully to make a deal in his behalf.  But when that fails, Boggs contemplates his situation and decides give information that will save Jim Summers, and he warns Scully:
BOGGS:  Scully. . . Avoid the Devil.  Don’t follow Henry to the Devil.  Leave that to me.

Influence Character Signpost 4

Boggs considers that he failed getting his deal and he might as well save himself from greeting two more ghosts on his way to the gas chamber by giving information that will save Jim Summers and Dana Scully.

Relationship Story

Relationship Story Signpost 1

Scully doesn’t understand the implications of seeing her dead father’s face on Boggs, the killer psychic.  She staggers against a wall and runs out past Mulder.  Boggs understands Scully’s need to get her father’s final message.

Relationship Story Journey 1 from Understanding to DoingScully, still upset from her experience of seeing her father in Boggs' prison cell, notices the neon waterfall and the stone angel mentioned in Boggs' channeling session. She finds the warehouse and investigates it without any backup, totally driven by her need to find the kidnapping victims, and perhaps to verify Boggs' abilities and ease her own mind about her visions.
Relationship Story Signpost 2

Boggs starts to execute his plan to pressure Scully to act on her belief in him.  He thwarts Mulder’s trap by calling him on his cell phone instead of calling a supposed accomplice, and declares in front of the agents that Scully believes him.
BOGGS:  Miss Scully does.  She believes us.

Relationship Story Journey 2 from Doing to Obtaining

Scully threatens Boggs when she thinks he set Mulder up to be shot, and declares that she does not believe in Boggs.  However, she desperately needs Boggs to channel her father’s last message.  Almost in tears she asks Boggs for what she wants:
SCULLY:  I’ll believe you. . . if I can speak to him.

Relationship Story Signpost 3

Boggs presses Scully to bargain for his freedom from execution.  He wants Scully to confess that she does believe in him, and when she says she doesn’t, he offers her an ultimatum:  She can’t talk to her father until Boggs gets his deal.

Relationship Story Journey 3 from Obtaining to Learning

Scully loses her chance to hear her father’s message she when challenges Boggs, and is blackmailed into bargaining for him.  She learns, with much distress, that Boggs can’t be forced to cooperate.  Later, Boggs learns that he can’t bargain his way out of dying tomorrow.
SCULLY:  Luther. . .  if you really were a psychic. .  .
BOGGS:  I would have known you lied.  There never was a deal.

Relationship Story Signpost 4

Boggs learns that Scully tried and failed to get him a deal that would save his life; Scully learns from the fact that Boggs’ warning saved her life, he couldn’t have been in league with the kidnapper or Henry would have also known of the danger of the blue devil.

Plot Progression Visualizations

Dynamic Act Schematics


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