Welcome once again to Millennium Monday! Lost yet another week and I've got lots of episodes to cover, so we'll press onward! And, as always, check out Fourth Horseman Press Millennial Abyss for details, pictures, and cool trivia about the series. We're beginning season two in today's post, so
The episodes ~
"Beginning and the End"
Frank's wife's been kidnapped by the mad Polaroider and he just misses catching them with a roadblock. Great tension throughout this episode, though (and I know I'm terrible), I was really hoping Catherine would kick it just for the dramatic effect. We meet Roedecker for the first time and he's fun as a passable stand-in for the geekiness of the Lone Gunmen from the X-files. Peter Watts also tells a great story about a baby in a cooler that'll have more resonance later. In the end, Frank find Catherine, totally loses his cool, and takes out the Polaroid guy in a wonderfully brutal fashion. Catherine can't take it, though (she's so lame), and Frank has to move out of the house. I would have rather she kicked the bucket.
"Beware of the Dog"
The opening scene in Bucksnort is Deliverance-worthy creepy. And then the rest of the episode pays off wonderfully as well. Elements of the supernatural play into this one in a big way (and delightfully!) as dogs threaten townspeople who go out after dark and don't play by their rules. Maybe not a terribly original idea, but I like the old codger and the offending interloper writer Beebee is hilarious. Some nice hints here that the old man is tied into the Millennium group and there'll be more to come.
"Sense and Antisense""
This episode has the makings of a really interesting story, but was kinda convoluted, suffering from what a number of episodes suffer: trying to stuff epic-sized storylines into 45-minute blocks. In this case it's about the Dept. of Energy and the Human Genome project doign some seriously whack scientific experimentation. I loved some of what went on here thematically, but the execution left me mostly bewildered. Overall, it felt like an over-broad conspiracy story that didn't really fit into the series' spectrum. Using Rwanda to make it somehow "topical", I guess, also felt a bit forced.
There's something perverse about this episode (in a good way!). I guess you know from the opening moments that it's the little girl who is a monster and the "fun" is watching how the adults tear each other apart defending her and casting blame elsewhere. This was genuinely creepy because it's one of those "ripped from the headlines" stories: there are children like this in the world and it was nice to see the show refuse to flinch from the subject. I also love how Jordan is a total brat and Frank loses his temper with her (bravo for him being a father who ain't perfect). Lara Means as Frank's new "partner" is an interesting character, but I won't be convinced of her rightness for the series until it's too late.
"A Single Blade of Grass"
Nice combo of crime drama and the supernatural in this one (where the line is very thin). Good balance of the spirit mystery and the murder mystery. I really loved how the circus stuff is set up at the beginning and comes back around at the end (in a series where the episodes are often not very tight or too crammed in, this one has great overall pacing). I also love the imagery of the native culture struggling to survive in such a distinctly urban setting. What can I say: any show that has buffaloes running amuck gets the thumbs-up from me!
"The Curse of Frank Black"
From the opening quote by Abraham Lincoln about talking to his dead Willie (oh, that sounds bad, but I'm not going to touch it...er...I'm going to leave it alone), I was looking forward to some great Halloween creepy and this episode certainly delivered. Wonderful motifs throughout (the visions of the devil, the numbers 268), and the flashbacks of Frank's childhood are priceless (oh how I wished the show did more of this!). Just a great overall episode with some amazing foreboding imagery and a set-up for trials still to come.
Initial Impressions on Season Two: Okay, so Catherine didn't kick the bucket, but Frank is still now on his own. It's interesting how the show seems to be taking a really strong turn in a more focused direction. Whereas the first season seemed to meander through a lot of straight crime stuff and the shadow of the Millennium group, this season looks to be setting up the group more prominently (and Frank's lady and tiger of chosing them or his family). I like the struggle we're already seeing in just these opening episodes. utter_scoundrel says season two is the best and I'm already definitely seeing that it is.
More to come next week!