Millennium Monday is here! Continuing with season two, which is chock full of delicious episodes. Check out Fourth Horseman Press Millennial Abyss, as always, for details, more pictures, and cool trivia. And as per the usual,
The episodes ~
The image above comes from this episode, which, on the surface is mostly a straight-up crime story: children are kidnapped on a school bus and law enforcement is scrambling to get them back. The kidnappers are interesting psychological studies (and very believable in their fanaticism). The bus driver is wonderfully sympathetic, and the race against time creates great tension. There's a lot of telegraphing at the beginning about a storm coming in, biblical prophecy, etc., and I love the moment when they pull over a van to find it's just some geeky storm-chasers racing after a cell. Psycho kidnapper gets his prophecy, the children get saved, everyone is happy ~ yay! Love all the personal touches in this one. It's the human details that make this show great.
"The Hand of St. Sebastian"
From the opening moments in flawless conversational Latin, you know this is going to be an unusual episode. Here we finally get some real insight into Peter Watts as a character as he goes off into the bogs chasing down a religious artifact (the titular hand). This episode surprised me in a number of ways (lots of unexpected turnarounds here: from the dead guy who ain't dead to the appearance of Cheryl Andrews (an actor I like and was glad to see her come back!). There's some muddiness in the script with regards to what's going on, but I'll chalk it up to Millennial intrigues we're not yet aware of. Nice use of Roedecker's skills in this one and a totally unexpected reversal at the end.
"Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense""
I can't believe Chris Carter killed Jose Chung! I mean, it was bad enough he did in the Lone Gunmen, but come on! This was a great episode, but unfortunately, I don't see why Chung had to die. Oh foo. I suppose this being a fairly "closed" universe now, it doesn't really matter, but it still feels gratuitous. Otherwise, this is a brilliant episode. It took a little ramping to get where it was going, but with the multiple murder storylines and the death threats, and the insane Onan Goopta, how could it possibly disappoint?
"Midnight of the Century"
I have to say that I really love that there's always a Christmas episode each season. It feels like there was a long, dry spell in which Christmas in TVLand was sort of verboten. Even the X-files didn't have a Christmas episode until very late in its run (and then there was only the one, if I recall). This particular Christmas episode was great. A lovely juxtaposition of Frank scrambling around trying to find a present for Jordan, reconciling with his estranged father (great stuff!), and revealing mysteries of the past. Continues with some of the tone and flavor of "The Curse of Frank Black" (wasn't I hoping for more?). Love the end scene especially.
This is a great episode slightly marred by "too many notes". The murders are wonderfully creepy and elusive. The killer is devastatingly charming and mysterious. But the whole thing with the walnuts is overkill. They should have left that business out of the equation. The fact that the episode deals with the topical question of assisted suicide doesn't ruin it at all either. In fact, I was pleased at how un-heavy handed this was and I especially loved the ending. Mostly a well-written episode. Just wish they hadn't pushed it with the walnuts.
I always love an episode in which a character (or two or four) winds up alone in the wilderness having to fend for themselves. This episode does a handful of things incredibly well: creates a wonderful rift between Frank and the Millennium group, puts Peter Watts to the test in terms of his friendship, and interweaves a wonderfully supernatural tale of a young man who exiles himself searching for the ultimate enlightenment. And okay, Frank finds the kids rather easily, but that's not the point. Really love the diary voiceover in this as well. Especially at the beginning when it's following the body down river.
More Impressions on Season Two: There's not really a dud in this batch! The show seems to have found its ideal pace and tone. While Frank's "gift" is unfortunately underused still, his relationship with the Millennium group is clearer, there's some wonderful antagonism building there, and the characters are really coming into their own. Laura Means is fitting in well and Catherine is nicely distant, but still present. I also like that it's a little more tongue-in-cheek in several of these episodes. I know a lot of people complained that the latter X-files tended toward the silly, but I'm glad a show like this won't take itself tooooo seriously. All around good stuff!
More Millennium next Monday!