I'm running a little late today, but I haven't forgotten about Millennium Monday! Blasting through season two, we're headed for big transitions in the show. Check out Fourth Horseman Press Millennial Abyss, as always, for details, more pictures, and other cool stuff. To read more about the episodes from my own meager perspective,
The episodes ~
This episode is hugely dated. Dated in a way that makes you cringe now and then ~ the primitive use of the internet, Roedecker's enthusiasm for antiquated systems, etc. But I'm okay with remembering that a lot has changed in ten years in the online world and that the idea of this one: a sort of snuff film online site was original and even "edgy" back then. What's harder to swallow is the whole: this was a killer from a previous case a billion years ago, come back to haunt us out of the cold case files. It totally didn't work for me on that level and I didn't like the way it ended either. I think Roedecker redeemed this one in some ways ~ the manner in which he is affected by the murders was actually touching (you just don't expect his character to feel that deeply about exploited women).
"The Pest House"
Ye olde squish squish thump thump campfire episode. There's an interesting story in this morass, but it never really congeals. Some great spooky mood setting throughout and definitely a brain bender in terms of who's doing the killing, but the find solution seemed super far-fetched to me (and even a bit lame). The best part of this episode was when the doctor from the psychiatric hospital is asked out of her car by the gas station attendant who then quietly informs her that there's an axe-murderer in the back seat. Classic chills and thrills. Too bad the rest of it didn't deliver.
Okay, the Millennium Group is starting to show its colors. There's some heavy stuff here: religious artifacts (a piece of the Crucifixion Cross), and Nazi's (what's not to love?). Peter Watts is coming off more and more like an interesting whacko. Two things are clearer: that Peter really believes in the cult of the Millennium Group, and that his belief is so much brainwashing that I fear he's not going to come to a good end. The series tries to make Catherine relevant again by having a pseudo-company prey on her to get to Frank. But Catherine's just dullsville at this point to me. This is part one of two introducing the fighting factions of the Millennium Group (world-enders vs. world-savers).
More interesting developments on the opposing forces of the Millennium Group. Laura Means chooses sides against Peter and we have a visit from the Old Man (the guy with the dogs). Not for long, though. The double-crossing and so forth is pretty thick here. Also lots of "theories" about what's going to happen (end of the world, etc.). Frank is being forced to choose a side too, and he's torn between running away from it all and helping to stop Odessa from trying to take over the world (the Nazi thing is a bit much, really). Meanwhile, that dern piece of wood is floating all over the place. It finally ends up in the "right" hands, though, so never fear!
Taking a break from the "big story", we get a pretty cool little "one-shot" (as we would say in comics terminology) in which Frank investigates a case of smuggling and turns up a bizarre creature, a siren, who leads men to their deaths. Though the whole thing is totally improbable (relies entirely on fantasy), and never bothers to offer any sort of explanation, I enjoyed the episode and especially liked the violence (yes, I did say that). It was exciting to have an episode where anything could happen at any moment to anybody. Some delightfully creepy moments throughout.
"In Arcadia Ego"
Cool mostly non-supernatural episode with two escaped convict lesbians on the run, one of them pregnant with a "miracle" baby. Great characterizations for the two women (and great performances). Also, an especially fraught ending. Well-written episode overall with a taut climax involving lots of guns and childbirth. Something for everyone!
This one feels like the obligatory school-shooting episode, with the class whore turning into some sort of visionary mystic. Maybe it's just that once again there was too much Catherine and not enough Frank, but I didn't really connect with this one at all. I didn't care whether the girl was faking and even so, I was still disappointed with the conclusion. Not a favorite episode and a rare dud in a season otherwise brimming with good stuff.
"A Room with No View"
Lucy Butler strikes again. Between the bizarre stables and the elevator music, this one had me oddly hypnotized (much like the kidnapped boys, I suspect). Sufficiently creepy to hold my attention, though I kind of find it annoying and hard to swallow that Frank can't just catch this lunatic. She actually never seems all that smart to me.
"Satan, Somehow Got Behind Me"
Best episode ever. What else can I say. It's hilarious and poignant, and Frank's role as that "that strange guy" at the crime scenes is just brilliant. I could watch this one again and again and I doubt it would ever get old.
"The Fourth Horseman"
Part one of a two-parter season cliffhanger, this episode brings the plague along (the fourth horseman, of course, man). I love the idea of the plague. Love the gruesomeness of the plague, love Jordan's nightmares, etc. But Peter Watts is really pissing me off about now and Lara Means has gone a little batty, it seems. Our beautiful family is falling apart.
"The Time is Now"
What's great about this ending is that there's some stuff in here that's very final (almost too final: like, where do we go from here?). Frank and family hide in the hills. The prolonged sequence in which Laura Means totally loses her mind is rather disturbing. Cinematically effective and rather relentless, there were moments when I considered fast-forwarding to push through it (arghhh! enough!). But it totally worked on that level. Likewise, Catherine's swan song was nicely done. No big splashy end for her! Just silent resignation. I thought it was interesting and selfish of her to not at least say goodbye (would that really have been harder than leaving her husband and daughter with the horrible knowledge of her wandering off into the woods and dying grotesquely?). I dunno. your mileage may vary on what the "right" thing to do here might have been. I'm not sorry to see her go (sad to say), but I do ache for poor Frank.
Overall impressions on Season Two: What a fabulous season. A lot of it depends on groundwork set in the first season, but many of the episodes stand alone wonderfully. Peter Watts has turns out to be a feh, Laura Means looks like she's toast (I wasn't sure whether she'd be back after this season ~ it seemed too soon to lose her). Catherine's dead. And a plague has wiped out who knows how many people at this point. Lots of balls in the air going into the next season. Definitely lots of grist to work with moving forward.
I'll try not to miss next week! Too bad there's only one more season to go!