Friday, November 20, 2015

The X-Files - S7:E4 "Millennium"

[ S7:E3 "Hungry" <<< Season 7 >>> S7:E5 "Rush" ]

As you might be able to guess, this is indeed the long-awaited crossover episode between The X-Files and Chris Carter's other show, Millennium - although it had to wait until Millennium was cancelled following its third season to happen. (I'm not happy that Millennium was cancelled, but in hindsight, it seems appropriate that it happened when it did, given that the show relied on the tension created by the coming millennium, which largely evaporated post-Y2K when the world continued to turn as it had for the last thousand years, and the thousand years before that). As such, this is essentially a coda to that other series - a nice opportunity to tie up any loose ends not addressed in the finale. It's admittedly a little weird to watch this episode without having seen all of Millennium first (my rewatch of The X-Files has kindled my desire to rewatch Millennium - but there's no way I'm going to have time for that until after I'm done with this X-Files marathon), but that's how I did it the first time around, so I'm not too concerned. I was aware of Millennium back when I was watching The X-Files, but I never sat down to watch it. In truth, looking back, I thought I had seen an episode of Millennium, but several years later when I made the time to watch the show, I realized it was this episode of The X-Files that I was remembering.

At any rate, it's nice to see Frank Black (the perfectly cast Lance Henriksen) back in action. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, because this is still by all means an episode of The X-Files, and Frank Black plays only a supporting - if integral - role. Remarkably, it does a great job of constructing the dark, moody atmosphere of a Millennium episode, while still being a perfectly solid episode of The X-Files, from start to finish. Although, these two shows always were just different sides of the same coin in my mind - you can see the genesis of Millennium in X-Files episodes like season 2's Irresistible. And there are obvious parallels to be made between Fox Mulder and Frank Black. Frank is older, and has (or has had) a family, but they're both ace criminal profilers, who have struggled with the dangers of becoming absorbed in their work and/or esoteric beliefs.

In this episode, Frank has checked himself into a mental hospital, and is trying to put his past behind him. Mulder and Scully track him down for consultation on a series of "grave robberies with a twist" that Mulder attributes to necromancy, and Skinner connects to a shadowy cult of ex-FBI agents called the Millennium Group, who were alleged to believe in Biblical prophecies relating to the end time - the turn of the millennium, which is right around the corner. Frank, in a bid to win custody of his daughter, is reluctant to help the agents, and thereby get himself embroiled in the affairs of the Group once more, but being the noble hero that he is, will choose to do the right thing in the end. Or, will he cut his losses and buy into the prophecy when the dead begin to rise? The episode culminates in a creepy basement scene we haven't seen the likes of since Die Hand die Verletzt. I'll have to watch Millennium again before I can comment on how satisfying this episode is as a coda to that series, but for a season 7 episode of The X-Files, it's everything I could hope for.

Memorable quotes:

Skinner: Agent Mulder, what's your take on this?
Mulder: Well, only that I don't think it was grave robbery, per se. It was necromancy - the summoning of the dead. It's a form of magic dating back to primitive shamanism with a long tradition in the Christian church. Through it, the dead are brought back to life for the purposes of divulging arcane knowledge or performing ritual tasks.

(Ah, classic Mulder. How I've missed you. You can almost hear all the eyebrows in the room raising the moment Mulder mentions "necromancy").

Scully: Mulder, you're telling me it's more important to track down four dead bodies than one live murderer?
Mulder: He's not our murderer, and those four dead bodies aren't dead. And the millennium is fourteen hours away.
Scully: Mulder, these people - even when they were alive - mangled Biblical prophecy to the extent that it's unrecognizable. The year 2000 is just their artificial deadline. And besides, 2001 is actually the start of the new millennium.
Mulder: Nobody likes a math geek, Scully.

Scully: Now, as crazy as this sounds, I have to ask. Do you believe that the Millennium Group is actually capable of bringing about the end time - Armageddon?
Frank Black: I understand their beliefs. I've spent years trying to unravel them - make sense of them. Doesn't mean I believe them myself.
Scully: But what if it were true? Good and evil. Which would prevail?
Frank Black: I'm sorry.

Mark Johnson: There's no justice in this world. But there will be in the next.

Mulder: The world didn't end.
Scully: No, it didn't.

(I won't lie, I was very tempted to end this review without any mention whatsoever of "the kiss heard round the world", seeing as it really is an inconsequential part of this episode. I'm not a shipper, but after the schmaltz of last season, I think the way the kiss was handled in this episode - which has been due at least since the movie - was pretty much perfect. No big fanfare. It was sweet, it was nice, and it finally just happened - so now we can all move on. Like I've said before, I don't care if Mulder and Scully do become a couple, I just want it pushed to the background, so this show can get busy doing what it does best - telling creepy science-fiction horror stories about monsters and freaks and aliens and government conspiracies. Whether Mulder and Scully retire to separate beds or the same one at the end of the day doesn't make much of a difference to me).

No comments:

Post a Comment