"Gehenna"

#MLM-101

Written by Chris Carter

Directed by David Nutter

Edited by Stephen Mark

Aired November 1, 1996

Summary: The discovery of human ashes in a flowerbed brings Frank Black to San Francisco, where the Millennium Group investigates a controlling cult linked to a telemarketing firm.

 

  On DVD, On Video, On Audio, In Print

 

  Full Transcript Available

 

Quote: "I smell blood and an era of prominent madmen." —W.H. Auden

 

Synopsis:  San Francisco. A pack of clean cut young men cruise the night in their black BMWs. At a dark abandoned factory, they turn on one of their own. They feed him LSD, terrorize him and leave him there to become the prey of a savage half-seen, half-human beast. When a disturbingly large amount of human ashes is discovered in a San Francisco park, Frank joins the other members of the Millennium Group in the investigation of this multiple homicide. Frank can sense that the killer has burned his victims alive to feed on their suffering. Chemical traces in the remains lead them to the abandoned factory, where Frank catches horrifying glimpses of the Beast and his crimes; and makes a grisly discovery: a set of human teeth.

Meanwhile, a shadow outside the house spooks Catherine while she's home alone with Jordan. Is it only her imagination..? She tells Frank's friend Bob Bletcher that she must never let Frank suspect she and Jordan are in danger or Frank may remain home to guard them, and never use his gift again. She is still unaware that the stalker from their past has followed the family to Seattle. Back in San Francisco, Frank's colleague Mike Atkins tells him that it is probable the objective of the person stalking his family is terrorizing Frank. At this point, he believes the danger to Frank's family is minimal.

The break in the investigation comes when dental records lead them to a young Russian immigrant who disappeared six months ago. They discover he had become a member of a mysterious apocalyptic cult who threaten to destroy their faithless in the fires of Gehenna (Biblical Hebrew for "hell").

Inside a cavernous office, the brainwashed cult members all young, all male telemarket hair products while Orwellian slogans strobe by on a screen. One young man is singled out as the next victim. This time instead of running into the arms of the Beast, the victim runs into someone unexpectedly waiting, Frank. The young man is taken into custody and questioned. Crazed by psychedelics and fear, the young man's ravings reveal the terrifying hold this bloodthirsty cult has over its members. He warns Frank that no one can escape the power of the Beast. Frank realizes this case is like nothing he's ever seen before when his prisoner literally wills himself to die.

Back in Seattle with his family, Frank goes online and uncovers the San Francisco address of Gehenna Industries. Atkins investigates, discovering a storehouse of doomsday weapons. The Beast lures Atkins inside a giant industrial microwave...where he had immolated his previous victims. Luckily, Frank realizes the danger, and sends the police after Atkins. The rescue team arrives just in time to save Atkins' life, but not before serious injury could be inflicted upon Atkins by the deadly microwaves.

The cult is smashed. The leader is captured. But Frank knows that evil will always survive.

Photographs:

- Atkins discovers an industrial microwave

- Atkins searches Gehenna International

- The cult leader watches Atkins in the dark

- The night vision goggles of the cult's leader

- A glimpse of the cult's techniques

- A human ear discovered amongst the ash

- Atkins, about to be burned alive

- Frank and Peter discuss the case

 

  Print Advertisement

 

Media Reviews: "An unrelentingly dark, disturbing vision of crime in America... Carter has developed a television show that feels, looks and delivers like a feature film. With superb writing, acting and directing, Millennium is perhaps the best new program of the season (and may even be better than its predecessor)." —Alex Garcia, The Daily Trojan

"Frank and friends go after a murderous cult with connections to the gang that terrorized Japan with poison gas. There's just enough bizarre reality to make Millennium the season's most chilling drama." —John J. O'Connor, The New York Times

"The only show with the chutzpah to mix W.H. Auden with LSD. The second episode, written by Carter, commenced with a quote from Auden and featured villains who drop acid and work part-time for some sort of satanic version of Amway; in this context, a shot of a severed ear seemed quaintAlthough Millennium hasn't quite found its tone, it's got great visuals and a commanding performance by Henriksen, whose tired eyes and rumbly voice are mood enhancing." —Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly

Trivia:  The telemarketing sales methods employed by cult members in this episode were specifically chosen by Chris Carter as a means of expressing a theme regarding fear and modern communications. Carter once commented in an interview, "The idea that evil could be carried out over the telephone is also a very scary idea and one that I think is all too real and common these days. People can reach right into your homes in so many ways now, by fax, over the telephone, through your computer, and I think this is one of the ways that we're scared these days. This is something I was trying to communicate."

 

Guest star Bob Wilde, who portrays devilish cult leader Ricardo Clement in this episode, should have a hauntingly familiar face for Millennium fans. The actor would return to the series during the third season to fill the recurring role of the mysterious Mr. Mabius, although he would never utter a word on the series.

 

Director David Nutter recorded an audio commentary regarding "Gehenna" for Fox Home Entertainment's DVD release of Millennium: The Complete First Season.

 

Death Toll:  2

 

Title: "Gehenna" is a Hebrew word meaning hell, the abode of damned souls and any place of great torment or suffering. In the episode it is also the name of Gehenna International, the corporation that serves as a legitimate front for the cult's activities. The company's name seems appropriate considering the fate of its rejected employees.

 

Soundtrack: 

"Hits From the Bong" by Cypress Hill

"Insane in the Brain" by Cypress Hill

"I Wanna Get High" by Cypress Hill

 

Starring:

Lance Henriksen as Frank Black

Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black

Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts

Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black

Bill Smitrovich as Lt. Bob Bletcher

 

Guest Starring:

Robin Gammell as Mike Atkins
Chris Ellis as Jim Penseyres
Sam Khouth as Dylan

Don MacKay as Jack Meredith
George Josef as Mr. Bolow
Stephen Holmes as Eedo
Chris Bradford as Driver
Henry Watson as Detective
Don McWilliams as Park Guy
Nina Persachi as Mrs. Bolow

Bob Wilde as Ricardo Clement

 

Production Credits:

Production #4C01

Music by Mark Snow
Production Designer Sheila Haley
Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
Associate Producer Jon-Michael Preece
Consulting Producer Ted Mann
Consulting Producer James Wong

Consulting Producer Glen Morgan
Co-Producer Ken Dennis
Co-Producer Chip Johannessen
Co-Producer Frank Spotnitz
Co-Executive Producer Jorge Zamacona
Co-Executive Producer Ken Horton
Co-Executive Producer John Peter Kousakis

Executive Producer Chris Carter

 

PREVIOUS

THE MILLENNIAL ABYSS

NEXT