enigmatic character haunts Frank Black and the Millennium Group during
a strange case involving planetary alignment, genetic cloning, and a
man in an iron lung.
Season One on DVD
Full Transcript Available
"You can remember, a single deluge only, but there were many
previous ones." —Plato
A sudden hail storm sends students at Washington Polytech scrambling for
cover. But one of the students, Lauren, wades through the downpour as the
hail changes to rain. She approaches a teaching assistant who has taken
cover in a breezeway. Lauren reaches for the woman's cigarette-and suddenly
bursts into flames.
travels to Washington Polytech where he interviews the teaching assistant.
She describes her classmate as "mutant brilliant." The T.A. points out
a set of armillary spheres, a model of the seven innermost planets of our
solar system rendered in brass. She states that the Millennium Group member
who interviewed her previously, Dennis Hoffman, thought he would be interested
in the spheres. When Frank exits the room, he meets the mysterious Hoffman.
He intones that on May 5, 2000-the day in which the seven innermost planets
will align for the first time since the Great Flood — our planet will be
ravaged by a cataclysmic event. He also believes the catastrophe will be
preceded by abnormal weather patterns.
tells Frank that Hoffman first approached the group years earlier during
a cult investigation. He believes Hoffman is somewhat odd but harmless.
Watts uncovers evidence proving Lauren is not her parents' biological offspring,
yet, there are no papers documenting her adoption.
Andrews performs an autopsy on Lauren's body. When traces of an accelerant
are discovered, the cause of death is ruled as self-immolation. Andrews
discovers an astronomical symbol carved into the flesh on her thigh. The
mark is a symbol for conjunction, or alignment. When another girl, Carlin,
a dead-ringer for Lauren, commits suicide by diving into a waterfall, Andrews
discovers a conjunction symbol carved in her thigh as well. The women,
it is determined, are identical twins born seven years apart. Andrews describes
a technique used to create identical cattle in which a fertilized egg is
divided multiple times in vitro. The technique produces twenty copies.
Frank believes that someone, like Noah preparing for the Great Flood, is
breeding identical offspring in preparation for May 5, 2000.
tip from Hoffman leads the Millennium Group to The Atrium at Pocatello,
Idaho. Someone had made telephone calls to each of the twenty girls from
a secret room in the Atrium's basement. The Group tracks the building's
designer to a large remote house, and discovers the girls inside.
Frank's objections, a police lieutenant, fearing a Jonestown-like massacre,
places the girls in protective custody and loads them on a bus. Meanwhile,
the girls' father, a man confined to an iron lung, explains his reasons
for creating perfect children for the next millennium — to preserve what
is good about humanity and remake the world in his own image. He reveals
that he telephoned Lauren and Carlin and told them he was dying and wouldn't
make it to the other side. Shortly thereafter, both girls committed suicide.
Later, a power outage stops the iron lung, killing the man.
The bus driver, it is revealed, is also one of the
Iron Lung Man's offspring. Police find the bus abandoned. The girls have
vanished and Dennis Hoffman with them. Later, Frank realizes the Atrium is built
on giant shock absorbers, and is itself a kind of ark. He knows where they will
be on May 5, 2000.
- Frank Black flips through a photo album
- Dennis Hoffman approaches Frank's jeep
- A stubborn and determined Dennis Hoffman
- Dennis Hoffman elaborates on his theory
- A gathering of eerily similar sisters
- Frank and Peter, on the case
- A cloned brother among the sisters
deterministic elements, religious allusions, melancholy mood and
gratuitous gore made me a viewer for life. In addition, themes of
human impotence and isolation, underscored by the cold and detached
view of Black, endowed the program with an unmatched intellectual
flavor. Overall, when the show centers on the main point, the
approaching apocalypse, as it has in the new year, it is one of the
best programs on television." —Kiran
Nandalur, The Michigan Daily
"'Force Majeure' is like nothing
else we've seen on the show this far. There's no sexually tormented
serial killer, although young women do die. There's no ponderous rush
of Bible quotes, no debating over the true nature of evil, no cops
decrying the sad state of modern morality. For once, we have an
episode that's more driven by plot than by theme, and, even better,
that plot is sort of kind of pretty much batshit insane... The episode
is just odd enough to be distinctive (Carter is wearing his Lynch on
his sleeve even more than usual), and, beyond the pleasure of the
series finally stretching its legs, it's nice to have a storyline that
doesn't just exist to lecture us about how we're all going to Hell...
This is absurd, eerie perfection. It doesn't need to make sense.
Nightmares rarely do." —Zack Handlen, The A.V. Club
"Laying the groundwork for the entire
mythology that will start to spring forth toward the end of season one
(and go gonzo in season two), this bizarre tale of cloning,
conspiracies and catastrophes is superb. It may not make much sense—and frankly, even after the
show’s entire run it is still not very well explained—but the enigmatic visuals (man in
an iron lung, a group of identical children) are very atmospheric... Complete with a creepy, calm turn
by genre mainstay Brad Dourif, this is one of the series’ better
apocalypse-inspired episodes." —Bill Gibron, DVD Talk
While the planetary alignment of May 5,
2000 was an actual event, during which the six innermost planets of
our solar system aligned, the predicted cosmic catastrophe associated
with it never came to pass. The same
celestial alignment will not to occur
again until the year 2675. Coincidentally, May 5, 2000 was also
Lance Henriksen's 60th birthday.
Brad Dourif, the guest star who brought
the exasperating Dennis Hoffman to life, starred alongside Lance
Henriksen previously in the 1994 thriller Color of Night. Like Henriksen, however, the actor is best known for his roles in cult
horror films. Dourif has appeared in such films as One Flew
Over the Cuckoos Nest, Dune, Body Parts, and The Lord of the
Rings: The Two Towers. His vocal talents may be more widely
recognized than his face; Dourif provided the voice for
the serial killing doll Chucky in Child's Play and all of its
is a French term literally meaning "superior force,"
an event or effect that cannot be
reasonably anticipated or controlled. In legal terminology,
force majeure clauses excuse a party from liability if some
unforeseen event, disaster, or other "Act of God" beyond the control
of that party prevents it from performing its contractual obligations. Here, the title is a direct reference to the catastrophic and
inescapable devastation Dennis Hoffman and the Iron Lung Man
anticipate on May 5, 2000.
Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black
Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black
Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts
Brad Dourif as Dennis Hoffman
Morgan Woodward as the Iron Lung Man
Timothy Webber as Sheriff Camden
CCH Pounder as Cheryl Andrews
Mitch Kosterman as Lieutenant
Sarah Strange as Maura
Kristi Angus as Lauren/Carlin
Peter Hanlon as Manager
Cindy Girling as Myra
Phillip Mitchell as Uniform #1
Merrilyn Gann as Carlin's Mother
Music by Mark Snow
Production Designer Mark Freeborn
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