"Sacrament"

#MLM-114

Written by Frank Spotnitz

Directed by Michael Watkins

Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

Aired February 21, 1997

Summary: The abduction of his sister-in-law embroils Frank Black in an intensely personal case linked to a vicious sex offender recently released from an asylum.

 

  Season One on DVD

 

  Full Transcript Available

 

Quote:  "He said to me in a dreadful voice that I had indeed escaped his clutches, but he would capture me still." —St. Teresa of Avila

 

Synopsis:  Frank's brother, Tom, and his wife, Helen, travel to Seattle where they hold their newborn son's baptism. After the ceremony, Frank checks up on Jordan, who is off playing with a friend inside the church. He finds his daughter huddled in a ball on the pew, clutching herself. She speaks of a man she saw hurting her Aunt Helen. Frank rushes outside the church. He finds his baby nephew unharmed in the back seat of Tom's rental car, but notes a blood droplet on the infant's face. Frank and Tom realize Helen was abducted. 

Frank, who saw the back of the kidnapper's head during the baptismal, pours through police mug shots. But he is unable to identify the perpetrator. Bletcher warns Frank he cannot interfere with the police investigation, noting a prosecutor cannot achieve a conviction using evidence gathered by the victim's brother-in-law. But Frank insists he can help find Helen. 
 

Frank notices a baggage tag is missing from one of his brother's suitcases. He and Tom review video footage recorded by a surveillance camera at the airport. They see the kidnapper approach Helen at the baggage carousel. Later, Bletcher tells Frank police located a stolen car. Helen's blood was discovered inside. 
 

Watts gives Frank a manila envelope containing photos of sex offenders living in the area. Frank recognizes the kidnapper, Richard Green, in one of the photographs. Bletcher assures Frank that Green, who lives at home with his parents, is already under surveillance. However, Frank decides not to tell his brother about the discovery. 
 

Tom searches through his brother's files and discovers the truth about Green. Gun in hand, Tom confronts the kidnapper, demanding to know his wife's whereabouts. Green, however, claims he doesn't know anything about Helen. Giebelhouse and Teeple, who were surveying the Green residence, calm Tom. He lowers his weapon. Later, Frank tells his brother he deliberately kept him in the dark because "there are some truths no one should know." 
 

Watts searches the abandoned vehicle and discovers the presence of several pine needles from trees which only grow in Peninsula National Park. Watts, Frank and Tom drive to the park, where they discover an abandoned cabin. Inside they find more blood — along with Helen's wedding ring. Later, police make casts of tire tracks outside the cabin. They match the abandoned car. Lab tests reveal the presence of Green's blood inside the cabin as well. 
 

Meanwhile, Jordan continues running a fever. But doctors are unable to pinpoint the cause. Jordan asks her mother why the man who took her Aunt Helen is making her cry. Catherine is taken completely off-guard by her daughter's remarks. 
 

Green is taken into custody, but Helen's whereabouts remain a mystery. Police begin digging up the lawn behind the Green residence. They discover a woman's decomposed body buried inside a plastic garment bag. Watts tells Frank the wrapping around the body slowed decomposition considerably. He guesses the woman was killed at least nine years earlier. 
 

Frank realizes Green did not murder Helen at the cabin (as he was under surveillance since Sunday night). He also realizes that some tools found in Green's possession were not part of his torture kit. They were, in fact, used to hide Helen's body in the basement of the Green home. Helen is found entombed behind drywall. But her body is still warm, and she is revived. Afterward, Frank realizes Green's father forced his son to procure his victims. 
 

Later, Frank finds Jordan cradled in a ball on the front porch. Jordan claims she is fine, but her father fears otherwise. 

 

Photographs:

- Peter examines newly installed drywall

- Bletcher dismisses Frank from the case

- The unstable Richard Green

- Thomas Black attends to his brutalized wife

- Frank Black examines computer records

 

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Media Review:  "One of the more intriguing aspects of Millennium is Frank’s daughter, Jordan. Jordan, right from the pilot, seems like a very a very normal, happy child; with one exception she seems more aware of what her father does than one would expect. In the pilot, when she asks Catherine if daddy is 'going to catch the bad man,' it’s a subtle foreshadowing of developments that become even more marked in 'Sacrament.' After she witnesses her aunt being kidnapped, Frank begins to suspect that she shares his ability to see into the mind of 'the bad man.' The role wouldn’t work with a typical Hollywood child actor, but Vancouverite Brittany Tiplady makes it look easy she looks, and more importantly, feels like a real kid." —Sheldon A. Wiebe, Eclipse Magazine

 

"While it may seem unfair to blame Frank for how his brother’s family falls into the horrors of the criminal world (it’s inferred all over the episode) this is still a taut, well-executed thriller. Our potential bad guy is sufficiently chilling, the events unfold with logic and authenticity and the final few minutes are real nail biters. Though we never really see any sadistic behavior, the suggestive snippets used (images of tools, screaming faces, bloody remnants) really sell the sinister qualities. With great acting all around (as well as a nice bit of back story on Frank) this is Millennium at its best." —Bill Gibron, DVD Talk

 

Trivia:  Actor Philip Anglim appears in "Sacrament" as Frank Black's brother, Thomas. While there are occasional references throughout the series to the fact that Frank Black has a brother or brothers — most notably in "Midnight of the Century" and "Seven and One" — this episode marks the only appearance of one of these blood relations.

 

While there is foreshadowing throughout the first season, "Sacrament" grants viewers the first clear indications that Jordan Black has inherited her father's unusual powers of insight. This theme, and its potential ramifications, would be explored throughout the series.

 

Death Toll:  0

 

Title:  Believed to be a means of sanctifying grace, a sacrament is literally enacted in the episode's teaser — the sacrament of baptism. The baptism of Charles provides suitable symbolic accompaniment for the sudden emergence of Jordan's visionary powers.

 

Starring:

Lance Henriksen as Frank Black

Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black

Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black

Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts

Bill Smitrovich as Lt. Bob Bletcher
Stephen James Lang as Detective Giebelhouse

 

Guest Starring:

Philip Anglim as Tom Black
Dylan Haggerty as Richard Green
Brian Markinson as Detective Teeple

Lorena Gale as Dr. Patricia Moss
Daphne Goldrick as Green's Mother
French Tickner as Store Clerk
Ken Roberts as Green's Father
Liz Bryson as Helen Black

 

Production Credits:

Production #4C14

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

 

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