"Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions"


Written by Ted Mann & Harold Rosenthal

Directed by Thomas J. Wright

Edited by George Potter

Aired April 25, 1997

Summary: Still reeling from a tragic loss, Frank Black is swept into a bizarre case of ritualistic slayings that involves an inscrutable lawyer and a conflict of seemingly unearthly origins.


  Season One on DVD


  Full Transcript Available


Quote:  "Paranoia is just a kind of awareness, and awareness is just a form of love." —Charles Manson


Synopsis:  Attorney Al Pepper walks through a supermarket parking lot carrying a bag of groceries. A teenager, Sam, addresses Pepper and extends an open palm. Frank exits the supermarket and sees the two men. Suddenly, a bolt of light emanates from Sam's palm, knocking Pepper to the ground. Frank runs towards the scene, passing through panicking shoppers. When he arrives at Pepper's side, he discovers a handgun lying at Sam's feet. 

As the story unfolds in flashback, Peter Watts investigates the death of Eddy Pressman, whose body was discovered inside a suburban bungalow. The corpse is surrounded by occult symbolism, but the markings are incoherent and disorganized. Watts telephones Frank for advice. Frank, still shaken by the death of Bob Bletcher, is reluctant to continue his work. When the conversation ends, Watts notices Sam peering into the bungalow's second story window. When Watts approaches the window, the teenager is nowhere in sight. 

Catherine convinces Frank that he must return to the Millennium Group. Later, Watts shows Frank a photograph taken outside the entrance to the building where the murder occurred. Standing amongst the crowd is Sam, the only face looking directly into the camera. Meanwhile, police take a man named Martin into custody after he slashes the throat of a nanny. Frank senses that, somehow, the suspect is connected to Bletcher's death. 

Despite the overwhelming evidence facing Martin, Frank begins to suspect that police may have arrested the wrong man. One night, Frank experiences a nightmare in which Bletcher, his throat slit, attempts to speak to him. When Frank awakens, he tells Catherine he may have lost faith in his ability to see into the minds of serial killers. 

Mike Atkins, Frank's mentor, is called into the case by someone impersonating Frank's voice on the telephone. 

All of the evidence against Martin begins to unravel: witnesses are unable to pick him out of a police lineup, a murder weapon disappears, and a lab is unable to detect blood stains on his jacket. Frank is approached by Martin's attorney, Al Pepper (the man seen in the opening teaser). Pepper proposes a business partnership — an offer Frank quickly rejects. Later, as he stands before Judge Myers, Martin claims it was he who killed Bob Bletcher. 

Frank concludes that Eddy Pressman was ritualistically slaughtered to attract the involvement of the Millennium Group. 

Martin's case is transferred to Seattle. Alone in a jail cell, Martin runs a razor blade across an artery. A medical examiner determines that the wound is superficial and that Martin died of an aneurysm. Frank, however, suspects Pepper's involvement. 

Someone summons Frank and Watts to Atkins' hotel room. Inside, the men discover Atkins' body, a sacrificial knife protruding from his chest. The perpetrator runs down a fire escape and makes his way to a nearby supermarket. Frank gives chase, following the unidentified man into the store. Frank spots Pepper pushing a cart at the other end of a grocery aisle. As Pepper pushes the cart, Frank parallels his movement. When Pepper's cart again comes into view, it is being pushed by Martin. As the cart appears again, it is being pushed by Lucy Butler (see previous episode). 

Pepper makes his way into the market's parking lot, where he is approached and killed by Sam (as seen in the teaser). Afterward, Sam tells Frank that Pepper "suffered the consequence of his own error," and that any benefit to the Black family was purely incidental. Frank concludes that Sam is part of a larger mystery.



- Catherine supports her troubled husband

- Frank and Catherine talk in their kitchen

- Frank Black stands stoically in a morgue

- A grisly crime scene with satanic trappings

- Devilish attorney Alistair Pepper

- Al Pepper defends Martin at trial

- The mysterious and morose Sammael

- Pepper and Sammael battle


Media Review:  "The teleplay for 'Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions' makes Frank aware that there is more on Earth than is dreamed of in man’s philosophy; but Wright's clever, crisp and expressionist visualization of the teleplay makes the audience actually feel that another world exists side-by-side our own. More than that, Wright's steady direction shows us Frank's place within the larger battlefield, and allows us to take the measure of the man." —John Kenneth Muir, Reflections on Film and Television


Trivia:  Rodney Eastman appears here as an angel known as Sammael. An angel bearing a similar name would become entangled with Frank Black in the third season episode "Borrowed Time." Whether or not the two actors were portraying forms of the same angel is still a matter of speculation.


The only proper names for angels provided by Scripture are Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.  Other angelic names can be gleaned from various apocryphal sources, however. With a name literally translating to "poison angel," Sammael is known primarily as the angel of death, characterized in some instances as a figure representing "the severity of God."


Death Toll:  5


Title:  The episode takes its title from Sammael's powerful invocation, which reference four of the nine orders of angels identified by Scripture: Seraphims, Cherubims, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Archangels, and Angels.



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:

Richard Cox as Alistair Pepper
Robin Gammell as Mike Atkins
Rodney Eastman as Sammael
Sarah-Jane Redmond as Lucy Butler

Alf Humphreys as Damon Rummer
Guy Fauchon as Martin
Dean P. Gibson as Phil Brice
Robert Moloney as Uniformed Cop Adams
Judith Maxie as Judge Myers
Allan Franz as Medical Examiner Anderson
Bonnie Hay as A.D.A. Mills
Marya Delver as Nanny Annie
Terry King as Mike
Gerry Nairn as Lyon


Production Credits:

Production #4C18

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