"Maranatha"

#MLM-120

Written by Chip Johannessen

Directed by Peter Markle

Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

Aired May 9, 1997

Summary: In Brighton Beach, Frank Black joins forces with a Moscow cop to investigate gruesome slayings linked to the Chernobyl disaster and a man the Russian people believe to be the antichrist.

 

  Season One on DVD

 

  Full Transcript Available

 

Quote:  "Behold ye scoffers, For I will work wonders in your days, which ye will not believe." —Book of Habakkuk

 

Synopsis:  In the Brighton Beach area of New York City, a man named Yaponchik kills a Russian Elder by shooting him in the face with a 12 gauge pistol. It becomes the third such killing in which the perpetrator mutilated the body to prevent positive identification. Frank assists N.Y.P.D. Lieutenant McCormick, Yura Surova, from the Moscow Police Department, and undercover officer Andrei Medikov with the investigation. While inspecting the Elder's corpse, Frank notices an odd mark in the shape of a inverted "V." But he is unable, at first, to determine its meaning.

 

Frank enters the Novgorod, a nightclub frequented by Russians, where Yura and Andrei are supposedly working undercover. Yura approaches Frank, and while they talk, a man known as Yaponchik sits down with Andrei and points a 12 gauge pistol at his face. One of the Russian clubgoers recognizes Yaponchik, and calls out his name. Suddenly, a stampede of screaming people rush for the exit. During the confusion, a shot rings out. Frank rushes to the table where Andrei was sitting, and discovers his faceless body on the ground. 
 

Yura explains to Frank that the name 'Yaponchik' is synonymous with evil, a kind of Russian bogeyman. Later, Watts confirms that the symbol discovered on a victim's body is a portion of the monogram of Christ. He also states the Russian people believe Yaponchik was responsible for Chernobyl, a disaster some believe is predicted in the Bible. Frank examines a photograph of Yura and Andrei standing next to one another at Chernobyl. He realizes both men were at the power plant in 1986, and both believed in the Yaponchik prophesy. Later, he accuses Yura of staking out the night club for the sole purpose of assassinating their prey — the mythological Yaponchik. 
 

A priest identifies one of the killer's victims as a woman who restores religious icons. Frank, Watts and the priest inspect the woman's loft, where they discover several parcels wrapped for shipment, addressed to the Russian Consulate. Frank realizes the dead woman had discovered Yaponchik's identity, and was sending him religious icons as an offering. Frank also concludes that the man known as Yaponchik killed his victims to fuel the myth of his existence — creating even more terror amongst those who believe in the prophesy. 
 

Frank and Watts pay a visit to the Russian Embassy, where they deliver an icon to the man the parcels were addressed to: Sergei Stepanovich. They address him as Yaponchik, who tells them they are fools for believing Russian superstition. Later, Lieutenant McCormick warns Frank and Watts that Stepanovich is protected by diplomatic immunity and cannot be prosecuted even if he is the man responsible for the murders. Frank concludes that Yura, Andrei and the Priest were all stalking (who they believe is) the Antichrist.

 

Yaponchik kills two more men inside a Russian bath house, but this time Yura is there. Yura steps forward with a gun pointed at Yaponchik's head. Yaponchik tells him he can't kill him. Yura shoots Yaponchik in the head, mortally wounding him. 
 

Near death, Yaponchik is rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. As Frank observes the carnage at the bath house, he realizes Yaponchik received the same mortal head wound as predicted in the Book of Revelation. Prophesy dictates that the Antichrist is man who will miraculously survive a fatal head wound. Fearing Yaponchik's wound might heal, Frank and Watts make their way to the hospital. Yura, however, arrives first. He approaches Yaponchik's bedside, pulls out his gun and prepares to shoot his enemy once again. But Yaponchik convinces him that he is "not the one." Accepting his words, Yura lowers the weapon and helps Yaponchik access the hospital's Medevac pad.

 

Frank, Watts and the Lieutenant rush to the rooftop, but the a barred security gate blocks their access. As a helicopter lands on the roof, Frank shouts to Yura through the security gate, urging him not to board the craft. Several broad-faced men step from the helicopter and usher Yaponchik on board. Several other men attempt to grab Yura and pull him away, but Yura grabs onto Frank and the gate. One of the Broad-Faced men starts to pull a gun from his belt, but the Lieutenant and two other officers draw their weapons in a stand-off. The Broad-Faced men retreat to the helicopter, which soars off into the sky.

 

Photographs:

- Yaponchik wields his trademark 12 gauge

- A distraught Yura Surova collapses

- Frank holds Yura through bars

- Frank and Surova fail to see eye to eye

 

Media Review:  "The season comes to a satisfying thematic end in 'Maranatha,' which deals with the myth of the Russian antichrist Yaponchik in big, bold style. Frank’s final line of dialogue in the episode, 'He is coming soon,' foreshadows the tragic events of the season’s hasty coda, 'The Paper Dove.'" —Keith Uhlich,  Slant Magazine

 

"With its focus on Biblical revelation and the Chernobyl accident, 'Maranatha' could have been truly taxing. But thanks to the incredibly tight script, the great sense of Russian culture and tradition and incredible performances by the guest stars, this episode is incredibly ominous and grim. There are lots of theatrics here, obvious bows to the end-of-the-world elements discussed throughout. Combined with previous installments of the show, this is one of the best examples of Millennium’s careful balancing act between reality and the otherworldly." —Bill Gibron, DVD Talk

 

Trivia:  Those sharp eyed fans watching the episode closely will note that the helicopter Yaponchik utilizes for his escape from the hospital rooftop is labeled on its underside with the registry number 666, the number noted in Revelation to be the mark of the Beast.

 

This episode's closing is unique in that it represents the only occasion, in sixty-seven episodes, that the final scene fades to white instead of black. Frank Black opens a door and steps into blinding white light and, in what is a negative inverse of the traditional closing, the executive producer credit that ends the episode appears as black text on a pure white background.

 

This episode was originally titled "The Second Coming." The simplistic title references the episode's repeated use of the Maranatha refrain, "Our Lord cometh," and the apocalyptic event to be initiated by the rise of the Antichrist.

 

Death Toll:  6

 

Title:  An expression used by St. Paul at the conclusion of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, "Maranatha" literally translates to "Our Lord cometh." The refrain, heard throughout this episode in reference to the second coming of Christ, is doubly appropriate as it has come to be used to curse those who have committed great crimes, an invitation for the Lord's arrival such that he may judge and avenge such wrongs.

 

Starring:

Lance Henriksen as Frank Black

Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts
 

Guest Starring:

Bill Nunn as Lt. McCormick
Boris Krutonog as Yura Surova
Levani Outchaneichvili as Yaponchik
Michael Aniol as Priest
Dmitri Boudrine as Andrei Pietrovich Melnikov
Michael Cram as Paramedic

Bill Croft as Broadface
Brian Downey as Medical Examiner
Roger Haskett as E.R. Doctor
Beverly Pales as Torch Singer

 

Production Credits:

Production #4C20

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

 

PREVIOUS

THE MILLENNIAL ABYSS

NEXT