"The Beginning and the End"

#MLM-201

Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong

Directed by Thomas J. Wright

Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

Aired September 19, 1997

Summary: Frank Black launches into a desperate search for Catherine, who has been abducted by the elusive psychopath who has long stalked his family by taking Polaroid photographs.

 

  Season Two on DVD

 

  Full Transcript Available

 

Synopsis:  The episode opens with images from outer space, the life of a comet. The same comet appears in the night sky Frank Black is staring into, causing him to contemplate his own destiny and the relevance of the celestial body. In his monologue Frank is considering the "life" of a comet and it's analogous relationship to our own existence. Referring to his immediate state, Frank asks, "is this the beginning or the end?"

As seen in the previous season's cliffhanger... At the Seattle airport, Frank carries a sleeping Jordan out to the car as Catherine waits near the baggage carousel to retrieve their luggage. Posing as a solicitor, the Polaroid Man approaches Catherine. Using a hypodermic needle, drugs her and escorts/drags her to the airport parking lot and then secures her inside a hidden compartment beneath his automobile. As a frantic Frank alerts security about his wife's disappearance, the Polaroid Man gets away. He makes his way to a high bluff, where he gazes upon the same two-tailed comet seen in the Teaser. A sheriff on routine patrol questions the stranger about his activities. The Polaroid man explains that the comet is an omen pertaining to the Millennial outcome. 

Meanwhile, key Millennium Group members arrive at the airport having never been contacted by Frank. After an unsuccessful visit to a roadblock in search of Catherine's kidnapper, Frank returns home to Jordan. As he sits by her bedside Jordan assures her father that Angels are in her room. In an intimate conversation Frank tells Watts and powerlessness. He wonders out loud what he must sacrifice to have Catherine back safely. Watts relates a story about a time when he and his wife were attempting to have another child (Watts had always wanted a boy). One day, Watts was assigned a case involving a murdered baby boy whose dismembered body was found inside a cooler. Watts came to believe that if he could find the child's killer, he would be rewarded with a son. Wanting to uphold his end of his pact with God, he would not allow his wife to get pregnant. Today, he has three daughters but still no son. He tells Frank that he doubts it is possible to sacrifice one thing to get another. Meanwhile, the Polaroid Man ties Catherine to a support beam inside his dark cellar. 

Watts instructs two Millennium Group members, Brian Roedecker and Dicky Bird Perkins, to install a special security system on Frank's computer. Watts explains that Frank is now ready to receive more sensitive information. This comes as a surprise to Frank, who thought that he had been privy to all of the group's files. Watts then tells Frank that the Polaroid Man's interest in him is due to the Millennium Group's interest in him — but he stops short of a full explanation. 

After exhausting all of his usual resources and hypotheses in tracking down Catherine's abductor, Frank realizes that answers to the profile lie within himself. As he turns from the information about the Polaroid Man to his own personal history he begins to find clues to Catherine's whereabouts. A series of numbers flash within Frank's mind. They are the address of a house his and Catherine's former home. On his insistence police raid the house but find it abandoned. Frank remains there and eventually discovers a clue, another Polaroid of another house. Using his computer, Frank pinpoints the house's location. Unable to organize a second police raid, Frank sets out to rescue his wife alone, and armed. 

As Frank descends into the dark basement he finds Catherine hanging from the low ceiling. Before he can do anything to help her he is blinded by the flash from a Polaroid camera. He opens fire. The Polaroid Man lunges from the darkness and stabs Frank in the shoulder. A struggle ensues, the camera is activated and flashes over and over, documenting the fight. Frank seizes the knife and drives it into the Polaroid Man again and again, killing him. Catherine must turn away, as if she does not recognize her own husband. Later, as she packs her husband's belongings into a suitcase she tells Frank it seemed as if he had sacrificed something for the safety of Jordan and herself. She asks for time and distance to see if it can ever be returned. Frank leaves the house, bags in hand, and drives off into the night.

 

Photographs:

- The Polaroid Man abducts Catherine

- Frank attempts to console Jordan

- Frank in a moment of private grief

- Frank holds Jordan closely

- The Polaroid Man takes a snapshot

- Frank contemplates his violent actions

 

  Print Advertisement

 

Media Reviews: "[Millennium] is still pretty hair-raising stuff, but you can now glimpse a grin beneath the grim end-of-century paranoia.  Thumbs up." —USA Today

 

"Intense, oblique, cerebral and disturbing by turns, Millennium is one of the most striking dramas ever crafted for network television." —The Vancouver Sun

 

"Picking up where season one ends, Frank Black's stalker, the Polaroid man, has kidnapped his wife, Catherine. While searching for his wife, Frank begins to learn that the Group has not exactly been open with him and their secrets run a lot deeper than he ever imagined. Building on this tragedy, season two follows Frank's downward spiral: his strained relationship with his wife, the loss of his sanctuary the yellow house, his disenchantment and eventual confrontation with the Millennium Group, and his struggle to maintain a normal relationship with his daughter, Jordan, in the face of Armageddon. Season one was definitely dark and fantastic, but somehow maintained a strong sense of realism. With Morgan and Wong at the helm, season two further explores the dark and fantastical, but becomes a lot more surreal, but no less fascinating." —Rob Bracco, Amazon.com

 

Trivia:  It is with this episode that writer/producers Glen Morgan and James Wong took over regular executive producing duties from creator Chris Carter. Subsequently, Millennium was taken in a number of new and previously unexplored directions. Glen Morgan commented, "There was too much gore in the first season, and it was for shock's sake. There was no humor.  Everybody wanted to know more about the Millennium Group. What was Frank's role with them? We needed to develop Frank. We had a good actress, Megan Gallagher, playing his wife, and what could we do with their relationship? Where can this go?" The duo's first decision concerning the series mythology, to eliminate the longstanding threat of the Polaroid stalker, is enacted here.

 

The second season premiere brought with it an updated and altered variant of the show's opening credits sequence. Morgan and Wong changed the show's tagline from "wait, worry, who cares?" to "this is who we are, the time is near" and added a number of apocalyptic new images to the sequence. Millennium's opening titles would change with every new season.

 

Doug Hutchison, the guest star who at last puts a face on the menacing Polaroid stalker, is one of the alumnus frequently tied to writer/producers Glen Morgan and James Wong. In addition to appearing on The X-Files and Space: Above & Beyond, Hutchison has gone on to win acclaim in such feature films as The Green Mile and I Am Sam.

 

The Polaroid stalker notes that the scientific name of the Millennium Comet is P1997 Vansen-West, a designation taken directly from an episode of Morgan and Wong's Space: Above and Beyond.  The comet was named for that show's protagonists, Lieutenant Nathan West and Captain Shane Vansen.

 

The computer password assigned to Frank by Roedecker and Dicky Bird, "Soylent Green is people," is a line taken from Soylent Green, a 1973 science fiction thriller starring Charlton Heston. Likewise, when Roedecker growls, "Get your stinkin' paws off me, you damned dirty ape," he's reciting Heston's memorable protest from the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes.

 

Death Toll:  1

 

Title: The Polaroid stalker cites Revelation 1:8 in tormenting Catherine, "I am the Alpha and I am the Omega, I am the Beginning and I am the End."  In doing so, he seems to understand the significant juncture his involvement in Frank Black's life has forced.  For Frank, this story represents significant beginnings as well as endings.  While it is clear that his involvement in the Millennium Group and the battle against evil is only beginning at this stage, his relationship with Catherine is brought to a possible end.

 

Soundtrack:

"Life During Wartime" by the Talking Heads

 

Starring:

Lance Henriksen as Frank Black

Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black

Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black

Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts

 

Guest Starring:
Doug Hutchison as the Polaroid Man
Allan Zinyk as Brian Roedecker

Judith Maxie as Finley
Drew Reichelt as Dicky Bird Perkins
Mitch Kosterman as Sheriff
Alan Robertson as the Elderly Man
Norman Armour as the Suited Man

 

Production Credits:

Production #5C01

Music by Mark Snow
Production Designer Mark Freeborn
Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
Associate Producer Jon-Michael Preece
Consulting Producer Chip Johannessen
Consulting Producers Darin Morgan
Co-Producer Robert Moresco
Co-Producer Paul Rabwin
Producer Thomas J. Wright
Co-Executive Producer Ken Horton
Co-Executive Producer John Peter Kousakis

Executive Producer Glen Morgan

Executive Producer James Wong

Executive Producer Chris Carter

 

PREVIOUS

THE MILLENNIAL ABYSS

NEXT