"Anamnesis"

#MLM-219

Written by Erin Maher & Kay Reindl

Directed by John Kousakis

Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

Aired April 17, 1998

Summary: Catherine Black and Lara Means clash as they independently investigate a sensitive high-school girl who claims to be experiencing religious visions.

 

  Season Two on DVD

 

  Full Transcript Available

 

Synopsis:  Catherine, anxious and tense, rushes down an empty hallway of a high school. Inside one of the classrooms, a group of five girls — Clare, Leslie, Shelley, Maureen and Kelly — gathers for prayer circle. A figure opens the classroom door and removes a handgun, pointing it inside. The gun fires—and screams reverberate throughout the school. 

The story flashes back to two days earlier. In Rowan, Washington, Catherine meets with Emma Shetterly, the high school Vice Principal. The town has been rocked to its foundation ever since five female students claimed they saw a vision of the Virgin Mary. Emma wonders why such a vision would appear to five girls who, in her mind, are "unworthy." The leader of the group, Clare McKenna, has been in trouble a number of times before. Catherine makes an effort to reach out to the girls. Maureen gives her account of how her friends experienced the vision during Reverend Sam Hanes' sermon. Shortly thereafter, Catherine is approached by Hanes' son, Alex. He gives a different account of events, claiming the girls were, in fact, disruptive during his father's service. When Hanes put the girls on notice, Clare experienced the "vision." Alex claims Clare is far from divine. Later, when Catherine returns to speak with Emma, she realizes Lara is inside her office. 

Lara tells Catherine and Emma that, throughout the years, the Millennium Group has investigated similar apparitions. Though there is undeniable friction between Catherine and Lara, the ice slowly breaks as they observe the young students attending a prayer meeting. Lara locks eyes with Ben Fisher, a drama teacher, then looks away, somewhat uncomfortable. As the prayer meeting gets underway, Alex clashes with Clare over her recitation of a passage she claims is from the Bible. As Clare continues, she mentions "the beginning and the end," the same words spoken by the Polaroid Man. Catherine is stunned. When she later approaches the girl about what she said, Clare reveals even more about the Polaroid Man, furthering Catherine's speechlessness. Lara steps up behind Catherine. She experiences a vision, seeing a cloaked woman standing near trees. Later, Lara and Catherine discuss the event. Lara believes Clare is, indeed, a visionary, while Catherine believes the girl is simply being mischievous. But Lara explains that the words Clare recited were from Gnostic texts, which were excluded from the Bible for promoting the idea that Mary Magdalene was the only apostle who truly understood Christ's teachings. 

Lara and Catherine meet with Clare's father, Ray. They observe a great many books in Clare's bedroom, books given her by Ben Fisher. Ray believes Ben is the only person genuinely concerned for his daughter's welfare. The women then note a Black Virgin, a statue associated with natural phenomena. According to legend, the object will grow heavy if moved against its will. Catherine discovers she cannot, in fact, lift it. An outraged Clare runs into the room and easily lifts the statue, cradling it like a doll. 

Ray telephones Catherine, informing her that Clare and her friends have disappeared. Lara and Catherine set off to the woods. During their journey, Lara reveals that the vision the girls saw was not of the Virgin Mary, but of Mary Magdalene. Catherine is stunned. Later, the women come upon the girls standing in a grotto. A scuffle breaks out. Ben lunges at Lara, but she drops him with an impressive right hook. Ben is taken into custody. Later, Reverend Hanes forcibly baptizes four of the girls, believing it is the only way to end their "Godlessness." But when it is Clare's turn, the wispy form of the cloaked woman appears in the water. Everyone, including Catherine and Lara, are stunned. Later, Lara confronts Ben Fisher. Ben, it is revealed, is a member of the Family, a former part of the Millennium Group. Fisher is acting as Clare's guardian, someone to guide and help her deal with her power. He accuses Lara of being jealous, as she was not so fortunate. 

Catherine learns that Ben was released from the police station. She fears that he will do something to Clare, but Lara warns her not to interfere. Realizing Clare is at the prayer circle meeting, Catherine rushes to the high school. She sees the armed figure approaching the classroom (see teaser)—which turns out to be Alex. He opens fire, and moments later, is tackled from behind by Catherine. Alex cries out, wondering why Jesus loves Clare more than himself. When Catherine rises to her feet, she realizes Fisher took the bullets intended for Clare. Shortly thereafter, Fisher dies. Later, Lara explains that there had to be a sacrifice in order to set certain events in motion. She then shows Catherine two DNA reports — one for Clare McKenna, and the other taken from the Shroud of Turin. The images match. Lara explains that some believe Clare is the descendant of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. She hands the DNA folders to Catherine — letting her decide if the world should know the truth.

 

Photographs:

- Clare discovers the Black Virgin statue

- The Millennium Group's Lara Means

- Clare McKenna, the center of controversy

- Lara is stunned by a vision of her own

- Ben Fisher, a member of the Family

- Emma holds a distraught Alex Hanes

- Alex approaches the prayer group

- A group of boys taunts Clare

- Lara finds Fisher at the grotto shrine

- Clare's vision of Mary Magdalene

- Clare experiences a vision

 

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Media Review:  "While I mentioned that one particular episode might appeal to fans of The DaVinci Code, the fact is that this season of Millennium may very well do the same as it treads of some of the same themes. [Millennium presented a] beautiful combination of modern crime and ancient mysticism, all coming together under the auspices of something that may or may not have our best interests in mind. And Frank Black caught in the middle of all of it. When it aired, I found it to be the most intellectually satisfying series on the air." —Michael Patrick Sullivan, Underground Online

 

"As compelling as Catherine and Lara are as compliments to Frank’s flawed center, they really can’t hold a narrative together as a solo act or, as in this case, a duo. Lara always appears hampered when dealing with individuals outside the Group, and Catherine has never really been developed enough as an entity exclusive of Frank for us to get a handle on her headstrong motivations... There is also a rushed feeling to this story, as if we stumbled in at the last 15 minutes or so of a much longer exposition. As a result, the events that happen to the young girl, Claire, the link to the entire Gnostic Bibles and Family issues get rather short shrift. Lara says it best when she admits that all this talk about Mary Magdalene, Jesus and the possibility of a Christ-based bloodline may be too 'amazing' to believe. At the time it was. Now, with an audience way ahead of the game, 'Anamnesis' seems out of step, both with the series and the times." —Bill Gibron, DVD Talk

 

Trivia:  "Anamnesis" is unique in that it is the only one of Millennium's sixty-seven episodes that does not feature Lance Henriksen as Frank Black. As a result, it is one of only two episodes that can be said to focus on the character of Catherine Black rather than her husband.

 

Kay Reindl, while discussing the origins of "Anamnesis" with the Abyss, noted that the Millennium episodes she wrote with partner Erin Maher have a common theme. "We seem to be inspired by the discovery of forgotten things, like the Ghost Dance or Mary Magdalene and the Gnostics," Reindl observed. "We were originally going to have the girls see the Virgin Mary but the more Mary Magdalene cropped up, the more intrigued we became with her and finally we just tossed poor old Mary out of the window and came up with 'Anamnesis.'"

 

Explaining the intrigue of Mary Magdalene, Erin Maher says, "She's the apostle to the apostles. She's the one who really understands what Christ is saying. She was pretty much weeded out of the Bible. Women can't be in any position of power, but when you look back at the history there were early Christian women who are priestesses. What happened to them? Why was that so threatening? We wanted to play with that a little bit."

 

Millennium's writers and producers regularly found themselves in conflict with those at the Fox network, particularly the censors of the Broadcast Standards and Practices division. "Anamnesis" in particular, because of its implications concerning the life of Jesus Christ, is reputed to have alarmed the network censors. Kay Reindl explains, "There are some hard and fast rules, particularly with violence, but this was a new thing for them and once they figured out what we were saying about Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ we had quite an argument on our hands. Our Standards person, Linda Shima-Tsuno, was wonderful, however. She's always been very fair and will listen to your arguments. She listened to ours for three hours! Between me and Erin and Glen, we finally managed to get our point across and although she required some changes and clarifications, we got to do the episode. Which was good, since it had already started shooting. Darin's office was in the same building and every once in a while he'd wander by and see us still sitting there, heads in our hands, trying to explain how Gnosticism is not a bad thing."

 

This episode offered the show's writers the opportunity to contrast Lara Means and Catherine Black, the show's leading female roles, and to play the characters off of one another. Maher explains, "We got to do a little Mulder and Scully thing with them, because Lara is the spiritual one and Catherine is more scientific. But in this episode you really see Catherine opening up a little bit more to the possibilities." Reindl adds, "[Catherine] has a really great strength in this episode. I think that one of the things she learns is that although she's very protective of her family, she's not protecting out of fear but out of strength, and she can do that for Frank and Jordan. Nobody is going to mess with those two when she's around, and that's what we really wanted to bring out in this episode."

 

Death Toll:  1

 

Title:  In psychology terminology, anamnesis is the process of recalling to memory, of recollection, the ability to recall past occurrences. Catherine Black and Lara Means, as trained psychologists attempting to probe the memory of Clare McKenna, are no doubt familiar with the term.

 

Soundtrack:  

"Dancing Barefoot" by Patti Smith

 

Starring:

Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black

Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts

 

Guest Starring:

Kristen Cloke as Lara Means

Genele Templeton as Clare McKenna

John Pyper-Ferguson as Ben Fisher

Brendan Fletcher as Alex Hanes

John B. Lowe as Reverend Sam Hanes

Gwynyth Walsh as Emma Shetterly

Garry Davey as Ray McKenna

A. J. Bond as the Sports Boy

Eryn Collins as Shelly

Christopher Gray as Buddy

Jenny Mitchell as Lydia

Angela Moore as the Teacher

Jessica Murdoch as Leslie

Kimberly Warnat as Maureen
 

Production Credits:

Production #5C19

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

 

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