Frank Black takes a stand against the Millennium Group over its
secrecy and its apparent involvement with a virulent contagion to
which he and Peter Watts have been exposed.
Season Two on DVD
Full Transcript Available
"So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on
it was death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to them over
the fourth of the Earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death...
and by the beasts of the earth." —Revelation 6:8
"How long, Lord — how long will the wicked triumph?"
In Wisconsin, in 1986, a farmer discovers thousands of dead
birds inside his chicken coup warehouse, pools of blood
encircling each cage. The farmer races for a phone, but
collapses on his hands and knees, black papules having grown
over his lymph nodes.
In the current day, Frank receives
a visit from Richard Gilbert, an ex-FBI agent. Richard offers Frank the
opportunity to join his "security dream team," which is nicknamed the Trust.
Their conversation is interrupted by news that Frank's father has passed
away. Frank, Catherine and Jordan attend the funeral, where Jordan asks
questions about death. When Frank returns home, he attempts to contact
Lara, but his messages go unanswered.
The body of a thirty-two year
old man, Jason Molgilny, is discovered on the shore of a remote lake. Six
pints of blood have spilled from the body, but there is no evidence of
foul play. A pathologist, Dr. Schroeder, determines that the victim drowned
in his own blood, possibly from a viral infection that overtook his body
in a matter of minutes. The pathologist orders everyone who came in contact
with the victim, including Frank and Watts, to be quarantined pending blood
and cell sample analysis.
Sitting in his quarantine cell,
Frank phones Watts and accuses him — and the Millennium Group — of knowing
what caused the victim's death. During the conversation, Watts begins reciting
passages from the Book of Revelation with an almost psychotic fervor. A
short time later, a team of physicians wearing hazmat suits enters Frank's
cell. Frank notices something peculiar about the men, but isn't quite able
to pinpoint the cause for his concern. A physician wearing a plain lab
coat enters the cell. He explains that both Frank and Watts appear to be
normal, and no known infectious agent could be located in their blood.
When Frank is released, he tells Richard he is prepared to accept his offer
and join the Trust. But he explains that he cannot leave the Group without
"rescuing" his friends.
As the Davis family enjoys a
chicken barbecue, family members are suddenly overcome by seizures. One
by one they drop to the ground, seemingly sweating blood.
Catherine tells Frank that Jordan
has been experiencing recurring nightmares in which a group of "bad men"
enter a jungle. Shortly thereafter, angry monkeys, covered with blood,
emerge from the trees. Eventually, within the dream, Jordan sees no one
else in the world other than her parents, who are in a cabin in the woods.
Catherine is at a loss to explain how a six-year-old girl could concoct
such imagery. Frank considers the dream... then asks Catherine to find
a doctor she can trust, one willing to perform some secret tests. When
Catherine protests that the tests would aid the Group, Frank agrees that
the Group is, in all likelihood, a cult. Unwilling to allow Jordan to grow
up without a father, Frank promises Catherine he will quit the Group and
return to the yellow house, where they will live as a family as soon
as he finishes one last task. Catherine arranges for Frank to meet with
a doctor. He instructs the physician to perform some tests and keep the
results a secret.
Richard performs some surveillance
work, and learns that Watts has been in contact with Lara Means. Frank
drives to a remote location where Lara is believed to be living. After
overcoming a security man, Frank secretly makes his way through a wooded
area, and observes a scene through binoculars. He discovers Watts presiding
over a ceremony, one in which Lara is being inducted into the Millennium
Frank buys Jordan a parakeet,
believing it will help her deal with her feelings. He also asks her about
the dreams. Jordan tells him, "we should leave the monkeys in the trees."
Eventually, Frank makes contact
with Watts. He tells him that the mysterious team wearing the hazmat suits
injected them both with a vaccine while they were in quarantine. He also
tells Watts that the Group is an illusion, one not interested in the end
of the world, but in controlling it. Watts admits the Group is not who
he is but came to him at a moment in his life when he was most vulnerable
(when he discovered the body of a decapitated boy floating in a cooler
on a lake). Frank encourages Watts to help him investigate the Group. Watts
responds by stating that if he should do so, and his motives are discovered,
he will be killed. He also predicts the exact moment an earthquake will
strike. He tells Frank that if his prediction should come true, he must
accept the offering to become a full member of the Group, with "no more
questions or doubts."
As the clock strikes 4:13 a.m.,
Frank receives a phone call from Lara. She tells him that there is no need
to doubt the Group or its intentions. The connection suddenly goes dead and seconds later, as Watts had predicted, an earthquake rattles the city.
As Frank moves through his house, he notices the parakeet, dead in its
TO BE CONTINUED
- Frank lays flowers at his parents' grave
- Group scientists secretly inoculate Frank
Frank and Peter discuss an apocalypse
Frank stands alone in the cemetery
The Black family visits Henry's fresh grave
Frank endures rigorous quarantine testing
Frank mourns the recent loss of his father
Richard Gilbert, representative of the Trust
A vivid remembrance from Peter's past
A victim of the Marburg virus
Frank argues with Peter in quarantine
A dead bird's body warns of the plague
Frank finds his window smashed by a bird
Morgan, and Wong merge feverish end-of-the-millennium fears, all
carved out of increasingly darker, deeper folds of faith and religion,
with massive governmental conspiracies that all direct the second
season towards a final set of episodes that become some of the most
fundamentally bleak and grim to have ever appeared on regular series
television." —Rich Rosell,
out with a one-two punch that many dramatic series would die for, let
alone ever imagine they could pull off, Millennium dives deep
into the apocalyptic tone hinted at throughout the entire season when
an Ebola-like plague erupts... In order to make all this work, in
order to get us directly into the frame of fear of both the virus and
the various obtuse Group attributes, we need a strong leader, and
Henriksen is indeed that amazing man. Unlike previous episodes where
he played a quasi-insider looking out, he is completely alone here and
we, as the audience, take his scared, scarred side immediately." —Bill Gibron, DVD Talk
The episodes of the two-part second
season finale — "The Fourth Horseman" and "The Time is Now" — were
written by executive producers Glen Morgan and James Wong at a time
when Millennium's future on the Fox network was undecided. The
dramatic events seen here were intended as a suitable series finale as
well as a satisfying end to the season in the event that the show was
to be cancelled.
Deciding to at last force the characters
of Millennium to face doomsday, Morgan and Wong looked to their
research in an effort to choose how the end of the world would take
place on the series. "When I looked at the current research, I found
the thing that was most likely to get us was some sort of plague or
virus," Glen Morgan has said. "I didn't really pay much attention
during the mad cow scare in England, but in reading about it I found
Morgan and Wong chose a genetically
engineered variant of the Marbug virus as their apocalyptic initiator.
Similar in its effects to Ebola virus, the Marbug virus existed as a
part of the Russian bio-weapon arsenal, just as Peter Watts notes in
the following episode. The Centers for Disease Control explain, "Marburg
virus was first recognized in 1967, when outbreaks of hemorrhagic
fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and
Frankfurt, Germany and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). A total
of 37 people became ill; they included laboratory workers as well as
several medical personnel and family members who had cared for them.
The first people infected had been exposed to African green monkeys or
their tissues. In Marburg, the monkeys had been imported for research
and to prepare polio vaccine."
When discussing the corporate security
group known as the Trust,
Richard Gilbert drops the names of several
agents involved in the organization. "The rest of us you know from the
old Bureau days," Gilbert comments. "Duncan, Vitaris, Brian Dixon."
Each of these names corresponds to a prominent fan active in following
the television work of Glen Morgan and James Wong. Kate Duncan is a
dedicated follower of Morgan and Wong's sci-fi drama Space: Above
and Beyond. Paula Vitaris, a freelance writer for such
Cinefantastique and Starlog, regularly penned magazine
articles regarding Morgan and Wong's work in television. Brian
A. Dixon is the webmaster of this site, the Millennial Abyss.
references Revelation 6:8, the biblical quote that opens this episode.
In the Book of Revelation, the prophesized breaking of the symbolic fourth seal brings forth the
four horsemen of the apocalypse. The fourth horseman, Death, is often
associated with disease and infection.
"In the Year 2525" by Zager and Evans
Never Fall in Love Again" by Dionne Warwick
Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black
Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black
Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts
Kristen Cloke as Lara Means
Glenn Morshower as Richard Gilbert
David Longworth as Farmer Duffy
Bill Dow as Dr. Schroeder
Leslie Hopps as Susan Davis
Boyan Vukelic as Greg Davis
Anna Hagan as Barbara Davis
Terence Kelly as Gordon Davis
Curtis Bechdholt as Tim Davis
Gerry MacKay as the Physician
Eileen Pedde as Dr. Mariam Greenwald
Max Wyman as the Group Member
Fred Henderson as Agent Russell
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