"The Fourth Horseman"


Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong

Directed by Dwight Little

Edited by Jim Thomson

Aired May 8, 1998

Summary: 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


Quotes:  "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?" —Psalms 94:3


Synopsis:  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 Group. 

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 cage. 





- 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


  Print Advertisement


Media Review:  "Carter, 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, Digitally Obsessed


"Going 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


Trivia:  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 it horrifying."


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 magazines as 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.


Death Toll:  7


Title:  The title 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

"I'll 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


Guest Starring:

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


Production Credits:

Production #5C22

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