"Saturn Dreaming of Mercury"


Written by Chip Johannessen & Jordan Hawley

Directed by Paul Shapiro

Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

Aired April 9, 1999

Summary: Mystery surrounds Frank Black’s new neighbors, a couple and their preteen son whose arrival coincides with erratic, often violent behavior from Jordan.


  Season Three on DVD


Synopsis:  Frank supervises his daughter as she rides her new bicycle on the driveway. He steps away briefly to answer the telephone. During his absence, an SUV stuffed with suitcases passes by the house. Inside the vehicle are a father, mother, and their angelic boy, Lucas, whose form is haloed from behind. Fascinated, Jordan leaves the property to investigate. From her point of view, Jordan comes upon a vacant lot, containing only a few skeletal remains of a house destroyed by fire. Suddenly, flames and matter regroup to form a normal-looking house. Jordan’s attention is then drawn to a small whirlwind of leaves, circling a few feet away from her. She then addresses someone, a person who is apparently invisible. Frank finds his daughter and escorts her home.

The next day, Frank allows Jordan to ride her bicycle to school, with the proviso that she page him once she reaches her destination. When Jordan enters the school, she sees Lucas shaking hands with a teacher. Nearby is Lucas’ father, whose face, from Jordan’s point of view, contorts into an evil mask. A short time later, Jordan pages her father using their everything-is-okay code, "007." As Jordan walks down a school hallway, another student bumps into her, sending her careening into Lucas. He grabs hold of his neck and accuses Jordan of biting him. Teeth marks are clearly visible on the boy’s neck. Principal Hawes notifies Frank about the incident. Jordan tells her father that she never bit anyone. She then sees Lucas standing in a school corridor. In a loud voice, she tells him that the man she saw him with earlier is not his father.

Frank receives a visit from Lucas’ parents, Will and Jean Sanderson. Frank apologizes for his daughter’s behavior. Jean points out that what Jordan said about Will in the school corridor is true: he is not Lucas’ natural father. The boy, it turns out, is adopted. When Frank sees Jordan standing on the top of the stairs, he calls to her. Jordan descends the stairs, but as she does so, from her point of view, Will’s face turns scary and mean. She suddenly lunges at Will, and in the process, cuts her knee. Jordan asks her invisible friend, Simon, for help.

Frank takes his daughter to a hospital for treatment. A doctor examines her eyes, but as he does so, Jordan experiences another vision: his face transforms into that of the evil Will. The doctor then gives Jordan a clean bill of health. As Frank drives his daughter home, they pass the Sanderson house. Jordan watches as a Welcome Lady and her three-year-old son, Calvin, pay Will a visit. Jordan tells her father that Lucas’ father is evil.

Meanwhile, as Calvin meanders through the Sanderson home, he happens upon an old wooden display case containing a collection of glass eyes. Will grabs Calvin and pulls him away from the display. A short time later, Emma approaches Jordan in hopes of learning more about her imaginary friend and her visions. Jordan explains how Simon moved to the area from Phoenix. Emma relays the information to Frank. But as it turns out, Frank has already deduced some of the information based upon one of his case files. It turns out that one of the cases Frank is working on pertains to the unsolved murder of a pregnant woman, Mrs. Simon, who lived in Phoenix.

As the Welcome Lady drives away from the Sanderson home, she discovers Calvin playing with one of the glass eyeballs. Calvin begins screaming, as if the eye is hurting him. The Welcome Lady becomes distracted and loses control of her car. She collides with a telephone pole and is killed. Emma tells Frank that the Welcome Lady died as the result of being impaled by several "For Sale" signs. Calvin, however, survived the accident with minor injuries. Jordan tells Frank that the Welcome Lady’s death was no accident. Frank notes similarities between her death and that of Mrs. Simon.

Jordan sneaks inside the Sanderson house. Her imaginary friend steers her towards the basement. As she descends the stairs, she comes upon an old fashioned furnace. She unlatches the furnace door and peers inside. From her point of view, she sees a throbbing mass of plasma. An eye on the larvae opens, and a small hand rises out of the muck. Mr. Sanderson catches Jordan in the basement. Suddenly, a small hand plunges a pair of shears into his thigh.

Will accuses Jordan of attacking him. Later, a sheriff’s deputy releases Jordan into Frank’s custody. Emma screen the shears for fingerprints. She determines that the fingerprints of another child are on the tool. When Frank next sees Lucas, he experiences a vision of a screaming pregnant woman. He enters the Sanderson home to investigate. Shortly thereafter, someone knocks him unconscious. When Frank comes to, Lucas encourages him to run. Frank attempts to follow the boy through the basement, but he is attacked by the mass of protoplasm, which rips at his flesh. In reality, however, Frank is bound to a chair in the Sanderson basement, which is enveloped in flames. Frank hears Jordan’s voice calling to him. He makes his way up the stairs, where he encounters Will, who has also been attacked. When Will regains his senses, he hears his son calling to him. He makes his way though the flames and finds his son. But the kitchen is soon engulfed by flame. Firemen pull Frank from the burning structure. Both he and Jordan watch as Lucas appears in a window and transforms into Lucy Butler. Later, Emma discovers that the fingerprint on the shears belong to the dead baby from Phoenix.



- Jordan glimpses a future catastrophe

- Frank talks with Jordan at home

- Calvin examines one of the glass eyes

- Emma reaches out to Jordan

- The bizarre collection of glass eyes

- Jordan stands in a nightmarish vision

- Lucas stands within the burning house


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Trivia:  One of the third season's most perplexing and disturbing episodes, "Saturn Dreaming of Mercury" is perhaps the most significant episode of Millennium for the character of Jordan Black. Naturally, the episode is a favorite of actress Brittany Tiplady, whose performances throughout the third season as Frank Black's gifted daughter earned her a third consecutive Young Artist Award nomination. "It was so much fun to film!" Tiplady says of the episode, her opportunity to claim the spotlight. "Jordan is the one with the visions, she is the one trying to protect people instead of Frank."


Susan Tiplady, Brittany's mother, notes that because of Jordan's prominent role this episode was one of the first Millennium episodes that her daughter was able to experience in its entirety. "Usually she just reads the pages of the scripts that pertain to her," Susan once commented, explaining a policy that also applied to the young actress' viewing habits concerning the mature television series. "In 'Saturn Dreaming of Mercury' she is in the whole episode; therefore, she read the whole script." The Tiplady family sat with Brittany to watch the full episode when it first aired on April 9, 1999.


The image of Frank Black's arch nemesis, Lucy Butler, appears briefly during the episode's startling climax. Sarah-Jane Redmond's menacing character had appeared in a similar blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment during the first season episode "Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions."


Millennium fans may recognize guest star Gabrielle Rose, who appears in this episode as the Welcome Lady. The actress had portrayed the Aging Stripper in the memorable "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me" a year previously. Rose has also been seen guest starring on such shows as Sliders, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Dark Angel, and The X-Files.


Death Toll:  3


Title: Your guess is as good as mine!


Awards:  Young Artist Award - Brittany Tiplady, Best Performance in a Television Drama Series: Young Actress (Nominee)



Lance Henriksen as Frank Black

Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black

Klea Scott as Emma Hollis


Guest Starring:

Michael Bofshever as Will Sanderson

Dillon Moen as Lucas Sheldon

Connor Widdows as Calvin Scranton

Colleen Winton as Jean Sheldon

Gabrielle Rose as the Welcome Lady

Jane Perry as Principal Esther Hawes

Sarah-Jane Redmond as Lucy Butler

D. Neil Mark as the Police Officer

Ian Robison as ER Doctor

Helen Taylor as ER Nurse

Production Credits:

Production #6C16

Music by Mark Snow
Production Designer Mark Freeborn
Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
Associate Producer Jon-Michael Preece
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 Chip Johannessen

Executive Producer Chris Carter