Midnight Of The Century: Millennium, Season 2

Midnight Of The Century: Millennium, Season 2

Static Mass Rating: 5/5
20th Century Fox Home Ent.

Originally aired: December 19th, 1997
Release date: September 27th, 2004
Certificate (UK): 18
Runtime: 60 minutes

Director: Dwight H. Little
Writers: Erin Maher, Kay Reindl

Cast: Lance Henriksen, Megan Gallagher, Terry O’Quinn, Brittany Tiplady

For many of us Christmas is a time for celebration. We celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the teachings he brought to the world. We celebrate the gift he gave us; forgiveness for our sins. We celebrate the time we have with our loved ones and we exchange presents to show that love and appreciation of each other.

For many of us, this is what Christmas means, but in the world of Chris Carter’s Millennium, things are usually a little bit darker and this 1997 festive episode is no exception as Frank Black tends to some ghosts from his past.

Midnight Of The Century: Millennium, Season 2

Set in Seattle, Washington, the show takes place in the years leading up to 2000 and tells of a secret society and criminal investigative consulting firm called the Millennium Group who may or may not be trying to actively bring about the End of Times. Some members of the group are not fully aware of their true agenda; among them is Frank Black, a former FBI agent who has the ability to see through the eyes of serial killers and murderers.

Having suffered a breakdown which forced him to leave the FBI, he now works in the capacity of a consultant for the group but his involvement with them creates a strain on his personal life, especially with his wife, Catherine (Megan Gallagher) and his daughter, Jordan (Brittany Tiplady), who seems to have inherited his insights and sensitivities.

Midnight Of The Century: Millennium, Season 2

At this point, Frank and Catherine are separated. It’s Christmas Eve and the episode opens with a black and white prologue and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite. Frank is a little boy and sits with his mother drawing a picture of an angel. Back in present time, he arrives home with a bag full of presents and decorations and listens to the messages on his answering machine. There’s one from Jordan who invites him to the Christmas pageant and then there’s one from his father whom he’s been estranged from for a considerable amount of time.

Midnight Of The Century: Millennium, Season 2

Frank is usually such a dark character that when we see him ending to his Christmas tree or arguing with staff at a toy store who are dressed in elves outfits, there’s a comedic element to it. Yet there’s still something very troubling in Midnight of the Century.

Midnight Of The Century: Millennium, Season 2

Catherine shows Frank a picture Jordan has drawn of an angel and says that she drew it with her grandmother. Frank doesn’t seem worried, but then Catherine says “Not my mother, Frank. Yours.” Christmas is usually a difficult time of year for Frank, it’s when his mother passed away when he was a little boy and he now learns his daughter is communicating with his mother from beyond.

Worried about what the child’s gifts might lead her to experience later on in life and what his own visions might mean, he discusses it with Millennium Group member Lara (Kristen Cloke) who has the ability to see angels.

FRANK: I see, instinctively, intuitively, intensely – it’s getting stronger on another plane since I started working with the Millennium Group. Lara, I think Jordan sees the way you do. I know that we can’t just somehow wish it away, that we can’t stop her from seeing. What I need to know is what’s going to happen to my daughter.
LARA: Here’s my thing. This is a tough time of year for me. Angels are everywhere.
FRANK: I know. I’ve been seeing them myself.
LARA: Yeah, cute, cuddly, flapping their wings, blowing their horns all over place. You know that wings on angels are something that the early church took from the Egyptian gods because people sort of liked it?
FRANK: So these drawings are not true depictions?
LARA: Well, it’s not what I see, but from them, I get the same feeling as when “he” appears. And that’s how it all started when I was a kid – I just sort of felt them. I felt a presence around me. And then one day, a man came over to our house; he was just an out-of-town business associate of my father’s. They were talking in the living room, and there he was. Standing – well, not standing – behind this man, in an intense, beautiful light. I was overwhelmed with this horrible sensation. And I went and I told my mother that this man was going to die today. She got so mad at me for saying such a thing. But he did. He had a coronary in his hotel room that afternoon.
FRANK: And you’ve seen and felt him ever since.
LARA: Yeah, but I didn’t talk much about it until Peter Watts approached me about the Millennium Group. See, I figured everyone saw them. But I got very clued in when my mother took me to see Father Esposito, who angrily insisted that if I kept “seeing things”, then I’d have to become a nun – which although is a very noble calling, is a serious setback in a boy’s interest in you.

Lara looks at him seriously for a moment.

LARA: I don’t know how you can prepare her, Frank. You’re right: they won’t just go away. And for me, it only gets more intense as I get older. He only appears to warn me of imminent danger, or to point me into the direction of evil’s presence.

As Frank grows visibly more concerned over what Jordan’s future holds for her, Lara tries to reassure him.

LARA: But there is one thing, Frank. In the bible – and to me – they are messengers. This was brought to your attention, and you said you’d seen angels all day. So my immediate concern isn’t for Jordan, but for you. You may not be able to see them, but I feel that something is trying to be communicated to you. And there’s only one place to find the answer.

While Frank tries to connect these visions to what Jordan is experiencing, he also realises it’s time to visit his father, Henry (Darren McGavin).

Midnight Of The Century: Millennium, Season 2

Millennium, for the three seasons it ran for, was always much darker than The X-Files. For starters, its characters were troubled, conflicted and much more vulnerable. Evil seemed to be everywhere, sometimes it was hard to tell in which corner, but when it presented itself, it left an impression that didn’t fade easily with a night’s sleep. Midnight of the Century doesn’t so much invite us to a story with evil at its core but instead places upon us the importance of making peace and being able to recognise signs before us.

Midnight Of The Century: Millennium, Season 2

There’s a sense of quiet urgency in its message too, especially when senior member of the group, Peter Watts (Terry O’Quinn), bestows this piece of dialogue:

“You know that for almost the entire history of Western civilization, this month has been a holy time? The Druids, winter solstice, Hanukkah – the Romans converted Saturnalia into Christmas. Imagine that: Christ wasn’t even born on this day, maybe not even 1,997 years ago. So no one knows for sure when the millennium really begins and ends. Or how much time is left.”

This is really what this beautiful and very tragic Christmas episode comes down to. Time. We never know how much of it there is.

Midnight Of The Century: Millennium, Season 2

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