Millennium (1996) – Blood Relatives, and The Well-Worn Lock

Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) investigates a series of brutal murders that have a tie-in with a pretender who attempts to connect to people at funerals. Written by Chip Johanessen, Blood Relatives first aired on 6 December, 1996.

James Dickerson (Sean Six) attends funerals, pretending to be a friend of the deceased in order to be able to connect with people, to have an emotional tether. He’s grown up in the system, has spent his time in juvenile, and now stays in a trust home under the watch of Connor (John Fleck).

But when murders start to occur related to the funerals, James finds himself the prime suspect as Frank and Peter (Terry O’Quinn) profile, and follow the leads and clues to in its almost inescapable conclusion.

The story moves Frank’s wife, Catherine (Megan Gallagher), a little further into the spotlight but letting her do some work on the other side of Frank’s case. She works with Victim Services, and she’s pulled into the case by trying to help the families of the victims.

There’s a moment that stays with me in the episode, Frank comes home to find Catherine, and their daughter, Jordan (Brittany Tiplady) waiting up for him. Jordan is half asleep and Catherine and Frank have a conversation about the case, and when Jordan sleepily asks what the word depravity means, you can see the look both have that they have let just a little bit of darkness into Jordan’s life.

The series continues to be dark, but very smart, and well thought out.

The Well-Worn Lock puts Catherine front and centre in a very disturbing story. Written by series creator, Chris Carter, this story debuted on 20 December, 1996. Catherine is called in on a case where she looks after Connie Bangs (Michelle Joyner), a thirty-two year old woman, who comes to her for help.

Her father, Joe (Paul Dooley), has been abusing her and her sisters for decades. And it looks like the youngest daughter, Sara (Shaina Tianne Unger) is going to be the next in line.

Incest is a difficult subject, but the series takes it on head first, dragging it out into the light. The episode also gives Gallagher a chance to shine, as she carries the episode. Frank shows up now and again in aid of his wife, as he helps investigate the horrors put upon the young girls of the Bangs family. He and Bletcher (Bill Smitrovich) become more prevalent in the episode when they chase Joe down, but it’s Catherine’s episode, and she shows that she works in the darkness too.

Joyner is completely believable in her performance,and it was a brilliant casting choice to use Dooley – he’s played some comedic villains, and some good fathers, and this puts a whole twist on it. Smart.

That doesn’t make it any easier to watch. As each new truth is revealed about the Bangs family and Joe’s activities and the ignorance and compliance of his wife, Clea (Sheila Bangs). Troubling, unflinching and dark, Millennium is not The X-Files, even though it’s in the same universe, and I will follow Frank through his explorations into the darkness.

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