Millennium (1997) – Weeds, and Loin Like a Hunting Flame

Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) steps back into the darkness with another pair of episodes of Millennium this week. First up is Weeds. Written by Frank Spotnitz this story first aired on 24 January, 1997.

Frank heads to a small gated community, joined by Cheryl Andrews (Cch Pounder in a return appearance), where a series of abductions and murders of teen boys are taking place. Frank is troubled by what he immediately sees about the killer. He’s comfortable in his stalking grounds, and he knows the secrets of the community because he’s a part of it.

As these revelations shake up the residents Frank finds cryptic messages revealing the secrets that some would like to keep quiet.

Someone is visiting the sins of the fathers upon the sons, and the only way to save the lives of the current abduction victim is for the boy’s father to admit what he did wrong, and take responsibility for it.

The way the killer sees the world is disturbing, and he actually believes that he is trying to help the boys, but will happily kill them if their fathers don’t admit to the truth.

I love watching Frank work these cases, hearing how profiling works, and what we can learn by what is and isn’t at a crime scene. And while we may not be able to relate completely to what some of these killers believe, we gain an insight into them, and I find that fascinating.

And I loved the little aside that Cheryl shares with Frank about how safe the community is. She’d been stopped twice since she passed the gates; the implication being she was stopped because she was black. It’s a nice dig against the community, and people’s perceptions.

And it’s been a while but Jack (Don McKay) the next door neighbour makes an appearance just to remind us he’s around.

Loin Like a Hunting Flame is the first really overtly sexually themed show of the series. Written by Ted Mann, it first aired 31 January, 1997.

When a couple is found dead in a botanical garden posed as Adam and Eve, Frank and Maureen Murphy (Harriet Sansom Harris who played the Eves in The X-Files episode of the same name) come to Boulder, Colorado to help the local PD, led by Detective Thomas (William Lucking) who has worked sex crimes before, but now seems a little unnerved and puritanical when it comes to the sexual fantasies that the killer seems to be engaging in.

Frank and Maureen begin their investigation, with Peter (Terry O’Quinn) popping up to provide some useful information, and conflict on occasion with Thomas, who thinks that he profilers aren’t looking for the right suspect.

Meanwhile, the killer’s fantasies continue, and his actions grow bolder. He’s murdered once, it will be easier the next time. Will they be able to track him down before he strikes again?

This was a very smart episode, and I love the way it’s crafted, allowing Lucking’s character to be the typical, superficial judgemental public when it comes to sex, while Frank and Maureen take the activities and proclivities of others in stride – as long as they aren’t hurting and killing people, they’e fine with people’s sexuality, but this killer is going to strike again…

More darkness next week, as Frank continues his work with the Millennium Group.

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