Millennium (1997) – Force Majeure, and The Thin White Line

The first episode that really deals with the idea of the approaching millennium, and the prophecies created around it, Force Majeure, first aired on 7 February, 1997, and was written by Chip Johannessen. Frank Black (Lance Henriksen), Peter Watts (Terry O’Quinn) and Cheryl Andrews (Cch Pounder) get drawn in to a case featuring identical twin suicides, but somehow seven years apart.

If that wasn’t mysterious enough, there’s a strange man, Dennis Hoffman (Brad Dourif), nosing around the case, who seems to know a lot about millennial prophecy and is rather worried about 5 May, 2000. And he may not be the only one, as the investigation takes Frank down a strange rabbit hole and leads him to a character known only as Iron Lung Man (Morgan Woodward).

Frank is increasingly troubled, something that shows in his and Catherine’s (Megan Gallagher) thoughts about their daughter, Jordan (Brittany Tiplady) and her future. This entire episode sees Frank surrounded by material and thoughts that portend that something momentous, and likely disastrous, is prophesied to occur in the year 2000.

Are Dennis and the Iron Lung Man insane for their beliefs, and what is the depth of the plan that is at work in this episode?

Creepy, unnerving, and tying in religious text and millennial worry into a convincing story, Force Majeure is another tour into the darkness, and I am so digging it. But I can also see why the series didn’t appeal to everyone. It was very dark, and kind of pessimistic, for its time, no matter how many times Frank ends his day at the big yellow house with his family there is always more darkness at the door.

The Thin White Line was written by Glen Morgan and James Wong and had an original airdate of 14 February, 1997.

When Frank sees a connection between two apparently unrelated murders, he and Bletch (Bill Smitrovich) from the Seattle PD, find themselves pursuing the impossible. A serial killer who is still locked away in prison. Frank knows this, because Frank put him there.

The episode contains a series of flashbacks on a case that has haunted him for years, and left its scars (physical and mental) on Frank. When he worked with the FBI he tracked and was involved in the capture of Richard Alan Hance (Jeremy Roberts), and this one of the only times we see Frank with a firearm.

Now some twenty years later, murders are being committed in the exact same way. It can’t possibly be Hance, but Frank begins to put it together, learning what happened in the original case, which will help him predict events in this new case, as Hance may have influenced his old cellmate, Jacob Tyler (Scott Heindl) to carry on his work.

Man, I love how dark this show is, and that it’s unafraid to look into the shadows and hunt down what is there. I’ll be joining Frank for more forays into the dark next week!

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