Millennium (1997) – The Beginning and the End, and Beware of the Dog

Glen Morgan and James Wong plunge Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) further into turmoil, darkness and mystery as he desperately attempts to recover his abducted wife, Catherine (Megan Gallagher) in the season two opener, which first aired on 19 September, 1997.

The opening credits have changed, as has the text contained within it. ‘Wait. Worry. Who Cares?’ has been replaced by ‘This is who we are.’ and ‘The time is near.’ – suggesting the series has has found a new direction, and in the case of the characters, that Frank is being drawn deeper into something, in this case the Millennium Group which allows him more access as he has proven himself a successful candidate.

Utilising his gifts, Frank works to track down The Figure/Polaroid Man who has been stalking him for some time, and who has now abducted Catherine. The role has been taken over by Doug Hutchinson, who replaces Paul Raskin. And that isn’t the only change at work in the series.

Morgan and Wong were told by the studio to shift away from a killer of the week to the Millennium Group itself, which then lets the show investigate the prophecy, predictions and superstition surrounding the oncoming millennium.

In the episode, however, Peter (Terry O’Quinn) provides some assistance to Frank, seeing that his access to the Group is widened, and even supporting, well not a lie, but a twisting of the truth at the episode’s end after Frank has confronted the Polaroid Man – who is unlike any killer or criminal that Frank has encountered.

This incident has a huge impact on Frank and Catherine’s relationship, and what he may have sacrificed to save her, so the two characters need some time apart, so Frank willing leaves the house.

There’s also something going on with Jordan’s (Brittany Tiplady) visions, once she is home she confides in Frank that there are angels over in the corner, and when her mother comes back, she says their gone…

We are truly entering a time of angels and demons, in the literal sense, with this show.

Beware of the Dog was also written by Morgan and Wong and debuted on 26 September, 1997. This episode is very intent on worldbuilding the mythology of the series. Frank is still trying to reconnect to his gifts, as his personal life, being out of balance is affecting it, and he’s troubled by Peter sending him to investigate a case that to him, is obviously an animal attack.

But he goes anyway, and finds himself in a strange small town where the inhabitants believe he’s the new sheriff, and a young transplanted Californian (Micheal Beebe) is in danger for tilting the balance of the environment, though he doesn’t realise it; he’s made himself a target for a pack of dogs that only come out after dark, and the rest of the town has hunkered down for the night.

This is all revealed by an Old Man (R.G. Armstrong), who does some work for the Group, and reveals to Frank the existence of the pact between Heaven and Hell, or Good and Evil.

Frank may not be sure about all of this, but he instinctively understands it, and knows that it also means keeping the dream of the Big Yellow House, even if he, Cathy and Jordan aren’t quite the family they were at the moment.

I got a kick out of seeing Brent Butt in this episode, he has a small role as a short order cook, and Corner Gas was still a number of years from happening.

The series now has almost completely re-positioned itself for its continuing exploration of the Group and the millennium superstitions that surrounded the coming of the year 2000…

And I will no doubt explore more of them next week as I continue my journey into darkness with Frank Black in Millennium.

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