Darin Morgan brings his creation Jose Chung (Charles Nelson Reilly) into Frank Black’s (Lance Henriksen) orbit with Jose Chung’s ‘Doomsday Defense’ which Morgan wrote and first aired on 12 November, 1997. Like the classic X-Files episode that features the character, this story is funny, satiric, and of course, because it’s Millennium, has a bit of a downbeat ending which will prevent the character from every returning.
The episode skewers self-help books, and takes aim specifically at scientology, though it’s under another name, though its creation and history are eerily similar. There are murders occurring which necessitates Frank being called in, and he and Chung, an author Frank is familiar with, develop a rapport after a fashion as they both investigate the crime – Frank to solve it, Chung as information for a new book, though he quickly ends up becoming a target.
There are tons of sly pieces of humour, images of David Duchovny as a Hollywood superstar thanks to the pseudo-religion, copies of From Outer Space (the book he wrote in The X-Files), quotable dialogue, and a solid story, which earned Reilly an Emmy nomination for Supporting Actor.
It’s obvious that Henriksen is having fun in this episode, and some of the dead pan looks that Terry O’Quinn’s Peter gets to deliver are just priceless. A classic, and very funny episode, this one should be required viewing back to back with Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.
Morgan gets the characters, but also knows how to lovingly skewer them while giving us a great episode in the process.
Midnight of the Century was written by Erin Maher and Kay Reindl and debuted on 19 December, 1997. Millennium gives us its Christmas episode, that shows the series can be funny, while being dark, and that Frank is struggling with his own past as his father (Darin McGavin – appearing in Millennnium before he shows up in The X-Files) attempts to get in touch with him, and his mother (Cheryl McNamara) gets in touch with his daughter, Jordan (Brittany Tiplady). She, like Jordan shares Frank’s gift – she’s also dead.
There’s a great moment when Black talks about Silent Night, Deadly Night, and whether he’s a serial killer or spree killer. And when Jordan shows off a Christmas gift she got, and it’s exactly what Frank got her, necessitating another shopping trip (a few of them actually) that sets off nostalgia of yesteryear, and not all of it good.
There are also some heart-wrenching scenes between Frank and Catherine (Megan Gallagher) as they discuss the future of their relationship.
As the holidays become more and more difficult, he asks Lara (Kristen Cloke) for some advice, who also talks more about her own gift.
The advice leads him to see his father, which gives him perspective on his own relationship with Catherine and Jordan, while illuminating a part of his own past he didn’t understand.
It’s a great little episode for the holidays, but the darkness continues to beckon for Frank and the Millennium Group.
This is who we are.