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Butterfly Exegesis of Innocents

This article was contributed by Earthnut and relates to the episode The Innocents of Chris Carter's Millennium television series.

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Episode Profile

Episode Title:

 The Innocents

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Episode Summary

Eight months following the fade of the Marburg Virus that killed Catherine, Frank and Jordan find themselves in Washington, D.C. Frank not only has difficulty getting back to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation but also is given a hard time from Catherine's bitter father. When the case of a plane crash full of identical blonde women seems to hold connections to the Millennium Group and other Marburg mysteries, Frank decides to join Special Agents Emma Hollis and Barry Baldwin in investigating.

Main Crew

Written by Michael Duggan
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

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There are a total of 165 images for The Innocents which are available in our Episode Image Gallery.

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Butterfly Exegesis of Innocents

An image from Millennium: The Innocents.

Not knowing the writer‘ intentions of using the butterflies in the episodes, "The Innocents" and "Exegesis," I will draw on my own knowledge and research in an attempt to explain the spiritual connection of butterflies in these episodes. Keep in mind that there is also the possibility that both Michael Duggan and Chip Johannessen may have placed them in their stories simply to bring an added mystery, and they may not have realized at the time the spiritual significance and contribution of the butterfly presence. Then, of course, they may very well have known, but kept the butterfly influence down to a minimum to prevent venturing too far off from the main storyline. I commend them highly for writing excellent episodes.

There are 3 subgroups of butterflies, the true butterflies, the skippers, and the moth-butterflies. The life cycle, or metamorphosis, of butterflies, is in 4 stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most adult butterflies live only one or two weeks, but some species may live several months because they hibernate during the winter. However, the Monarch Butterfly and the Angel Wing can live 6-9 months, the variant time of human pregnancy. There are two very distinct differences between the male and female Monarch. On the male there are 2 very visible black spots on the hind wings, and on the female the black webbing within the wings is thicker.

In reference to the life cycles, an interesting note is the number 4, which symbolizes the number of stability or natural order. It stands for earth-man, a four-fold being, not three as many people believe by fusing the spirit and soul together. Man is a spirit, with a soul (feelings & emotions), having a mind, and dwelling within a physical body. Also, the natural order is the 4 corners, the 4 directions, the 4 seasons, the 4 physical senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting, the 4 gospels, and so on.

The butterfly has always been representative of beauty and new life, renewal and rejuvenation, or a transformation of someone‘ spirituality. In Ancient Greek the prime meaning is "soul" or "mind." In China the butterfly symbolizes long life and beauty, whereas if there are 2 flying together it symbolizes love. In Japan the butterfly symbolizes young womanhood, and yet a Japanese superstition believes it to be a sign of a lover‘ visit. Symbolizing young women I found very interesting because these episodes were specifically about young woman and children. Another interesting belief is that it‘ a bad omen with the appearance of a large number of butterflies. I don‘t believe this to be the case at the plane crash in "The Innocents" because the atmosphere was that of pain and heartache from the lost of so many people in the crash. It appeared to me that most of them, if not all of them were Monarchs, but I'm not sure. Another interesting bit of symbolism is the Russian word for "butterfly" meaning "bow tie," which is part of their word for, "woman" or "grandmother."

Was it a butterfly etched into the back of the chair in the older woman‘ home?

In the belief of animal totems, the Monarch is considered to bring astonishing spiritual growth in a person‘ early years, which can create a difficult childhood. The Monarch also denotes perseverance or a transformation in spirituality. Sounds like Frank Black to me. When Frank was on the bridge, a Monarch was flowing towards him in the water that came from the vehicle the young woman and child were in; it was a female. When Frank picked it up and held it in is hand, it was a male. I believe at that moment Frank experienced a transformation of his spirit, which made it possible, later on at the silo, to receive the visions that the older woman shared with him.

Interesting also is the meaning of the word "Monarch." One, A person who reigns over a kingdom or an empire, and two, one holding preeminent position or power. I believe Frank is more powerful then even he is aware of, and the Monarch‘ presence was attempting to relay this message to him. The fact that the Monarch was dead instead of alive indicates to me that most of his spiritual power and position is dormant. When he picked the butterfly up we can see in the expression on his face and in his eyes that he was aware it had a meaning, but wasn‘t sure what that meaning was at that moment, yet the fact that he picked it up was an outward expression of acceptance. Without full understanding of your power and/or authority, and especially the operation of the "principalities and powers in the heavenly places," it can destroy you. This may very well have contributed to Frank‘ torment, as he became more spiritually powerful then he understood and was able to control, especially with all the pulls from so many different directions. Frank‘ abilities, as we all know, is what the Millennium Group feared, and why they wanted control over Frank. Living in circumstances like this, could be something that would ultimately drive a person to a mental and/or emotional breakdown. According to Assistant Director Andy McClaren, Catherine kept Frank sane, and I can agree with him from his perspective. Consider instead that Catherine actually kept Frank balanced. And in the end, in "Goodbye To All That," Frank‘ balance came from Jordan; from mother to daughter.

As stated in "The Innocents," butterflies are attracted to motor oil, brake fluid, and "lacrimal secretions," or human tears. According to Wikipedia, there are 3 basic types of tears: Basal, Reflex, and Psychic. Basal tears are the natural tears that lubricate the eyes and keep them clear of dust. Reflex tears are from irritations of the eye, whether it‘ a foreign object or from vapors as from onions. Also, bright lights, and the tongue and mouth stimulated with something hot or peppery can result in these tears. The third type of tears, Psychic, is from crying or weeping, whether from emotional stress or physical pain. These tears have a different chemical make up then in Basal or Reflex. Psychic tears contain more of the protein-based hormones. Wikipedia also states that "in many cultures, crying is associated with babies and children, and naturally more accepted socially for women to cry then men. For men it was considered to be a sign of weakness.

I personally believe it was Psychic tears the butterflies were attracted to at the crash site; the tears from the men and women investigating the crash. Sure there was motor oil and brake fluid at the site, but the butterflies, to me, appeared to be flying more above the heads and around the investigators then anything that was on the ground. In "Exegesis" when the older women sat up in the back of the truck and saw the sunlight, there were butterflies flying around giving a peaceful and almost joyous atmosphere. And, there were a large number outside the silo near the end of the episode, which also gave a peaceful atmosphere from the butterflies. Watts being present, and the fact that he was hiding behind the bushes, said to me that, the power of the spirit of love and life is stronger then any of the powers of the systems of men. In the chapter on butterflies in the book written by Lafcadio Hearn, "Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things," it states that, "A butterfly is seen as the personification of a person‘ soul; whether they are living, dying, or already dead," like the victims of the plane crash, and the sacrificed young women and children, heralding the message of new beginnings.

Native Americans see the butterfly as knowing the mind, and the ability to change it. In butterfly medicine you must constantly, and shrewdly, be aware of your own mind‘ never-ending transformation cycle. This begins with the egg, which is an idea or a thought. Then you move to the larva stage where a decision is made. Thirdly, you are in the cocoon stage, being very busy bringing your idea or thought into the material world, into your reality. Lastly is the completion stage, where you are sharing your thought and idea with others. These stages will always let you know where you are at each moment, guiding you into the next beginning stage, going full circle, or "a wheel within a wheel." Being aware of the different stages also lets us know where we are mentally, as well as spiritually and emotionally, in the grand scheme of things. I believe the full picture is where Frank had his biggest problem. He had little problem handing the stages in the moment, but where he fit in, in life itself was, I believe, what tormented him most. And without the balance from Catherine, the torment intensified.

In the "Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library," the Papago Indian‘ story of the creation of butterflies, the Creator, while watching children laugh and sing, had a heavy heart because of picturing them growing old, and their bodies succumbing to time. The Creator began gathering things like sunshine, colors from the sky, flowers, the color of children‘ hair, and the song of the birds and put them all into a bag. He gave the bag to the children, and when they opened it hundreds of butterflies flew out singing and dancing around the children. The songbirds, however, became upset and reminded the Creator that all the birds were to each have their own exclusive song. The Creator agreed, and took the songs away, but was still pleased with the butterfly‘ beauty. This is why butterflies do not make a sound, and if they are to be heard, it would only be with the spirit.

Native Americans also believe butterflies are the symbol of joy, telling us to not take life so seriously, representing the air element. Butterflies come in a variety of colors and are considered messengers of the moment, depending upon their color. The butterfly Frank bought Jordon was blue. Blue is symbolic of healing. I believe the blue butterfly‘ message of the moment to Jordon was simply, "Be healed." Maybe this was representative of the "personification" of Catherine bringing healing to Jordan; "from mother to daughter?" Thus we see beginning of the healing process for Jordan at the loss of her mother, and I believe it reached its fruition in "Omerta," as Jordan released herself from the burden of the Christmas gift to her mother, and gave it to the 2 women. This now opens the door for Frank‘ healing from losing Catherine, in the episode "The Sound of Snow," where he admits that the group gave her back to him. The healing of Jordan‘ spirit does however open the door for her visions to intensify, as seen in the episode "Saturn Dreaming of Mercury," at the same time seeing and hearing her mother. Here we have the bitter with the sweet; or a blessing and a curse.

Blue is also the reflection of life off of a body, whereas in space, everything is black.

"We can see the future in tantalizing glimpses that vanish as quickly as they appear. A premonition. Not what the future is, but that it is. Waiting for us. A reassuring thought. This sight‘ a burden for some. A duty. The clear view of something happening in this country that could never happen in this country. Of forces we believed could not gather here. We sense the chaos. We worry. We wait. Who‘ going to see a different future?"