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A police search strikes the Black family personally as Frank’s sister-in-law, Helen, is kidnapped from her child’s baptism. Frank’s younger brother, Tom, finds the situation overwhelmingly difficult to deal with emotionally and foolishly chooses to take desperate measures. At home, Jordan exhibits extraordinary concern over the detailed events of the crime despite the fact that she was never present to witness them.
Written by Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Michael Watkins
Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.
Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black
Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts
Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black
Stephen James Lang as Det. Bob Giebelhouse
Bill Smitrovich as Lt. Bob Bletcher
Philip Anglim as Tom Black
Dylan Haggerty as Richard Green
Brian Markinson as Det. Teeple
French Tickner as Store Clerk (II)
Ken Roberts as Green's Father
Liz Bryson as Helen Black
Daphne Goldrick as Green's Mother
Lorena Gale as Dr. Patricia Moss
Angus Lockhart as Baby
Mackenzie Lockhart as Baby
He said to me in a dreadful voice that I had indeed escaped his clutches, but he would capture me still. - St. Teresa of Avila
Promotional Episode Tagline:
As the millennium approaches, the battle between darkness and light... begins now.
Seasonal Episode Tagline:
wait... worry... who cares?
Please note that this is the original Fox synopsis and occasionally this may differ from the events that were actually filmed. Please also view the Sacrament episode transcript which has been painstakingly checked for accuracy against the actual episode.
Frank’s brother, Tom, and his wife, Helen, travel to Seattle where they hold their newborn son’s baptism. After the ceremony, Frank checks up on Jordan, who is off playing with a friend inside the church. He finds his daughter huddled in a ball on the pew, clutching herself. She speaks of a man she saw hurting her Aunt Helen. Frank rushes outside the church. He finds his baby nephew unharmed in the back seat of Tom’s rental car, but notes a blood droplet on the infant’s face. Frank and Tom realize Helen was abducted.
Frank, who saw the back of the kidnapper’s head during the baptism service, pores through police mug shots. But he is unable to identify the perpetrator. Bletcher warns Frank he cannot interfere with the police investigation, noting a prosecutor cannot achieve a conviction using evidence gathered by the victim’s brother-in-law. But Frank insists he can help find Helen.
Frank notices a baggage tag is missing from one of his brother’s suitcases. He and Tom review video footage recorded by a surveillance camera at the airport. They see the kidnapper approach Helen at the baggage carousel. Later, Bletcher tells Frank police located a stolen car. Helen’s blood was discovered inside.
Watts gives Frank a manila envelope containing photos of sex offenders living in the area. Frank recognizes the kidnapper, Richard Green, in one of the photographs. Bletcher assures Frank that Green, who lives at home with his parents, is already under surveillance. However, Frank decides not to tell his brother about the discovery.
Tom searches through his brother’s files and discovers the truth about Green. Gun in hand, Tom confronts the kidnapper, demanding to know his wife’s whereabouts. Green, however, claims he doesn’t know anything about Helen. Geibelhouse and Teeple, who were surveying the Green residence, calm Tom. He lowers his weapon. Later, Frank tells his brother he deliberately kept him in the dark because "there are some truths no one should know."
Watts searches the abandoned vehicle and discovers the presence of several pine needles from trees which only grow in Peninsula National Park. Watts, Frank and Tom drive to the park, where they discover an abandoned cabin. Inside they find more blood--along with Helen’s wedding ring. Later, police make casts of tire tracks outside the cabin. They match the abandoned car. Lab tests reveal the presence of Green’s blood inside the cabin as well.
Meanwhile, Jordan continues running a fever. But doctors are unable to pinpoint the cause. Jordan asks her mother why the man who took her Aunt Helen is making her cry. Catherine is taken completely off-guard by her daughter’s remarks.
Green is taken into custody, but Helen’s whereabouts remain a mystery. Police begin digging up the lawn behind the Green residence. They discover a woman’s decomposed body buried inside a plastic garment bag. Watts tells Frank the wrapping around the body slowed decomposition considerably. He guesses the woman was killed at least nine years earlier.
Frank realizes Green did not murder Helen at the cabin (as he was under surveillance since Sunday night). He also realizes that some tools found in Green’s possession were not part of his torture kit. They were, in fact, used to hide Helen’s body in the basement of the Green home. Helen is found entombed behind drywall. But her body is still warm,and she is revived. Afterward, Frank realizes Green’s father forced his son to procure his victims.
Tom Black: That's the Black family. Try to anticipate the future so you don't have to dwell on the past.
Just after Tom's wife is kidnapped, Frank is seen sitting at a computer going over photos of criminals in the Seattle area. At least two people associated with the show can be seen in the photos as they flash by. The first one is Ted Mann, near the beginning, and the second one, near the end is Thomas Wright, but without his glasses.
Credit: Fourth Horseman of TIWWA
Writer Frank Spotnitz comments on Sacrament:
From worst (Weed) to best. This, as it happens, was my favorite episode of "Millennium" bearing my name. We got greater insight into Frank through the introduction of his brother, and developed aspects of Jordan's "gift" that had only been hinted at previously. I also thought the villain was creepy - I particularly like the scene in the hardware store - and the solution to the mystery sufficiently unexpected.
I was proud to screen this at the Museum of Television & Radio. Because of his skill in directing this episode, Michael Watkins went on to become co-executive producer and a director of "The X-Files" after the show relocated to Los Angeles.
Source: Big Light Productions
While there are occasional references throughout the series to the fact that Frank Black has a brother or brothers - most notably in "Midnight of the Century" and "Seven and One" - this episode marks the only appearance of one of these blood relations.
While there is foreshadowing throughout the first season, "Sacrament" grants viewers the first clear indications that Jordan Black has inherited her father's unusual powers of insight. This theme, and its potential ramifications, would be explored throughout the series.
Credit: Brian Dixon, The Millennial Abyss
(Comprised of 1 murders + 0 kills in self defence + 0 justifiable homicides + 0 suicides.)
NB. Where applicable, large groups of victims (such as multiple victims in a plane crash) are represented by a count of group count of 1 due to impracticalities with listing so many unidentified persons. For enhanced details, see the Violence Markers below.
Original Fox Episode Stills:
View the original 1996 Fox Millennium Episode Guide images for this episode of Millennium where available here.
Available Violence Markers:
- Green's Father was responsible for the attempted murder of Helen Black during this episode of Millennium (Sacrament).
- Green's father was responsible for the murder of unnamed woman during this episode of Millennium (Sacrament).
(View all violence, killer and victim stats)