#MLM-209 Jose Chung's 'Doomsday Defense'
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Controversial writer Jose Chung comes to Frank Black and the Millennium Group for help when a bizarre religious group called Selfosophy, which he’s recently written a very unflattering short story about, places a price on his head. With each murdered body, issue of Playpen magazine, and Selfosophy key to happiness that the investigators come across, they find the case becoming more convoluted and utterly absurd. The question becomes, as Frank puts it, "What the hell is going on here?"
Written by Darin Morgan
Directed by Darin Morgan
Edited by James Coblentz
Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black
Charles Nelson Reilly as Jose Chung
Richard Steinmetz as Mr. Smooth
Patrick Fabian as Ratfinkovich
Dan Zukovic as Robbinski
Alec Willows as Detective Twohey
Sandy Steier as The Feminist
Scott Owen as Nostradamus Nutball
Murray Rabinovitch as Juggernaut Onan Goopta
David Duchovny as Bobby Wingood
Lance Henriksen as Rocket McGrain
Seasonal Episode Tagline
this is ... who we are ... the time is near
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 Jose Chung's 'Doomsday Defense' episode transcript which has been painstakingly checked for accuracy against the actual episode.
As a series of still photographs pass into view, author Jose Chung describes the life of Juggernaut Onan Goopta, who went to college hoping to become a famous neuroscientist and instead was overcome by dementia and institutionalized. During his hospital stay, Goopta decided to become a writer. His first literary works were so incompetent they were mistaken for "brilliant parodies." Chung met Goopta when his stories were published in a detective magazine. When that publication folded, a desperate Goopta "changed the course of human history" when he published the first in a series of highly- successful self-help books and founded the "Institute of Selfosophy," which taught members how to shed negative thoughts. It was an enormous success. Anyone responsible for internal criticism of the organization was reprogrammed, and if that failed, dubbed a "Ratfinkovitch" and excommunicated from the church.
While performing research on "the newly arising belief systems at the end of the millennium," Chung encountered Joseph Ratfinkovitch, who was excommunicated for reading Chung’s most recent fiction. Ratfinkovitch’s body is discovered inside his apartment, the victim of an electrocution. Giebelhouse contacts Frank, hoping he can shed some light on the case. As the group examines the crime scene, Chung steps forward and claims that he is responsible for Ratfinkovitch’s death. He explains that when Playpen magazine ran an excerpt from his short story, the Selfosophist Institute grew offended. They instructed members to buy up all existing copies. However, Ratfinkovitch read, and enjoyed, the story.
Ratfinkovitch was then approached by Mr. Smooth, a fellow Selfosophist. Using a device called an Onan-o-Graph, Smooth attempted to recounsel Ratfinkovitch. According to Chung’s version of events, the device malfunctioned and Ratfinkovitch was inadvertently electrocuted. When Chung admits he made the whole thing up, Frank and Giebelhouse meet with a Selfosophist spokeman, Robbinski, who insists his fellow members are incapable of murder. Despite this, Mr. Smooth attempts to control his homicidal rage after reading--and being offended by--Chung’s story. He sends Chung a clown doll impaled with a variety of knives. Chung contacts Frank with the news. He explains that the antagonist in his story sends similar threats before committing murder. At the conclusion of the story, Chung states, the "Selfosophist Psycho" confronts and kills the author.
Chung accompanies Frank to the scene of a (seemingly unrelated) murder on a college campus. The victim is Professor Amos Randi, a Nostradamus scholar. Frank concludes that the perpetrator is targeting victims he considers to be Nostradamus’ Three Anti-Christs--and will attack two more authority figures. But Chung does some profiling of his own. He determines that the killer, who was fulfilling self-interpreted prophecies, targeted his ex- girlfriend’s teacher. The trail, Chung believes, leads to a Hollywood movie theater. The next victim, it turns out, is a ticket girl at a Hollywood movie theater. Frank realizes that Chung’s profile predicted the murder, and later concludes that Chung is the killer’s third Anti-Christ. He, Watts and Geibelhouse race to Chung’s hotel. Smooth, however, arrives first. He pulls out a gun and berates Chung for ridiculing the church’s beliefs.
Frank suddenly bursts through the door. Smooth takes a shot at Chung, misses, then sprints from the room. Frank follows Smooth onto the rooftop. Smooth convinces himself he can leap onto a neighboring building and escape. But all the positive thoughts in the world cannot save him, and he plummets downward to his death. Meanwhile, the "Nostradamus Nutball" surprises Chung and murders him with a pick axe. Later, Frank begins reading one of Chung’s books, entitled Doomsday Defense. In it, Chung predicts the millennium will bring forth "one thousand years of the same old crap."
In daring to spoof the infamously litigious Church of Scientology, Millennium drew considerable protest from those Hollywood insiders loyal to the religion. Word of the script spread and Darin Morgan's story immediately earned the ire of Scientologists. Executive Producers Glen Morgan and James Wong subsequently visited the Scientology Celebrity Center in Los Angeles and spent several hours discussing the script with church officials. One of the agreed upon changes was dubbing Darin Morgan's fictional religion Selfosophy rather than Selftology. Darin Morgan later noted how trying the experience was from a creative standpoint, commenting, "It seemed like a very simple freedom of speech issue. You take free speech for granted until certain people are threatening you, whether it be legally or otherwise, to shut up. And it isn't until that happens that you go, 'How much am I willing to stand up for this?'"
Credit: Brian Dixon, The Millennial Abyss
When Chung said that you can tell a lot about a person by the books they read, he picked up a paperback with the title "On the blood-dimmed tide" - a line from the Yeats' poem used in the pilot by the Frenchman.
Credit: The Fourth Horseman of TIWWA
In Chung's article for the porno magazine about Selfosophy, the first line of it reads: "Happy people are all the same, unhappy people are unhappy differently." This is lifted from the first line of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina: "All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
Credit: Fourth Horseman of TIWWA
The Nostradamus Nutball attacks his girlfriend at a screening of Orson Welles' film, The Third Man. Giebelhouse mentions "He escaped down a sewer shaft." In The Third Man, Welles' character, Harry Lime, escapes down a sewage shaft.
Credit: Fourth Horseman of TIWWA
(Comprised of 4 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 Promotional Episode Stills
View the 9 available original 1996 Fox Millennium Episode Guide images for this episode of Millennium here.
- Mr. Smooth was responsible for the attempted murder of Frank Black during this episode of Millennium (Jose Chung's 'Doomsday Defense').
- Mr. Smooth was responsible for the attempted murder of Jose Chung during this episode of Millennium (Jose Chung's 'Doomsday Defense').
- Mr. Smooth was responsible for the murder of Ratfinkovich during this episode of Millennium (Jose Chung's 'Doomsday Defense').
- Nostradamus Nutball was responsible for the murder of Amos Randi during this episode of Millennium (Jose Chung's 'Doomsday Defense').
- Nostradamus Nutball was responsible for the murder of woman in theatre ticket booth during this episode of Millennium (Jose Chung's 'Doomsday Defense').
- Nostradamus Nutball was responsible for the murder of Jose Chung during this episode of Millennium (Jose Chung's 'Doomsday Defense').
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