Catherine Black is called to a Seattle area high school to help understand why a local girl is claiming to have magnificent religious visions of Mary Magdalene. When she arrives, however, she finds her cool psychological findings to be in direct conflict with those thought patterns of another investigator: Lara Means, representing the Millennium Group. The struggle for answers may bring Catherine to a deeper understanding of her husband’s work and driving essence.
Written by Erin Maher & Kay Reindl
Directed by John Kousakis
Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.
Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black
Gwynyth Walsh as Emma Shetterly
John Pyper-Ferguson as Ben Fisher
Genele Templeton as Clare McKenna
Garry Davey as Ray McKenna
Brendon Fletcher as Alex Hanes
Kristen Cloke as Lara Means
John B. Lowe as Rev. Sam Hines
A.J. Bond as Sports Boy
Angela Moore as Teacher
Christopher Gray as Buddy
Jenny Mitchell as Lydia
Jessica Murdoch as Leslie (I)
Eryn Collins as Shelley
Melanie Manuel as Kelly
Kimberley Warnat as Maureen
Mia Ingimundsen as Cloaked Woman
Doug Hutchison as Polaroid Man
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 Anamnesis episode transcript which has been painstakingly checked for accuracy against the actual episode.
Catherine, anxious and tense, rushes down an empty hallway of a high school. Inside one of the classrooms, a group of five girls--Clare, Leslie, Shelley, Maureen and Kelly-- gathers for prayer circle. A figure opens the classroom door and removes a handgun, pointing it inside. The gun fires--and screams reverberate throughout the school.
The story flashes back to two days earlier. In Rowan, Washington, Catherine meets with Emma Shetterly, the high school Vice Principal. The town has been rocked to its foundation ever since five female students claimed they saw a vision of the Virgin Mary. Emma wonders why such a vision would appear to five girls who, in her mind, are "unworthy." The leader of the group, Clare McKenna, has been in trouble a number of times before. Catherine makes an effort to reach out to the girls. Maureen gives her account of how her friends experienced the vision during Reverend Sam Hanes’ sermon. Shortly thereafter, Catherine is approached by Hanes’ son, Alex. He gives a different account of events, claiming the girls were, in fact, disruptive during his father’s service. When Hanes put the girls on notice, Clare experienced the "vision." Alex claims Clare is far from divine. Later, when Catherine returns to speak with Emma, she realizes Lara is inside her office.
Lara tells Catherine and Emma that, throughout the years, the Millennium Group has investigated similar apparitions. Though there is undeniable friction between Catherine and Lara, the ice slowly breaks as they observe the young students attending a prayer meeting. Lara locks eyes with Ben Fisher, a drama teacher, then looks away, somewhat uncomfortable. As the prayer meeting gets underway, Alex clashes with Clare over her recitation of a passage she claims is from the Bible. As Clare continues, she mentions "the beginning and the end," the same words spoken by the Polaroid Man. Catherine is stunned. When she later approaches the girl about what she said, Clare reveals even more about the Polaroid Man, furthering Catherine’s speechlessness. Lara steps up behind Catherine. She experiences a vision, seeing a cloaked woman standing near trees. Later, Lara and Catherine discuss the event. Lara believes Clare is, indeed, a visionary, while Catherine believes the girl is simply being mischievous. But Lara explains that the words Clare recited were from Gnostic texts, which were excluded from the Bible for promoting the idea that Mary Magdalene was the only apostle who truly understood Christ’s teachings.
Lara and Catherine meet with Clare’s father, Ray. They observe a great many books in Clare’s bedroom, books given her by Ben Fisher. Ray believes Ben is the only person genuinely concerned for his daughter’s welfare. The women then note a Black Virgin, a statue associated with natural phenomena. According to legend, the object will grow heavy if moved against its will. Catherine discovers she cannot, in fact, lift it. An outraged Clare runs into the room and easily lifts the statue, cradling it like a doll.
Ray telephones Catherine, informing her that Clare and her friends have disappeared. Lara and Catherine set off to the woods. During their journey, Lara reveals that the vision the girls saw was not of the Virgin Mary, but of Mary Magdalene. Catherine is stunned. Later, the women come upon the girls standing in a grotto. A scuffle breaks out. Ben lunges at Lara, but she drops him with an impressive right hook. Ben is taken into custody. Later, Reverend Hanes forcibly baptizes four of the girls, believing it is the only way to end their "Godlessness." But when it is Clare’s turn, the wispy form of the cloaked woman appears in the water. Everyone, including Catherine and Lara, are stunned. Later, Lara confronts Ben Fisher. Ben, it is revealed, is a member of The Family, a former part of the Millennium Group. Fisher is acting as Clare’s guardian, someone to guide and help her deal with her power. He accuses Lara of being jealous, as she was not so fortunate.
Catherine learns that Ben was released from the police station. She fears that he will do something to Clare, but Lara warns her not to interfere. Realizing Clare is at the prayer circle meeting, Catherine rushes to the high school. She sees the armed figure approaching the classroom (see teaser)--which turns out to be Alex. He opens fire, and moments later, is tackled from behind by Catherine. Alex cries out, wondering why Jesus loves Clare more than himself. When Catherine rises to her feet, she realizes Fisher took the bullets intended for Clare. Shortly thereafter, Fisher dies. Later, Lara explains that there had to be a sacrifice in order to set certain events in motion. She then shows Catherine two DNA reports--one for Clare McKenna, and the other taken from the Shroud of Turin. The images match. Lara explains that some believe Clare is the descendant of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. She hands the DNA folders to Catherine--letting her decide if the world should know the truth.
Background Information and References
Erin Maher and Kay Reindl wrote the one episode this season, "Anamnesis," in which Frank did not appear. Instead, Catherine Black and Lara Means team up to investigate the strange behavior of a group of high school girls. One of the girls, Clare (Genele Templeton), claims to have seen Mary. Lara and Catherine both come to the case as psychologists, and in their discussions with the girls, eventually realize that the Mary of Clare's visions isn't the Virgin Mary but Mary Magdalene.
Maher and Reindl became thoroughly fascinated with Mary Magdalene while researching the early years of Christianity. "We thought, `Wow, she rocks,'" laughed Maher. They were surprised by what they learned, that Mary, although portrayed for nearly two centuries as a prostitute, was more likely a woman of good family and reputation. "She's the apostle to the apostles. She's the one who really understands what Christ is saying," Maher said. "She was pretty much weeded out of the Bible. Women can't be in any position of power, but when you look back at the history there were early Christian women who are priestesses. What happened to them? Why was that so threatening? We wanted to play with that a little bit."
The episode questioned the purity of Jesus, a divergent view of Christ that Maher and Reindl had also come upon in their research. Network Standards and Practices objected, and the two writers spent many hours on the phone trying to explain their position. "They suddenly realized what the episode was about, and they were horrified," Maher said, "because we're implying that since Jesus was Jewish and a rabbi, he probably was married and had children. Standards said, `You're implying that Jesus had sex!' And we're going `Yep!'"
The two writers enjoyed playing the rational Catherine off against the visionary Lara, who senses the breakdown that awaits her. "We got to do a little Mulder and Scully thing with them, because Lara is the spiritual one and Catherine is more scientific," Maher noted. "But in this episode you really see Catherine opening up a little bit more to the possibilities." Added Reindl, "She has a really great strength in this episode. I think that one of the things she learns is that although she's very protective of her family, she's not protecting out of fear but out of strength, and she can do that for Frank and Jordan. Nobody is going to mess with those two when she's around, and that's what we really wanted to bring out in this episode."
Source: "TV's Best Kept Secret Improves In Its Sophomore Season" - Cinefantastique Magazine (1998).
In psychology terminology, anamnesis is the process of recalling to memory, of recollection, the ability to recall past occurrences. Catherine Black and Lara Means, as trained psychologists attempting to probe the memory of Clare McKenna, are no doubt familiar with the term.
Credit: Brian Dixon, The Millennial Abyss
Anamnesis is the only Millennium episode in which Frank Black does not appear, as actor Lance Henriksen took a well deserved vacation in Hawaii.
Original Fox Promotional Episode Stills
View the 11 available original 1996 Fox Millennium Episode Guide images for this episode of Millennium here.
(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.
- Alex Hanes was responsible for the attempted murder of Clare McKenna during this episode of Millennium (Anamnesis).
- Alex Hanes was responsible for the murder of Ben Fisher during this episode of Millennium (Anamnesis).
(View Millennium's Violence - Deaths, Killers, Victims and Criminality Analysis)