Contributor: Erin (Raven Wolf)
As I watch the Pilot episode of MillenniuM today, I am impressed by the raw beauty in the opening scene, with the throbbing beat of "More Human Than Human", and Calamity's beautiful, blood-streaked body, surround by flames in the Frenchman's vision, as he quotes from Nostradamas and Revelations. But, in retrospect, I think it was just too much for a lot of people, who may have been turned off by the highly sensual and sexual scene. Still, as I watch it again...as if I'm watching it for the first time, that scene, followed by the now-familiar haunting theme music, it quite easily stood out as one of the more breath-taking Pilot scenes in all of television, much as The X Files had, just 3 years earlier.
That disturbingly dark and beautiful scene is then balanced by the idyllic arrival of the Black family at their new Yellow house. So often, in the first episodes of new series, potential viewers are lost because they just aren't captivated enough by the characters from the first moment. Chris Carter managed to quickly make us all feel as if we'd known Frank, Catherine, and Jordan for years, and, to their credit, the actors meshed together so well, that you easily felt the history of their family. The Yellow House, which would become such a significant symbol in the series, was quickly and effortlessly brought to the forefront, and the stage is set.
One of the most artistically written and filmed scenes was Frank's conversation with Tuesday. The lighting...Her reflection in the glass cast across Frank. The way her overtly sexual tone and movements changed, and became softened and vulnerable, as she folded her arms in a defensive posture. I was so amazed that, here, strippers and prostitutes were being treated like human beings, not like disposable people.
It always strikes me as interesting that when the Frenchman first sees Frank, he instinctively knows he is the enemy, just as one of the men on the bridge who saw Frank chasing him somehow knew that Frank was one of the "good guys", and told him that the man he was chasing had jumped. Frank's character is already portrayed as a true hero...A kind of avenging angel...here to protect us.
By this time, the viewer is completely sucked in by the riveting story, and you can see how all the other threads weave together the foundation of the series.
All of the horror of the climatic scenes...first where the horribly disfigured young man is found, buried in a coffin... alive, followed by Frank's personal horror that something has happened to his family, when Jordan falls ill...carrying you farther on the roller-coaster-ride back to the final scene where Frank faces the Frenchman, who is then shot by Bob Bletcher, already setting the tone that Frank is NOT a killer, we then see the rainbow at the end of the storm, as the tone is balanced by another idyllic scene, in which Frank brings the now-recovered Jordan her first puppy. A story-book ending if ever there was one. But, still, the balance of horror and beauty continues, as Frank discovers Polaroids in his mail, just like the ones that had led to his first mental breakdown. He takes them out of the envelope, and sees Catherine and Jordan. In the background is a cab, with "Seattle" painted on the side. You're left with this feeling of urgency, like reading an exciting novel, and you're compelled to turn the page...But there is no page to turn. This ending was a great hook to give viewers incentive to come back the next week to see the second episode, and was also the perfect 10-13 trademark signature, of answering questions by not answering them. The End......And the Beginning.....