Reviewed: The Thin White Line
Contributor: Erin (Raven Wolf)
"A man's past is not simply a dead history....it is a still quivering part of himself, bringing shudders and bitter flavours and the tinglings of a merited shame." (George Elliot)
I loved the gripping, gothic mystery of this episode. "The Thin White Line" contains all the qualities that made Millennium great. It had a Silence of the Lambs quality that I absolutely loved! There was such suspense in it, such intensity that is not seen in other so-called "Crime Dramas". Also, there was, again, the characteristic blend of horror with beauty that made Millennium so unique. Richard Hance and Jacob Tyler were, obviously, monstrous murderers, but their love and devotion to each other was quite moving. In this way, the murderer is portrayed more as a human being than a monster...something that Chris Carter tried to do often in his series...to put the souls back into the stories. As in the first episode, where he portrayed Calamity as a beautiful woman and a mother, not just a stripper, he showed the two men in this episode with the same kind of care, and causing the viewer to not view them as mindless monsters but as human beings to feel sympathy for. I was so impressed by this, and by the message that was portrayed in Millennium as a whole, that the way to stop evil is not by lowering to its level. Frank Black is the perfect hero in that way. He not only works to stop the evil that is happening in the world, but he feels such sympathy...such understanding that he still treats them as human beings. He had spared Richard Hance's life many years before, because of this, and he went to great pains to try to save Jacob Tyler, but finally failed in the end, as Bletcher shot him in the final standoff. This reality of the modern world pains Frank, as it does me, and he expressed it perfectly in saying...""How did we get to this point where the only thing we're good for is notifying the loved ones?"
The final scene was the most moving of all, to me. I've discussed this with another Millennium fan, who did not see this the way that I did, so I suppose this is open to artistic interpretation. Hance is shown lying on his cot, trying to sleep despite the ever-present lights that, as he had told Frank, were on 24 hours a day, which seemed quite cruel. Hance had told Frank that he wanted the lights turned out, if he helped, to which Frank had replied "No deals". Then, in this scene, we see as the lights go out, one after another, after another. Hance's eyes open, startled, and, as the cell becomes dark, we can hear him moaning. This to me, meant that Frank had, out of sympathy, and as a message to Hance, asked that the lights be turned out, and that Hance, realizing this, knew that this meant that Jacob was dead, and was moaning in sorrow. This scene still brings tears to my eyes, and is one of the things that impresses me so about Millennium...How the soul is put back into what would usually be faceless, nameless monsters. In this way, I feel that Chris Carter was able to put the soul back into television itself, and "The Thin White Line" is one of his earliest great accomplishments in Millennium.