Contributor: The Polaroid Stalker
Synopsis: When a small-town daycare worker is accused of child molestation, Frank finds himself at odds with his new associate from the Group, Lara Means, not to mention the local public opinion. Frank and Lara soon come to suspect an altogether different menace to the community's children.
The Stalker's Review: Upon my viewing of "Monster," I was wondering if "MillenniuM" would ever deal with the mythology of Season One, dealing with Legion and his minions. But, when I saw this episode, I couldn't help but go: "Legion's baaaaaaack!"
Not just because of its mythology, "Monster" is also worth noting because of its introduction of the most engaging new character on "MillenniuM," Lara Means. When I saw her, I went like, "It's Shane Vansen! With blonde hair! Gasp!" And indeed, it was Kristen Cloke of "Space: Above and Beyond" -- with a new hair treatment!
The episode has Frank investigating a child molestation charge in a small Arkansas town. Apparently, a daycare worker, a simple woman named Penny Plott, has been accused of molesting one of those under her watch. But not long after Frank's arrival, another child dies under mysterious circumstances.
The townsfolk are understandably outraged, but few of them are willing to consider the accused innocent until proven guilty. I was going like, "Okay. So it's a modern-day Salem Witch Hunt?"
Frank then teams up with fellow investigator (and Group candidate) Lara Means. Our hero begins to suspect another culprit may be behind the attacks. But, in a twist that made me sure this was Salem in the 20th century, Frank himself lands in hot water when he becomes a suspect (GASP!), following allegations of abuse against his own daughter.
Okay. This was where my quibble came up. Legion (as he called himself way back in "The Judge") wants Frank to join him, and promises him safety. So, why would Legion want Frank to be arrested? Does he think that if Frank accepts the offer, the charges against him will just drop? Is it worth risking, because I don't think Frank would take up on the offer at that point?
But Frank discovers the culprit is a classmate of the kid who died, Danielle Barbakow. She also accuses Frank of abusing her, but it soon becomes clear that she is the one who was instrumental in her classmate's death. So, the little girl's a manifestation of Legion. Lauren Diewold portrays the little demonic girl, but in her subsequent appearance as Scully's "daughter" in "The X-Files" episodes "A Christmas Carol" and "Emily," I actually screamed to the TV: "NO! Don't trust her! She's evil! It's Legion!"
Other notable guest characters: MORE "X-Files" alumni! Robert Wisden as the district attorney. Remember, he was "Pusher" Modell in "Pusher" and "Kitsunegari." Y'know, the mind-bending serial killer?
Chris Owens as the deputy: played the young title character in "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man," and soon after played CSM's agent son on the show.
All in all, "Monster" is a traumatic study of child abuse, and the almost instantaneous reaction of ordinary citizens to believe the worst about suspected abusers. It also gives us a glimpse into the inner workings of a devilish mind, and speculates about the point in human development at which such abnormalities occurs -- pondering the possibility that some of us are just born evil.
But the big twist shows that Frank isn't alone in the line of his "gifts." No, Lara's got visions of angels dancing in her head, and her trademark (yet annoying) "Here's my thing" is quirky and very likable. The haunting opening moments of her introduction, when she watches the vision of a featureless angel glowing outside the wing of her plane, show insight into her gift. Like Frank's, it aids in investigations. But, unlike his, it is slowly driving her insane.
Overall, I found that "Monster" was a classic Season Two episodes. It not only introduced a new character, it continued the Season One "Legion" mythology. Bravo, Morgan and Wong.
My rating: Five "I wiped your ass when you were five!"'s out of five!
-- The Stalker