Contributor: The Polaroid Stalker
Synopsis: When a religious zealot, convinced the apocalypse is at hand, abducts a busload of Oklahoma school children, Frank, Peter, and Lara are faced with the likelihood he may in fact be right.
The Stalker's Review: After the abysmal "A Single Blade of Grass," I was praying that "MillenniuM" wouldn't go down that road. And after seeing "19:19," I knew that Morgan and Wong had redeemed themselves!
This was a terrific episode -- a unique outing that depicted an apparently psychopathic kidnapper (reminding me of Duane Barry) who in fact may have been a truly blessed individual, someone unafraid of becoming a martyr in the pursuit of serving a higher purpose. So, we are beginning to realize that not all of the antagonists in the show are evil.
She's back! Lara Means, the Group candidate who sees visions of angels, returns to assist Frank in his investigations. Even though her role in "Monster" wasn't as essential to the storyline as she becomes in her appearances later on, I felt she was important to the series as a whole. How can you NOT love her? Even though her mannerisms get kinda tiring (never happens with Mulder or Frank!), she's just wonderful!
And Peter Watts is back, returning to Season One mode. I thought he was better when he was a big part of the storyline, but hey, I think he needs to be a sidekick now and then.
"19:19" succeeds in offering something that has been missing for quite a while, that being a unified team of good guys, working in tandem to accomplish a common goal. Remember way back in Season One, when Peter, Giebelhouse, and Bletcher were Frank's allies? Sure, they were skeptical of him sometimes, but they were willing to set their beliefs aside to help.
Peter in particular is quickly becoming a sort of mixed bag. First, he aids Frank in his investigation. Next, he hampers him. This time, he's helping, but he then turns around and asks a question normally posed in Season One, regarding why someone with no priors would kidnap a bunch of kids. The Peter Watts we've seen in this season would never ask such a stupid question. Bad writing there.
There is better in the way of continuity, in regard to Frank Black's own ongoing struggle with his loss of control at the season opener -- the savage, brutal conflict that saved his wife's life, but shattered his family. As he yanks the sheriff off of the captured zealot, after going all Jim Horn on him, he says to him: "This gets you nothing. Believe me, I've been there." It becomes clear to us that Frank has already learned his lessons after his impulsive and violent act of retribution towards the Polaroid Stalker...
The finale was really surprising, original in the way that only Morgan and Wong could have come up with something like that. When that cyclone descends and whisks the zealot, Matthew Prine away, and we learned that he in fact rescued the children. In fact, that tornado came out of nowhere, didn't it? Maybe it was an Act of God?
More guest characters from other Morgan and Wong shows: Steve Rankin, who played Sheriff Cayce, was hard-assed Lt. Colonel Raymond Butts in the "Space: Above and Beyond" outing "Ray Butts." Christian Hoff, who played Prine, was one of Neil West's squadmates in the S:AAB ep "Toy Soldiers." And, of course, Kristen Cloke as Lara Means.
Overall, a truly enjoyable episode, featuring a unique antagonist and playing against cliche with his apparent redemption at the end (the destroyed school). This episode falls short of classic status, but it is still a good outing.
My rating: Four religious apocalyptic zealots out of five.
-- The Stalker