Reviewed: The Beginning and the End
Contributor: Erin (Raven Wolf)
In Number, this is one for every life which ever was, or ever will be, And like most lives they wait, for a moment, The Moment. When it'll be sent on its journey back towards the yellow Sun. ... Approaching the Sun, brings definitive change... We will never again be the same. Peering in our skies it is believed to be the prophecy of extraordinary events... ...the birth of Kings, ...the death of Empires, After Centuries, or Millennia, the Journey must end. Perhaps smothered by it's own dust, the dark, soulless body continues eternally through space and time, It may disintegrate and crumble into inconsequential rubble, or may be lost forever, crashing, burning, into the yellow Sun... And tonight as I look into the sky and it looks back on me, I want to know, which am I? I need to know, is this the Beginning of the Journey, ... or the End...
The second season begins with this haunting soliloquy by Frank, showing him gazing up at the night sky, and the comet which brought such a sense of foreboding, and holding a gun in his blood-covered hand. And so begins the second phase of Franks trial...his "test". "The Beginning and the End", which was a theme that Chris Carter used often in The X Files, is played out so perfectly, beginning with a scene that's actually "the end".
The look and feel of the show has changed dramatically since season one. No longer a gripping crime-drama, it is now overflowing with emotion and an air of mystery, and a sense of psychological, spiritual terror. Though only in its second season, the show has the feeling of legacy, as if it's been around forever. We already know Frank, and his family....Now we get to know Frank individually. Suddenly, we the viewers feel like profilers. We know how Frank thinks, what he feels, and what he fears, and now we learn what he will do to protect the woman he loves. We also get to know Peter Watts better, and, as I watch this episode again, and Peter tells the story of "Why I have 3 daughters", I am overwhelmed by the blossoming character that is being revealed to us.
Frank doesn't realize it, but, in my opinion, his most powerful judge is himself. He feels everything so deeply that his own sense of guilt at what he does to the Polaroid stalker to protect his wife is much harsher than anyone else is.
Another element to The Beginning and the End that I loved was how it was centered around something that was actually going on in "the real world", the actual comet that was seen around that time. Elements like this were often found in Chris Carters' shows, and I think that led to making them more popular.
All in all, I can't imagine a more dramatic or more well done second season opener, and it was a true example of the quality that was to come.