Millennium Episode Review of The Beginning and the End by ZeusFaber
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It was last viewed on Sunday, May 22, 2022, 9:56 PM (UTC).
Is it the beginning of the journey or the end when Frank allows his vengeance for the Polaroid stalker to push him over the edge in a relentless search for Catherine? The Millennium Group pulls Frank more deeply into its secretive ranks in an effort to bring closure to the abduction case with the knowledge that his work for them is not yet done.
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.
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Reviewed: The Beginning and the End
A decent enough episode to start the season, but one that doesn't age quite so well. The opening soliloquy is interesting upon first viewing, but gets sillier every time you hear it. It's also alarming to see the opening epigrams eschewed in favour of on-screen titles. Fortunately, the theme of Frank struggling against the violence within him is much better, and the first act with the airport escape is taut and engaging. Between that and the climax though, it can be a bit plodding and procedural, and rather heavy on voice-over.
It also suffers from several annoying Morgan & Wong hallmarks. One ‐ having characters deliver a long history lesson in mounds of exposition (the Polaroid Man rambling on about the comet). Two ‐ technological wizardry being installed by geeky sci-fi nerds who are presumably how Morgan & Wong see their audience (Roedecker and Dickie Bird and all that security system nonsense). Three ‐ needless recasting and restyling of a key figure (Doug Hutchinson replacing Paul Raskin and peeling off his goatee and sideburns before casually tossing them away, a scene that would go on to become a metaphor for what was done with Season 2 as a whole). It also has the dubious distinction of being the first episode to suddenly have Frank referred to as a “candidate”, and Peter Watts taking orders from a shadowy “Elder”. The first steps on a very slippery slope.
What's far far better is the wonderful scene where Peter tells Frank why he has three daughters. The brutal climax is also worth waiting for, and the resultant trauma that prompts Frank to take some time away from Catherine and the yellow house has a strange logic to it ‐ if only the story had a proper arc to it that was allowed to resolve properly hereafter. Unfortunately though, we never truly find out anything of the Polaroid Man's motives, and his scenes with Catherine can be rather operatic, while Jordan's comment about angels is cute, but very artificial. So overall, it's a mixed bag that gets by on its sense of high stakes and character turning-points, but is let down by the details.