Midnight of the Century
Written by Erin Maher & Kay Reindl
Directed by Dwight Little
Edited by George R Potter
US Airdate: 19 December 1997
Edited by Libby]
[Black residence – night. The scene is in black and white. There is a pendulum clock tick-tocking with each swing. Music is playing: "Arabian Nights" by Tchaikovsky. There's a young boy's hand drawing with an adult's hand guiding him: we cannot see the sketch. 5-year-old Frank Black and his mother, Linda Black, are sitting side by side. At the bottom of the illustration, the pair write: "December 24, 1946." The grandfather clock bonging, striking midnight.]
[Mcgrain's toy store – day. The bonging blends into a Salvation Army Santa ringing his bell. Young children are pressing their noses on the window of the toy store, gawking at the expensive train set on display. It is Christmas Eve.]
[Frank's house – day. Frank enters carrying an armload of Christmas decorations. The ornaments spill loose as he ambles down the hallway; a decorated ball rolls free. Frank sets it on the table by the answering machine and points a finger at it.]
[He pushes "Play" on the machine and begins putting up the Christmas tree.]
JORDAN: (on phone) Hi, Dad! This is Jordan!
FRANK: Hi, honey.
JORDAN: (on phone) When you come to my Christmas pageant today, I want you to know I'm the angel that starts the show and then tells Mary she's going to have a baby.
FRANK: (laughing softly) You are really going to like what I got you.
JORDAN: (on phone) Mommy says I can come over to your house after Mass tonight. Call her to tell her you got this message, okay?
FRANK: Yeah, yeah.
JORDAN: (on phone) Is that it?
CATHERINE: (in background) Yes.
JORDAN: (on phone) That's it. The pageant is at 3 o'clock. Okay, Merry Christmas! Bye.
[The machine beeps and plays the next message. It is an older man's voice, one that we don't recognize.]
MAN'S VOICE: (on phone) Uh, Frank? Frank?
[Frank stops, furrowing his brow. He doesn't recognize the voice at first.]
MAN'S VOICE: (on phone) Uh, damn. Well, I hope I got the right number. I wondered if you got the picture I sent –
[Frank's expression darkens and he deletes the message without listening to the rest of it.]
[Later, Frank has finished with the tree and is beginning to wrap Jordan's present, a Giga Pet. Suddenly, all the devices in the house simultaneously sound: the phone rings – an alarm clock that reads "9:21" goes off – the mantle clock bongs – the smoke alarm buzzes – the Christmas lights (which are lying on the floor) flashes. Frank looks around him, confused; then everything stops as abruptly as it began. The mail slot creaks open, and letters are pushed through. Frank gets them and begins sorting; a yellow envelope catches his eye and he opens it. It is an old-fashioned Christmas card with an angel on the front. Inside, written in calligraphy: "It's the Midnight of the Century". He reads the postage mark: "Seattle, WA, Dec. 24 1946".]
[Watts residence – day. A Christmas party is in progress. The holiday table display includes a candle in the form of a golden angel. Lara Means is staring at the angel as someone lights it. The doorbell rings, breaking her reverie. She is standing by a doorway alone, drink in hand; it appears that no one has spoken to her. Frank enters, still wearing his coat. Lara smiles, relieved to see someone she knows.]
FRANK: Hey! I didn't know you'd be here. Merry Christmas.
LARA: I'm so glad to see you. Merry Christmas. I was consulting on a case in Vancouver, so Peter invited me. I'm still not sure this is his house because I haven't seen him. I'm so glad you're here, 'cause I was sure that all these people were looking at me like, "Who is that woman over there?"
FRANK: You're in the right place. (congenially) Do you have any plans with your family?
LARA: No. You?
FRANK: Yeah, I've gotta go to my daughter's pageant – she's playing an angel.
LARA: (dully) Too many angels this time of year.
[Reminded of the strange event earlier, Frank looks away. Lara touches his shoulder.]
LARA: You okay?
FRANK: Yeah, you know.
[We hear a door open: Peter Watts emerges from his study with two older men. They share a few words and solemnly shake hands. Frank and Lara watch Watts go back inside the study.]
LARA: Not a very cordial host.
[Peter Watts' private study. Watts is sitting in front of the fireplace, staring off pensively and nursing a drink. There's a knock at the door and Frank and Lara enter.]
LARA: Hi. Merry Christmas.
WATTS: Merry Christmas, Lara.
LARA: Frank brought this for you.
[She hands him a wrapped bottle of liquor. Watts notices Frank is looking at an object across the room and follows Frank's gaze. It's a bicycle with a red bow.]
WATTS: That's for Chelsea. We've been hiding gifts in here for years. Taylor outgrew bicycles last year; apparently, it's not cool for a girl her age.
LARA: (teasing) The wind plays havoc with your hair.
WATTS: She's already talking about what kind of car she wants. And Erin is off to college in two years. Something about this time of year always makes me consider time. (then, wistfully) Wouldn't it be wonderful if in life, you could pick the speed at which you were going to experience time? I would have it take forever for these kids to grow up – I don't care if they didn't like it. I'd have autumn go much slower; winter go a little faster. And the time that I was experiencing regret, I'd have go slower actually, so I could fix and leave the situation without regret. I'd like to know how much time I have left.
FRANK: That's part of the fun of it, Peter.
WATTS: You know that for almost the entire history of Western civilization, this month has been a holy time? The Druids, winter solstice, Hanukkah – the Romans converted Saturnalia into Christmas. Imagine that: Christ wasn't even born on this day, maybe not even 1,997 years ago. So no one knows for sure when the millennium really begins and ends. Or how much time is left.
FRANK: Not even the Group?
WATTS: It's the midnight of the century.
[At that utterance, Frank bends to look at him closer.]
LARA: Will there be a dawn?
WATTS: We're working to assure there will be. Possible futures exist, like branches on a tree. Most of us only see the path we're on, but some people – the gifted ones – see those branches.
[The meaning is not lost on Frank and Lara. Watts raises his glass.]
WATTS: To the midnight of the century.
[Frank's house – day. Frank puts his daughter's gift under the tree. The tag reads: "To Jordan. With much love, Dad". We hear the doorbell being rung to the tune of "Jingle Bells". It's Brian Roedecker, wearing a Santa cap.]
ROEDECKER: Ho-ho-ho, Sir Black! Just came by to download some upgrades.
FRANK: Roedecker. It's Christmas Eve.
ROEDECKER: Really? That would explain all the Lords-a-leapin'.
FRANK: Can't it wait?
ROEDECKER: Mr. Watts told me he wanted it done today.
[Frank grudgingly lets him in. Roedecker looks around admiringly.]
ROEDECKER: Hey, wow, you've gone all out. Martha Stewart would be green with envy.
FRANK: Just be fast or I'll have you stringing Christmas lights.
ROEDECKER: Mr. Black, here's another reason why I came over.
[He hands Frank a wrapped gift.]
ROEDECKER: Merry Christmas.
[Frank takes the package with a smile, pleasantly surprised.]
FRANK: Roedecker, you shouldn't have. (then, lying) I, uh, haven't wrapped yours yet.
ROEDECKER: There's never enough time for anything, is there? (excitedly) Well, come on, open it!
[Frank unwraps the gift. It's two videotapes: they are blood-and-guts horror flicks. Frank loses a portion of his holiday cheer.]
FRANK: (reading) "Black Christmas" and "Silent Night, Deadly Night". Whatever happened to "Miracle on 34th Street"?
ROEDECKER: Well, it ain't your father's Christmas! Nothing will put you more in the mood for the holidays than a serial-killing Santa!
FRANK: This is not a serial killer. This is a spree killer.
ROEDECKER: (factually) The sexual repression and signature make him an organized serial killer.
FRANK: (gesturing at the tape) The triggering stressor would have be that they forced him to wear that Santa outfit – that's ludicrous.
ROEDECKER: (beat) It says "Serial Killer" on the box.
[The doorbell rings. Frank moves to answer it.]
FRANK: It's the thought that counts, thank you.
[It's Catherine and Jordan Black. They all exchange hellos and "Merry Christmas!"]
CATHERINE: We were on our way over to Jordan's pageant and –
[Catherine stops, seeing the computer tech. Frank introduces his family.]
FRANK: That's my friend, Brian. That's my daughter.
[Jordan goes up to Roedecker, who predictably gravitates toward children.]
JORDAN: Hello! Want to see the present I got?
[While Jordan is occupied, Catherine speaks privately with Frank.]
CATHERINE: I know that this is a rough time for you because of your mother.
[Frank reacts noticeably, but Catherine goes on.]
CATHERINE: But your father sent a picture over to the old house for Jordan. Of himself.
FRANK: (concerned) He did?
CATHERINE: (cautiously) And I was thinking, maybe you should invite your father to Jordan's pageant.
FRANK: (bitterly) He only thinks of himself.
CATHERINE: Isn't that what you're doing?
FRANK: (defensively) Oh, please, I can't –
CATHERINE: Frank, Jordan shouldn't be kept from her grandfather because the two of you don't speak.
JORDAN: Daddy, Daddy, look! Isn't this the coolest thing?
[She is playing with a Giga Pet; Frank does his best to hide his surprise.]
JORDAN: Look: you can feed it, walk it, and if it gets too annoying, you can reset it again.
ROEDECKER: That is so cool! I'd love one of those!
FRANK: That's a really nice present; where'd you get it?
CATHERINE: My mother got it for her.
FRANK: (to Catherine) Your mother?
JORDAN: Mommy says "It's the circle of life."
FRANK: Who can argue with that?
CATHERINE: Well, we'd better go.
JORDAN: Bye, Dad. See you tomorrow.
CATHERINE: Bye. Merry Christmas.
[The girls leave. While Roedecker is waving to them, Frank gets Jordan's present from the tree, rips off the card and hands it to Roedecker.]
FRANK: Merry Christmas, Roedecker.
[He opens it, triumphantly holding up the Giga Pet.]
ROEDECKER: Aha! Cool!
[Mcgrain's toy store – day. Frank is admiring the train set. He flashes back to Christmas Eve, 1946.]
[Young Frank is with his mother outside the very same store. He stares longingly at the train set.]
YOUNG FRANK: Last year, you said you'd get it for me this year.
LINDA: I'm sorry, Frank. Maybe tomorrow.
YOUNG FRANK: (whining) It'll be too late. Tomorrow's Christmas.
LINDA: Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow ...
[Mcgrain's toy store. Inside is the punishment that awaits all late-shoppers: adults shoving and fighting for toys, fussy children, long lines, etc. We hear someone say: "Excuse me! Out of the way!" Frank is next in line at the register after the three clerks (all wearing Santa caps) finish ringing up the customer in front of him. Frank doesn't realize it, but the three store employees are actually angels named Caspar, Balthazar and Melchior, respectively.]
FRANK: I want a Danny Dinosaur or a Cabbage Patch Doll.
CLERK #1: Child's age?
CLERK #1: Gender?
[The creepy store clerks speak in tandem, muddling Frank.]
CLERK #1: Can't do it.
CLERK #2: Sorry.
CLERK #3: No.
FRANK: You're out.
CLERK #1: No –
CLERK #2: We just can't in good conscience sell you a toy –
CLERK #3: That your little girl's gonna hate.
FRANK: She loves dolls!
CLERK #2: Not last year's doll.
CLERK #3: We've got just the thing.
[Clerk #3 shows Frank a box, who shoves it away.]
FRANK: Stop with the hard sell. A Danny Dinosaur.
CLERK #1: Trust us, she won't like it!
[Behind Frank, a woman clutching her young child pipes up.]
WOMAN: Look, just buy something. I've got a turkey to get in the oven.
FRANK: (sternly) A Danny Dinosaur. Now.
[Street. Frank leaves with his gift, glancing back at the creepy clerks. He sees a manger display in a store front and admires it. In the reflection of the window, we faintly see the face of an unknown man who says: "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow." Frank whips around but no one is nearby. He looks across the street and sees a black-and-white image of his father and he when they were young. He blinks and the image disappears. When he turns back to the display, the female mannequin becomes his mother. Shaken, Frank walks away.]
[fade to black]
[polaroid fade up]
[Church in a residential area. Frank enters a few moments before the pageant begins. The pews are full; he's late. He spots Catherine. He smiles at her but Catherine's face tells him that she couldn't save a seat for him.]
CATHERINE: Frank, I'm sorry.
FRANK: It's okay. I'll find a seat somewhere else. I'll see you after.
[He sits in a seat near the back. The lights go down and the curtains draw open. A young girl dressed as an angel starts off the program.]
YOUNG GIRL: Once upon a time, there was, uh, uh.
[She looks off-stage and we hear an adult whisper the line. She hurriedly finishes.]
YOUNG GIRL: A-child-born-in-the-town-of-Bethlehem- and-it-was-Jesus!
[The crowd chuckles as the "angel" dashes off-stage. Then, we hear the same voice repeat the phrase: "And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow." Frank turns and sees a shadow walk past the window.]
[Frank goes outside into the courtyard which is decorated with statues of angels. He looks around but sees no one. Then:]
MALE VOICE: (off-screen) Legend has it that ghosts walk in church yards on Christmas Eve.
[A young man with dark curls, dressed in black, is walking toward him. He is Simon, an angel.]
SIMON: Well, actually, I misspoke myself. They're not ghosts precisely, they're fetches – souls of those destined to die in the coming year – making their way to church in search of those who will soon be their companions. Of course, it usually happens at midnight.
FRANK: Who are you?
SIMON: (ignoring him) But those blessed with a special perception might not have to wait until nightfall.
[Simon begins to withdraw. Frank calls after him.]
FRANK: Why would that concern me?
SIMON: There's no telling whose face you might see. Why put off till tomorrow what should be done today? It is, after all, the midnight of the century.
[Simon walks away. We hear clapping coming from the play and Frank looks toward the church; when he turns back, Simon is gone.]
[Frank returns to his seat just as Jordan comes on stage, dressed as a shepherd and holding a staff.]
JORDAN: Hark! A star beckons over yonder manger. Our savior is born tonight.
[Later. Catherine and Jordan, still in costume, emerge to find Frank waiting at another exit. Catherine smiles mischievously and prods her daughter.]
CATHERINE: Go get him.
JORDAN: (running to him) Daddy! Daddy! Did you see me, Daddy?
FRANK: Are you kidding? You were great!
JORDAN: Thank you.
[Frank pokes at the doll she is clutching.]
FRANK: New present? (then, realizing) A Danny Dinosaur?!
[Jordan makes a face.]
FRANK: You don't like it?
JORDAN: I got one of these last year!
[Frank shakes his head, not believing his luck.]
FRANK: I hear you.
[He takes her hand and they head toward Catherine.]
FRANK: How come you're dressed as a shepherd? I thought you wanted to be an angel.
JORDAN: Mom made me be a shepherd. She doesn't like angels anymore.
CATHERINE: Sorry about the seating mix-up.
FRANK: What's going on with the shepherd costume?
CATHERINE: Um, sweetie? Can you wait in the car a minute? I'll be right there.
[They watch their daughter climb into the minivan. Catherine digs into her purse and shows Frank a drawing of an angel.]
CATHERINE: Jordan gave me this, this morning. She told me that her grandmother helped her draw it.
FRANK: (smiling at the drawing) So?
CATHERINE: Not my mother, Frank. Yours.
[Frank is shocked.]
CATHERINE: I asked her to tell me the truth, that she'd drawn it herself; but she just stood there with her arms folded, staring at me.
[Begin flashback. Frank's father is scolding him. The exact same thing must've happened to him as a child.]
YOUNG HENRY: You're just a kid: you didn't see nothin'. It's all in your head!
CATHERINE: She wouldn't back down.
FRANK: You know Jordan. She's sensitive.
[Jordan is sat in the car, watching her parents.]
CATHERINE: Telling me she colors with her dead grandmother is a little bit more than "sensitive".
FRANK: Come on, you know Jordan: she's got a gift, you can't suppress it.
[With that, Frank finds out exactly how Catherine feels about his abilities.]
CATHERINE: Your "gift" gave you a nervous breakdown. This "gift" makes you see horrible images. It's caused you to turn away from your family, from your daughter. It's turned you toward the Millennium Group. Frank, you never even consider that this gift that you have could be lying to you, because you don't see yourself withdrawing from your family, hiding behind your ability. If this has happened to you, what is it going to do to Jordan? I want her to have a choice – I want a childhood free from this. I want her to know that she has someplace to turn, other than within herself, like ...
FRANK: (not without bitterness) Like me. Right? It is what it is. There is nothing we can do to fix it.
CATHERINE: (calming down) I know that things are changing for us. Time's running out. Frank, I want you to be happy. But Jordan is my first priority: her safety and her well-being. And I won't let anything jeopardize that.
[She has told him nothing but the truth. There is no logic or defense to her words. She is trying to hide her distress.]
FRANK: (simply) You're a great mother. Come here.
[He draws Catherine for a light kiss.]
CATHERINE: Will I see you tonight?
FRANK: You bet.
[Mcgrain's toy store. Frank is back with the three angels (masquerading as salesmen from hell) staring him down, their arms crossed.]
FRANK: I have less than 12 hours to find a present for my daughter.
CLERK #1: That's the problem with Christmas these days.
CLERK #2: There used to be a meaning to gift-giving.
CLERK #3: But now there isn't.
FRANK: She's six; she likes stuffed animals. Give me a dog, a chicken, anything.
CLERK #1: Mm-hmm, going for the traditional –
CLERK #2: Staid and unimaginative.
FRANK: She likes stuffed animals. She even likes dolls, but no angels.
CLERK #3: (sighing heavily) Upstairs.
[Frank enters a seemingly deserted section of the toy store; shelves of unwanted, outdated gifts array the room. Frank spots a lovely angel doll, replete with curly blonde hair, wings, white gown and baby faced cheeks. He turns it in his hands admiringly.]
FRANK: She's gotta like this.
[Suddenly, the doll's face appears as a corpse – gray with blackened eyes. Frank drops the doll in horror. When he looks at it again, it is back to normal.]
[Frank's house. Frank searches through a closet until he finds an old box. He goes through the contents, pulling out an old newspaper clipping. It is an obituary with a picture of his mother and reads: "Black, Linda - Dec. 24, 1946. Survived by her husband Henry and two sons, Frank 5, and Thomas 3." He pulls out a yellowed drawing: it is the same angel that his mother helped him draw in the Teaser. At the bottom, it says: "Frank drew this on December 24, 1946."]
[fade to black]
[polaroid fade up]
[Frank's house – night. The doorbell rings. It's Lara with a bag of holiday goodies. They are very friendly with one another.]
FRANK: Hi, thanks for coming over.
LARA: No problem. I brought you some pumpkin bread, cranberry bread, and some very excellent, fat-free eggnog.
FRANK: You think I need to lose weight?
LARA: No, the bread's not fat-free! You look great: it's just that I think that if you can eat something fat-free that tastes great, why not? Then you can have seconds.
FRANK: (smiling) Okay, then I'll get four glasses. And a knife to cut the bread.
[Frank heads toward the kitchen, while Lara seats herself in the living room. She sees the two angel drawings displayed side-by-side on the coffee table.]
FRANK: You found them.
LARA: You're right: I can't tell them apart. They're very powerful.
[We know the real reason Lara came over: Frank is concerned with his daughter's premonitions. He picks up the drawing on her left.]
FRANK: Yeah. My mother helped me draw this one on Christmas Eve morning, 1946. That night she died. Locked in her room alone. My mother was there to help me draw this – maybe she was there to help Jordan also.
[He stops, gesturing vaguely.]
FRANK: I see, instinctively, intuitively, intensely – it's getting stronger on another plane since I started working with the Millennium Group. (beat) Lara, I think Jordan sees the way you do. I know that we can't just somehow wish it away, that we can't stop her from seeing. What I need to know is, what's going to happen to my daughter.
[Lara takes a deep breath, trying to find suitable words that won't alarm him.]
LARA: Here's my thing. This is a tough time of year for me.
[She gets up and gestures at the Christmas angel on top of the tree.]
LARA: Angels are everywhere.
FRANK: I know. I've been seeing them myself.
[Lara begins decorating Frank's tree; he moves to join in.]
LARA: (flatly) Yeah, cute, cuddly, flapping their wings, blowing their horns all over place. You know that wings on angels are something that the early church took from the Egyptian gods because people sort of liked it?
FRANK: So these drawings are not true depictions?
LARA: Well, it's not what I see, but from them, I get the same feeling as when "he" appears. And that's how it all started when I was a kid – I just sort of felt them. I felt a presence around me. And then one day, a man came over to our house; he was just an out-of-town business associate of my father's. They were talking in the living room, and there he was. Standing – well, not standing – behind this man, in an intense, beautiful light. I was overwhelmed with this horrible sensation. And I went and I told my mother that this man was going to die today. She got so mad at me for saying such a thing. But he did. He had a coronary in his hotel room that afternoon.
FRANK: And you've seen and felt him ever since.
LARA: Yeah, but I didn't talk much about it until Peter Watts approached me about the Millennium Group. See, I figured everyone saw them. But I got very clued in when my mother took me to see Father Esposito, who angrily insisted that if I kept "seeing things", then I'd have to become a nun – which although is a very noble calling, is a serious setback in a boy's interest in you.
[Frank laughs, but Lara becomes serious.]
LARA: I don't know how you can prepare her, Frank. You're right: they won't just go away. And for me, it only gets more intense as I get older. (beat) He only appears to warn me of imminent danger, or to point me into the direction of evil's presence.
[Lara's expression becomes both reverent and bittersweet, trying to describe her angel to Frank.]
LARA: When he appears, all my senses are heightened: everything is clear and uncluttered in my mind, and my heart – I feel like nothing can stand in my way. But I would've done anything, anything, not to have this in my life.
[Frank moves away, disheartened at the prospect of his daughter's future. Lara takes his hand.]
LARA: Look, Frank, look: at least she's got a father that understands, and that – that will really help her. And if there's anything I can do, ever, anytime ...
FRANK: (grateful) Thank you.
[Lara gestures at the angel drawings.]
LARA: But there is one thing, Frank. In the bible – and to me – they are messengers. This was brought to your attention, and you said you'd seen angels all day. So my immediate concern isn't for Jordan, but for you. You may not be able to see them, but I feel that something is trying to be communicated to you. (pointing to the drawing) And there's only one place to find the answer.
[Begin flashback. Black residence – night. Frank is drawing the angel with his mother. We pull back to reveal his father sitting in an easy chair a few feet away from them, staring thoughtfully out the window. End flashback.]
[Frank's house. The Christmas tree topples over. Lara sighs.]
LARA: Oh, great. Another angel just got its wings.
[Henry Black's house – night. Frank approaches his old home. It has not aged well, compared to the adjacent houses. Frank sees a nightman carrying a long pole with a torch on the end, lighting the oil lamps on street poles from the old days. When Frank looks again, the man is gone and the light is just an ordinary lamppost. He flashes back to Christmas Eve, 1946.]
[Begin flashback. A young Frank tries to enter his mother's room but it closes shut on him.]
YOUNG FRANK: Mom!
[Henry Black's house. Frank knocks on the front door, triggering barking from a dog.]
HENRY: (from inside) Quiet, you'll raise the dead! Who is it?
HENRY: (from inside) My son, Frank?
[Henry opens the door, surprised by a visit from his eldest son.]
HENRY: Well, get in: catch a death of cold.
[Henry Black's house. Frank steps inside. He takes in the familiar old atmosphere.]
[Begin flashback. Frank's mother, her arms crossed over her stomach, walks past her son. He looks up.]
YOUNG FRANK: Mom?
[She doesn't say anything, but he follows her to the stairs. She stops, looks at her son lovingly and caresses his face, then continues up the stairs. Frank sits at the head of the stairs. End flashback.]
[Henry Black's house. Henry watches his estranged son nervously.]
HENRY: Are you hungry?
[Frank sees a framed photograph of his father.]
HENRY: Oh, yeah, did you get the one I sent you?
HENRY: Did Jordan? Does she know who it was? Did she know it was me?
FRANK: (lying) Yeah. (then, getting to the point) I need to see her room.
HENRY: Well, take off your coat. Stay awhile, have a seat; we've got a lot of years to talk over –
FRANK: I don't think we do.
[Henry's face falls.]
FRANK: Where's the key?
HENRY: (cynically) Well, that's a kick, isn't it? I thought you came here to wish me a Merry Christmas, show me a couple of pictures of my little granddaughter.
FRANK: Where's the key?
[Henry doesn't answer. Frank heads up the stairs, rousing his father, who calls after him:]
HENRY: You know – you know you're not supposed to go up there! You're not allowed up there! You know that!
[Frank finds the key on a shelf in front of his mother's room and unlocks it. He turns on the light, revealing dozens of angel drawings covering the walls. The exact same angel drawing that his mother helped him and his daughter draw is pinned here.]
[As Frank touches the paintings, he goes back to Christmas Eve night, 1946.]
[Begin flashback. Linda gives her husband a little smile as she opens her present, but Henry seems nervous. A young Frank looks on. Her expression changes to sadness.]
LINDA: (to Henry) They're not coming back, Henry. They're gone forever.
[Henry takes the angel from her hands and sets it on a glass stand. Linda gets up from her chair gingerly, clutching her stomach. Again, Frank watches his mother walk away, but he follows; at the stairs, she looks at him lovingly. Upstairs, the door closes on the young Frank. End flashback.]
[Frank comes downstairs and heads toward the door but stops. His father comes around the corner.]
HENRY: What you just saw pushed us away from each other. Even though nothing made us sadder.
FRANK: Sad enough to let her die alone?
[Henry points to a large, square piece of fabric hanging on the wall. It is embroidered with a star.]
HENRY: See that star? The gold star? That was hung in windows by a family who had lost a loved one in the service overseas. Your mother hung that for her brother, Joe, your Uncle Joe. You didn't know that, did you?
[Frank shakes his head.]
HENRY: Yeah, Joe was stationed in England and we all knew that he was going to be a part of the Allied invasion. We didn't know, of course, nobody knew for sure - guessed. It was a big secret, maybe the biggest secret in the 20th century – what date that D-Day would begin. It was June 5, 1944, about 8.30 at night, we were all sitting around here listening to the radio; when suddenly, your mother jumped up and blurted out, "The Allies are attacking!" Well, we all looked at her like she had gone nuts, then suddenly, she burst into tears – huge, weeping tears – and ran upstairs to that room. Well, she was right, she was right. Joe died in the first wave on the beachhead at Normandy.
FRANK: She knew about Uncle Joe before she died.
HENRY: Yeah, yeah, but I didn't know that for a long time. After that night, she took to that room; she moved out of our bedroom, out of my bed, and she started drawing those little angels. She told me about Joe – that she had had a vision that he was going to die on D-Day. Well, I believed her, but it, uh, scared me to death. Because in those days, people who saw things, who had visions, that was the first ticket right down to the nuthouse. So I was afraid, I was afraid for both of us, I was afraid for you. You didn't see things quite the way your mother did, but it was clear there was a difference – in the different sense that you had that others didn't. So there was this ability that your mother had – that you had – and that she couldn't turn away from. And I understood that, I sympathized with that, but it was taking my family away. (voice breaking) It was taking my wife away: a woman I loved more than anything else in this whole world. I loved her so much, so much ... (looking up) I don't know, Frank, if you can understand how that can happen between a man and a wife.
[Frank of course, thinks of Catherine and what she had told him earlier about her hopes and fears, understanding fully.]
FRANK: I know too well.
HENRY: So she told me, no, she had been told, no, she had seen – that she was about to die. Well, that was the last straw. (still haunted by the memory, he shouts) "You don't see nothin', Linda! Nothing! It's in your mind! You don't see a damn thing!"
[Frank flashes back to a young Henry repeating those lines to him.]
HENRY: I told that to you, too! "You saw nothing!" (then, suddenly) Do you remember Blue Rose Tea?
FRANK: (a little confused) Yeah.
HENRY: They used to have those little angel things that you could send away for. Your mother wanted one in the worst way and I wouldn't have the damn things in the house. Fifty-one years ago tonight, she gave in, to ease my mind I now know, but she gave in. She said that she wasn't seeing angels any more. Any more. The last picture she made was with you. And that scared me. That scared me, Frank. That scared me enough that I gave in. I wanted to find one of those little Blue Rose angels. I looked high and low for the damn thing and I finally found one down at the Woolworths.
[Frank's mother unwrapping the angel.]
HENRY: When I gave it to her, she was so touched. We made a pact over that, your mother and I. I told her that I would love her for ever and she said that she would move the figurine to show that she was waiting for me on the other side where I, too, could see the angels and where we could be finally forever together. Fifty-one years ago tonight, Tchaikovsky on the radio, she kissed me goodbye and then moved to you kinds, hugged you, kissed you.
[Linda hugging child.]
HENRY: Then she rose, and with the most serene smile on her face, she walked up to that room alone, as she wanted. It was the only way it could have been, Frank.
[The bedroom door shutting, leaving young Frank outside.]
HENRY: And that figurine didn't move an inch in fifty-one years.
[Frank takes a paper from his wallet and shows Henry the angel drawing.]
FRANK: Jordan drew this.
[Henry looks at it, shocked. He thinks for a moment, then hands the angel figurine to his son, who shakes his head.]
FRANK: I can't.
HENRY: No, no, you have your mother's gift. She'd want you to have it. So do I.
FRANK: What about the sign?
HENRY: Oh, I got it, I received it.
FRANK: The drawing?
HENRY: No, no. She brought you to me.
FRANK: (after a moment) Why don't you come to church tonight with me?
HENRY: No, no, I have to listen to the music. (lightly scolding) But I do want a photograph of my granddaughter someday.
[Frank takes out his wallet and hands him a picture of Jordan. Henry beams.]
HENRY: Well, she's just beautiful.
[Father and son embrace.]
FRANK: Why did it take so long?
[Henry simply smiles.]
HENRY: Well, Merry Christmas, Son.
FRANK: Same to you, Pop. I'll see you soon.
[Frank leaves. Henry places the photograph of Jordan against the stand where the angel figurine had stood.]
[Outside. As Frank walks away, it begins to snow. He looks up at the night sky and sees a shooting star/two-tailed comet.]
[Church – night. Catherine and Jordan are climbing the stairs to the entrance. Jordan turns around expectantly and runs to Frank.]
JORDAN: Look! It's Daddy!
FRANK: Merry Christmas, honey.
JORDAN: Merry Christmas, Daddy.
FRANK: You look beautiful.
JORDAN: Thank you.
FRANK: Hey, look.
[Frank gives his daughter the angel statuette and she fingers it, smiling.]
JORDAN: Is this my present, Daddy?
FRANK: I know how unhappy you were about that angel thing.
JORDAN: (solemnly) Grandma wants me to have it.
FRANK: She would have loved you very much.
JORDAN: I know.
CATHERINE: Jordan, sweetie? The church is filling up.
FRANK: We'll be right there. (to Jordan) Can I have a big hug?
[As she embraces her father, she sees something, pointing behind him.]
[They turn and see apparitions – fetches – walking in the street.]
JORDAN: Who are those people?
[Among the fetches is Henry. Frank is saddened for a moment, realizing that his father will die the next year. The fetches disappear and Frank turns to Jordan.]
FRANK: Your mom is waiting.
[Frank and Jordan enter the church hand in hand to celebrate Christmas.]
[fade to black]
Lance Henriksen (Frank Black)
Megan Gallagher (Catherine Black)
Terry O'Quinn (Peter Watts)
Brittany Tiplady (Jordan Black)
Kristen Cloke (Lara Means)
Allan Zinyk (Brian Roedecker)
Darren McGavin (Henry Black)
Gerry Currie (Simon)
Jessica Schreier (Barbara Watts)
Cheryl McNamara (Linda Black)
Trevor White (Caspar)
Donny Lucas (Balthazar)
Tim Bissett (Melchior)
Andrew Binks (Neil)
Music by Mark Snow
Editor: George R Potter
Production Designer: Mark Freeborn
Director of Photography: Robert McLachlan
Executive Story Editor: Michael R Perry
Associate Producer: Julie Herlocker
Associate Producer: Kathy Gilroy-Sereda
Associate Producer: Jon-Michael Preece
Consulting Producer: Chip Johannessen
Consulting Producer: Darin Morgan
Co-Producer: Robert Moresco
Co-Producer: Paul Rabwin
Producer: Thomas J Wright
Co-Executive Producer: Ken Horton
Co-Executive Producer: John Peter Kousakis
Written by Erin Maher & Kay Reindl
Directed by Dwight Little
Executive Producers: James Wong & Glen Morgan
Executive Producer: Chris Carter