Written by Chip Johannessen
Directed by Thomas J Wright
Edited by James Coblentz
U.S. Air Date: 23 January 1998
[Transcribed by Libby]
[A beautiful wooded area. Blue sky, trees, a river, water running over small boulders, haunting music. Up on a bank of the river a bundle covered with branches and leaves starts to move down towards the water. The bundle is a body.]
EMMOLAK WILDERNESS, ALASKA
VOICE OVER: I never thought it would end like this. To tell the truth, I never thought it would end at all.
[The body, clad in jeans and an orange jacket, falls into the water way below. It is carried down the river.]
[fade to black]
FRANK: I'm still not to sure what this is.
WATTS: Don't worry, you'll be fine.
[They are walking down a corridor.]
FRANK: I'd do better if you'd given me a little bit more warning.
WATTS: Ah, well. Between you and me that's the way they like it. No advance warning.
WATTS: We. The Group.
[They stop. Watts gestures Frank on.]
WATTS: Good luck.
[As Frank continues walking:]
WATTS: Hey! Just , be yourself.
[Watts rests up against the wall.]
[Frank enters a wood-paneled room. There are ten Millennium people there, sitting in a circle, an empty chair in the middle.]
INQUISITOR: Please, sit down, Frank.
INQUISITOR: A number of us here have planes to catch, so I'd like to get right into this.
MEMBER: Tell us, who founded the Millennium Group.
FRANK: I'm not sure.
INQUISITOR: Please, turn and face him.
[Frank turns to face the Member.]
FRANK: I'm not sure who founded the Group. I was told that I would learn when the time is right.
FINLEY: And did you?
[He turns to face her.]
FRANK: Apparently not.
INQUISITOR: Why are you here?
FRANK: Mike Atkins brought me to the Group. He, uh, helped me understand the nature of my gift and convinced me that I could be of service again.
FINLEY: Is that important – to be of service?
FRANK: Of course …
MEMBER: No platitudes. Do you believe it's important.
FINLEY: Frank. About two months ago you stabbed a suspect to death in a case the Group was investigating.
FRANK: The Group wasn't investigating. So I did.
MEMBER: Is that how this works? Now you're with us, now you're not.
INQUISITOR: Let me state our concern. The Group has a history and a purpose that is alive in everyone in this circle. This purpose demands from us a certain strength. Now, with your personal problems – the estrangement from your wife, your lapse into ultra-violence, with these things clouding your gift as you call it – do you still consider yourself a viable candidate?
FRANK: I don't consider myself a candidate. I consider myself a father and a husband.
MEMBER: How? Your family left you.
[Frank looks at the Member and sighs, then turns back to the Inquisitor.]
FRANK: You know, I could have quietly retired from the FBI, and I'd be a father and I'd have a wife, a family, but I sacrificed that for the Group. I have done everything the Group has asked me to do.
INQUISITOR: [leaning forward] Didn't the Group in fact ask you to wait before you rushed in there and killed that man.
[Frank is getting a little exasperated.]
FRANK: You know, this is what's commonly known as a trick-bag. And if you think I don't recognize it, you're very mistaken.
[Frank gets up, swings the chair round and leaves. The questioners sit there looking at the swiveling chair. Frank walks down the corridor to Watts. He stands for a second looking at Watts, sighs, and walks off down the corridor. Watts remains where he is and looks at the door Frank has just exited.]
[The voice over continues as the scene fades into showing the body continuing down the river.]
VOICE OVER: There are forces acting on us. With or without our consent. Forces sure of themselves as gravity. I thought knowing myself with the same certainty would keep me safe. But – surprise! As they say, what a long strange trip this has been.
[fade to black]
[polaroid fade up]
[A Planetarium. Graphics showing the solar system are displayed while a Lecturer provides a commentary.]
LECTURER: To us on earth, the stars are fixed and the planets sluggish. From the stars' perspective, our solar system is a hurricane of activity, a maelstrom that refutes any mechanism …
[The audience, including Frank, Jordan and Catherine, are seated in tilted-back seats.]
FRANK: [whispering to Jordan] I think he said the same thing when I was in the second grade.
JORDAN: [whispering] Daddy, please! Ssssh!
[She puts her finger to her lips. Frank mouths "OK" back at her.]
LECTURER: ... our corner of the universe is host to the commotion of the fiercest comets, raging on all sides, great clouds of fire that we call nebulae ...
[Frank's pager buzzes. He takes it out and looks at it. Jordan looks at him and gives a very big sigh.]
LECTURER: Closer to home, surprising variations within the planets of our own solar system. Centuries sped up to minutes, we see Pluto changing places with Neptune then returning to its rightful position as the outermost planet, in time for the coming Millennium. Just as it has for every millennium before.
JORDAN: Mommy, what's "millennium"?
LECTURER: ... and find out soon. The time is near.
[Outside the lecture room. Frank, Catherine and Jordan walk out into the foyer.]
CATHERINE: If we could enroll Bill Gates' kid, we wouldn't have to go through all this.
FRANK: Now you're talking.
[His pager buzzes again.]
CATHERINE: It's OK, you can get it.
FRANK: I know what it is.
[Jordan spots someone. She runs off to a couple and a young boy.]
JORDAN: I'll be right back.
CATHERINE: I haven't seen her this happy in a while. [They smile at each other.] I think she likes having both of us around.
FRANK: Maybe it's young love.
[Jordan and a young boy.]
CATHERINE: Oh, no, that's the family that I told you about, whose son disappeared. We've had them over at the house a couple of times.
[The couple, boy and Jordan start walking towards Catherine and Frank.]
CATHERINE: They know about your work. Want me to intercept?
FRANK: It's OK.
CATHERINE: Hi. Hi, Molly. This is my husband Frank and this is, I'm sorry …
BILL: Bill Glaser. And this is Ian.
[Molly, Bill and Frank exchange glances. Catherine turns to the children.]
CATHERINE: Hey you guys, you know what horoscopes are? Let's go see what the stars hold for us, OK?
BILL: See you later.
MOLLY: See you.
FRANK: Cute kid.
BILL: Yeah. I gather Catherine's told you.
MOLLY: We understand you're with the FBI.
FRANK: Was. I'm a consultant now.
[At the Astrologer's booth.]
ASTROLOGER: Taurus. The bull. Absolutely.
[She's talking to Ian. Catherine is amused.]
ASTROLOGER: [to Jordan] Leo. The lion. That's some mane.
CATHERINE: That's very good. Did they give you the school birthday roster?
ASTROLOGER: [to Catherine] You. Cancer.
ASTROLOGER: Sun sign, sure. I meant your moon sign. Sit down. What's your birthday? February?
JORDAN: The sixth.
ASTROLOGER: Oh, thank you.
[Catherine sits down, Jordan on her knee. The astrologer is working on a chart.]
CATHERINE: Nineteen sixty-three.
ASTROLOGER: You have a great spiritual sensitivity. An almost psychic sixth sense.
CATHERINE: Maybe my husband.
[They look over to where Frank, Bill and Molly are talking.]
ASTROLOGER: Scorpio. The investigator.
[Catherine looks uncomfortable.]
CATHERINE: Well, it's been fun. [to the kids] Let's go over there.
ASTROLOGER: You're in a very difficult transition right now. You're not together, are you. Your family.
[Catherine has ushered the children away, but remains seated.]
[Frank, Bill and Molly continue their conversation.]
BILL: I know Alaska is a big state. But all they would say was: we've done everything we can.
MOLLY: They flew a helicopter back and forth a couple of times, maybe.
BILL: Yeah, I offered to write a check for a bigger search but they got all huffy, like it was a bribe. Look, um, I'm not used to asking for favors, certainly not from strangers, but …
MOLLY: He's alive. [beat] I know it.
[The astrologer and Catherine.]
ASTROLOGER: You were born with Neptune overhead, and your husband had Pluto opposite. The tug of these two planets on each other is the great conflict of our times.
CATHERINE: At the planetarium they said that Pluto and Neptune cross paths.
ASTROLOGER: Every five hundred years a great clash, a spiritual force with earthly power, out of which comes a new era. In the past the birth of Christ, King Arthur's court, the Renaissance.
CATHERINE: And this time?
ASTROLOGER: This time the great conflict is also your conflict. The two of you.
[Catherine is about to respond but is interrupted by Frank.]
[He nods to her. Catherine turns back to the astrologer.]
CATHERINE: Um. [hesitates, then turns to Frank] I'm ready.
[The astrologer hands her the charts. Catherine goes off with Frank.]
[A photograph of boy, a tent, belongings. Frank, Bill and Molly are in Alex's bedroom.]
BILL: I guess we went a little overboard – GPS, solar computer, emergency transmitter, but, Alaska's a long way away and he had this thing about going alone.
MOLLY: When Alex graduated High School, all his friends wanted sports cars. He just wanted to go back.
FRANK: Go back?
BILL: Yeah, we did some Alaska cruises a couple of years ago. I mean, completely different. We barely got off the boat. But what are we going to say, though. He's a great kid, honor roll, nice friends …
[Frank has been looking at the photograph of the smiling Alex, now he has a vision of the aurora borealis.]
BILL: … varsity miler, no drugs, doesn't even like beer.
MOLLY: He never really asked for anything before.
FRANK: You mind if I keep this.
BILL: No, go ahead.
MOLLY: Um, we put together this list that we thought might help, drivers license, birth date, credit cards. It doesn't say on there, but he'd be a freshman now, at Tufts.
[She starts to cry.]
[Through the window the night sky shows the full moon, which is being looked at through a telescope by the young boy, Ian.]
BILL: Alex had it since he was a kid. He was teaching Ian the constellations before he left. Asked Ian to watch it for him till he got back.
[Bill picks up Ian.]
MOLLY: Ian says he'll see Alex with it. Maybe if they got a call from you …
FRANK: No. [pause] I'm going to Alaska.
[Frank's bedroom. Frank is packing while talking on the phone.]
FRANK: All I need is a standard briefing package, that we normally get from law enforcement.
WATTS: [on phone] Frank, you have no authority to accept work on behalf of the Group, especially after that review. I must have paged you ten times today.
FRANK: Are you going to help me or not?
WATTS: So how does this work – you get uncomfortable, you walk?
FRANK: I've always made the assumption that this was a two-way street.
[With Watts is another man – we don't see his face – he shakes his head at Watts.]
WATTS: I'm sorry. You're on your own.
[Frank ends the call and throws the phone into his bag.]
[Alaska. Small single-engine plane comes into land on a lake.]
[The plane is neatly taxied up to a wooden jetty. The pilot gets out and tethers the plane. Frank exits.]
[Stebbins Sheriff's office.]
SHERIFF: So, here's your damn prints.
[He hands Frank an arrest sheet with photograph of Alex who is smiling even though his face is bruised.]
FRANK: Thank you.
SHERIFF: I hate it when they smile.
[The arrest sheet shows Statement of Officers: 21.1.98. Includes "drunk and disorderly", "street".]
FRANK: Drunk and disorderly.
SHERIFF: Can't lock 'em up for being irritating. Between us, I stashed him in there.
[Points to cells.]
SHERIFF: Mostly for his own protection.
FRANK: Protection from whom?
SHERIFF: A long list. Didn't your Group tell you anything?
[Frank opens the door to the cells.]
FRANK: I left Seattle without a briefing.
SHERIFF: Look, some teenage millionaire wants to buy a few rounds with a singing doll, no-one's gonna object, but he's giving expensive crap to people's wives. Wives who are lucky if they get new boots at Christmas. Now that's gonna generate some animosity.
FRANK: Oh, yeah.
SHERIFF: Huh, I've seem some bar brawls in my day but this one was special. Saved his ass that time, but it was pretty clear he wasn't gonna last up here.
[Frank is looking under the mattress.]
SHERIFF: Oh, after all that, he forgets his swank watch under that mattress. I've seen the ads, five grand. What a little pissant.
[There are shouts from outside.]
MAN: John, you here?
[The man comes in – he is dressed in yellow waders.]
MAN: John, the boy, the one you were looking for? They found him.
[Outside. A winch is landing a fishing net full of fish. Someone pulls away some fish to reveal a horribly decomposed corpse. People groan.]
SHERIFF: Like I said, he wasn't gonna last.
[Frank looks at the corpse and again sees vision of aurora borealis.]
FRANK: That's not him.
[Frank walks off as the sheriff looks at him quizzically.]
[fade to black]
[polaroid fade up]
[The Morgue. The body is lying on a metal table.]
CORONER: Nature ain't a dainty eater.
[He presses record on a tape recorder.]
CORONER: Barry Nolan, acting Coroner. Conducting autopsy on Alex Glaser.
FRANK: The dental match is inconclusive.
SHERIFF: Well, what do you want? Half the jaw is missing.
FRANK: I'd prefer we designate him a John Doe.
CORONER: [sighs] Conducting autopsy on John Doe.
FRANK: Thank you.
CORONER: Height five foot eleven, like Alex Glaser. Shoe size ten, like Alex Glaser. Estimated age eighteen, like Alex Glaser. Connective fascia …
[As he inserts a scalpel, Frank looks away.]
CORONER: … severely degraded. Two or three weeks under water.
SHERIFF: Like Alex Glaser. I'll notify the parents.
FRANK: And tell them what? About the brutality of this man's death, about his crushed skull, with no evidence that this is their son.
[Frank picks up a pair of tweezers and extracts a leaf from within one of the wounds.]
SHERIFF: Three hundred million cedars in this state, about as unusual as antlers on a moose.
[A photocopy machine. Frank has photocopied the conifer leaf. He sits down at his laptop and puts the photocopy in a scanner.]
FRANK: Do you know where the trawler fished the body out the water. I can factor in the currents to determine where he entered the water.
[The laptop screen shows that the modem is dialing. "Host negotiating. Host accept. Socket enabled."]
FRANK: The conifer is very generic but with the knowledge we have – who knows.
SHERIFF: I know this – someone didn't like his charming ways, though most of your wet ones are D and D.
[Frank looks at him questioningly.]
SHERIFF: Drunk and drowned.
FRANK: Alex didn't drink.
SHERIFF: He sure was on something the night he spent in that cell.
[The laptop has connected. Frank speaks into the microphone.]
FRANK: Soylent green is people.
[The Sheriff doesn't seem to know what to make of that.]
[The screen shows: "Access denied. Connection terminated. Socket closed." Frank is surprised.]
FRANK: [to Sheriff] Probably the phone lines.
SHERIFF: Yeah. They're what-you-call-it, fiber-optic.
[Astrologer's charts. A book, chapter: Pluto and Neptune, The Cosmic Insemination. Catherine is looking through the book. Prints: lions feasting on a priest, figures looking at a bright star in a dark sky, a horseman attacking, a red-robed man seated and looking at a book. The latter picture has underneath: The Renaissance, Receiving Wisdom on Mt. Ventoux. The phone rings.]
FRANK: [on phone] Hi. Did I wake you?
CATHERINE: No, I was just paying some bills.
[Frank is using a payphone.]
CATHERINE: How are you making out?
FRANK: Fine. Except I've got a computer glitch. Is there any chance you could go over to my place and check it out for me?
CATHERINE: Sure. [pause] Frank?
CATHERINE: I was just thinking about you, that's all. Um, I'm pretty sure that Jeannie's in across the hall, I'll see if she can watch Jordan.
FRANK: Thank you.
[Frank's house. Catherine is using the phone on "hands free".]
CATHERINE: This was worth it just to check out your new lifestyle.
[Catherine is using Frank's computer. There's a desktop icon: "Ladies of the night" with a cartoon figure high-kicking.]
CATHERINE: Ladies of the night?
FRANK: Oh, that's just a CD-ROM. It's about owls.
CATHERINE: Yeah, sure. [moves cursor to a different icon] OK, Millennium Group, hitting it now.
[Screen: Please initiate voice authentication.]
FRANK: [into phone] Soylent green is people.
[Screen shows: Access denied. Communication terminated.]
CATHERINE: Access denied. You want me to give Peter a call?
FRANK: No, no, let's go outside the Group. I want you to open up an icon marked "plastic".
[Catherine does so. It opens a connection. Screen: Dialing host. Host answer. Connecting. Remote granted. Then: Plastic V 0.975. Please enter credit or account numbers. Pin Number, Inactive Accounts, International Banks, IRS database.]
CATHERINE: Wait a minute. You can find out what anyone's charged. You've done that to me, haven't you.
FRANK: Yeah. Four one nine zero one one six zero three five one two two six.
[Catherine enters the numbers. Screen shows: FTP server, downloading data.]
FRANK: Should be …
CATHERINE: … Alex Glaser. The only entry from Alaska is a general store, Monroe's.
FRANK: That's where I am.
CATHERINE: Five hundred and eighty seven dollars, and thirty eight cents.
FRANK: Five hundred and eight-seven dollars. For what?
CATHERINE: Just says merchandise.
[Catherine hears someone trying to open a door.]
CATHERINE: Wait a minute. There's somebody outside.
FRANK: What? Catherine? Catherine!
[The front door handle is turning.]
FRANK: Catherine, pick up the phone.
[Door suddenly bursts open. Peter Watts walks in, followed by a woman.]
CATHERINE: What the hell is going on here!
WOMAN: I got it.
[The woman starts unplugging the computer.]
[Watts picks up the phone.]
WATTS: Frank, what are you pulling here?
FRANK: What are you doing, breaking into my house.
CATHERINE: What are you doing, barging in here.
FRANK: Are you monitoring my life? Bugging my phone?
WATTS: We had a security breach on …
CATHERINE: It wasn't a breach, it was Frank, you idiot.
FRANK: Yeah, I know about it!
[Frank slams down the payphone. Watts replaces the phone on Frank's desk.]
WATTS: He's on his own up there. The Group considers him AWOL.
[The woman picks up the computer and walks off with it.]
CATHERINE: AWOL? Who do you people think you are. You know you're supposed to be looking out for him. What did you do – cut him off?
[Watts starts to walk off.]
CATHERINE: Answer me!
WATTS: When you're ready to listen.
STOREKEEPER: You OK there?
FRANK: A few weeks ago a young man came in here and purchased a few items. Almost six hundred dollars.
STOREKEEPER: Yeah, the dead kid. Only it wasn't a number of items, it was one big one. I never forget – he signs the receipt real careful, like anybody cares, right? Then he gives me his card. He gives me his card. And I say, no way, credit card fraud being highly immoral. And anyway who in this town is going to believe I'm Alex whats-his-name. So he takes the scissors and he cuts the card in two. Here's the receipt.
[The slips reads: Alex Ventoux.]
FRANK: This is not his name. This says Alex Ventoux.
STOREKEEPER: Hey, the charge cleared, don't mess me up.
FRANK: Ventoux. What did he buy?
[The storekeeper gestures to the window where there's a couple of telescopes.]
FRANK: A telescope? He wouldn't back-pack with something this size.
STOREKEEPER: Made me swear to keep it secret, but I guess his royal deadness is in no position to complain. The telescope wasn't for him, he had me deliver it there.
[Paper saying: Please deliver. Bering Elementary, 2nd grade class, Bering, Alaska.]
[Dividers marking out distances on the map. Frank using a calculator. He's in the sheriff's office, sat at the sheriff's desk. The sheriff comes in.]
FRANK: Look at this.
[He holds out the receipt from the store. The sheriff takes it and sits down.]
FRANK: Alex had a younger brother named Ian. They shared a telescope. Like the one he bought here.
FRANK: He had it delivered to the Bering Elementary, right down the road. Second grade, the same as his brother. Alex wasn't trying to cause trouble. His last days he was trying to make peace with the world. He bought a telescope to atone for leaving a brother he loved behind. He was jettisoning material possessions.
SHERIFF: The insane give-away in the bar.
FRANK: Yeah. The watch he left for you. And he's moved on to a life where time is not important.
SHERIFF: Huh, yeah. The great hereafter. The whole business reeks of suicide.
FRANK: No. He signed his name Alex Ventoux on this receipt for the telescope. He was creating a new identity, to have a new life, not ending one.
SHERIFF: Then who was the floater?
FRANK: I don't know. But it wasn't Alex. I have a very strong feeling about this.
SHERIFF: Yeah. I talked to your friend Peter Watts about these strong feelings of yours, which as I understand it makes you at least as loopy as that kid was.
[Frank is not at all pleased.]
SHERIFF: He also says you're here as a solo act. You lied to me.
FRANK: I've plotted currents against where the body was found. It may have entered the ocean here [map] by the Emmonak river. This cedar fragment suggests that it started at altitude. It washed down the river, tumbling over boulders, which would explain the skull damage and the broken bones. The river's the last known location. I'm going after him.
SHERIFF: Do what the hell you want. But you're on your own.
[Frank picks up the map and walks to the door.]
SHERIFF: Hey. I'll be picking your body out of the water next. That's my strong feeling.
[Frank leaves. Outside it's dark and cold – Frank's breath frosting in the air. He exhales strongly several times. A wolf howls eerily, echoing. Frank looks up at a snow-covered mountain against a starry sky.]
[Plane engine. Frank climbs into the single-engine plane. It takes off. Alex's voice as the plane climbs into the blue sky and away.]
ALEX: [VO] You want to know why it happened, and I can't say. But I do know when. It was that moment when I turned my back on everything – and felt peace.
[fade to black]
[polaroid fade up]
[Continuing the plane flight, over hills covered with pine trees. It comes into land on a lake and taxis to the shore. Frank and the pilot get out.]
PILOT: Right. OK. The river's right up there about two hundred yards. You're to follow it all the way or you're gonna be lost in about thirty seconds. All right, I'm leaving at four thirty sharp, with or without you. So whatever you do, you've gotta turn around about one.
PILOT: Look, this is just human to human.
PILOT: You OK? The Sheriff told me that you're a little bit whacked.
FRANK: He did, huh? [picks up his bag] I'll be back by four thirty.
[Frank walks off.]
PILOT: OK. Hey! You know that kid expired about three weeks ago, right? You know that?
[Frank has disappeared into the undergrowth. The pilot turns to sit on one of the plane's floats.]
[A door bell rings. Through the glass we can see Catherine. Sounds of laughter inside – "someone's at the door", "who's idea was that", "what idea". The front door is opened by Watts. Behind him are his wife and daughters, giggling, his daughters wearing false moustaches exactly like Watts's. Catherine is awkward and upset.]
CATHERINE: Um, will you talk to me?
[He walks outside and closes the front door.]
CATHERINE: I'm sorry, um, I'm sorry – for coming here but I, um, he's gone. He's headed up north. For I don't know what. And I didn't stop him, I, I didn't try to.
[Watts is silent, not looking at her.]
CATHERINE: What happened this past year?
[Watts either doesn't want to answer, or doesn't know how to answer.]
CATHERINE: I felt I just stood by watching while Frank and Jordan and I got run over by a train.
WATTS: Well, we've all felt that way from time to time.
CATHERINE: Then how can you not help him.
WATTS: This is very difficult for me, Catherine. All of it.
CATHERINE: What do you do? How do you make it work?
WATTS: Really? Barbara, my wife.
CATHERINE: So it's my fault.
WATTS: It isn't about fault, it's about coming to terms with the times we live in.
CATHERINE: You know what I spent the past two days doing? Reading astrology books. Digging into Pluto and Neptune, because that's what it's come to for me. I don't even know where to look for answers any more.
WATTS: I don't read my horoscope but I think you know exactly where to look. Anywhere that makes you conscious of the part you play.
CATHERINE: The part I play in what?
[The front door opens and Watts smiles as his daughters – minus the fake moustaches – leave the house.]
WATTS: Sorry, they were just going to take me to the airport.
BARBARA: [to Catherine] If you have time for a cup of coffee?
CATHERINE: Yes, I'd like that.
[Watts kisses his wife.]
WATTS: [to Barbara] I'll call you.
CATHERINE: [to Watts] Where are you off to?
[Watts is silent as Alex continues his voice-over.]
ALEX: [VO] Alaska.
[View through binoculars.]
ALEX: [VO] I was never honest with you why I came back here – I could never quite explain.
[Frank walking through the undergrowth.]
ALEX: [VO] But I'll try now while I still can.
[Frank examines a conifer leaf.]
ALEX: [VO] It happened on the cruise we took through Prince Edward Sound. I was looking at the water and the mountains, which were beautiful of course, but for a moment up on the deck of that ship I couldn't swear it wasn't just an incredibly realistic simulation.
[Frank traveling through the woods again.]
ALEX: [VO] Not just the scenery – my whole life. Back home the feeling never left. All junior and senior year while I studied, ran track, filled out college applications, I returned here to find my life again. I had to. I don't quite understand what draws me on, but that's OK because God doesn't move us by telling us the facts …
[Frank has stopped by the side of the river, looking at a piece of paper, checks his compass.]
ALEX: [VO] … he moves us by pains and contradictions. He's given me a lack of understanding, not answers but questions – an invitation to marvel. And here, for the first time, I have.
[Frank moves off over the boulder-strewn back of the river, almost stumbling.]
ALEX: [VO] I never thought it would end like this. I never thought it would end at all.
[Frank has spotted something trapped between some boulders.]
ALEX: [VO] But, like they say, what a long, strange, trip this has been.
[It's a radio – the walkie-talkie type. Frank puts it in a plastic bag then into his backpack. He continues, climbing over the boulders and into the trees.]
ALEX: [VO] My leg is broken. I've lost a lot of blood. It's starting to rain and I know I'll never make it home. Some day some kid will tell Ian: you're an idiot just like your brother who threw his life away, walked into the woods, and died. I'm asking you as a last favour to put a better spin on it for him.
[Frank has found a blood-soaked sleeping bag .]
ALEX: [VO] You two, and Ian, you have always been real.
[Frank whistles loudly, to attract attention.]
[He takes from his pocket a flare and fires it. The sound echoes around. He stands, listening for a response. Then notices a book lying by the sleeping bag. He sits and starts reading it.]
ALEX: [VO] Please know I love you, I'm thinking of you in the end and I'm looking at the stars.
[The book is Alex's journal. Frank sits and thinks, holding Alex's journal to his chest.]
[Plane, still parked at the side of the lake. The pilot is on the radio.]
PILOT: Look, the guy swears he'll be back by four thirty, and the sun's going down, the wind's coming up, driving a damn lemon taxi, I'm outta here.
RADIO: Toss out a survival kit. I'll get a search team together for the morning. And you owe me fifty bucks.
PILOT: [into radio] You called it, John. Hey, man, the state's got a lousy way of dealing with nutcases.
[The pilot takes out an orange survival kit and tosses it onto the bank. Some of the contents spill out. He climbs back into the plane and taxis across the lake and takes off.]
[Now it's pretty dark and Frank is working his way through the forest by torchlight. He stops to chop wood for a fire. The torch flickers and dies. Suddenly, there's an eerie flickering blue light showing through the trees. Frank goes off to investigate, climbing up a slope. As he comes out of the trees, he sees the aurora borealis.]
VOICE: Down in front.
[Frank turns quickly. Alex is lying on the ground there. Frank goes over to him and sees his clothing is soaked with blood.]
ALEX: Listen, I didn't want to die. I wanted to be alive.
[Alex lapses into unconsciousness.]
[fade to black]
[polaroid fade up]
[Frank has made a makeshift stretcher, a travois, and is dragging Alex on it through the forest. He stumbles and falls. He grabs his ankle and then struggles over to Alex.]
FRANK: Hang in there, kid. I'm not going to let you die.
[He picks up the handles of the stretcher and continues.]
[Catherine looking through the same book as before. She's sat on a bed, Jordan on a nearby couch covered with a sleeping bag.]
CATHERINE: Jordan, you're supposed to be asleep.
[Jordan gets up and goes over to Catherine.]
JORDAN: Daddy didn't call.
CATHERINE: Well, I am sure that he will.
[Catherine turns a page of the book, one page has the picture of the horseman, the other the Ventoux picture.]
JORDAN: That's Daddy.
CATHERINE: Oh no, honey.
[Close-up of the horseman picture.]
CATHERINE: You know, Daddy has a lot of responsibilities, a lot, for everybody, and that means sometimes he has to do things that aren't very nice.
JORDAN: [points to horseman] Not that. [now points to Ventoux] That.
[Picture: Receiving Wisdom on Mt Ventoux.]
CATHERINE: I hope so, sweetheart.
[Forest. It's now light. Frank is still struggling through the forest dragging the stretcher. They are now very close to the river. Frank stumbles and falls. Alex falls off the stretcher and tumbles down the steep river bank. He falls into the river. Frank rushes after him and jumps into the river. The current takes Alex, and Frank struggles to catch him. He grabs Alex, who is now conscious, and pulls him over to some large boulders bordering the river. Alex is shaking from the cold and losing consciousness.]
FRANK: Alex! Alex! Come on! Look at me! Come on, Alex!
[Lakeside. Someone approaches the survival bag still lying on the bank.]
SHERIFF: OK, we've got a lot of ground to cover so listen up.
[The person picks up one of the items that spilled out from the bag. It's Watts.]
SHERIFF: We walk a GPS grid from the bottom of the river. Ortez, you look north. Andrews, south. I'll take the middle with Peter Watts here. Check in every hour, channel sixteen.
[Watts looks in the direction that Frank took into the forest.]
SHERIFF: Scott'll be overhead. 122.5. Right.
[Through the trees, Watts sees Frank, carrying Alex.]
WATTS: My god. Frank!
[The others look up and run forward. Someone puts a blanket over Frank's shoulders and they help Frank down to the bank.]
FRANK: You take care of him now, Peter.
WATTS: I think he's alive.
[They take Alex to the plane. The Sheriff looks at Frank who is holding back.]
SHERIFF: [to Frank] Get in. Come on, we're out of here. [Calls to another member of the team.] We'll come back for you.
FRANK: I'm staying here.
SHERIFF: Frank! You're in shock. You both need a doctor.
[He turns and goes back towards the forest. Watts comes over to the Sheriff.]
WATTS: He'll come back. Let him be.
[Frank has reached the edge of the trees and crouches down just looking back at them. The plane takes off, and Frank watches it until it disappears out of sight.]
[Television screen. Map of Alaska.]
REPORTER: I saw it, you saw it. What were those crazy lights?
[The TV is on the wall in a hospital waiting area. Frank is standing at the reception desk watching the broadcast.]
REPORTER: Well, we asked the National Observatory and they called it a "near space anomaly". OK. Now, since the astronomers are clueless, I asked a local astrologer [laughter in the TV studio] I know, I know, I know. Here's what she said.
[TV now shows "Neptune" and "Pluto".]
REPORTER: Neptune and Pluto are in Sagittarius, whose nature symbol is a rainbow. So that light show was a quote space rainbow. "The signature of a new covenant." Oooh, doesn't that clear things up.
[A nurse hurries into the reception area.]
NURSE: Mr. Black.
FRANK: Hi, how is he?
FRANK: What's the matter?
[She gestures him over to Alex's room. Frank goes in – it's empty, the bed neatly made.]
NURSE: He was in great spirits, talking, writing. No-one saw him leave.
[Alex's journal is on the table. Frank opens it and reads the latest entry.]
ALEX: [VO] We are meant to be here. We step from one piece of holy ground to the next under stars that ask …
ALEX: [VO] … imagine, for one second, you could drop in on a past life. What would you like to find yourself doing there? What would charm you? Make you proud?
[Lights of a town.]
FRANK: "Ask yourself that. And the question what to do in this life becomes so simple it's terrifying."
[Frank is reading from Alex's journal to Bill and Molly and Catherine/]
FRANK: "Just to do that thing that would charm you. It would make you say: yes, it's the real me. Do that, and you're alive. Alex Ventoux."
BILL: All right, what does that mean?
[Frank closes the journal and holds it out to his parents. Molly shakes her head. He puts it down on the table.]
FRANK: Over five hundred years ago, a man named Petrarch climbed a mountain just to see the view. It was a new kind of thinking, it became the beginning of the Renaissance. The name of that mountain was Ventoux.
BILL: I don't understand. I just, don't understand.
[Frank and Catherine leave the Glasers' house.]
CATHERINE: Think he'll ever come back.
FRANK: The person they thought he was? No.
CATHERINE: Peter asked me to give this to you.
[She hands him an envelope.]
CATHERINE: Told him there was no guarantee you'd read it.
[Frank opens the envelope and unfolds a piece of paper. On it is written: You passed the first election.]
CATHERINE: What's it say?
[Frank looks up to the bedroom window where Ian is watching the sky through the telescope.]
FRANK: I'm not sure it matters.
[Arm-in-arm, Frank and Catherine walk to the car.]
[fade to black]
Lance Henriksen (Frank Black)
Megan Gallagher (Catherine Black)
Terry O'Quinn (Peter Watts)
Brittany Tiplady (Jordan Black)
Brion James (Sheriff Bowman)
Tobias Mehler (Alex Glaser)
Rob Freeman (Mr. Glaser)
Tamsin Kelsey (Mrs. Glaser)
Matthew Walker (Inquisitor)
Syd van Rood (Astrologer)
Gardiner Millar (Millennium Group Member (I))
Judith Maxie (Finley)
John Moore (Lecturer)
Bernie Coulson (Pilot)
Hagan Beggs (Doctor (II))
Bart Anderson (Clerk (I))
Jessica Schreier (Barbara Watts)
Marke Driesschen (Weatherman)
Robin Collins (Fisherman)
Music by Mark Snow
Editor: James Coblentz
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 Chip Johannessen
Directed by Thomas J Wright
Executive Producers: James Wong & Glen Morgan
Executive Producer: Chris Carter