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Catherine & Frank


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Excellent post, and I'll take up the debate. First off, with Catherine leaving, I don't think it came down to the fact that Frank killed the Polaroid Man. I know I have made these point before, but I will make them again for the sake of conversation, even at the risk of sounding repetitive. I think what happened is that, because they can only show so much on TV, we saw the PM killing in a different way than Catherine would have. The viewer sees a couple of thrusts with the knife, maybe a little fake blood, and thinks, "hey, the guy had it coming". The reality is that it is far more disturbing for someone to witness this kind of thing first hand, especially if it is a loved one committing the act. Also, you hear, for example, Crocell, in Curse of Frank Black say "whew, the way you gutted that guy", and you think of what a mess it would make to stab a person repeatedly in the intestinal area with a butcher knife, and for me, it makes sense that it would change your relationship with that person. At this point, Frank knew Jordan was OK and at home, it was Catherine who thought she was dead. I'm not saying that I would blame Frank for what he did, but Catherine doesn't seem to the be type that would condone violence for any reason, and Frank could have stopped at one thrust of the knife, or waited for backup and tried to apprehend the abductor, as opposed to butchering him. Also, keep in mind that, at one point Catherine says "Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm not appreciative, but it changes things", or something to that effect. I think the reasons for them splitting up were not elaborated on that much, because the show was about evil, and serial killers and all that good stuff, and they didn't want to turn it into a soap opera about Frank and Catherine. A lot of the problems were spoken of briefly, and the viewer had to fill in the blanks. Catherine thought that Frank was shutting her out and putting his work before the family. We start to see this in episode one of season one, when Frank is at Jordan's bedside, and starts to get an idea about the case he is working on. He then looks at Catherine, as if to say "Can I", and Catherine say's "Go Frank", and he leaves Jordan's bedside to chase the bad guys.

As for the unevenness or inconsistency, I think this is bound to happen as so many different writers are trying to write individual episodes and, at the same time, try to work in Frank and Catherine's issues. In looking back at all of the shows where I have been a loyal viewer, I don't know that I have ever seen one that doesn't have some of these little problems. Even the X-files has recently been the topic of this type of discussion here. I also think we did see storms brewing with Catherine in season one, even if they didn't develop that side story as much as in season two. In season one, we often hear Catherine complaining about secrets and being shut out by Frank. We see this in episode one, when she complains to Frank about Peter Watts sitting alone outside waiting for Frank, instead of coming to the door and introducing himself. We see Catherine wondering what the heck happened to Frank in the episode "Walkabout", after an experiment that could have gotten him killed, and she finds that he is using a fake identity. She is further traumatized by Frank's work when she finds a human kidney in her refrigerator, sees a stranger standing in her home, and finds out that her, and Frank's, good friend Bob, has been killed in their basement. This would be enough to cause a strain in any marriage. I think all of these things, along with problems that the writers didn't have time to get into, led to the split up in a somewhat more gradual way than some percieve. I also think that the relationship between Frank and Catherine was used more as a tool to create the episode's plot than as a central part of the plot. They probably thought they could take some liberties in fitting things into the story and let the viewer fill in the blanks.

While we know writers sometimes put a few twists in the story to keep things edgy & unpredicatable, I was originally struck by Catherine's integrity. That integrity, I thought, was a crucial part of her character particularly in her career. From that type of thought process, I still don't get that she c/dn't apply her vast knowledge to Frank's actions - especially considering he was probably temporarily insane. Nothing that I had seen during his assault on the polaroid killer gave me the impression that he was in his 'right mind.' The biggest clue being specifically b/c he didn't seem to hear Catherine's screams to stop what he was doing. If her screams had registered, he w/d've stopped.

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Guest MillenniumIsBliss
While we know writers sometimes put a few twists in the story to keep things edgy & unpredicatable, I was originally struck by Catherine's integrity. That integrity, I thought, was a crucial part of her character particularly in her career. From that type of thought process, I still don't get that she c/dn't apply her vast knowledge to Frank's actions - especially considering he was probably temporarily insane. Nothing that I had seen during his assault on the polaroid killer gave me the impression that he was in his 'right mind.' The biggest clue being specifically b/c he didn't seem to hear Catherine's screams to stop what he was doing. If her screams had registered, he w/d've stopped.

Well, in her work, she is usually removed from the situation and looking at it objectively. It's a lot harder to look at something in a clinical manner and objectively when you are involved in the situation. Even if her logical side said that what Frank did was OK, her emotional side still might not be able to come to grips with it. The fact that peoples behavior is so hard to predict under those circumstances, makes it easier for me to accept that part of the plotline. Also, I think the seperation was an accumulation of many factors, and Frank gutting poloroid man was only part of the overall picture and possibly the last straw. I still think that Catherine had a bigger problem with the fact that she thought Frank was shutting her out, keeping secrets from her, and letting his work come between himself and the family. I also think it is a simple matter of the writers wanting to add some drama and adversity to Frank's personal life to keep the viewers interest.

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Guest Laurent.

Glen Morgan about the 2nd season: "This year was an opportunity to make a hero-myth of the story; take the house away from Frank, have him go through the dark forest, and get back to the yellow house."

Obviously, splitting Frank and Catherine were part of the "dark forest path". They just wanted to take everything away from Frank except the Millennium group; and we all know how they chose to do it.

What I like in this quote is the part about "getting back to the yellow house". The reunion of Frank with his family/"yellow house" lasted half an episode and ended in Catherine's death. I think by the end of the season, M&W decided to bring Frank to the darkest place imaginable for him... a life without Catherine.

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Guest ZeusFaber
What I like in this quote is the part about "getting back to the yellow house". The reunion of Frank with his family/"yellow house" lasted half an episode and ended in Catherine's death.

I completely agree on this point. The fact that Frank never really made it back to the yellow house, and that what little we did get we were supposed to buy into the log cabin as a substitute, rendered the whole journey null and void for me.

The basic idea of the hero-myth journey was a good one, but it was fundamentally mishandled in my opinion due to the fact that it never came around to the latter part of the journey (which is essential to make it a journey, and not just a tangent). Had Frank got back to the yellow house, say, six or so episodes in, it would have been an inspired start to the second season, but the longer it went on the more it spiraled out of control until it lost all direction entirely and never reached that crucial destination.

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Guest Laurent.

Good point. I guess it's just like Lance Henriksen said about Carter's vision of Frank Black: ""How are you going to make this hero a hero? I mean, it is so dark, how are you going to handle this?" And he (Carter) said that the fact that the guy is a stand-up guy through all of this is what makes him a hero."

And Frank still stood up after Catherine's death... I don't think the fact that he never made it back to the yellow house makes him less of a hero. It's not like it was his fault. The forest was just darker and bigger then anyone expected... so that he only got out at the very end of season 3.

Edit: Does not mean I agree with how the "dark forest" thing was handled in season 2. I especially think that the Frank & Catherine separation felt forced on a little bit.

Edited by Laurent.
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Guest ZeusFaber
I don't think the fact that he never made it back to the yellow house makes him less of a hero.

No, neither do I, but in terms of the specific hero-myth of classical mythology referred to by Glen Morgan, it required his return to make it work. Thus, for better or for worse, they didn't fulfill this intension in Season 2.

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No, neither do I, but in terms of the specific hero-myth of classical mythology referred to by Glen Morgan, it required his return to make it work. Thus, for better or for worse, they didn't fulfill this intension in Season 2.
Good point ZF...my opinion is that his non-return to the yellow house was symbolic of the decision he made to remain on the "fringe" of the MillenniuM Group...i remember his promise to Catherine that they would return, but then he turns around and, after the predicted earthquake, continues to maintain a lifeline with the group, so to me the yellow house was a sad, poignant reminder of what Frank has sacrificed...

4th Horseman

"And behold, a pale horse, and he who sat on it, his name was Death. Hades followed with him. Authority over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with famine, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth was given to him." REV 6:8

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Guest MillenniumIsBliss
Good point ZF...my opinion is that his non-return to the yellow house was symbolic of the decision he made to remain on the "fringe" of the MillenniuM Group...i remember his promise to Catherine that they would return, but then he turns around and, after the predicted earthquake, continues to maintain a lifeline with the group, so to me the yellow house was a sad, poignant reminder of what Frank has sacrificed...

4th Horseman

I kind of like it that way. It's not the kind of series where you expect a happy ending in a yellow house.

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Yet nevertheless it's very human reaction. Although the second season was somehow a little over milleniumistic

the whole season is extremely logic. Take " Somehow Satan got behind me ". Darin Morgan is telling us that humanity doesn't need devils anymore to commit sins. They can manage fine by themselfs. The division between Frank and Catherine is in the nature of things.

" Boys, boys, boys ! Lighten up, this is a homicide not a funeral ! " - Rocket McGrane

HOO-YA / SEMPER FI

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Guest Ricardo Clement

From a practical point of view; I believe the seperation was written into series 2 so that they could do more episodes without Megan Gallagher - she'd signed onto the series believing that her and Henriksen would be on equal footing. When it didn't work out this way (being used mainly as support) she became unhappy and was given several months off to decide her future. Having then decided to leave at the end of the season, Chris Carter suggested that they kill her off.

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