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Guest WaveCrest

I watched the pilot in full for the first time a few weeks ago. Because of all the attention it was given on BTFB I felt it was too familiar and the impact had lessened. I knew a lot about the episode and had seen bits of it on VHS, on ITV and when I tested out my Season 1 boxset a few years ago (when the set was released on Region 2).

It was very good, an episode which had thrilling moments, chilling drama and an assured performance from Lance Henriksen.

Did Frank's neighbour ever appear again after his appearances in the "Pilot" episode and "Gehenna"?

The use of colour when the yellow house is shown is striking. Some of the regular supporting characters appeared here for the first time, my favourites being Giebelhouse and Bletcher.

It wasn't until maybe a year or two after the pilot aired that I realised the actor who played the Frenchman was in the NBC series The Pretender.

The music was superb, although sometimes that "der, der" noise in the theme tune grates a bit.

I've not read the Millennium tie-in book The Frenchman. Has anyone else read it and does it contain any scenes which were filmed for the pilot but were cut out of the aired version or the version which is in the DVD set of the first season?

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  • 5 years later...
Guest Metalstar

I've just watched "Pilot" a couple times in the past few days and jotted down some notes about the episode. But let me first explain how I got into the show to start. I was 12 when Millennium debuted on Fox and was aware of it because I saw the promos for it when I used to watch The X-Files when it aired on Friday Nights. The only episode I really remember watching when it originally aired was Kingdome Come. At 12 there were other things on my radar Friday nights at 9 or 10pm. I caught a few re-runs when MillenniuM aired in syndication on FX but really didn't get into the show hardcore until I came across the 1st season DVD set at Wal-Mart during my Junior year of college. I was at the store at like 11:30pm looking for something else on DVD that I can't remember, but I saw the box set and bought it on impulse because I remembered the buzz around the show from when I was young and my Dad telling me an episode here and there was really good. I was 20 when I bought the DVD set in October/November of 2004. Now I'm 31 and watching the show again for the 3rd or 4th time and want to get more in depth and explore more of the themes that the show has woven into it's fabric.

The teaser or the episode was fabulous, the ladies were beautiful, the pop music expertly chosen and the actor playing the "Frenchman" was superbly creepy. It really gets the hooks into you with that first teaser and the haunting theme music. In my opinion, Mark Snow's composing is much better in MillenniuM than in The X-Files. The first scene where Frank and his family move into their new yellow house is one of the only scenes where Catherine shows genuine warmth and love towards Frank. Now I know that Frank isn't warmest person in the world but far too often in her two seasons on the show Catherine comes across as quite cold and almost bitter that Frank is choosing his work and/or gift over her. Her character does a complete 180 from her introduction to when she calls out to Frank from the porch when he is meeting Peter Watts for the first time. Perhaps I am reading too much into it, but she came across as totally nosy and cold in that sequence and their conversation in the bedroom. She chastises him for keeping secrets yet he hadn't even met Peter to even be able to share with her what he is working on. That pretty much sets the tone for her character the rest of her time on the show. Peter Watts' introduction was handled wonderfully, he is altogether mysterious, intelligent, and trusting at the same time. Even the Group comes across as slightly dark and mysterious in their first meetings. Lance Henriksen is the star of the show but Terry O'Quinn was the 2nd most important actor in the series and the show was always at it's strongest with him on the screen.

When Frank visits his first crime-scene on the show he has yet to get into the habit of zipping/buttoning his jacket all the way up. The cut-scenes of the man on fire are truly chilling and really set the tone of what Frank's visions, and I hate to call them that, will show throughout the rest of the show. The one weak link I find in the episode is Frank connecting the word "PESTE" from the coffin lid to graffiti he notices in a picture on the front page of a newspaper. That was just a little too obvious for my taste. The chase scene was very well done, however I am quite a stickler for the foley'ing of footfalls in tv shows and they were terrible in that scene.

During Frank's conversation with Bob Bletcher he lays out his ability and why he is back at work, it really came across to me that Frank feels that he cannot avoid or hide from his destiny and his ability. He is resolved to trying to make good out of the worst situations possible. That leads me into what I feel is maybe the most important line in the episode, when Frank is looking down at Jordan in the hospital he says "So fragile" that line works on so many levels. The balance between good and evil, sanity and insanity, love and hate, innocence and experience all so very fragile throughout the lives of the characters.

Even 20 years after it originally aired the scene of Frank and Bob finding the man buried alive and sewn together is truly frightening and haunting. It really is hard to believe that aired on Network TV in 1996. It's almost tame now compared to what you see on Hannibal or even Sons of Anarchy but it totally stands the test of time.

I really loved the way the episode ended with Frank receiving the polaroid's in the mail after explaining to Bob how receiving them in the past had paralyzed him with fright. I think the first season could've done a bit more building up the polaroid's but they work to great effect at the end of the episode. The final confrontation with the "Frenchman" is a little anti-climactic for me but the insinuations that he has some sort of faculty akin to Frank's but that he is using it in a totally perverted way. I tend to like to think that there is always a higher power at work fueling the villains of the show, probably because of how the show was written in the stellar 2nd season. Though I know some of them are just bad because they are bad without any kind of supernatural influence.

All in all, this is one of the best pilot's I have ever scene and really sets up the rest of the 1st season perfectly.

But I am curious as to whether or not anyone else thinks the "Frenchman" has a kind of facility like Frank? Or is he just overly obsessed with apocalyptic poetry that fuels his psychoses like Frank says in his briefing with the Seattle PD?

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I watched the show numerous times, well parts of it anyway ! Before I'd seen it a few times I'd remember Catherine as a cold fish, to more adversarial to Frank than supportive. Keep watching the episodes with her in them. She tries to be understanding, sharing, compassionately caring, but you know by her reservations about secrecy that there are issues. the episode "Walkabout" kind of tells or hints at the part of their marriage when Frank was going through some things, and she was living with silence and lies from him. He tried to protect her, and she only wanted the truth, to know what he was fighting, what they were fighting. I think her part was well written. Her character had layers..

I think, the pilot shows them thinking they were free of the demons that had plagued them, Frank had his sanity back and they went back to their roots to start fresh. But in that very episode, you learn that the past has followed them to Seattle... and the millennium group was immediately driving a wedge in between them by calling Frank in at all hours of the night and making his work more than consulting.

The Frenchman didn't have the same facility I don't think. He was simply nutso.

"I smell blood and an era of prominent madmen"

W. H. Auden
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Guest Metalstar

I have watched the series a few times over the years and I've honestly tried to rehab my opinion of Catherine but even through my multiple viewings I can't seem to warm up to her. I think honestly if there were a few more scenes throughout her two seasons like there were the first time we saw her and she was genuinely happy about moving into the yellow house my opinion of her would improve. But you do raise a very interesting idea about the Group driving a wedge between Frank and Catherine from the very beginning, I never viewed it that way, but from her perspective and I can definitely see where she would think that given their past which is aluded to at various points throught the Pilot.

But especially in the 2nd season I just feel a total disconnect with her.

I did just watch Walkabout recently and have always been puzzled by the placement of the episode within the season and the series overall. That happens to be one of my least favorite episodes haha.

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Before Frank went mad he was headed there, and would disappear for weeks. He had that fake name he used. I can imagine Catherine was full of worry from the moment Peter Watts didn't knock on the door and introduce himself, but met Frank outside instead. Secrecy. SHe'd almost lost Frank, and from the first episode of this series, he was repeating secretive behavior.

But you see her trying to be supportive. When he realizes the blood is being drawn, he knows he should stay with Jordan at the hospital; but Catherine gives him absolution, she tells him to go and catch the guy.

There was an episode where she came to offer moral support at the hospital. I think it was the second episode when his friend gets microwaved. Gehenna.

Catherine just wanted probably what they had before he started losing it in the FBI, before his breakdown...She thought the move to Seattle would help bring it back, but the group, who preys upon people in their time of need, saw her as a stumbling block. They didn't try to recruit her, they tried and succeeded in splitting the couple up. What you see on Catherine is worry, frustration, disappointment, anger, all borne out of love for a guy who was choosing a cult over her and even over their daughter.

"I smell blood and an era of prominent madmen"

W. H. Auden
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But back to the pilot, She was happy, until Watts did his thing, and parked outside the house for along time, talked to Frank in the street, and basically sent her the message that she was out of the loop. That's when you get the hint that Frank had kept secrets, that it affected their marriage, and that she didnt' want that in their marriage again. He was such a liar too, telling her he didn't keep secrets... when he was doing so all along.

"I smell blood and an era of prominent madmen"

W. H. Auden
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  • 3 months later...

Hi! I kind of disagree here. I liked McClaren character. Maybe because I think the actor was great. And sure, his character was used to stop Frank. I think that is a resource of the writer. You have to have someone to get in the way of the hero because, if you don´t have it, you would have to end the show in 2 episodes. The hero must have limits to become an actual hero. Anyway, I think in many ways, he was scared for Frank and maybe, the way that he confront him was his way to protec him. Frank was pointing always to the major leagues. It's natural to be scared, come on. And keep in mind that the audience knew who Frank was plus a lot of information that, most characters simple didn´t know. We have seen what the Group is capable to do but Andy hasn't. You can´t expect him to react like Frank does. Baldwin was kind of a cliche but in the last episodes, when he started to understand who Frank was, he was making an interesting turn. Too bad they had to kill him because the writers had the idea of Emma turning into the head of the FBI because of the MG. And as a possible succesor, Baldwin had to go. Another idea that I enjoyed.

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Mclaren is the boss in season three right? The FBI supervisor or director? Did you know the actor that played him was in the pilot too as one of the seattle detectives? I liked him too.

What gets me, is that in this pilot and so many episodes, the people that want Frank's help are the ones disagree with him when he tries!

"I smell blood and an era of prominent madmen"

W. H. Auden
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  • 4 years later...

I haven't read the previous comments, as I am starting the series for the very first time. I am not so afraid of spoilers, but this time I don't want to simply consume just another TV-show, because Millennium touched something inside, I cannot properly describe yet.

Here are my thoughts and first impressions about the Pilot and the series. I really like the overall tone. It is the dark and greyish colours, it is the high contrasts that create a unique look, that I haven't seen in any other production. By comparing the visual experience to modern profiler series like Mindhunter you can clearly see the difference. Mindhunter is by David Fincher, a director who knows what he does, and it looks polished, clear and properly lit in almost every moment. Even when the potential serial killer stalks through the house of his next victim. Only the darker music gives us a clue of his evil intentions. Millennium goes another way: it creates scenes where you almost cannot recognise what is going on. You only see a part of a face, the rest disappears in darkness. It looks more like Seven, a movie by Fincher, that could be the visual father of the show and even the subject of hunting a serial killer is the same, but in my option, Millennium goes even beyond Seven, because of its emotional aspects that motivates the main protagonist. Chris Carter describes Frank Black being the superhuman, who carries the weight of the whole world, like Atlas. And besides Lance Henriksen can create this specific atmosphere around him with one single look, it is of course Frank Blacks ability to see and understand the most unpleasant thing: fear. And it is not just some superficial fear, it is the most existential kind of fear where he can put himself. The serial killer that experienced destruction and trauma is without any guidance and is overwhelmed by his own fears. To control his fears, he must gain power. His powers come to life though very strange and twisted acts of destruction. This is where Frank Black comes in. He is not just a simple profiler, but he carries the weight of fear inside. That is why he understands so good, that is what makes him so special. 

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Adept, excellent insight into the show and this 1st episode.

All of us here believe that MLM was the perfect show and everyone else just follows in its shadow.  It truly is one of the best shows that have ever aired, and the fan base just keeps growing.  Everything about it is sensational, including Mark Snows awesome, perfect music in every scene.  I could listen to his music all day.

We are spirits first and foremost, then we have a mind (similar to a computer), a soul (emotions and feelings), and they all reside in a physical body with senses.  Frank Black has an ability to tap into the spirit realm, as we all, but his was that he could see through the perpetrator's eyes.  But he's looking through the spiritual eyes, and why he would only get bits and pieces, because his ability was not fully developed or understood.

I had this experience myself many times.  One time when my youngest son was in the Navy on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.  In a quiet state of mind and soul, I not only was standing behind him, on the deck, looking out at the horizon, but then for a moment, I was seeing the horizon through his eyes.  That is what Frank experiences all the time.  The difference is, he never truly understood what and how this was happening  to him.

Fear is the complete opposite of love, and fear is what a perpetrator creates before committing his/her evil act.  Frank sees this fear because that's what most, if not all, of what killers feed on.  The fear validates their power and control.

Without question, MLM had some of the best actors ever to bring out the emotions of every character.  And no matter how many people may dislike a particular episode(s), they all are better than most that have aired since then, and those that even air today.  Nowadays it seems like producers are grabbing at straws to come anywhere close to being as good as MLM.  :ouroborous:

 

  • Like 1

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"Time is too slow for those who wait; too swift for those who fear;

too long for  those who grieve; too short for those who rejoice.

But for those who love, time is eternity."

(Jane Fellowes)

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