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Dixon

Angels Wear Black

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One of the symbolic choices made by the show's production staff which has always intrigued me was the way in which Millennium depicted angels.  

While the demons on the series took on many forms, the few angels we witnessed shared a similar form.  Consistently, throughout the show's three year run, messengers from heaven took on the same appearance during their time here on Earth.  Angels came to Frank Black as depressed young men clad all in black, shrouded in rain slicked black leather jackets.  

In many ways, this is the antithesis of the archetypical image we possess of an angels.  We saw angels take this form in "Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions," "Midnight of the Century," and "Borrowed Time."  This was clearly a conscious decision on the part of the show's staff, just one of the many detailed symbols presented to us by the show's intricate episodes.

I'm interested in hearing other people's opinions regarding this artistic choice.  What do you think of the demographically specific angels in black seen on Millennium and what does their image suggest of their nature?   :angel:

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Millennium's depiction of angles was one of my favorite obsessed fan details. I'm not really sure why it is though. I don't think it's simply because it's the anithesis of the standard angel. It sort brought a very real melancholic feel to everything. How could the good who can see from up above be anything but somber, depressed, or as in "Borrowed Time", assholes. My favorite was Samiel from "Borrowed Time". A very understated character. His actions are never really adrressed which is what I love. It's like he knows something that none of us do and finds everything on earth almost petty. He's really arrogant but it implies he knows something that makes even death seem trite. This was one of the best examples of season three's attempt at sublty. It really worked the best in this episode. And it seems to affect Samual from "Powers, Princiapalities, Thrones, and Domions" in the opposite way. He's depressed. He doesn't want to deal with all the sadness here.

Great topic. I'd love to hear other's views on this topic as well.

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Hi

Do you remember the "avenging angels" depicted in religious paintings, those wearing plate armors, silver spears, and so on...? I may downsize the question, but I think that it has to do with some kind of modernization of this concept. And it is a good forecast of what Matrix would show: heroes clad in black, clandestinity in the crowd and power of the mind as well as of the body. And by the way, who does not wear black today? There is not much imagination in garments and in what seems fashionable.

I think too that it is exactly what gives to MM the gothic touch I enjoy a lot. Are they fallen angels or angels on a mission? I would not guess it from Samiel's behavior.

Regards

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hmmmmmm....I think some of what I think has been stated. But I will try to add to it. I think the angels in black is a modernization. It's just sort of a way to shatter preconceived notions. Instead of showing a woman with long hair in a white robe we get the opposite. And instead of the cliched angel all happy and singing etc... We get inquisitive angels delving into their emotions about mankind etc... I think it's a good twist and certainly gets the audience thinking differently about their longstanding views of angels.

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It seems to me that Millennium sought to draw upon the wealth of mythology that exists regarding angels and interpret it into its own mythology. As to the chosen embodiment of the angels that appear to Frank as slick young males clad all in black, this look seems to me perhaps a deliberate attempt to leave their true nature and motives duplicitous or vague.

I don't know if anyone else here owns these books, but I have both volumes of N.E. Genge's Unofficial Companion to Millennium which makes for sporadically good reading. Both volumes cover Season One, and the entry for Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions is quite revealing regarding the mythology of angels that transcends popular imagery.

Apparently, if one were to delve into the worlds of Christian, Judaic and Islamic mysticism, there is a formal hierarchy of angels that has been defined across these faiths and that of the Zoroastrians that predate Christianity in the Middle East and which comprises nine "choirs" of angels. Each choir has its own preordained powers and functions and is either superior or subordinate to the remaining eight.

The first order, the closest to God, comprises the Trinity of the Seraphim, Cherubim and the Thrones. The Seraphim are awe-inspiring and bathed in flames, almost too wondrous to look upon... perhaps Lara's visions are based upon this variant? Notably, the Thrones are noted to be starker, sterner creatures that represent justice.

The second Trinity are responsible for God's creations and comprise the Dominions, the Virtues and the Powers. The Dominions are noted to lack servile fear and to teach mankind Earthly wisdoms and subdue base passions and desires that might interfere with the expedition of God's justice. The Virtues are empowered to perform miracles or endow humans with the same power, whilst the Powers notably conspire to restrain the devil, temper the power of demons and protect the weak who may become their targets. Their goal is thus to provide a level playing field for mortals by helping the weak resist temptation and vice.

The final Trinity are the most likely to appear to mankind and comprise the Principalities, the Archangels and the Angels themselves who give their name to all the others. The Principalities teach individuals to find their assigned roles within their family, race or kingdom, whilst the Archangels often appear in the Bible (as in visitations to Mary) with prophecies. Perhaps their portentous nature also alludes to the angel that appears to Lara Means?

The lowest order, the Angels themselves, are guardians much like an external conscience that subtly guide and teach us. One is assigned to every person at birth, hence some of the more populist notions that have crept into our culture. There is no mention, in this text at least, of how they manifest.

One final note regarding Sam-iel, brother to the likes of Gabriel and an Archangel according to the Bible. Sam-iel is "the leveller", the one who lends his power to the mismatched struggle between demons and humanity. The Anglicised equivalent is Sammael, appearing in modern Bibles as a high-ranking angel but also a correspondingly high-placed demon, equally capable of taking human life and destroying lesser supernatural beings. Again with the duplicity.

Millennium appears to have drawn upon this wide mythological basis whilst not being bound strictly to it. Certainly the "angels in black" that appear to Frank make us question our preconceived stereotypes regarding angels, not least their unconditionally good motives, and as ever with this show it leaves much to ponder.

:angel:

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Thanks for this instructive post Misguided Angel. It showed me how far I was from even imagining it: I was still stuck to the last "rank" of the hierarchy!!

Regards

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You're very welcome!

:;):

I should add a note regarding fallen angels, that there is purported to exist for each of the nine choirs an evil equivalent. Not fallen angels as much as other entities altogether but providing a balance and duality to the angelic hierarchy.

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It seems it is very manicheist in essence. It always sounds strange to me that root evil things can be organised somehow!

I think I will push my luck by asking this: do fallen angels always appear as evil entities? If one can divert from a "Milton-esque" point of view, are fallen angels seen as the Devil followers in every religion where they appear? You seem well documented on that matter... :) To keep a link up to the subject of the topic, I could now see Samiel as a free lance angel, bound to no moral side and adding some chaos to a complicated situation (at least from Frank's point of view)!

Regards

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I know that Dante mentions angels that didn't choose sides in the conflict. If I remember correctly they reside outside of hell. Least thats where he puts them in the "Inferno".

Also from what I remember of the book of Genisis, the "sons of God" were roaming the earth, and having relations with human women which would seem to point to some free agent angels out there.

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I think I will push my luck by asking this: do fallen angels always appear as evil entities? If one can divert from a "Milton-esque" point of view, are fallen angels seen as the Devil followers in every religion where they appear? You seem well documented on that matter...

I'm not so well-documented, but I do have my sources!

:angel:

In the interests of not hijacking the subject of Dixon's original thread (as I did in the LiveJournal community thread - sorry, Dix!) which was after all more closely linked to the visual embodiments of angels in the show, I'll post a reply to your own thread regarding aspects of Good and Evil, to which this more closely relates...

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