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ModernDayMoriarty

Saw Human Essence.

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The first time I watched Season Three, I missed three episodes. They were 'Through a Glass Darkly', 'Borrowed Time' and 'Human Essence'. With the recent reruns, I have watched all three now and I must say that I am shocked at the negative, almost homicidal reviews and reactions that this episode has received. I went in expecting the worst thing ever as many had warned me about. But I thought it was pretty good I must say. Perhaps not the greatest episode ever made but not even a tenth as bad as some make out. So I was wondering why exactly people hate it so much? What's the big problem?

For my money this is a very 'human' episode. The portrayal of the girls getting stoned and the violent mobsters may be unpleasant but isn't that the whole point? Millennium has often been accused of creating a stylised reality full of broken, romantic people who become killers; an imahe that has undermined the reality it purports to show. Most crime is dirty, low key and very sad, not glamourous at all. I thought this episode was extremely chilling in just how real it was in places. Desperate people in desperate circumstances. The shelters, though dingy seemed like paradise because they were offering help, however small for these people. Very powerful.

And the figure of the crippled Chinese man, beaten down, chewed up by life and spat out, compared so excellently with Frank. Season Three Frank is often bitter, resentful and angry. People have criticised this but that's the whole point of S3: The redemption of Frank Black. He has been through it all and has nothing left to show for it. His wife is dead, his former friends have been revealed as crazed cultists, even his closest friends now doubt his sanity (as does he) and he is in constant conflict with Catherine's father who blames him for all of it. Why shouldn't he feel angry, why shouldn't he feel he needs to have time for himself? But he pulls through and helps Emma when she really needs him. Unlike the villain of the piece he doesn't start lashing out at innocents to share his pain (like the Poloroid Stalker as well in fact).

It is an episode that shows both sides of humanity: the good and the bad and that is what Millennium is all about. Friends who are only friends when it suits them, who can't be bothered to help you when you need them. The FBI like Maclaren and especially Baldwin who turn on Emma for example, disregarding what they know of her to condemn her. Frank who has more compassion but rejects her sister because of his new hardened feelings but with his old, true self winning through eventually. And of course Emma who reminds Frank of the old him, battling and getting very definately bruised to save people she cares about and for not giving up on them.

Okay, the episode probably could have done without the actual monster angle. The analogy of drugs actually making people into monsters is interesting though. But I can deal with that; I really don't have much of a problem with it. So it seems like the X-Files? Is that a new thing? Since S2 there have been plenty of episodes that were more suited to the XF than this. At the end of the day, it advances the storyline of Season Three, it tests the mental and physical strengths of both main characters and presents real, note REAL suffering and concerns in what I thought was an interesting way. Now I will admit, most probably don't feel this; I don't think I've ever seen such an outpouring of hatred for one episode. I just want to know why.

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I agree totally. The reptile transformation stuff is unnecessary and the ending is a little rushed but overall,I like this episode!!! :yes: The first third is particularly good; the scenes of Emma's suspension and her private investigation are well handled and hard hitting. Not the best of Season 3 (which in itself is underrated) but in my opinion better than 13 Years Later, Omerta or the opening two-parter. Scores points just for showing Canada as Canada, for a change. :bigsmile:

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Well, I don't think this episode was the worst thing ever, but I remember it being pretty bad. When I get season three on DVD, I will definitely review it and be able to better discuss it. For one thing, if I remember correctly, it just seemed weird to me, and it seemed totally unbelievable that the substance they were taking would have that kind of an effect on the people taking it. I can't think of anything else on earth that would do that to people. Even severe exposure to radiation does not have that kind of effect on people, and certainly not so quickly. It was also pointed out on the episode review string of season three, that Frank seems to be out of character with his coldness regarding Emma's sister, and I agree. in fact, I remember having the same thoughts myself. The episode, as I remember, just did not work for me at all, and did not really fit the show in my opinion. It almost seemed like it was a story written for another show and converted in a Millennium episode because they were one episode short to complete the season and ran out of ideas. I did manage to sit through the entire episode, and as was also mentioned in this string, it was probably not the worst episode, and not as bad as "Thirteen Years Later", for example, just not a favorite, not outstanding, and didn't work for me. If you liked it, that's great though. The one thing about Millennium is that it took some chances, had something for everyone, and was not repetitive or unoriginal. "Human Essence" was certainly original, if nothing else. Keep in mind that when people discuss "Human essence", they are holding it up to the extremely high standards of this show overall, and when you consider how great some of the other episodes are, it doesn't quite hold up in comparison. just my opinion.

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I actually didn't think all that much of 'Borrowed Time'. I thought the story was mostly excellent as I would expect from Chip J but that some of the acting was a bit suspect (Eric Mabius made a very unmemorable Sammael in my opinion; Henriksen is surprisingly poor too which is strange as he is usually superb as Frank). Also, some of the art/direction decisions were questionable. The last scene where Frank begs God not to take Jordan is rather lacking in power and implies a closer connection between Frank and religion than we have been led to believe. He has apparently done 'everything you (God) asked'. Has he? It didn't seem like he was doing God's will intentionally in any episode really ('In Arcadia Ego' maybe). Also, the use of the small watch that Sammael holds is rather poor. It just looks like some cheap piece of tat and not very significant at all considering the importance we are supposed to be placing on it. Lastly, there isn't a hell of a lot for Frank and Emma to actually do in this episode and such episodes rarely grab me very much.

The episode is very similar in structure to 'The Sound of Snow' which comes a few episodes later. This is much, much better in my opinion but appears to be less highly regarded. I don't think 'Borrowed Time' is a bad episode, just not as great as some would make out.

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Those were my thoughts as well. Both "Borrowed Time", and "The Sound of Snow", as well as "Saturn, Dreaming of Mercury", seemed to have such potential (and great names, to boot!), and could have been so much more than they were. Not bad, by any means, but just not living up to their potential.

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Wow, I think "Borrowed Time" is probably one of the series' finest episodes. I agree that "Saturn..." and "Sound of Snow" were lacking but not "Borrowed" at all. I thought Mabius was an amazing and bewildering Sammeal. There is something very Old Testement about the will of God in this one that thrills me. Frank's outburst towards God was one the most intense moments in the series. It is true that his beliefs were rarely addressed but that is exactly what made this moment exciting, I think. A man who has been through all he has been through up to this point in the series is not simply curious about religion or the supernatural like he seems in "Kingdom Come," which is the first and if I remember correctly, only real time he is asked out right about his beliefs. Frank's outburst actually re-affirmed what I has assumed were his internal motivations that were not outwardly addressed. I did not find it inappropriate at all.

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Guest se7en
Wow, I think "Borrowed Time" is probably one of the series' finest episodes. I agree that "Saturn..." and "Sound of Snow" were lacking but not "Borrowed" at all. I thought Mabius was an amazing and bewildering Sammeal. There is something very Old Testement about the will of God in this one that thrills me. Frank's outburst towards God was one the most intense moments in the series. It is true that his beliefs were rarely addressed but that is exactly what made this moment exciting, I think. A man who has been through all he has been through up to this point in the series is not simply curious about religion or the supernatural like he seems in "Kingdom Come," which is the first and if I remember correctly, only real time he is asked out right about his beliefs. Frank's outburst actually re-affirmed what I has assumed were his internal motivations that were not outwardly addressed. I did not find it inappropriate at all.

...i was going to respond to the above "SAY WHAT,HUH?" comments but you did the perfect job in summing it up. Borrowed Time is pure emotional and spiritual energy, for those so inclined, that is simply devasting in it's excellence and power. It's very near the top of Henriksen's finast art on the show, out of countless on season 3 alone (!) with "Darwin's Eye", "Saturn Dreaming..." and, of course, the superb, jawdropping "seven and one" amongst others.

...each season showed a more open and open "minded" Frank Black and during key points during S3 the flashes and outbursts of emotions, of all flavors and all levels, was like peeling a precious onion, and it made those moments, for me, virtualy burn themselves into my retinas. BY FAR -(yes in my opinion but oh so many more are now seeing the light, so to speak)- Henriksen's most visceral and powerfull acting was seen in S3. To the inspired intentional whitenning of his hair-(his hair was already mostly white by 1994)- to the usage of less makeup and then combining that with what Henriksen "PUT" behind Frank Balck's eyes; that slightly harder edge-(without losing his humanity)- the looks of desperation as he scrambles to protect what family he has left, all the way over to the last half of his final journey where he learns the power of accepting, letting go, mortality and even mercy. Whew, it was , and is, just so . . . powerfull and urgent, if that makes any sense. No wonder he was emotionaly exhausted after S3. If you think about, more attention and focus was placed on the character, and the inner workings of Frank Black in S3 than in any other season, IMO.

...people are entitled to thier opinions about the season but i will say, without hesitation, that he was truly robbed of the Golden Globe Award when he was nominated for his work for that season. I honestly hope that more people, especially those who have not seen the eps since they aired, and especially those S2 fans who stopped watching early on, will, whe S3 is released next week in the U.K. and in the U.S./Canada in spring/05, will give it a real attempt and, in some cases a renewed effort into what was being done that season. Of course some will never change thier opion of it and that okay but it is, seriously now, thrilling for me, during the MM-Project and here these past 2-years, to see how far it's standing, admiration and appreciation has increased to the point it has. As you can tell, and as many here already know, it's themes and the riveting emotional, and without a doubt "spiritual", journey had, and still does have, a profound impact on me. NO ONE CAME CLOSE TO THE TOUR DE' FORCE OF ACTING THAT HENRIKSEN PULLED OFF DURING THAT BRILLIANT SEASON IN 1998/1999. NO ONE.

TAKE CARE ALL,

se7en

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Wow, I think "Borrowed Time" is probably one of the series' finest episodes. I agree that "Saturn..." and "Sound of Snow" were lacking but not "Borrowed" at all. I thought Mabius was an amazing and bewildering Sammeal. There is something very Old Testement about the will of God in this one that thrills me. Frank's outburst towards God was one the most intense moments in the series. It is true that his beliefs were rarely addressed but that is exactly what made this moment exciting, I think. A man who has been through all he has been through up to this point in the series is not simply curious about religion or the supernatural like he seems in "Kingdom Come," which is the first and if I remember correctly, only real time he is asked out right about his beliefs. Frank's outburst actually re-affirmed what I has assumed were his internal motivations that were not outwardly addressed. I did not find it inappropriate at all.

I couldn't agree more on all of your points. I definately think it is a 5 star episode and one of the highlights of season 3.

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      ...people are entitled to thier opinions about the season but i will say, without hesitation, that he was truly robbed of the Golden Globe Award when he was nominated for his work for that season. I honestly hope that more people, especially those who have not seen the eps since they aired, and especially those S2 fans who stopped watching early on, will, whe S3 is released next week in the U.K. and in the U.S./Canada in spring/05, will give it a real attempt and, in some cases a renewed effort into what was being done that season. Of course some will never change thier opion of it and that okay but it is, seriously now, thrilling for me, during the MM-Project and here these past 2-years, to see how far it's standing, admiration and appreciation has increased to the point it has. As you can tell, and as many here already know, it's themes and the riveting emotional, and without a doubt "spiritual", journey had, and still does have, a profound impact on me.  NO ONE CAME CLOSE TO THE TOUR DE' FORCE OF ACTING THAT HENRIKSEN PULLED OFF DURING THAT BRILLIANT SEASON IN 1998/1999. NO ONE.

                                                  TAKE CARE ALL,

                                                                    se7en

I agree with these sentiments as well. As you say, people are welcome to their opinions, but the comments that one of the writers from the show made that Lance Henriksen can't act are truly absurd, and I agree that his acting was second to none that season. For that writer to say he is not one of her favorites is one thing, but to say the man can't act is just a public display of ignorance and lack of judgment, both in her evaluation of talent as well as her judgment about what should and should not be said publicly given her circumstances at the time.

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