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TIWWA Presents - A Frank Black Dichotomy


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Lisa is a

blogger and an artist. She also happens to be something of a devoted fan of Lance Henriksen and an appreciator of Millennium. That makes her someone of rather fine taste I think you would agree. I approached Lisa about the possibility of writing something about Frank Black and Millennium and she very kindly agreed. I am sure you will agree with me that the end result is a fine testament to how great a writer she is as well. So please join with me in extending to her our gratitude as well as our festive greetings. This is who we are!

Eth

The Frank Black Dichotomy Within Millennium

“Two souls are housed within my breast” - Faust

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Chris Carter has stated in interviews that the name of Millennium’s lead character, Frank Black, was selected as an homage to the lead singer of one of his favorite bands, The Pixies, who goes by the same name. However, call it coincidence, or a sly word pairing on Carter’s part, but the name Frank Black can also be interpreted as a concise summation of the character himself, as well as the world as portrayed on the show, in general.

For instance, the word “frank” is defined (according to dictionary.com) as “without inhibition or subterfuge; direct; undisguised” while the word “black” means, “characterized by the absence of light; enveloped in darkness”. Without being so obvious, by nonsensically naming the main character, “Light Dark” or “Good Evil” or any other word pairing of complementary opposites, Carter has (consciously, or subconsciously) given the main character a name which actually embodies the main themes woven throughout the entire series. The entire world and our existence balances on the structure of many forms of complementary opposites. The hard part is to keep them balanced. Leaning too far either way (work/family, good/evil, faith/science, happiness/sadness, to name a few) causes the whole structure of our existence to weaken, and risk collapse.

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Achieving the perfect balance, assumedly would bring with it complete serenity and enlightenment. These things are easier to achieve on a personal level, but are basically impossible to accomplish in a universal sense, since we can’t control what happens around us. In Millennium, Frank Black endures a constant struggle to walk the tightrope that separates the opposing forces, both within him and in the world around him. He is able to see the struggle more clearly than most because his mind has attained a level of neutral observation, or “observation without judgment.” He is able to collect the facts as he sees them, and to act on them without a judgement that is tainted by the biased influence of an unbalanced force (i.e., emotion vs. reason, evil vs. good, etc.) In this sense, one can infer that Frank Black is the embodiment of the concepts behind the yin-yang symbol: If all of the opposing forces are in balance, working together, one can see most clearly, and in a sense, be enlightened, as Frank seems to be, in the way that his abilities of observation and interpretation are superior to those around him, even extending into the supernatural realm.

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Multiple forces repeatedly struggle to sway him from this balance, however. Many of the episodes of Millennium involve demonic forces, or Legion, that attempt to lure Frank to abandon the good that he desperately tries to maintain around him, and rather to submit fully to the darkness. Some of these episodes include, “The Judge”, “The Curse of Frank Black”, “Siren”, and most notably the three episodes that feature Frank’s nemesis, Lucy Butler. Lucy is the character/force that digs the deepest into Frank’s psyche, attempting to even go so far as trying to trap him into accepting her and the darkness she represents, by alleging that he is the father of her unborn child (via otherworldly means). Lucy seems to be the dark side’s anchor in the tug of war over Frank’s allegiance to maintaining his balance. She even appears to morph between her human form and a dark winged-beast multiple times, which may indicate that the power of darkness is so strong within her, that she cannot completely mask it. However, her power is never able to sway Frank from his path, as he successfully continues to maintain the balance that he feels is necessary out of a sense of duty, rather than emotion or passion, an approach that seems to echo Kantian theories of ethics.

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The multiple forces from the dark side attempt to sway Frank by appealing to his weaknesses, most notably his allegiance to his family. In many ways, Catherine, his wife serves as a complementary opposite to Frank. One of these ways is her career as a clinical social worker, a position that deals with emotional issues on a daily basis. This contrasts to Frank’s lifelong career as an FBI profiler, and eventually, consultant, a field which deals mainly with cold, hard facts and logic, rather than emotion. She does seem to help keep Frank in balance with her perspective , which seemingly would set the stage for a solid, balanced marriage partnership. However, for as much as Frank tries to incorporate her more “emotionally-focused” world into his own existence, Catherine seems to resist incorporating his darker world into hers. She doesn’t want to let herself see that it takes both light and dark to form a whole, functioning unit. As a result, Frank is held to walking a very thin line in maintaining his balance. As soon as he temporarily missteps into the darker side, when his rage compels him to kill the Polaroid stalker that kidnapped her, Catherine can’t accept this momentary transgression because she refuses to accept anything but the light, or “good” side into her little world. As a result, the transgression upsets the balance of the household, causing them to separate, and depart the symbolically-painted bright yellow house in which they resided with their daughter Jordan.

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There are so many complementary opposites within the world of Millennium and within Frank Black, that I could go on and on, and probably end up with a thesis paper. All of the dichotomies mentioned above, I’ve only touched on briefly and each one reaches so much deeper into what constitutes Frank Black. I just want to briefly mention one more that you can think about further on your own if you are interested. The theme of science vs. religion/the supernatural, is a major thread throughout the Millennium series, especially with regards to the concerns over the possibly impending apocalypse. This dichotomy is even represented more blatantly in the Millennium Group’s split into two opposing factions: The Owls, who believe that there is a scientific explanation for Armageddon, as well as scientific means available to avoid it, and The Roosters, who believe that the end of the world will be brought about by supernatural forces, beyond man’s comprehension. This theme is not only represented by the Armageddon theme, but also in the overall question of what is the root of evil. Is it something hard-wired into man biologically, or is it a result of something beyond our control, the supernatural?

Frank Black is often viewed as an idealized hero, but I don’t believe that is his motivation. He has the special ability to see himself and the world from a distant perspective. He sees the opposing forces that continually push against each other, and which must be kept in balance in order for the world and society to remain a construct suitable for man to live comfortably in. The fact that he is aware of these dueling aspects and the importance of keeping them in balance, does not however, make him immune to attempts to tempt him off course. His inherent optimism and humility, even in the face of complete darkness, enables him to continue working to hold the complementary opposites of the universe and mankind in equilibrium.

END

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Guest SpooktalkGiGi

What a fantastic read Lisa and you would see me applauding if i could figure out what happened to my emoticons, lol so just pretend you see me clapping very happily. :) That was a very good read and very enjoyable thank you for it and the time you spent on it, you are GREAT!!!! We miss you on Spooktalkular Lisa, where'd ya go gurl?? lol Hope you are having a great day and a great Christmas, email me or pm me so something, i would love to hear from you. :) Take care and once again, FANTASTIC job. :) Very interesting read!

Laura :)

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From one writer to another, this article is excellent. You did yourself proud. No doubt in my mind that everyone will love it. :clapping::clapping::clapping:

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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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It's a superb article isn't it? I have emailed Lisa to let her know the fun has begun so hopefully she will be able to drop by later and see the kind words you have left for her. She is a lovely lady and I am very grateful to her for her time and support.

If you enjoyed her writing you might want to follow her at her Tumblr page. The link is below.

Thank you Lisa. :notworthy:

Eth

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  • Elders (Admins)

A fascinating read, Lisa, you've encapsulated the nature of Frank Black beautifully. What I like about good writing like this, is when thoughts come seemingly unbidden into my mind but I know are prompted by the quality of what I'm reading. One thought I had while I was reading is that Frank Black understands the difference between strength and power. Legion misinterpreted Frank's situation as being powerless because he mostly worked alone, but underestimated his inner strength.

I'm going to re-read your essay, to see what else pops up in my mind.

Thank you for writing this and sharing it with us. :thumbsup:

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Libby

"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape." Terry Pratchett

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Guest gothscifigirl

Thanks so much for your comments and compliments everyone! If there's one thing I love to think and write about, it's "Millennium". That's why the show is so dear to me...there are an unlimited number of topics to ponder about almost endlessly.

Laura, I miss you guys too! We have to figure out some way to keep in regular contact again :) Alex has a Tumblr account so I interact with him regularly. I'm at www.pigtailsandcombatboots.tumblr.com if you want to check it out. Maybe if I get myself into checking this forum regularly, that will help too.

Really, once again, thank you so much for your responses! I'm always available to write more about "Millennium", so just let me know and I'll get started delving deep into the depths of it's light and shadows. :)

Have a good holiday everyone!

Lisa

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You have a wonderful holiday too Lisa, it's so wonderful to see you around here and I do miss talking to you as much as we used to. have yourself a truly wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year and thank you so much for such a wonderful article. We truly do appreciate your support and kindness.

Eth

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