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Welcome to the board from a fellow newbie........

Bardol Thodol is one of my favourites, the season three episode I remember most from those boozey graveyard slots on SciFi channel and the first I re-watched when I bought Season Three. Naming the episode after the Tibetan 'Book of The Dead' is apt: a book of deadlife for an episode of deadlife. Things are not alive in here, in the strictest definition of the word, living, inorganic, soulless, impossible life....

It was a strange addition to a season that was off loading spirit in favour of science. It tried to marry the idea of man as progenitor and God as progenitor, it was a Tibetan Mary-Shelley-fest, an alchemical wedding, a man forming life in his image, exchanging the dust and breath of God for biogenesis and stem cell manipulation. What occurs, as in all good Frankenstein homages, is a catastrophic distortion of science beyond the man-God's capabilities to reign it it. Takahasi succeeds in creating 'life' and growth in organisms beyond the scientific definition of that very concept: life independent without any pre-requisite for its existence...


The red lacquer bowl catches the nectar of God in Tibetan ritual - the nectar being similar in concept to what the Hebrews termed Ruasch or Holy Spirit. What Takahasi succeeds in forming is life without God's nectar, a thing outside of science and far away from God. Ravaged by his own creature, in this case metastasis caused by his own experimentation, he seeks comfort and redemption in the forgiving God only there is no confession and absolution only the spiritual maxim that what is, simply is.....'I am what I am'.


Takahashi's need for Frank is the need for someone who stands between the two worlds of science and spirit, as he found comfort in neither, he is a splintered man, a fractured spirit who is rejecting his science but fearing the rejection of his God. He is looking for a friend and a mediator...


My theory is that the lacquer bowl appears to have a fragment yet is whole (or at least that is my take on it) it represents, symbolically, the broken spirit that has healed and possibly an indication that whatever inorganic life Takahashi has created he has coded into the bowl itself, thereby giving the Millennium group a reason to covet it.

All said and done it is rough and not perfect but a damn fine watch, watch and watch again episode and Klea Scott is breathtaking in her confrontation with Watts. It was the episode that made me finally like Emma, without an absolute God-given-red-lacquer-bowl-reason for doing so....

enough rant..


Edited by ethsnafu
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0 nobly-born, when thy body and mind were separating, thou must have experienced a glimpse Of the Pure Truth, subtle, sparkling, bright dazzling, glorious, and radiantly awesome, in appearance like a mirage moving across a landscape in spring-time in one continuous stream of vibrations. Be not daunted thereby, nor terrified, nor awed. That is the radiance of thine own true nature. Recognize it........

After writing of it I sat and watched it again and it is beautiful, I am now of the firm opinion, not lingering or doubtful, that Bardo Thodol should have been the direction the whole of Season Three took.

One of the most unarming aspects of Bardo Thodol is implied rather that trumpeted. The first infant cell divides and starts a cascade of reactions that turns one fertilised egg into 1,000 billion cells of more than 200 different kinds. How it does this is a whole series of mysteries, but one key to these lies in first stem cells from which all bone, skin, blood and nerves subsequently stem. These appear in the first 14 days, before the cell implants in the womb. With this realisation it is SO clear why the Millennium group is using clinic 710 to perform abortions, it wants fresh stem cells, very fresh......

"We can help you calculate your conception date.." Yeah! I bet they can.

I think the reason that Bardo Thodol is set against Buddhism is no accident, cloning/recycling of life are both different means to the same end. If you read a description of the four Bardos it is a rather fitting analogy for cloning: The first two Bardos concern themselves with acclimatisation and evaluation. When the soul has reached the third Bardo they feel they have a body but when they realise this is not so, the desire one. Then comes the Third Bardo, which is the state of seeking another birth. All previous thoughts and actions direct the person to choose new parents, who will give them their next body: God does 'Dolly the Sheep'.

This backdrop of Buddhism fits neatly into the episode's discourse on science and spirit. As Frank's 'apocalypse' computer virus clearly depicts: man is taking over God's job description as author of his own genesis, and destruction. It is also interesting to note that had this episode been set against the rich backdrop of Islam, say, it would have been entirely different. Buddha categorised a fetus into eight levels as outlined in one Buddhist text, and the earliest stage of embryonic development was not included in the grouping, stem cell research could be carried out therefore without offending the tenets of the religion...the age old question: 'when is a life not a life?' seems clearly answered here.

I did notice with interest the constant flashes of the broken bowl symbolism, the much coveted bowl has at some point become splintered, a shard exists (yet is clearly bigger a sliver than the space it is to fit) and this reminds me of the famous passage in Ecllesiates "Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it..."

Reincarnation? Cloning? The mending and the repairing of the broken? Can it only go on as long as God allows the spirit to be recycled with the body or should the bowl ever be broken does the spirit really return to the God who made it? And, if so, what is left....

I truly did not intend this to become such rant and I apologise.....

I did notice, however, that Group members and Tiebtan monks share a similar burial practice...hmmm...


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After reading Fourth Horseman's earlier message regarding 'Arcadia' I decided to give it another go. He has such amazing insight if he says it's worth it then it must be worth and by God he wasn't wrong.

An Immaculate Conception redux, the child of God born to two women immediately brought me in mind of the Gnostic controversy surrounding the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Hebrew names for the Holy Spirit are the feminine "Shekhina" (which means "Divine Manifestation," "Divine Presence," "Divine Power," "Glory," and "Grace") and the feminine "Ruach" (which means "Soul" or "Spirit") which lead the Gnostics, in their wisdom, to conclude that the Immaculate Conception could not have occurred as '...whoever heard of a woman impregnating a woman..." this argument that has cluttered Christian Occultism for generations is clearly the canvas upon which this Millennium episode is painted. And as far as episodes go it seems littered with other levels and caveats. I love the little scene where Frank lingers upon the blood-splattered filing cabinet where the majority of the spill marks the drawer that would contain the 'X-Files', well that's what I though it meant. There are again references to the Magdelene (in the address of the house our protagonists are visiting), a hint to the fact that the 'Follow the Path' cult is an offshoot of the Millennium Group (though you never get a clear view, the 'Follow the Path' bookmark appears to be surmounted by an ouroborous albeit with some additional markings). The prison in which Sonny and Jannie are held captive is Garrison Prison a hint to the legend that Mary was impregnated by one of the Roman Garrison and not by God (which gave rise to Monty Python's 'A Life of Brian'). The Talmud claims that Jesus was Yeshua ben Pantera the illegitimate son of Mary M'gadd'la (the braider or hairdresser) by a Roman guard and that she was 'descended from princes and rulers but consorted with carpenters'. The legend of Jesus son of Pantera is echoed quite literally in 'Arcadia' with Jannie supposedly bearing God's child, the result of an immaculate conception, but with strong evidence to suggest that it is in fact a natural conception after she was raped by a prison guard. Then, there is the strangest of caveats in this episode, it does require a super sharp pause-button-finger to read it though: When Sonny is alarmed by the newspaper article she reads in the clinic waiting room, the article beside it is reporting the murder, at the 'Ruby Tip Peep Show' of Joanne 'Calamity' Sandor with Seattle detectives requesting information on a black male suspect: meaning Arcadia must occur concurrently with the Pilot episode and seemingly in the initial stages of that investigation (which it obviously doesn't).

When Frank deduces that Sonny and Jannie are attempting to flee by train he is drawn to timetable entry 'Calgary 3.05 #23'. The number 23 is again showN, simply as a large number upon the boxcar with a seeming prominence that wants us to take note of it. There is a rather innocuous occult theorem which regards the number 23 as a portent for great disaster. The late author William Burroughs was so obsessed by numeric coincidences surrounding 23, he kept a scrapbook of his findings. He was drawn to the number's power when a Captain Clark told him he had run a ferry from Spain to Morocco with for 23 years without incidence: hours later it sank, killing the skipper (didn't you just see that one coming). Alternative pop band Psychic TV are so obsessed with 23 that at one point they made the Guinness Book of World Records by releasing 23 albums on the 23rd day of 23 months in a row. They were influenced by the occultist Aleister Crowley who had been convinced of the power of 23. This inexplicable fascination with 23 has become a mind-virus, seeping into the music of 'Psychic TV', the art of H.R. Giger, the comics of Jamie Hewlett and Grant Morrison, the literature of Robert Anton Wilson, Arthur Koestler, Umberto Eco, and our very own Millennium where it too is a portent of disaster.

The birth scenes in the boxcar are a poignant recreation of the nativity scene, the light from above that illuminates the straw-strewn-stable-on-wheels is a sobering experience, the fact that Jannie bleeds to death has me in mind of the numerous Marian apparitions related to blood shedding where the The Virgin's blood is shed for the ills and faithlessness of non believers. The final matyrdom of Sonny is harrowing but excellent: only moot point is Frank willingly surrendering the baby to two obvious loons, more indoctrinated that any Millennium Group member and very possible members themselves. Could the group have been manipulating things all along?

Oh well, a damn fine watch and remarkably sad. I'm glad I visited Arcadia one more time.......

Till then,




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  • 8 months later...

What a great read that was ethsnafu,very interesting symbolism in the red lacquered bowl.

Some people watch an episode of Millenium and see it as a show others like the true fans look deeper to the very fabric of the episode....

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  • 3 years later...
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