Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
Libby

A Single Blade of Grass

Recommended Posts

While transcribing this episode, I spotted the reference to M&W's production company name of "Hard Eight". It’s in the scene in the bar where Frank is talking to Reynard who is playing a dice game with others. One man is about to roll the dice when Frank says: “Hold it, hold it.” He then pulls out some banknotes and puts some of them down to make a bet. He says: “ Eight - the hard way.” He wins, of course - the man rolls a double 4.

I figured out that the game they were playing was craps and eventually found a web site which explained some of the terms - that helped a lot with another couple of bits of dialogue.

I also found that the opening dialogue comes direct from the "Messiah Letter" of Wovoka. It’s a beautiful piece: “Do not tell the white people about this. Jesus is upon earth. He appears like a cloud. The dead are still alive again. I do not know when they will be here. Maybe this fall or in the spring. When the time comes there will be no more sickness and everyone will be young again.”

I haven’t made a note of how much time I’ve spent using google for researching on this episode alone, but it’s quite a lot. It certainly has made me realize how much time the writers must have spent on their research.

I’ve forgotten the URL of the games web site, but the two I used the most for the Native American references are:

http://www.nativeculture.com/lisamitten/nations.html

http://www.unc.edu/courses/reli035/projects/ghostdance/

Libby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Libby,

   

Thanks for the 2 sites!  I'll check them out!  Don't know if you noticed, but I've posted a request for help in finding that very quote from "A Single Blade of Grass" as a sound "bite" to use on my web-site.  It's inspired by MillenniuM and The X Files, and one of the pages is "Ghost Dance".

Check it out!

RAVEN WOLF

~PEACE :angel:

ERIN (RAVEN WOLF)

:ouro:THIS IS WHO WE ARE :ouro:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Hi Erin,

I've responded to your request in Millennium Downloads.

Gra. :ouro:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

THANKS GRA!  I'll go check that out! :;):

Erin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

What could have made this episode better? I like its underlying theme, but the scene with Frank having his visions with the archaeologist explaining them came across as a bit too artificially dramatic for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
What could have made this episode better? I like its underlying theme, but the scene with Frank having his visions with the archaeologist explaining them came across as a bit too artificially dramatic for me.

I must admit that was my least favourite season two episode. My problem is it has to essentially give the audience a history/mythology lesson before it can motivate the plot. Too much establishment to which there is little payoff worth the investment.

Furthermore, and this isn't the show's fault per se, I found an almost automatic resentment to the Native Indian card. It seems not a series could go by between 1981 and 1999 that didn't have to carry an American Indian episode focusing on the spirituality and loss of culture to a proud people. It's a sad reflection, but the Native Indian mythology had lost its spark by 1997 so far as episodic television fiction plays. So really, it would have had to something really special to make it stand out, and being lectured on the background through - as you put it - awkward exposition just didn't reward.

So far as Native Indian episodes go, this at least tried to go deeper than the guilt trip of most, but it simply just fell flat. It neither invested me in the story, nor did it carry enough focus on Frank's gift to really feel it had offered anything to the character's arc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

It's difficult for me to know how this episode could have been made better. It's full of exposition, which is bad writing; the archaeologist character was just overplayed, though I don't know whether that was in the script or what the director wanted; and it wasn't really necessary to invent a backstory (making Frank one-eighth Craw) just to presumably make the story more personal to him, when Frank is perfectly capable of having visions without that backstory or being fed snake venom. The ending in particular was, I feel, pretty insulting to Native Indians.

It's almost as though someone had a good idea for a script, then had to shoehorn Frank into it. Research is all well and good, but it's got to be relevant to the character being written about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Hi guys,

I absolutely agree with all that has been written here and find this the least satisfying S2 episode in a qualitative sense. The greatest affront in this episode is that old cliche of the white protagonist heradled as some mesianic figure by a tribe of mysticism-obessed natives. Not only is such a thing a tired old chestnut fondly rolled out time and time and time again but to have such a preposterous narrative placed firmly in the modern age makes it all the more offensive to my mind.

I also share Libby's comments regarding the degree of exposition in this. Frank is largely denigrated to a superficial role serving only to listen to constant examples of info-dumping in order that the viewer is given a cognisance of the narrative. He becomes an example of the fabled 'Doctor Who' assistant in his show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
It's almost as though someone had a good idea for a script, then had to shoehorn Frank into it. Research is all well and good, but it's got to be relevant to the character being written about.

Sometimes that how it works - a writer has an idea and shoehorns it around a pitch. In some ways, the very basics of this episode could probably have been woven around several templates with minimal effort.

I maybe doing the series and writers a disservice - given I don't know the specific process to making this episode, but I agree, it feels more personal to the writer than it does to Frank Black.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

I must say - as you can see in the post above yours - that my opinion wasn't very high on this episode. But watched it again recently and I enjoyed it. Sure, not the show's best, but if you can get past the rather dull Native Indian Hollywood storythread, the Frank story arc is quite interesting as he finds some sort of understanding behind his gift.

And as with all MM, a not so good episode, is still a fine episode compared to most TV at the time - and now even.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
Sign in to follow this  

© This Is Who We Are (TIWWA) - All rights reserved. Powered by Invision Community

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.