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Dead Letters


Guest MillenniumIsBliss

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Guest MillenniumIsBliss

I might have said this before, but you rarely hear the episode "Dead Letters" discussed here. I have heard mixed opinions of it here, and have even heard from a few people who didn't like it, but I consider it great, and am probably in the minority when I say that I didn't even find it a small step down from the great Gehenna. I was thinking, as I watched "Dead Letters" tonight, that at this point in my first viewing of the first season, I had already been blown away three times in a row. I was certainly familiar with Lance Henriksen, but this was the first time I had seen him show this kind of incredible acting ability in a character with this kind of depth. I really can't even comprehend someone questioning his acting skills, although I forgot who it was that was involved in the show that criticized him. Maybe it was one of the writers. At this point in the series he had already done some incredible acting, and his acting style is far from "necrotic", as it was described by the person who criticized him. I can maybe see such claims being made about a character such as Bishop from Aliens, but Lance really shows some emotion and has an ability to convey it with his facial expressions and voice. Two of my favorite early scenes are in "Dead Letters" when he discovers the message on the hair fiber and he says "hair today", and I also love the scene where they open the first coffin in the Pilot and he says "It's Empty" before they open it. His facial expressions are incredible in these two scenes.

In "Dead Letters" I really enjoyed the creation of the character Jim Horne. I'm not saying he is a likable guy, in fact he is a bit of a jerk, but I love the complexity of his flawed character as he tries to deal with the kind of work the Millennium work is involved in, from the perspective of a parent with a young child. It's funny how being around young children can give you a new perspective, and although I don't have kids of my own (and don't plan to :oneeyedwinK ), spending a lot of time with nieces, nephews, and cousins kids has kind of changed my perspective as well. There is a great scene in "Dead Letters" where Jim Horne is talking to Catherine, and he mentions that the killers used to be a fascinating anomaly to study, but with his young son in the picture, he can view them only as monsters. This is kind of the same view I have these days, although I have the luxury of being able to watch an hour or so of this stuff, turn it off whenever I want to, and know that it's make believe.

This is a case where I agree whole heartedly with the Millennial Abyss and the 5 out of 5 rating it gives. In addition to the other great aspects of the episode, we have the famous and creepy clown dream with Frank walking down the endless spiral staircase in Jordan's dream. In this episode we see some great acting between Lance and Brittany and some very touching scenes between the two characters. These scenes in particular make me wonder how anyone can doubt Lance's acting style on the show, or in general for that matter. Add all this to a really fascinating story with the killer using messages on hairs to taunt the police and the other bizarre signatures of the murders, and you have the makings of one of the all time great MM classics.

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my thoughts on Dead Letters are pretty much the same. I would of loved to see more of Jim Horn. Lance's portrayel of Frank in this epi is phenominal. At this point in Season 1 he establish himself as Frank Black. I find this episode worth seeing again, in which i need to do.

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my thoughts on Dead Letters are pretty much the same. I would of loved to see more of Jim Horn. Lance's portrayel of Frank in this epi is phenominal. At this point in Season 1 he establish himself as Frank Black. I find this episode worth seeing again, in which i need to do.

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MIB...good points about "Dead Letters"....what i got out of it was a very nice contrast between a seasoned (some would say hardened) forensic investigator (Frank) and a somewhat less experienced one in the character of Jim Horn..there were many instances where Frank reminded him not to take what they did "home" or internalize it to the point of not being able to seperate oneself from their job and their personal life...Frank had already been thru the ringer and was trying to play the role of mentor to Horn throughout the episode, but ultimately, Horn was not able to stop the "bleedover" from what he did and saw as an investigator from tainting his view of his very own home/personal life...(seeing T.C's face superimposed on the victims face, etc).

This was also one of the episodes where the gratuitious nature of the violence even made Lance uneasy. Its all there in the interviews on disc 6.....

4th Horseman...

"And behold, a pale horse, and he who sat on it, his name was Death. Hades followed with him. Authority over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with famine, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth was given to him." REV 6:8

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Guest Frank L.

Although in my opinion the Pilot and Gehenna are better episodes, I still rate Dead Letters very high. Probably a 9,5. Like the Pilot and Gehenna, this episode again is very very dark. It shows what evil can do to people. Jim Horn is a time-bomb, he's getting closer and closer to a breakdown. And so the man who tries to stop murderers, becomes one himself. It's a great story and takes a slightly different part than the two previous episodes. A recommended book about the struggle between good and evil in a man: "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

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Guest MillenniumIsBliss
MIB...good points about "Dead Letters"....what i got out of it was a very nice contrast between a seasoned (some would say hardened) forensic investigator (Frank) and a somewhat less experienced one in the character of Jim Horn..there were many instances where Frank reminded him not to take what they did "home" or internalize it to the point of not being able to seperate oneself from their job and their personal life...Frank had already been thru the ringer and was trying to play the role of mentor to Horn throughout the episode, but ultimately, Horn was not able to stop the "bleedover" from what he did and saw as an investigator from tainting his view of his very own home/personal life...(seeing T.C's face superimposed on the victims face, etc).

This was also one of the episodes where the gratuitious nature of the violence even made Lance uneasy. Its all there in the interviews on disc 6.....

4th Horseman...

Yes, I agree on the mentor thing. When they first met, Jim seemed a little cocky, and even tended to be a little argumentative with Frank, for example, about the "present" the killer left on the ground at the first scene. By the time we get to the barbeque scene and Frank cues Catherine to leave, he pretty much lays out the whole profile and situation for Jim, and Jim just sits there and listens. You can almost hear Jim thinking "Hey, this guy is pretty good". In the end, they do throw the audience a bone and leave us with the idea that the bad guy still gets put away because they have plenty of evidence other than what they found in the van (obviously inadmissible). By the way, very interesting note about the interview with Lance. I had never heard that before, not comming from Lance. Next time I watch it I will have to keep that in mind and judge for myself, but it never really crossed my mind that it felt gratuitous. There have probably been a great many conversations here about the shows' violence and darkness, but I always thought of it as an honest and accurate portrayal of the subject matter, and never felt that it was unnecessary or gratuitous. Maybe the fact that I have seen so many movies where the gore and violence ARE, without a doubt, gratuitous that MM just seems mild in comparison. If the show WAS guilty of this accusation, then I guess you just have to keep in mind that any program on TV has to try to appeal to a broad fan base in order to perpetuate its existence, and sex, violence and gore sells. :oneeyedwinK

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Guest MillenniumIsBliss
my thoughts on Dead Letters are pretty much the same. I would of loved to see more of Jim Horn. Lance's portrayel of Frank in this epi is phenominal. At this point in Season 1 he establish himself as Frank Black. I find this episode worth seeing again, in which i need to do.

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I agree, it certainly wont be my last viewing of the episode. I guess I am starting to get older and my memory is going on me :oneeyedwinK , but this can actually be a good thing because I forget a lot of the smaller details of episodes like this, and they seem very fresh again in a year or two. I remember thinking last night about how many of the details I had forgotten, and how it was these little details that helped make it such a great episode.

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By the way, very interesting note about the interview with Lance. I had never heard that before, not comming from Lance. Next time I watch it I will have to keep that in mind and judge for myself, but it never really crossed my mind that it felt gratuitous. There have probably been a great many conversations -

MIB - yes, if memory serves me correctly, (and i will watch the interviews tonite and get back later this evening), i believe that Dead Letters was talked about, not only in the fact that it affected Lance but also that it also caused a member(s) of the filming crew/cast to quit. I will get back on this later tonite or tomorrow, but perhaps in the meantime, someone can back up my statements..

4th Horseman..

"And behold, a pale horse, and he who sat on it, his name was Death. Hades followed with him. Authority over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with famine, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth was given to him." REV 6:8

fourthhorsemananimatedsigna3rr.gif

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Guest MillenniumIsBliss
By the way, very interesting note about the interview with Lance. I had never heard that before, not comming from Lance. Next time I watch it I will have to keep that in mind and judge for myself, but it never really crossed my mind that it felt gratuitous. There have probably been a great many conversations -

MIB - yes, if memory serves me correctly, (and i will watch the interviews tonite and get back later this evening), i believe that Dead Letters was talked about, not only in the fact that it affected Lance but also that it also caused a member(s) of the filming crew/cast to quit. I will get back on this later tonite or tomorrow, but perhaps in the meantime, someone can back up my statements..

4th Horseman..

Wow, that's hard to believe, not in a sense that I don't believe you are accurate about the information, just that I had never heard that before and, if you ask me, Millennium was actually kind of a light weight as far as gore and violence. Then again, I have seen a lot of this kind of stuff in movies, so maybe I just have a watered down perspective. I'm kind of surprised a crew member would quit, I mean what do you expect from a show about evil and serial killers? :oneeyedwinK Don't they get to read the scripts? Also, it seems like, when you are behind the scenes, seeing the makeup and the cameras and the way these effects are created, it would take the realism out of it. Anyways, very interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing sense I don't watch the interview stuff. Just out of curiosity, was there a specific scene that caused this reaction, or was it just the show or episode in general?

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Just out of curiosity, was there a specific scene that caused this reaction, or was it just the show or episode in general?

MIB...again, i believe, from memory, the scene in question is where they find the dismembered body of the postal worker, where the guys are dusting for fingerprints, where Frank eventually gets the message off of the body "Hair today, gone tomorrow"....if you pay particular attention, as Lance approaches the "corpse", he squats down, then you hear a faint sigh along with a slight bit of hesitation before he draws the sheet back..that is where i believe that the interviews are pointing to...the sigh and facial expression were apparently not scripted, but the set was SO REAL that it made Lance flinch a bit...again, i will have more substantive information later after i review the interviews...i usually dont post information like this unless i am relatively sure of myself, so give me a little time...

4th Horseman

"And behold, a pale horse, and he who sat on it, his name was Death. Hades followed with him. Authority over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with famine, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth was given to him." REV 6:8

fourthhorsemananimatedsigna3rr.gif

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Guest MillenniumIsBliss
Just out of curiosity, was there a specific scene that caused this reaction, or was it just the show or episode in general?

MIB...again, i believe, from memory, the scene in question is where they find the dismembered body of the postal worker, where the guys are dusting for fingerprints, where Frank eventually gets the message off of the body "Hair today, gone tomorrow"....if you pay particular attention, as Lance approaches the "corpse", he squats down, then you hear a faint sigh along with a slight bit of hesitation before he draws the sheet back..that is where i believe that the interviews are pointing to...the sigh and facial expression were apparently not scripted, but the set was SO REAL that it made Lance flinch a bit...again, i will have more substantive information later after i review the interviews...i usually dont post information like this unless i am relatively sure of myself, so give me a little time...

4th Horseman

Ahh, OK, yes, that particular set might take some getting used to. Very fascinating stuff regarding the unscripted sigh and pause. I might have picked up on that and written it off as good acting. That kind of murder scene would probably even get to a seasoned veteran like Frank. In a way, it's kind of a credit that they did such a good job with the set, because not only does it give the show a more realistic feel for the viewer but, with a set that is actually done well enough to be disturbing to the actors, it seems that it would also give the actors something to feed off of and draw from during filming. We could probably open a whole new thread about the whole violence and gore on TV/film issue. I mean, how do you decide where to draw the line, or what is gratuitous and what is just depicting the violent nature of the subject matter in an accurate and honest manner. I have recently been reading some reviews regarding this very issue for a movie that was recently recommended to me called "Irreversible". Upon reading the reviews, I have kind of come to the conclusion that I might take a pass on it, as it is regarded as having some of the most violent, gruesome, and disturbing scenes ever put on film, but defenders of the film, including Roger Ebert, argue that it just gives us a truthful and unflinching view of the kind of brutality that mankind is capable of. People who are opposed to the film, and there are a great many, simply label it a sick, disgusting and gratuitous piece of garbage.

Oh, and by the way, I wont hold you to any of the information you aren't sure of. I'm sure you got the gist of it right, and it's just us MM junkies here.

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