Welcome to the first Millennium Recap. Here we’ll be recapping episodes of Millennium with a series of bullet points, many of which formed the bulk of tweets during our weekly #XFNMLM rewatches on Twitter. We’re a long way behind starting this series but we hope you’ll enjoy these recaps regardless. Read after the jump for our recap of S01xE01 - "Pilot".
- The pilot episode was written by Chris Carter and directed by David Nutter. David directed 15 episodes of The X-Fies and the Supernatural pilot too. It really doesn't feel all that long ago that I was watching Millennium on TV, but it was actually eighteen years ago! The unofficial guide mentions how NBC’s similarly premised Profiler debuted in the same season, does anyone remember that now?
- A peep show is an interesting location choice for a pilot episode cold open, we can already see that the show is trying to establish itself as darker and grittier than X-Files. We’re also treated to some strong Twin Peaks style imagery. Millennium doesn't become as consistently surreal as Twin Peaks but, as with many genre shows from the mid-1990s, it does borrow heavily from it.
- The Black Family's "Yellow House" becomes symbolic as bright happy place very soon into the season, almost by the end of this episode.
- You might recognise Frank’s neighbour Jack played by Don McKay. He appeared in four X-Files episodes: "Beyond the Sea", "The Host", "The List", and "Pusher".
- Meet the supporting cast of the Seattle Police Department: Lt. Bob Bletcher and Det. Bob Giebelhouse (I guess the writers really like the name Bob). I find it interesting that Lt Bletch points out that the victim is a working girl and therefore a target. The comment hints at victim blaming and reminded me of Stella Gibson's speech about "virgins or vamps" in The Fall.
- We get our first glimpse of Frank’s "psychic" ability. Will Graham’s “visions” in Hannibal are somewhat similar on television today.
- The writers seem to feel the need to establish that she’s a nice girl who didn’t deserve this, “even though” she stripped for money.
- “A reason? Men don’t need reasons, all they need is an excuse.”
- The disfigured faces instantly remind me of the faceless rebels on The X-Files. I've often wondered if that was an intentional nod to Millennium's big sister show.
- Frank’s hunch has dragged in a lot of manpower. We’re already beginning to understand that his reputation as an excellent profiler is very different from Mulder’s. He is trusted by those in authority at this point in his career and they're willing to stake time and resources on his theories, to an extent!
- Hey look, it’s the “conversation-in-the-car scene of copious exposition and/or backstory” so favored by all Carter-verse writers.
- Frank's mentor at the Millennium Group is Peter Watts. He is played by Terry O’Quinn who is something of an X-Files regular. He appeared in "Aubrey", "Trust No 1", and also played SAC Darius Michaud in Fight the Future.
- It’s still surprisingly rare to see a happily married couple on a TV show that isn't a sitcom, even more so an older couple who start out happily married right from the pilot. It’s one of the ways Millennium stood out from the crowd and also distanced its "troubled ex-profiler" lead character from Mulder.
- Religion and religious imagery plays a much bigger part in Millennium than it did on The X-Files. The pilot does a pretty good job of establishing that theme.
- I think “adorable kids in hospital beds” might be one of Chris Carter’s specialties. Mark Snow’s music through this scene is reminiscent of "Christmas Carol/Emily" too just to drive home the emotional pain.
- At the other end of the emotional spectrum, local detectives played for comic relief might be another Chris speciality!
- We get our first little bit of backstory to Frank with his tale of a breakdown, a stalker targeting his family, and the polaroids he was sent. We can be sure from the first mention that this won’t be the last we’ll hear of those pictures. Plus a miracle baby for supposedly infertile FBI agent... Why does that plot point feel so familiar?
- The Millennium Group “believe we can’t just sit back and hope for a happy ending.”
- I can’t tell who’s most excited to be holding that puppy, Frank Black or Lance Henriksen?
- The pilot mostly stands alone but the arrival of a new set of polaroids to Frank’s “safe” Yellow House shows us that there will be a level of ongoing story right from the outset.
Join us next Monday for our recap of episode two: "Gehenna".
Screencaps courtesy of Chris Nu.