Millennium

Season 2 Episode 1

The Beginning and the End (2)

0
Aired Friday 9:00 PM Sep 19, 1997 on FOX
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
55 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The Beginning and the End (2)
AIRED:
When the Polaroid Man abducts Catherine at the airport, Frank is left to try and find her whereabouts. Watts arrives with some of the Millennium Group members and offers to help him track down his wife, and also offers Frank the chance to become a full member of the Group. Meanwhile, Frank must rely on his visions to track down the Polaroid Man when his profiling skills fail to help him find the Polaroid Man.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Morgan and Wong trademark: Lots and lots of exposition, clumsily inserted. That moment when the stalker talks to the cop and tries to tell him all about what the comet means, man, is kind of terrible in places.moreless

    10
    In which Frank Black kills both the Polaroid Stalker and season one.



    It's very rare that a creator leaves a show, and it gets better. For the most part, creators carry the voice of the show around with them, and when they leave, the show might get more consistent or solve certain problems or something, but it won't get BETTER. Here's a good example: When Greg Daniels left King Of The Hill, it didn't instantly get terrible, but it began a long, slow decline, where it felt as though the series had lost its voice. Here's another: When the creators of How I Met Your Mother left halfway through the fifth season to work on another pilot, it was so obvious that they had, as the show quickly descended into episodes that felt voice-less, without purpose. Then they came back at the top of season six, and the show quickly began to regain what it had lost. Even on shows where the creator isn't the strongest writer, it's often imperative that said creator be around to at least steer the ship.



    Chris Carter was never the strongest writer on any of the shows he created. He wasn't BAD, per se, but he had a tendency to get a little too self-serious, a little too in love with his own supposed profundity. And yet when he ramped down his day-to-day involvement in Millennium, the show somehow got much, much better. All it had to do was change almost everything about the show, from its premise to its characters to its mysteries. Granted, he turned the series over to Glen Morgan and James Wong, who'd been among the best writers ever to pass through the doors of The X-Files, but it wasn't like the two would be expected to immediately turn out some sort of genius television. Space: Above And Beyond had its moments, but it was also clearly a series run by people who were figuring out how to be TV showrunners. And the duo's scripts for The X-Files and Millennium in those shows' fourth and first seasons respectively often felt like two people chafing at having to work on someone ELSE's show again, after being given some amount of freedom.



    But the second season of Millennium is some sort of work of weird genius. Not all of it WORKS, and some of the episodes are downright terrible. But the show now moves like a series with a new purpose, with a new sense of meaning. Morgan and Wong start tossing ideas at the wall with a thrilling abandon, almost as if they were pretty sure they'd never work in Hollywood again. Season two of Millennium is just a ridiculously fun season of television, even when it's bad, and it's too bad that more people haven't seen it. Believe me. You don't have to watch season one to make sense of it.



    Before Morgan and Wong can figure out a way to make the show really their own, however, they have to deal with the business of the season one cliffhanger. As you might recall, in "Paper Dove," Catherine was abducted by the Polaroid Stalker in the middle of the airport, and it mostly seemed like this happened because the show needed to have a cliffhanger. Obviously, the first episode of season two is going to have to deal with Frank getting Catherine back and chasing down the Polaroid Stalker. What wasn't immediately clear from "Paper Dove" or even the first few minutes of "The Beginning And The End" was the fact that Frank was going to murder both the antagonist and the show as it was in the process.



    I actually take that back. From the opening of this episode, it's clear that we're dealing with something much more bugnuts than before. The episode opens with a bloody Frank staring up into the sky at a comet, as we watch random footage of the comet passing through the solar system. It could be a portent of doom, or it could just be a comet. Frank's narration, discussing what the comet COULD mean, is ridiculously portentious, but in a vaguely marvelous way. This is Morgan and Wong setting the stage this season will take place on. The whole of the cosmos is at stake here, not just a few lives on planet Earth. Frank really is staring deep into the heart of evil this time out, and he's not going to be the same when he's done doing so.



    From there, the episode transitions to a marvelously suspenseful sequence, in which Morgan and Wong play out the end of "Paper Dove" again, but insert what's happening to Catherine at the same time. The Polaroid Stalker is now played by Doug Hutchison, who was Eugene Tooms way back in season one of The X-Files, and Hutchison plays the man with a sort of stoner verve. He clearly knows what he's doing, but he seems completely tripped out on the cosmic significance of it all, on the fact that Frank will have such a hard time finding him if, indeed, he even can. It's a very fun performance, broad and goofy in all the right ways, but still strangely sinister. This whole sequence, with Frank trying to get to his wife before the stalker can abscond with her, is wonderfully tense, in a way the show rarely was in season one. In particular, the utilization of the Talking Heads' "Life During Wartime" to keep us oriented as to the stalker's location, is very well done. Another nice touch: The stalker tosses aside his facial hair, which proves to be a fake beard. It's just like the show tossing aside its season one trappings and going a little nuts.



    The rest of the episode is fairly typical in a lot of ways, simply getting us from point A-Catherine is missing-to point B-Frank saves her. But along the way, there are some lovely little touches. Frank meets a couple of geeky tech dudes who grant him greater access to the Millennium Group's files on his computer, via the password, "Soylent Green Is People." The characters are weirdly amusing, and the episode's portrayal of the Group as something more than just a mundane consulting firm is well-done. I also like the indication that the Group knew more about the stalker than it told Frank, for whatever reason.



    And above all, there's a lovely scene where Peter tells Frank why he's never had a son, even though he's desperately wanted one. It's the kind of scene that could be kind of silly, but in Terry O'Quinn's hands, the monologue becomes something almost despairing, a last cry from a man who desperately believes in God but isn't sure how to reconcile that with a world filled with such darkness and evil. O'Quinn nails the delivery, and the content of the monologue-about Peter cutting a deal with God after discovering the dismembered body of a baby-is some of the best stuff Morgan and Wong had written to this point. Season two of Millennium hinges on questions of what humans can do when faced with the numinous, with that which we simply cannot understand without losing our minds, and it's here that we see the first of these approaches: You can simply try to make it a mundane part of your own life, no matter how impossible that might be.



    In the end, Frank tracks down the stalker, along with Catherine, and the final sequence, where he manages to kill the stalker by brutally gutting him, is exciting in all of the right ways, a near masterpiece of horrific montage editing. This is a portrayal of a man who's nearly lost everything and now has a chance to get it back, even if he has to destroy another to get to it. Frank's attack on the stalker is brutal and savage, and even though it's largely bs that his wife kicks him out for doing this to save her own life, it's vaguely believable, simply because Frank's such a terrifying badass in this moment. For a moment, he becomes the darkness he's tried so hard to pin down, and that gets him kicked out of his house of light. In this moment, Millennium turns a corner, from a serial killer show with stained-glass window overtones, to a show that revels in those overtones, a show that plays in age-old symbols with a decided taste of the weird.moreless
  • A good opener to season two.

    10
    I think it is unfair to say this episode was a let down. I think this episode began to introduce a lot more of the Millennium group and also the way season 1 ended it was hard to do much else than this story. But i like how the man who kidnapped Catherine got away and how Frank tried to get inside his head. I was shocked when Frank killed the man but i guess it had to be done. Frank got a little upset with Peter in this episode when he found out the group had been holding back information on him. This is a great start to a great season two.moreless
  • Season two overall is good, but this premiere was kind of a letdown.

    7.0
    Summary of this episode: \"Is it the beginning of the journey or the end when Frank allows his vengeance for the Polaroid stalker to push him over the edge during a relentless search for the kidnapped Catherine? The Millennium Group inducts Frank into its more secretive ranks in an effort to bring closure to the abduction case, knowing that his work for them is not yet done.\"



    I thought the episode was alright, but I was kind of expecting more. The whole episode has Frank looking for the Polaroid stalker, while said stalker torments Catherine and rambles on about how Frank will never find him, yadda yadda yadda. Frank goes over the edge and rescues Catherine, and the dumb bitch leaves him. Now, that seems awfully out of character for me.moreless
  • Season two overall is good, but this premiere was kind of a letdown.

    7.0
    Summary of this episode: \"Is it the beginning of the journey or the end when Frank allows his vengeance for the Polaroid stalker to push him over the edge during a relentless search for the kidnapped Catherine? The Millennium Group inducts Frank into its more secretive ranks in an effort to bring closure to the abduction case, knowing that his work for them is not yet done.\"



    I thought the episode was alright, but I was kind of expecting more. The whole episode has Frank looking for the Polaroid stalker, while said stalker torments Catherine and rambles on about how Frank will never find him, yadda yadda yadda. Frank goes over the edge and rescues Catherine, and the dumb bitch leaves him. Now, that seems awfully out of character for me.moreless
Doug Hutchison

Doug Hutchison

Polaroid Man

Guest Star

Drew Reichelt

Drew Reichelt

Dicky Bird Perkins

Guest Star

Alexander Ruurs

Alexander Ruurs

German Kid (uncredited)

Guest Star

Terry O'Quinn

Terry O'Quinn

Peter Watts

Recurring Role

Allan Zinyk

Allan Zinyk

Brian Roedecker

Recurring Role

Judith Maxie

Judith Maxie

Finley

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Nitpick: While Polaroid Man is escaping Sea-Tac with Catherine hidden under the vehicle, he has no problem hearing the advisory transmitted to the parking attendant even though the attendant (inside the toll booth) is holding her radio close to her ear (as if she could barely make out the transmission), while Polaroid Man is inside his own vehicle and behind another.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Frank: Approaching the Sun, brings definitive change. It will never again be the same. Appearing in our skies it is believed to be a prophecy of extraordinary events. The birth of kings... The death of Empires. After centuries... or millennia... the journey must end. Perhaps smothered by its own dust, the dark, soulless body continues eternally through Space and Time. It may disintegrate and crumble into inconsequential rubble. Or it may be lost forever; crashing burning... into the yellow sun. And tonight...as I look into the sky, and it looks back on me... I want to know...which am I? I need to know...is this the beginning of the journey...Or the end?

  • NOTES (4)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Title: The Beginning and the End
      The title of this episode apparently refers to Revelation 21:6 or 22:13, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end."

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