The X-Files #212: Millennium

"And anyway, 2001 is actually the start of the new Millennium." "Nobody likes a math geek, Scully."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A necromancer raises Millennium Group members to provoke the Apocalypse. Frank Black guest-stars.

REVIEW: Getting Frank Black to the year 2000 so he can complete his arc is a praiseworthy goal, but this isn't that. It's an X-Files episode in which Frank acts as star witness, a guy for Mulder and Scully to talk to that leads them to the bad guy. He eventually gets into some action, but the plot has nothing to do with the Millennium Group as presented in any of that show's seasons (they had three to pick from) and we're left wondering just what happened in the 200 or so days since the show went off the air. No Peter Watts. No super-psychics to take over the Earth after the Apocalypse. No Owls or Roosters. No change of tag line. Not even the correct mood. The sunny Californian latter-day X-Files are at odds with Millennium's rain-drenched atmosphere, and the lightness of these later seasons jars with Frank Black's world to the point where the Millennium theme playing feels intrusive. We're told the Group fell into disrepute and off the map, and that Frank is in a custody battle for Jordan with Catherine's parents, and that he's booked himself into a psych ward because he admits he cared more for his work than for his daughter. Maybe he believes it, but it just sounds wrong. If the episode fails at giving us closure, leaving scarcely enough clues to figure out what happened to the Group. Did Watts ally with Frank to take them down? Is it during the crusade that he neglected Jordan? Unknown.

Instead, the story focuses on four Group members we've never heard of who want to kickstart Armageddon as described in Revelations by becoming the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Or zombies. Whichever's easiest. And so a Millennial epic End of Days scenario turns into a basement shoot-out out of a clunky living dead movie. It's stupid and has nothing of Millennium's subtlety or stakes. Frank is apparently aware of this plan, though he doesn't think it will work, and isn't really profiling the culprit when the FBI comes to visit (note: no flashes). He's just guiding them, all too slowly so people die, towards the man's compound. Not a great legacy for the character. And is that really the retcon they're going with? Frank was kept safe by elements inside the Group so he could become one of the Horsemen? So Watts had nothing to do with it? Did the other dead members also have special powers? Doesn't seem like it. It just stings that three seasons of (admittedly erratic) the Group planning something big results in, at best, a zombie apocalypse of five living corpses, with a sixth (the coroner's) not even bothering to rise. Lame.

If I give the episode any credit at all is in its epilogue. Here we see Frank reunited with Jordan, and can believe in a happy ending for them. It's the only time the episode feels of a piece with the series. He doesn't even stick around to see the ball drop in Times Square, showing rather than saying how he really has put his daughter first, and left the Millennium behind. And at midnight, Mulder kisses Scully, you're gasping in shock, and coming out if it, he says "The world didn't end". A very cute meta comment on the "unresolved sexual tension" key to their relationship (Doctor Who would later do the same, "The world doesn't end because the Doctor dances"), but of course, your mileage may vary. The look they give each other is one that suggests romance, not just a simple and innocent New Year's tradition. But if you're going to let them go at it, Mulder's last season is the time to do it.

- Happy to see Frank and Jordan Black again, but they and the Millennium Group deserved better than to basically be an excuse for one Siskoid to integrate Millennium reviews into his X-Files project, y'know?


Timothy S. Brannan said...

This is the last episode of the X-files I can remember watching. I was out at my inlaws playing with my baby son at the time. I walked away and almost missed their kiss at the end.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine