Second Sight: "522666"

“522666” (22 November 1996)

Writers: Glen Morgan & James Wong
Director: David Nutter
Editor: Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

Quote: “When I got the call I got so scared. I heard you that night, Frank, on the phone. Dr. Bowman says you have a mild concussion. But it’s not your body healing that worries me. It’s your spirit.” --Catherine Black

Overview: It’s well known that Glen Morgan and James Wong were less than enthused about the way in which Frank Black’s visions were occasionally utilized--as a sort of miracle plot device--during Millennium’s first season. Perhaps because of this, “522666,” the duo’s second episode for the series, eschews that sometimes gimmicky reliance on the hero’s visionary powers. Take a glance at our usual tally below and you’ll note that this episode features the fewest visions yet from our dauntless forensic profiler. That’s not to say that this story about a self-obsessed serial bomber is absent of the highly-stylized, dream-like sequences we’ve come to expect. For every mental show reel missed by Frank we are granted a further glance from the perspective of Raymond Dees. Not since “Pilot,” also directed by David Nutter, has an episode so extensively relied upon hallucinations presented from the point of view of the killer. Dees is forever anticipating or reliving the explosions he perceives as glorious art. The visuals in these sequences are undeniably upsetting, especially with references to incidents such as the Centennial Olympic Park bombing being bandied about. They serve to remind us of the great sacrifice that Frank Black accepts by willingly subjecting himself to the experience of such horror in the pursuit of villains like Raymond Dees.

One of the few visions that Frank Black does witness during the episode stands out as entirely unique. Lying in a hospital bed after being caught by the blast wave of an explosion, he experiences a sort of nightmare presented in the same cinematic fashion as his investigative insights. This sequence is different from what we are accustomed to, however, for mixed in with images of the victims of the recent bombings are the screaming faces of both Catherine and Jordan. Because of his impenetrable demeanor and tireless perseverance, it is sometimes easy to mistake Frank Black for a man who lives without fear. The startling nightmare he experiences while hospitalized in “522666,” coupled with the commentary that follows from his caring wife, serves as one of those subtle yet poignant moments in Millennium that remind us all that Frank fights on in spite of his fear, a consuming fear that is forever gnawing away at his psyche. By internalizing Frank’s visions for the first time, by using his mysterious gift for introspective purposes, Morgan and Wong once again manage to offer us a fresh perspective on our hero and his abilities. Here and in future installments, they continue to seek innovative uses for the dreams and visions of Millennium.

Connections: Frank’s introspective vision is reminiscent of the family-focused, fear-fueled nightmare experienced by Jordan in “Dead Letters,” also written by Glen Morgan and James Wong. Bomber Raymond Dees was recently profiled in Adam Chamberlain’s What the Killer Sees.

Trances in Total: 3 (0:11)

Gore Score: 1/10

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