Second Sight: "Kingdom Come"

“Kingdom Come” (29 November 1996)

Writer: Jorge Zamacona
Director: Winrich Kolbe
Editor: George R. Potter

Quote: “I haven’t thought about [God] in a very long time… Because I’ve seen the innocent die. I’ve seen children murdered in their beds. The weak and helpless slaughtered without purpose, without sense.” --Frank Black

During the show’s original run, enthusiastic online fans concocted the earliest iteration of the Millennium drinking game, in which on-screen character cues prompt a knowing audience to imbibe. Frank hides his case files when Catherine comes down to the basement? Down a shot. Frank or Peter instantly recognize an obscure biblical passage? Two shots. Frank laughs? Chug from the bottle. And the very first item on this list leading the way to paranoid inebriation? “Frank sees what the killer sees.”

Any television series able to support its own drinking game is by definition formulaic, and Millennium is no different, especially in the throes of its first season. Every fan of the series has heard, and at one time wielded, the familiar “serial-killer-of-the-week” critique. The formulaic elements that are entwined with Frank Black’s grisly visions, however, episode-by-episode, serve to progressively reinforce the very meaning always insisted upon by creator Chris Carter. When Co-Executive Producer John Peter Kousakis insists “Frank Black was not a psychic,” he is echoing a refrain commonly heard from the show’s producers but one that was more difficult to accept in the early days of the series. “It’s misconception on the audience’s part and a lot of the critics,” Kousakis explains, “because when Frank would investigate a crime... there would be flashes, and we used a device, a technical device, on film to try and manifest that and try to somehow interpret for the audience what he was going through.”

Though Millennium sometimes seems hopelessly confused on the issue, in episodes such as “Kingdom Come” Kousakis’s argument is aided by the fact that this now-familiar technical device is more often than not site specific, bound to settings already associated with the investigative process. This realization reveals how key the scene is to our understanding of what the hero’s unending hallucinations truly represent. The answer, in instances such as this, just may be location, location, location. Though the content of the visions sometimes reaches beyond the confines of the crimes themselves--notably, in this case, Frank visualizes the formative tragedy that initiated Galen Calloway’s deadly crisis of faith--these visions are prompted by casework. The locations themselves, be they chaotic or bureaucratic, come alive with the details of the crime, calling out to the profiler with the screams of its victims. When Frank Black buttons up his coat and steps into a crime scene, morgue, or police lab, we know it’s time to reach for that drink.

Trances in Total: 6 (0:12)

Gore Score: 2/10

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