Second Sight: "The Well-Worn Lock"

“The Well-Worn Lock” (20 December 1996)

Writer: Chris Carter
Director: Ralph Hemecker
Editor: Steve Mark

Quote: “You’re doing the right thing. I have a strong feeling about it.” --Frank Black

Overview: And so, we come to “The Well-Worn Lock.” This episode is well-known for being unique in the series, presenting a glimpse down the road not taken by Millennium. Here is a powerful and sobering installment concerned not with apocalyptic conspiracies or sadistic serial killers but with child abuse and the structures of power and lies that protect abusers. The story prompted author Andy Lane to suggest that “Millennium is so realistic it tears away the last vestiges of the lies we try to tell ourselves about the way the world works.” The hero of this hour is not the dauntless forensic profiler but his wife the social worker, Catherine Black. With “The Well-Worn Lock,” Chris Carter explores the untapped potential of Millennium’s characters, format, and central premise.

Given the set-up, it is perhaps surprising that the episode features any of Frank Black’s trademark visions at all. In this installment there is no “mind of the killer” for the profiler to inhabit. We do, however, witness a single visualization lasting all of four seconds, a brief experience that reveals the true purpose behind the titular well-worn lock. The rest of the episode is peppered with similar sporadic sequences conveying disturbing memories of a painful history of sexual abuse. While previous episodes such as “Pilot” or “522666” have relied on Millennium’s fleeting, stochastic displays of aggression and gore to convey the fantasies of killers, “The Well-Worn Lock” utilizes the same affecting cinematic techniques to represent the traumatic experiences of victims. The functional purpose of these sequences remains the same in spite of the shift in storyline: horrifying, painful imagery is conveyed rapidly, forcefully, in a fashion that does not allow the viewer to dwell on any one image but does nothing to lessen the overall emotional impact of the experience. In the end, the visions of “The Well-Worn Lock” force us to assimilate the sort of memories that are usually repressed, compel us to feel the uncommon compassion possessed by the likes of Frank and Catherine Black, and, once again, reinforce Chris Carter’s overarching philosophy that the profiler’s gift is, above all else, empathic.

Connections: Though the visions of Millennium are predominantly used to represent the mindset of murderers, visions from the point of view of a victim were previously seen in “Gehenna,” also scripted by Chris Carter.

Trances in Total: 1 (0:04)

Gore Score: 1/10

Lance's Aliens script up for for grabs on round 4 of the auction!

Round four of the Back to Frank Black charity auction has begun!

This round includes the fabled Aliens script, Lance Henriksen's personal copy, and it is filled with notes from the actor regarding his work on the film. This is a must for any Aliens or Lance fans!

  1. Lance Henriksen's original autographed script from Aliens with notes
  2. Lance Henriksen's original autographed script from Jennifer Eight
  3. Lance Henriksen's original autographed script from Dead Man
  4. Near Dark on DVD, signed by Lance Henriksen with autographed photo
  5. An 8x10 autographed photo of Klea Scott
To bid on these, please visit our eBay auction page!

All of the money earned from these auctions goes to Children of the Night, a charity working to get kids out of child prostitution. Please support this worthy cause!

Official Endorsement

There are many things going on right now in the world of Back to Frank Black. We have the amazing podcast coming up with Lance, Chris Carter, and Frank Spotnitz. We have our charity auction, which will kick off round four this coming Monday. We are also working on our Worldwide Fan Project... Nope, we haven't forgotten about that! So, while we continue to work hard behind the scenes, every once and a while we get recognized for our hard work.

Back to Frank Black would like to announce that we are now the only Millennium related site that has been officially endorsed by Frank Black himself, Lance Henriksen. We have worked with Lance over the past couple of years and have done some amazing things together. Along with Lance, we are all working hard to make a Millennium movie a reality! Talking with Lance, you will learn that he has a great sense of humor and we have decided to dedicate a BRAND NEW t-shirt to his sense of humor. During one of the staff meetings that Lance was involved with, he made a comment that we all laughed at. In a humorous way, it reflects his desire that the campaign continue to fight to achieve great things. We asked if we could use the statement for a t-shirt and Lance kindly agreed, so here is the newest addition to our t-shirt line up:

But wait, there's more. In celebration of the upcoming EVENT podcast with Lance, Chris, and Frank, we have one another t-shirt to add to the mix, and it is quite fitting. This podcast could be make or break for the campaign, so the t-shirt we have added to our store speaks for itself...

So, if you are interested in one of our new t-shirts, make sure you head on over to this link and purchase one. Remember, all money made from these sales goes directly back into the campaign.

We would like to thank Lance Henriksen for endorsing the work that we are doing. We hope you as fans are enjoying what we are doing and we hope you continue to support the campaign!