Second Sight: “Lamentation”

“Lamentation” (18 April 1997)

Writer: Chris Carter
Director: Winrich Kolbe
Editor: Chris Willingham, A.C.E.

Quote: “I know what [Ephraim Fabricant] did, Mr. Black, and I know what he’s capable of doing. The soul expresses itself in so many amazing ways, especially when there’s a comprehension of extremes. Ephraim said that you and he share that ability.” –Lucy Butler

Overview: And then there was “Lamentation.”  This is the episode that forever changed the status quo of Millennium, a terrifying masterpiece that will remain forever etched upon the memories of those viewers who bore witness to its horrors.  In her legendary first appearance, Lucy Butler introduced both Frank Black and an astounded audience to horrors of a depth and strangeness never before imagined within the framework of the series.  The episode stands as creator Chris Carter’s bold mandate for the shifting mythology of the series, a sudden turning point in the lives of its characters.  One of many remarkable aspects of this stunning story is the fact that it represents the first Millennium episode to completely reject Frank Black’s visions as a storytelling device.  You read that right; our imperiled profiler doesn’t experience so much as single flash of bright insight in the hunt for Dr. Ephraim Fabricant and his devilish bride.  The hellish vision that Bob Bletcher experiences before his brutal murder, of course, more than compensates.  It arguably stands as the single most memorable visual in the whole of Millennium.

In place of Frank Black’s trademark visions we’re granted a number of lengthy speeches, weighty monologues in which he lectures to a room full of agents and analysts on the nature of human evil, behavioral science, and aberrant psychology.  In several key scenes, “Lamentation” strongly reinforces the idea that the profiler’s talents are deductive, analytic, not miraculous.  Again, given the explosion of the formula that has been established for Millennium, Chris Carter’s mandate seems clear.  There is a decisive attempt made to redefine the way in which the character’s talents are presented or explored.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, “Lamentation” did nothing to temper a hastening inclination toward exploring the more uncanny aspects of the hero’s exceptional gifts.  Quite the opposite, in fact!  The ill-boding events witnessed here inspired an immediate and quite intensive renewal of Millennium’s endless penchant for exploring preternatural modes of perception.

Connections: The fateful encounter Bob Bletcher experiences on the staircase in the yellow house offers viewers the first glimpse of Legion’s beastly form since “Gehenna,” also written by Chris Carter.

Trances in Total: 0 (0:00)

Gore Score: n/a

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