Make no mistakes, this Owls and Roosters two-parter has been some the craziest stuff that Millennium has produced in its just over a season and a half run so far.
Everything about these two episodes has felt as if the series is trying to outdo The X-Files in the heightened mythology stakes. At this point Millennium’s sibling was about to head to the big screen and was doing some pretty epic stuff in the likes of Patient X and The Red and the Black, which were airing around the same time, and while subtle it ain’t, it does make up for a very entertaining pair of episodes.
What we’ve been building up to has been a story which started off with the discovery of what might have been The Christ Cross but which has turned into a tale involving a corporation made up of rogue Nazis, a theory involving a potential tear in the universe and lots of stuff involving explosions and shoot-outs, all directed with brilliant cinematic aplomb by Thomas J.Wright.
If someone had watched the Pilot of Millennium and then only came back to the series and the point of this episode, they would be well within their rights to ask how on earth did the series get here, but it’s hard to resist how wonderfully bonkers and entertaining Roosters is.
It would be undeniably silly for the series to be like this every week, and thankfully, like The X-Files, Millennium has the good sense not to allow itself to be bogged down too much week after week with a complex mythology like the one its dabbling with here and to allow itself to spread out these more “epic” offerings with a cases-of-the-week in between.
This has definitely been a cementation of what Morgan and Wong have set up throughout the season, and thankfully this is equal to Owls in the entertainment sense as opposed to the more confused The Hand of St.Sebastian.
Even better, we get a return appearance from R.G Armstrong as The Old Man from Beware of the Dog, whose appearance in that episode was the highlight of what was a very muddled hour of television. It’s a lovely reminder that at this stage Morgan and Wong have a better handle on the mythology than they had at the start of the season when it felt as if they were trying to force the issue rather than build up to it naturally, which may have also been a problem when they gave us Frank and Peter’s little German adventure a few weeks ago, although a lot of the problems with that episode also stemmed from how they handled the key betrayal at the heart of that tale.
Roosters may be very far-fetched, but it’s really good far-fetched drama, and to top it all off, it has some wonderful interaction between our heroes; after Peter’s ambivalent and somewhat hostile attitude to Lara towards the end of the last weeks episode, not to mention his bitter argument with Frank (still a season highlight it has to be said), we get more respect and friendship between them.
After spending last season effectively being Frank’s partner, the development of Peter Watts and the evolution of Terry O’Quinn’s performance during the course of the season from a “yes, Frank” sort of character to someone more complex has been a major highlight. It may feel different, but it also feels earned, in much the same way as we watched Mitch Pillegi and the character of Skinner develop over the course of The X-Files, while the series seems to have tried to stop making Frank and Catherine bitter at each other all the time and just let them have more respect than we seen in some of the earlier episodes of the season.
That the great character actor Phillip Baker Hall also shows up as The Group’s Elder just adds the icing to the cake of this episode and gives the wonderfully preposterous narrative a sense of gravitas.
It pretty reflective of how confident Millennium is in its changes that have taken place during the course of the season that this works so much better than the earlier episodes of the season which tried to deal with this type of focus on the Group and the series’ more mythologized leanings. It may be different, but more than anything it genuinely feels earned and natural here than it did then, even if it is kind of ridiculous and stretches credibility.
It’s never boring and above all else works brilliantly well as an entertaining slice of 90’s genre television.
Are you a fan of Millennium? What did you think of this episode? Let us know.