It’s been too long since Lucy Butler has been on the series, and ‘A Room with No View’ makes up for it by bringing back Millennium’s most notorious antagonist from season one for a much more different rematch than one might have expected.
Effectively the one who got away, last season’s ‘Lamentation‘ was an absolute masterpiece that put Frank Black up against one of the series’ most brilliant antagonists while expanding the limits of the series to a more metaphysical direction that Morgan and Wong have run with even further.
Given the impact that Butler had on the series, she did, after all, kill Bob Bletcher (Bill Smitrovich) in violent and incredibly frightening circumstances marking a major game-changing turning point for the series, it’s amazing that it’s taken Millennium this long to bring her back.
The first script of the series by executive producer Ken Horton, there is a feeling of being a throwback to season one here in a much more direct way than we’ve seen all season, but amazingly it works fantastically, allowing Sarah Jane Redmond to put in an incredibly dark and complex portrayal in what is essentially a kidnapping thriller that twists and turns itself into a work of nightmarish brilliance.
‘A Room with No View’ does exactly what it says on the tin and spends much of its running time in darkened rooms and cells, but it’s not simply the setting that gives the episode its dark charge, although it does help, as much as its Butler’s motivations throughout its 45 minute run time.
Kidnapping teenage boys and mentally torturing them to the point where they will believe they are somewhat mediocre and ordinary, all the while she plays “Love is Blue” 24/7. It’s a somewhat bizarre set up for an episode, and one that maybe could have played as a more straightforward crime thriller without the Lucy Butler element, but Horton’s teleplay and Thomas J.Wright’s direction, complete with brilliantly dark and nightmarish shots right out of the Ten Thirteen book of visuals, make it work superbly.
The inclusion of Butler heightens proceedings in an incredibly affecting way, giving the narrative and Frank and Peter’s motivations in the episode a drive that it might otherwise have lacked. Bob’s death still haunts the series, the moment that, like Deep Throat’s death on The X-Files, Millennium warned its audience that nobody was safe, with the series taking an intense turn while doing so.
While her actions here aren’t maybe as game-changing as when we last saw her, there is still an element of darkness and intensity because we know what she’s capable of. All throughout its running time, Sarah Jane Redmond’s presence is both highly seductive and disturbing. Her motivations, actions, and appearance on-screen combining seductive sexuality and a violent charge that is hard to look away from. Her actions may be more subtle than last time when she killed Bob and removed kidneys without anesthetic if one wants to call kidnapping and brainwashing subtle, but we’re once again reminded of how dark and vicious a soul she is throughout the episode.
Amazingly, she never shares any screen time with Frank throughout the hour. She is always one step ahead of our hero and even though the teenagers who have been kidnapped are saved by the end of the hour, Frank has not caught up to Butler in any way shape or form by the end of running time. It gives her a brilliant quality as an antagonist for our hero. Where last season she was an anomaly of sorts given that Millennium, unlike its sibling series, was a series more prone to putting its villains into handcuffs by the end of its episodes, here she fits right into the more bizarre world that Frank has found himself increasingly a part of this season.
The episode once again hints at a rematch further down the line and one that within the confines of Millennium, is always welcome.