Michael R. Perry’s second episode of the season and third contribution overall to the series is another complete one-eighty from his debut, ‘The Mikado‘, and strangely enough another one-eighty from his previous episode this season, ‘Thirteen Years Later‘, even though ‘Omerta’ is another attempt at doing a light-hearted episode.
Where ‘Thirteen Years Later’ is pretty much reviled by fans and critics, it goes without saying that this reviewer has a soft spot for the Halloween themed episode and its attempt at bringing a Wes Craven/Kevin Williamson tone to a Millennium episode. Admittedly it wasn’t a one hundred per cent success, but – KISS cameo and music video segue aside – it is never as bad as many believe it to be.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if ‘Omerta’ inspires a similar response to ‘Thirteen Years Later’. However, for the life of me I really rather love it. It’s Millennium not simply attempting comedy but going for a quirky and whimsical atmosphere in a series that has never worn those sort of clothes before. And while this reviewer could very easily see it inspiring some criticism and hatred from fans who love their Millennium with its strong side of dark and grim, ‘Omerta’ always charms me and wins me over.
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Everything about the episode feels as if it’s trying super hard to make sure the audience gets that this is meant to be quirky. It has a very light, at times operatic Mark Snow score, parts of which are available on the first volume of La La Land’s superlative soundtrack compilations from the series; the storyline involves two female characters that are of an angelic nature; and they have a friendship with a gangster who feels like he’s walked out of a Coen Brothers comedy (a notion further enhanced by the fact that he’s played by the late great Jon Polito, who appeared in several Coen Brothers films).
For the most part, ‘Omerta’ cannot help but be somewhat in the shadow of ‘Midnight of the Century’. Erin Maher and Kay Reindl’s yuletide episode was a melancholy masterpiece that dared to bring a sense of emotional sadness to a type of episode that usually revels in happiness and cheesy “let’s bring the family together” clichés. ‘Omerta’ is more on that side of the Yuletide special episode, but resistance is futile when it comes to its light-hearted Mark Snow score, dreamy use of Vancouver forests, and a Christmas jingle in place of the usual percussive beats that open each act of the episode.
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At the heart of the episode is the sad reminder dotted throughout that for Frank and Jordan this is their first Christmas without Catherine. While a sense of loss and grief isn’t the main focus of this tale – unlike last season’s Yuletide episode – it’s once again a reminder that the world of Frank and Jordan and Millennium is one populated by death, and the spectre of Catherine’s death at the end of the previous season haunts this episode.
In fact, now that the season has the focus solely of Chip Johannessen, there’s a sense that while the episodes up to this point have been trying to figure out a way to get “back to basics” in light of the cataclysmic events of last season, the season might actually be able to allow itself to embrace what happened last season and deal with it head-on.
The next few episodes are going to see the series do exactly that, with some of the typically intense thrillers and drama that this series does so well, and it’s incredibly refreshing to see the season finally get itself on some solid ground, even if we know it’s never going to quite hit those heights as frequently as it did in seasons one and two.
Overall, ‘Omerta’ itself is a lovely and gentle Christmas card. Everyone in front of the camera does a great job, with Henriksen, Brittany Tiplady, and Jon Polito in particularly being episode highlights, and while it may not win awards or be ranked as Millennium’s greatest ever episode, it is also hard not be charmed by its light and lovely tone.