TV discussion

Millennium 3×13 – ‘Antipas’ – TV Rewind

Written by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz and featuring a return appearance from Sarah Jane-Redmond as Lucy Butler, ‘Antipas’ is a bizarre concoction, some sort of satanic version of The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, with touches of The Omen. It is strange, unsettling, incredibly adult even by Millennium‘s standards, and somewhat of a mess. An entertaining mess, mind you.

Carter and Spotnitz’s second script of the season, ‘Antipas’ is without a doubt a much more interesting concoction than ‘TEOTWAWKI‘, and continues Millennium‘s third season direction into more interesting genre material, given how the return to serial killer of the week in the first third of the season wasn’t that much of a success.

With Thomas J. Wright on directorial duties this week, the episode looks and feels amazing, even as the script descends into ever more over the top horror. With a lot of the episode set in the gothic mansion of the Wisconsin attorney general (Art Hindle) and featuring Lucy manipulating her way into his own and his daughter’s affections while making the life of his wife a living hell, there is a devilish side of fun to it, as if the story has stepped out of some adult horror movie and into the realm of the Frank Black/Lucy Butler antagonism.

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It’s hard to believe, but this is only the second time that Frank and Lucy have shared screentime together. Their first altercation was in the first season’s superlative ‘Lamentation‘, and while Butler returned last season in ‘A Room with No View‘, the twist in that episode was that they never ended up meeting during the course of its runtime, so ‘Antipas’ is  really the first rematch that we’ve been offered between the series’ hero and Butler herself, even though it’s still a firmly held belief amongst fans of the series that Butler is, in fact, Legion, who Black was very much up against in ‘Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions‘.

Sarah Jane Redmond is superb throughout, bringing a devilish, almost erotic sense of satanic charm to Butler throughout the episode’s run time. Carter and Spotnitz’ script is fun for the most part but almost feels as if it’s throwing way too much into too short a space of time and yet, still the episode never feels anything less than darkly entertaining.

There’s a tone to the episode that feels very much in  line with where Millennium felt as if it was going towards the end of season one with episodes such as ‘Lamentation’ and ‘Maranatha‘, only this time it’s being filtered through a story involving Frank as a widower and his mentor/protege relationship with Emma, with Klea Scott proving wonderful once again as she is confronted with the more supernatural and satanic side of Millennium‘s brand of horror.

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This is also the most adult Millennium has been in forever, and possibly the most adult that any of the Ten Thirteen-verse series have aimed for. The scene where Frank wakes up to find Lucy on top of him in the throes of sexual activity is very on the nose and actually shocking and not necessarily the most tasteful thing that Carter and Spotnitz have scripted.

The scene may have its basis on the legends of the succubus but it still feels as if it comes out of nowhere and as if it’s there in order to set up the sexual assault plot against Frank in the later stages of the episode.

It’s almost churlish to complain too much because for all its faults and tonal changes and over the top use of horror and sexuality, it’s still silly, dark fun in a manner that Millennium rarely aims for. It does feel as if Carter and Spotnitz’s teleplay wants us to take it deadly seriously, but it does feel pulpier in comparison to the latter stages of season one when Butler was first introduced to the series, and yet it is fun, even if subtlety is nowhere to be seen.

It earns a lot of points for Redmond’s performance and the enjoyably antagonistic scenes between herself and Henriksen. Once again it reminds us that while The X-Files‘ villain was a symbolic devil, Millennium went right for it and had Frank fight the definition of evil itself. Since this is the last season of the series, it almost makes one wish for a fourth year just to see where they would have gone with their battle next.

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