Millennium: “Lamentation” (Season 1, Episode 18, 4/18/1997)
January 8, 2017
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A mysterious stranger breaks into a prison hospital and releases an incarcerated serial killer named Dr. Ephraim Fabricant (Alex Diakin), killing a guard in the process. Frank Black is responsible for apprehending Fabricant, and now he regrets not killing the bastard when he first had the chance. In following the escaped psychopath’s trail, Frank and Peter Watts learn that Fabricant married a woman named Lucy Butler (Sarah Jane Redmond) over the internet while he was in prison. Lucy seems to know something about his disappearance, but she isn’t telling, and Frank and Pete can’t pin anything on her. To make matters even more interesting, it starts to look like maybe Fabricant’s “escape” wasn’t really an escape at all, but a kidnapping. Meanwhile, someone starts sending Frank some threatening secret messages, and his wife Katherine thinks there might be someone stalking her and their daughter Jordan back at home.
One of the scariest moments in television history.
There isn’t a whole lot I can say about this episode without giving away some major spoilers, but “Lamentation” is probably the series’ crowning achievement for Season One. I remember when it was first broadcast; I was alone at home, watching it with all the lights off. This turned out to be a very serious mistake, for while the episode begins more or less like any other Millennium episode up to that point (i.e., Frank gets a call and has to go search for some maniac on the loose), it takes a completely unexpected turn that viewers just didn’t see coming at the time. The first seventeen episodes had led us all into thinking that Frank Black’s various enemies on the show were “only human,” no matter how evil or twisted they might be. But “Lamentation” is where the supernatural side of Millennium really announces itself for the first time, and it does so in a way that even the creepiest X-Files episodes couldn’t touch. By the time the credits rolled on the night of April 18, 1997, I found myself unable to sleep with the lights off.
Enjoy this brief respite while you can, Frank, ’cause it’s gonna get a whole lot worse…