The next day, Mulder and Scully are at the crime scene, examining the now dug up grave. The body of Raymond Crouch is gone. Scully notes the shredded lining inside the empty casket and comments that it looks like someone was trying to get out. Mulder confirms this by pointing out that the fingerprints around the grave are from the deceased Crouch. Scully concludes that the evidence is faked and that this is a grave robbery, but both are intrigued by an arc of dried blood on the nearby grass. Mulder and Scully join a briefing on the case led by A.D. Skinner. Other agents report that there are no motives for Crouch’ suicide or the grave robbery. Mulder chimes in that this is a case of necromancy — the summoning of the dead. He describes the arc of blood as part of a magic circle drawn to protect the necromancer from the conjured spirits: Mulder also believes that the necromancer may have donned the dead man’s clothes as a means of creating a bond with the deceased. Oddly, Skinner is content with Mulder’s theory and dismisses the other agents. He shows Mulder and Scully the files of three other men, all former FBI agents like Crouch, who were also recently exhumed after committing suicide. Skinner thinks these men were all members of the Millennium Group, a consulting organization of former FBI agents with a prophesy centered around the coming millennium. He tells the pair to keep a low profile as they investigate this Millennium Group.
Mulder and Scully’s first stop is a psychiatric hospital to meet Frank Black, the criminal profiler who was once a consultant for the Millennium Group. Frank had apparently checked himself into the hospital for observation. The agents ask him about the Millennium Group, but Frank gives no assistance and quietly focuses on a television football game. He refers to the TV, claiming the game is at first and eighteen. Mulder corrects him and says it is actually third and ten. But Frank does not answer. Frustrated, Mulder and Scully leave him.
Mark Johnson, still repeating his burial mantra, drives north with the body. He pulls over to fix a flat tire in Maryland and a sheriff stops to help him. The deputy is suspicious of the smell emanating from Johnson’s car and opens the door. As the deputy examines the vehicle, Johnson strangely makes a circle of salt around his own feet and repeats his prayer. The deputy opens the back of the van and is horrified at what he sees: the corpse of Raymond Crouch. But Crouch is not dead and rises from the van to attack the deputy. Johnson closes his eyes to the struggle.
The next morning Scully and Mulder investigate the crime scene. Local police found the body of the deputy carefully buried. Stuffed in his mouth is salt and a message with a Biblical passage from the Book of Revelation — Chapter one, verse eighteen. Mulder makes the connection. He returns to the psychiatric hospital with Scully and asks Frank Black why, after not wanting to be involved, did he drop the hint about first and eighteen. Frank admits that he is trying to regain custody of his daughter and wants to separate himself from his past work. He reluctantly agrees to help them, explaining that a schism of the Millennium Group believed they could bring about the end of the world by killing themselves before the dawn of the new millennium. Frank profiles the necromancer as a solitary man comfortable with death. He theorizes that the note and the salt were placed in the deputy’s mouth to prevent the deputy from rising up from the dead. Frank believes that the necromancer will return to the body when he hears that the deputy has been found. Scully heads for the morgue to intercept the necromancer. Using Frank’s profile, Mulder goes on his own search for Johnson.
The coroner is busy removing the salt and does not hear Scully’s repeated calls. When Scully arrives, the coroner is nearly dead. She sees Mark Johnson and raises her gun, but she is stunned to see the dead deputy lurching toward her. Although she fires three rounds to his chest, he keeps moving and attacks her. Scully’s gun is knocked aside. Skinner arrives later, and is relieved to see Scully with only scratches on her neck. She is unsure how to explain what has happened, but says that the necromancer saved her by using her gun to shoot the deputy in the head.
Meanwhile, Mulder pulls up before a house in Maryland. He is going down a list fitting Frank’s description, and Mark Johnson is the last name on the list. Mulder notices an empty bag of kosher salt in the garbage can. He pockets a handful of salt and climbs the fence, searching the house. A basement door is latched with huge wood beams. He opens it and heads down the steps into the darkness. At first he doesn’t see the bodies climbing out of the ground, but when four undead creatures surround him, he makes a break up the stairs. As he reaches the door, Johnson appears and slams it shut. Mulder is trapped in the necromancer’s basement surrounded by zombies.
Back at the hospital, Scully pleads with Frank for help finding the missing Mulder. She recounts her earlier attack by the resurrected deputy at the morgue and asks Frank if he believes that the Group is capable of bringing about Armageddon. Again, Frank is silent. But after she leaves, Frank checks himself out of the hospital and goes to Johnson’s house. Johnson is happy to see Frank because Mulder has killed one of the zombies and Johnson needs a fourth member. Frank says that he did not believe Johnson could resurrect the dead, but came when he heard the necromancy had succeeded. The clock strikes 10:13 when Johnson loads a five-shot revolver and begins reciting the familiar burial rite. Frank completes the passage and takes the gun. But instead of pointing it at his own head for the suicide pact, Frank turns the weapon on Johnson. Meanwhile, Scully receives a call from Skinner in her car. They have traced calls from Frank and the other Group members to an address in Maryland. Meanwhile, Frank ties up Johnson and opens up the basement door. He calls out to Mulder, who is standing in a small circle of salt. Although his arm is bleeding, Mulder is protected by the circle. He tells Frank to aim for their heads because it’s the only way to stop the zombies. Frank lights a flare and searches the basement. One of the zombies charges and Frank kills it with a head shot. Another zombie rises, grabs Frank and takes him down. They struggle until Mulder grabs the revolver and shoots the creature in the temple. Mulder reaches to help Frank when the last surviving zombie starts to lunge toward them. Mulder raises the gun, but it just clicks empty. The creature falls, shot from behind by Scully who has appeared at the top of the stairs.
With only minutes before midnight, Frank sits alone in a waiting room watching Dick Clark on television as he celebrates the new millennium in Times Square. Scully enters to tell him that Mark Johnson has been taken for psychiatric evaluation. But she smiles and informs him that he has a visitor: his daughter Jordan, who leaps into her father’s arms. Mulder comes in with one arm in a sling, but Frank and his daughter leave with only moments before midnight. The agents stay to see the ball drop on television and blankly stare at the revelers kissing in Times Square. Mulder looks over at Scully and she catches his glance. He leans in to kiss her, and it lasts a bit longer than a kiss between two friends. Their lips part and they both smile. “The world didn’t end,” Mulder mumbles. “No, it didn’t,” she replies. And the two partners head down the hall to begin the new year.
THE X-FILES “MILLENNIUM”
Original Air Date: 11/28/99
Written by Vince Gilligan & Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
DAVID DUCHOVNY as Special Agent Fox Mulder
GILLIAN ANDERSON as Special Agent Dana Scully
Mitch Pileggi as AD Walter Skinner
Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
Holmes Osborne as Mark Johnson
Colby French as Deputy
William Forward as Funeral Director
Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black
Dick Clark as Himself
Marilyn McIntyre as Widow
Mone’ Walton as Female Coroner
Octavia L. Spencer as Nurse
Romy Walthall as Second Agent
Stephen Ramsey as First Agent
Eulan Middlebrooks as Young Cop
Michael Dempsey as Sheriff