"Walkabout"

#MLM-115

Written by Chip Johannessen & Tim Tankosic

Directed by Cliff Bole

Edited by George Potter

Aired March 28, 1997

Summary:  Frank Black wakes up in an alley amnesiac, having no idea why he attended a bizarre new drug trial, what happened to him there, who the mysterious doctor pulling the strings is, or why he has the disturbing feeling that someone has died.

 

  Full Transcript Available

 

Quote:  "I remember the very thing that I do not wish to;  I cannot forget the things I wish to forget." —Cicero

 

Synopsis:  Peter Watts tells Catherine that Frank missed a routine homicide review with Yakima police that morning. Fearing the worst, Peter and Catherine access Frank's computer, looking for clues that would shed light on his disappearance. The pair uncover email correspondence between Frank (using the pseudonym "David Marx") and a Doctor Daniel Miller. Catherine tells Peter that five years ago, just before Frank collapsed, he would sometimes vanish for days at a time and check into hotels using the same pseudonym (the name of a childhood friend who passed away).

 

A police officer discovers Frank, his hands bandaged, at a bus station. Bletcher tells Catherine he was wearing a hospital bracelet bearing the name David Marx. When Frank returns home, he tells his wife he cannot remember what happened to him during his disappearance but senses that someone died during his blackout period. 
 

Watts and Frank track Dr. Daniel Miller (Danny) to a seedy hotel. Miller tells the men that Frank approached him looking for a cure to his "gift." Miller, who keeps track of experimental drugs and clinical trials, had information pertaining to a drug called Proloft, an antidepressant used to treat certain temporal lobe anomalies. But Frank insists he would never had expressed interest in taking such a drug for any reason. 
 

Frank and Watts travel to a family clinic. Flashback images in Frank's mind reveal he was incarcerated in the clinic's trial room along with several other participants all of whom drank from a water dispenser laced with an unknown chemical substance. The drug caused the participants to lapse into a frenzied rage, which Frank likens to "animals in the zoo." 
 

The drug company that ran the clinical test releases records to the Millennium Group. This allows Frank and Watts to meet with the other human guinea pigs who participated in the trial. During the discussion, Frank realizes one of the participants gouged out his own eyes and that this same man somehow ended up dying. But he is uncertain how the death occurred. Later, Frank discovers the body of the nurse who supervised the trial in a dumpster. 
 

Frank returns to Danny's hotel room. There Danny tells him how, years earlier, he began experiencing hallucinations (similar to those experienced by Frank). One night Danny suddenly ran out onto a highway and was almost run over by oncoming traffic. 
 

A researcher determines that the substance ingested by the trial participants is the exact opposite of Proloft, explaining why the participants were consumed by primal behavior. Hans Ingram, the man who ran the clinical trial, forces his way into Danny's hotel room. A short time later, Danny runs out onto a highway and is run over by an oncoming car. Nearby, Frank finds computer print out bearing a photo of Hans Ingram. 
 

Watts and Bletcher access Ingram's apartment. There they discover an eyeless corpse inside a refrigerator. Meanwhile, Giebelhouse and Frank search Ingram's office, where they find packets of a product called Smooth Time. 

 

The Millennium Group receives word that a group of businessmen at an office complex have suddenly run amok. Frank realizes that Ingram handed out free samples of Smooth Time to study its effect. He finds Ingram surveiling the action via the office complex's security monitors. Ingram tells Frank that the U.S. is a nation of zombies, put to sleep by his own drug company. It is his intention to "wake them up." He is taken into custody. 
 

Back at home, Frank tells his wife that if Jordan does possess any part of his "gift," he will be there to guide her.

 

Photographs:

- Frank attacks the sinister Hans Ingram

- Frank and Peter on the streets of Seattle

- The troubled Black family embraces

- Frank reacts strongly to the drug trial

- Frank and Peter attend a crime scene

- Frank considers the drug trial murder

 

Abyss Rating:  (4/5)

 

Trivia:  Proloft, the experimental drug featured in this episode, is named after anti-anxiety drugs Prozac and Zoloft. Like Hans Ingram, writers Chip Johannessen and Tim Tankosic were clearly offering commentary concerning our society's focus on prescription drug solutions.

 

"Walkabout" provides a suitable follow-up to "Sacrament" in that it immediately deals with those themes related to the revelation that Frank and Jordan Black share powers of perception.

 

Death Toll:  4

 

Title:  Among Australian Aborigines a walkabout is a ritual of self-discovery, a traditional solitary journey through the brush undertaken in an effort to learn more about one's own strengths and character. The term seems an appropriate label for Frank Black's efforts in this episode as he immerses himself into a dangerous drug trial and a community of human test subjects to discover a means of controlling his visions for the sake of his daughter.

 

Starring:

Lance Henriksen as Frank Black

Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black

Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black

Terry O'Quinn as Peter Watts

Bill Smitrovich as Lt. Bob Bletcher
Stephen James Lang as Detective Giebelhouse

 

Guest Starring:

Zeljko Ivanek as Dr. Daniel "Danny" Miller
Gregory Itzin as Hans Ingram

Ron Suave as Tardot
Dee Jay Jackson as G.J.
Alison Matthews as Sandy Geiger
Cheryl Mullen as Sal
Nancy Kerr as Personnel Chief Dana Flender
Arthur Corber as Moxie
Kym Sheppard as the Trial Nurse

 

Production Credits:

Production #4C15

Music by Mark Snow
Production Designer Mark Freeborn
Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
Associate Producer Jon-Michael Preece
Consulting Producer Ted Mann
Consulting Producer James Wong

Consulting Producer Glen Morgan
Co-Producer Ken Dennis
Co-Producer Chip Johannessen
Co-Producer Frank Spotnitz
Co-Executive Producer Jorge Zamacona
Co-Executive Producer Ken Horton
Co-Executive Producer John Peter Kousakis

Executive Producer Chris Carter

 

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