Written by Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Michael Watkins
On paper this sounds like a no brainer for a success. During the baptism of his nephew, Frank's sister in law is kidnapped by a sexual sadist. Through this we get introduced to a blood relation of Frank's, in this case his brother Phillip (as The X Files has shown, the introduction of relatives heightens the mythology and drama for the series), a chance to explore the hints that Jordan herself may have inherited her father's precognitive ability and even best of all, a chance for the horrors that Frank deals with in his job to hit closer to home.
Unfortunately, Sacrament never works as well as it should do and that's a little disappointing. Coming up shortly is an episode called Lamentation where terror will strike the Black household with a momentous force, and in comparison, Sacrament comes across as a little...well...lazy. The development of the Jordan black arc, which will play a big part in all three seasons of the show, is well handled admittedly, and Phillip Anglim as Tom Black is wonderful, although it's a little disappointing we'll never see him again after this episode.
The biggest problem with Sacrament is that it never takes full advantage of the drama that it has at its disposal. We get the obligatory scene where Frank is told to stay away from the case by Blethcher and to let him and Giebelhouse handle it, mainly because Frank's emotions will be in the way. Understandable, obvious maybe, but this should be an opportunity to show Frank dealing with a case from a more emotionally compromised position. Yet, there's nothing different to the way Frank handles this case. In fact, he's as stead fast and professional as ever that you have to wonder why Bletcher doesn't have him involved in the investigation right away. We're so used to a professional Frank that it's disappointing that the series doesn't give Henriksen a chance to show more emotional range.
There are some good touches in the episode though. The character of Richard Green makes for an interesting villain and is given a good performance courtesy of guest actor Dylan Haggerty. His slightly schizophrenic nature and the absolutely frightening scene where he shops in a hardware store for hammers, plastic sheeting and a nail gun is very effective horror. Added to this the twist ending when its revealed that the character of Green is not the kidnapper, nor the killer of the dead body that turns up half way through the episode, but in fact his father is the brains behind the kidnapping, and Sacrament shows itself to have some intelligent touches.
Maybe it's an attempt by Spotnitz not to go in the obvious directions, but it still feels as if Sacrament is a bit of a missed opportunity. Introducing a few relatives, to have the series' style of horror strike at its lead character, this could have been the Beyond the Sea of Millennium, but I dare say that's coming up in about four episodes from now. Sacrament though is a fairly decent and enjoyable episode of the show, but really it should have been a brilliant cornerstone of the show.