Directed by Allen Coulter
The teaser to Beware of the Dog is brilliant, I mean seriously good. An old couple travelling in an RV stop for the night outside a small town. In a very David Lynch style moment that are asked by a man in white overalls and seemingly covered in blood, although possibly only burger meat, to pull the RV a few inches further. They do so and are left alone, only to be then attacked by a pack of dogs who then manage to find their way into the RV and attack the couple to death, all to the strains of The Carpenter's Close To You. Cue X Files credit sequence.
Except....no. Not The X Files' credit sequence as it turns out, but the Millennium credit sequence. Already, and it's only the second episode, something doesn't feel right here. Now, I'm not gonna bad mouth Beware of the Dog too much (and now that I've said that, I probably, seemingly am, and if I do I just want to apologise up front for my barefaced lie) because this second episode of Morgan and Wong's Millennium is hugely enjoyable, has got a great atmosphere, is tense in places, although not as overtly so as season one's episodes and feels lighter and fun compared to the previous season's exploits. Yet, I can't help but feel Morgan and Wong have basically planted a never used X File storyline of theirs into Frank Black's world.
Now, that isn't to say that this is basically an X Files reject with Frank Black stepping into where Mulder and Scully should be, although in actuality, you could probably take Frank Black out of the majority of the episode, put Mulder and Scully in and the episode for the most part would play out the same except with an added believer/sceptic dynamic. The thing is, there are elements to Beware of the Dog that definitely put this into the ball park that is Morgan and Wong's Millennium and that is with regards to the introduction of the Old Man (R.G Armstrong) and the development of the mythology with regards to the Millennium group itself and what it actually represents. These scenes even give the show's creepy Ouroborous logo a role within the show. The only problem is that this part of the episode really only takes up about a good ten minutes of screen time, the rest of it is taken up with the, admittedly wonderful, small town atmosphere and clever plotting regarding the dog attacks themselves.
The small town of Bucksnort (great name by the way) feels like somewhere that Mulder and Scully could have visited. The running joke of Frank being mistaken as the 'Sherrif' feels like a typical Morgan and Wong humorous touch that could have been at home in any of their X Files, whilst the plot dynamics such as the reasons why the dogs attack, the geography of where they attack and the revelation that when one dog is killed another seemingly appears out of nowhere to take its place all feel like X Files tricks. If this had have been an X File, it probably would have been very enjoyable, which isn't to say it isn't an enjoyable Millennium episode, because it is, but I can't help but get this nagging feeling that this doesn't feel right, that it doesn't click totally. Even the climax where the dogs attack the home of the Michael Beebe character, wonderfully played by the late Randy Stone, feels more like an end of an X Files episode set piece.
For the entire first season, Millennium managed to creatively stay out of the way of its sister series. Sure, ratings were never great, but the show successfully managed to steer its own course, to have its own identity and whilst it was very violent, disturbing and confrontational, it was its own show, by trying to turn it into something else, Morgan and Wong have created an enjoyable piece of television with this second episode, but its hard to shake the feeling that it's maybe becoming too identical to its older sibling.