While Frank investigates reports of child abuse at a small day care center, he meets Lara Means, another candidate member of the Millennium Group who also sees visions related to evil. She helps Frank to investigate the case and tries to prove his innocence after he is convicted of assaulting a young girl.
Millennium Group member Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) travels to Springdale, Arkansas to investigate allegations of child abuse brought against a daycare owner, Penny Plott (Mary Gillis). Before he leaves Seattle, he takes his daughter Jordan (Brittany Tiplady) shopping for shoes, but chastises her when she begins acting out for attention.
In Arkansas, sheriff's deputy Bill Sherman (Chris Owens) discovers bite-marks on his son's skin after he returns home from the daycare. When his son refuses to discuss what happened, Sherman is convinced of the rumours about Plott. Black arrives in town, and pretends to be a local parent interested in using the daycare. His visit is interrupted by Lara Means (Kristen Cloke), who is investigating for Plott's defence. However, the two are forced to work together when one boy, Jason Wells, stops breathing. Despite attempts to revive him, the boy dies. Meanwhile, in Seattle, Black's wife Catherine (Megan Gallagher) takes Jordan to the dentist after she spits blood while brushing her teeth. The dentist tells her such an injury is most commonly caused by blunt force trauma. Catherine dismisses the idea outright, but Jordan mentions Black losing his temper during the shopping trip.
An autopsy reveals Wells' death was the result of an asthma attack. However the ambitious district attorney, Gordon Roberts (Robert Wisden) believes Plott is somehow responsible. The investigation stalls until another child, Danielle Barbakow (Lauren Diewold), mentions overhearing Wells being physically abused by Plott. Plott is arrested by Sherman, who she reprimands sternly, reminding him that she looked after him as a child too, and has never been accused of anything in three decades of childcare work. Sherman sees she is incapable of what she has been accused of and continues to send his son to the daycare, but other parents protest, to the point of picketing and vandalizing the fence around the daycare.
Black and Means discover that they have both been sent to investigate by the Group, realizing that this is some kind of test for them. They both come to believe that Barkabow, from whom Black senses a demonic presence, is responsible for Wells' death, and visit her home. Means speaks to Barkabow's mother while Black interviews the child. As they speak, Barkabow begins screaming and accuses Black of harming her; after he leaves the room she hits herself in the face and breaks her jaw. This leads Roberts, who learns that Black is under suspicion of harming Jordan, to arrest him for assault. Means has ultraviolet photographs taken of Barkabow's injuries, deduces that the girl was injured with an angel statue from her room. Means realizes that Black could not have wielded this statue, and Barkabow's mother admits to having heard her daughter hit herself. Black is released, and the Seattle investigation against him is dropped when Catherine defends him. The Black family and Lara return to Seattle, while Barbakow is adopted by a family of the Millennium Group.
- This episode may have been inspired by a number of high profile cases during the 1980's and 1990's that concerned false allegations of child abuse of various sorts taking place in day care centers, the most prominent of which being the McMartin Preschool Case.
- Frank's computer display reads: "Welcome Frank. There are 805 days remaining."
- At one point, Lara says there are 797 days remaining. This means this episode spans a time period of about a week.
Cast and Characters
- Kristen Cloke (Lara Means) previously played Melissa Rydell Ephesian in The X-Files episode "The Field Where I Died".
- Robert Wisden (Gordon Roberts) previously played Robert Patrick Modell in The X-Files episodes "Pusher" and "Kitsunegari".
- Lauren Diewold (Danielle Barbakow) previously played Emily Sim in The X-Files episode "Christmas Carol", "Emily" and "All Souls" and Young Melissa Scully in "Christmas Carol".
- Chris Owens (Deputy Bill Sherman) previously played Young Cigarette Smoking Man in The X-Files episodes "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" and "Demons".
- Gillian Barber (Mrs. Barbakow) previously played Agent Nancy Spiller in The X-Files episode "Ghost in the Machine", Beth Kane in "Red Museum" and Penny Northern in "Nisei" and "Memento Mori".
- Fred Keating (Mr. Barbakow) previously played Detective Ray Thomas in The X-Files episode "Zero Sum".
- Ken Roberts (Police Chief Jenkins) previously played Motel Proprietor in The X-Files episode "Colony", Clerk in "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" and Green's Father in the Millennium episode "Sacrament".
- J. Douglas Stewart (Dentist) previously played Larry Bangs in the Millennium episode "The Well-Worn Lock" and Male EMT in The X-Files episode "Leonard Betts".
- Kristen Cloke as Lara Means
- Mary Gillis as Penny Plott
- Robert Wisden as Gordon Roberts
- Lauren Diewold as Danielle Barbakow
- Chris Owens as Deputy Bill Sherman
- Gillian Barber as Mrs. Barbakow
- Fred Keating as Mr. Barbakow
- Ken Roberts as Police Chief Jenkins
- Judy Norton as Coroner
- J. Douglas Stewart as Dentist
- Kevin Blatch as Shoe Salesman
- Thomas Miller as Billy Sherman, Jr.
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
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