Directed by Thomas J. Wright
Written by Chip Johannessen
Air Date: January 23, 1998
Guest Star: Brion James (Sheriff Bowman)
Partly inspired by the Jon Krakauer book Into the Wild about a privileged young man who decided to explore the Alaska wilderness (also a 2007 film), "Luminary" follows Frank going to Alaska to find a missing young man against the wishes of the Millennium Group.
The episode opens with a rare view into the inner workings of the group. Peter Watts leads Frank to a room where senior members are seated in a circle and request Frank to sit in the center. They ask him accusatory questions about his methods and the negative effect on his personal life. On an evening outing to a planetarium with Catherine and Jordan, Frank is introduced to the Glasers whose son recently disappeared. Frank takes an interest in the case after visiting their home and decides to search for Alex.
Frank pursues his search and comes into psychic communication with Alex. After some red herrings (a body is found), Frank finds him, after a harrowing journey Frank gets Alex to the hospital only to learn Alex left overnight. Frank connects the young man's quest to the Italian writer Petrarch climbing Mount Ventoux, an event connected to the start of the Renaissance. Peter informs Frank that he passed the first "election."
The first scene exposes the cultish structure of the group and Peter's evolving role from mentor to antagonist with Frank, even though their friendship appears to be repaired by the end of "Luminary." The episode meanders at times, never quite reconciling its disparate plot elements. We never get to know Alex except through some hokey narration, betraying his naivete through some banal observations. The astrology motif suggests a connection to ancient history, but never pays off either. Yet the hopeful tone at the end suggests the possibility of a future.