Monday, March 20, 2023

Season 2: Episode 19: "Anamnesis"

Directed by John Peter Kousakis

Written by Kay Reindi & Erin Maher

Air Date: April 17, 1998

A notable episode on many levels, "Anamnesis" is a Catherine centered story (Frank does not appear) that deals with belief and religion. The story centers around a teenage girl who exhibits mystical abilities. Catherine and Lara investigate the case together, modeled on Mulder and Scully.

Five girls at a High School claim to have visions of the Virgin Mary, led by the mischievous Clare (Genele Templeton). Lara eventually concludes Clare may be a direct descendent of Christ, while Catherine is skeptical. Catherine is further taken aback when Clare seems to know everything about her, including her kidnapping and Jordan's own burgeoning abilities. Later it's revealed the group has taken an interest in the girls and has placed guardians to insure their safety. The end of the story suggests divine intervention and sacrifice after a shooting.

Gender and theological history are a major theme in the episode. Lara recalls how women's roles in early Christianity were excised by men, Mary Magdalene be the most egregious case, many believe she was the wisest and most trusted disciple. Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot" is played twice in the episode, the lyrics perfectly encapsulate the theme of the episode:

I'm dancing barefoot

Heading for a spin

Some strange music draws me in

Makes me come on like some heroine

An ambitious episode in its engagement with religion, gender, and American culture - enough material for a feature film. I wish the story had gone a bit further in examining youth and religion during the late 1990s. Now over 20 years since the turn of the century, religious and secular society have only drifted further apart. "Anamnesis" offers something of a middle course between the extremes of belief and skepticism, handling these issues with a degree of wonder and maturity. 

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