January 9, 1998
In New York City, a woman examines the
produce for sale at a street-side stand. She is named Magnolia and
is dressed outlandishly in a leopard-skin print coat, red feathered stole,
and wearing a hat and gloves, The shopkeeper, Benny, thanks the woman
for giving him a lucky lottery number that won fifty dollars.
"Don't tell anybody. I only do that for special friends", cautions Magnolia.
Benny leaves to get his friend a bag of
tomatoes he has saved for her. While he is gone, Magnolia's happy
expression changes to horror as another tomato briefly rises through the
air and then descends again to its box in front of her. She experiences
a dark vision including fire, a silvery humanoid form, and a tree illuminated
in the darkness.
When her friend returns, Magnolia appears
not to notice him. She runs down the street in a panic until she
reaches her apartment. There she immerses herself, fully dressed,
in a bathtub full of water, surfacing only to breathe. Later, Magnolia
scans the telephone book with her finger, keeping her eyes closed. Her
finger stops on a name, and she opens her eyes. She reads what it
says and is pleased.
Magnolia leaves the city on a bus and arrives
in Sparta, New York. Through the darkness and fog, she notices a
tree that resembles the one in her vision.
Adam MacArthur, holding a tabloid magazine
containing Magnolia's picture, knocks on an apartment door. The door
is open so he enters. From the dim interior, woman shouts, "Hey,
close the door before the cats escape!"
Adam explains that he is looking for Magnolia.
He learns that she is out of town, up-state in Sparta. The neighbor,
who is caring for Magnolia's cats informs Adam that Magnolia no longer
does "readings". "Darn shame, if you ask me. She's good, she's
better than good. You know the police, the FBI, they call her all
the time. She predicted that 737 crash last year, though she wouldn't
want anybody to know about it."
Adam examines a drawing of the tree from
Magnolia's vision which is pinned to her bulletin board. He leaves
the apartment to go looking for Magnolia.
Magnolia is sitting high in the tree in
Sparta. The police arrive and tell her she must come down.
Magnolia replies, "Can't. Can't. It's the only place I can
see it from." "What's coming", she answers when they ask what she's
looking for. The two police officers flip a coin to see which of
them must climb up the tree to get her. Magnolia correctly calls
the coin toss before it hits the ground. Magnolia becomes more agitated
when the officers approach, begging, "No please, please don't. I
have to see it. See where it comes from. I can't let it happen.
They're coming. They're coming and we're all gonna die."
Colonel Vise is discussing the lab results
for a compound he had analyzed. A woman employee in the laboratory
has identified all but one component as being known plant materials; ferns,
fir tree, mushrooms, wild flowers, and aloe. The liquid was from
the fire-pit discovered near the Mill Lake alien ship landing-site, where
MacArthur had been seen, along with a burned body that has not been identified.
Colonel Vise asserts, "Nothing to do with
MacArthur is an accident. Ritual circle, fire, cremated body. . . . this."
Vise motions toward the greenish liquid in the beaker. "I need to
know what this is, what it does. MacArthur keeps coming back from
the dead. I wanna know if this is how he does it."
"A magic potion?" the lab employee muses.
"Not magic, extraterrestrial." Vise
counters. The woman returns the compound to a container and places
it in a glass case marked for biohazards.
Magnolia is being examined by a psychiatrist.
She objects to having her hands examined. "I have visions.
That's why I wear gloves", she offers, as if this were a perfectly logical
explanation. The psychiatrist wins Magnolia's trust by sharing a
story about his own grandmother who had visions.
Magnolia finally removes her gloves, and
after showing him her hands, touches the psychiatrist's face. Her
expression becomes more somber as she warns the doctor, "Go home." "Go
home now, there's been a fire", she repeats over the doctor's objections.
She continues to provide details, citing the name of the psychiatrist's
daughter, the fact that she collects stuffed animals, and even naming the
child's favorite animal from the collection.
The psychiatrist struggles to maintain
his skepticism in the face of Magnolia's assertions. An assistant
rushes in and informs him, "Doctor, your wife is on the phone. It's
an emergency." The psychiatrist is visibly shaken as Magnolia's
statements prove to be true. As the doctor rushes to leave the office,
Magnolia sinks back in her chair and replaces the gloves.
MacArthur arrives in Sparta by bus.
He scans a nearby tree that matches the drawing in Magnolia's apartment.
He arrives at a mental hospital and walks toward the dayroom. The
patients all appear to stop their activity and conversation, and turn toward
him, even before he turns the corner and becomes visible to them.
"Magnolia Vale. I'm looking for Magnolia
Vale", he calls out. No one answers. Adam kneels in front of
an elderly patient, resting his hand on hers. "She's down that way,
isn't she?" He says, with no apparent response from the woman.
Magnolia opens her eyes and leaves her
bed, walking toward the door just before Adam MacArthur arrives at her
room. "Get out", she warns him, fearfully, as he enters.
"I'm not gonna hurt you", he reassures her.
"You don't know what you're gonna do", she continues. "You're a freak."
MacArthur appears momentarily amused by
Magnolia's assessment. He replies, "Well, we are a little different, you
and I, but we can help each other." Adam asks Magnolia what frightens her,
what she sees.
She answers, "Plague." As MacArthur
continues to approach her, Magnolia panics and begins shouting for a nurse.
"It's too late. The plague is coming and I don't know how to stop
it", she tells MacArthur. Her dark vision returns and she runs screaming
out of the room.
A nurse responds to Magnolia's cries.
The ruckus attracts the attention of another visitor at the hospital, an
obese man who is a photographer and writer for a tabloid. The photographer
takes photos of Magnolia being sedated and also photographs Adam MacArthur
at the scene. MacArthur is asked to leave the facility. On his way
out, the photographer approaches him and introduces himself as Ozzie Faulkner,
reporter for The National Tattler. In response, MacArthur also introduces
himself, using his full name.
MacArthur asks the reporter if he knows
Magnolia. Faulkner replies, "Yeah, sure. We all know Maggie.
This will be my fourth story on her if these pictures all come out.
Psychics make great copy. Especially 'Maggie-Mae,' because she is
the real thing. But then again you know all about that, don't you."
The reporter believes that MacArthur is a competing reporter, trying to
get a story on Magnolia.
"I know she's in pain", Adam replies.
"Ain't we all", quips Faulkner, "Yeah,
life's tough, then you die. Difference is, people will pay good money to
hear about her pain, huh?"
The tabloid photographer offers to pay
MacArthur for any information he may have about Magnolia. "I'll tell you
this for free. She's gonna make difference some day. If she
survives", insists MacArthur, calmly. Faulkner scoffs at this answer and
takes it as his cue to leave.
Back in the hospital, Magnolia is sleeping.
She is awakened by her vision of the fire and the humanoid form, but this
time it is different. The vision ends with the familiar old tree,
appearing in daylight, and with Adam MacArthur emerging from the front
of the trunk. He says "Magnolia, come with me." Magnolia's
expression relaxes, becoming serene, almost happy, as the vision fades.
FBI Agent Van Patten is reading "The National
Tattler". Agent Larue is kidding him about reading the tabloid.
Suddenly, they notice an article about psychic, Magnolia Vale, being held
at the Sparta County Mental Hospital, along with a picture of both Magnolia
and Adam MacArthur.
Adam MacArthur is allowed to see Magnolia
again. Magnolia greets him calmly this time and tells her psychiatrist
that she is ready to be released from the hospital.
When she is alone with MacArthur, she asks
him what he wants from her, adding "No one ever comes to see me just for
me. They all want something. What do you want?" Adam states
that he wants to help her. Magnolia tells him it is not all he wants,
but she appreciates him putting her first. Magnolia offers her hand and
they leave the facility together.
MacArthur and Magnolia Vale are walking
through Sparta together as Magnolia tells Adam about her visions and her
fears. "Something bad is going to happen, Adam, and it's going to
happen soon", she laments. Adam listens patiently. Magnolia
has a sudden craving for tomatoes and they leave in search of the food.
FBI Agents Wilcox, Van Patten, and Larue
arrive in Sparta and make contact with Faulkner following a lead obtained
from his employer, The National Tattler. They question the
reporter about Adam MacArthur, referring to his picture in the tabloid.
Faulkner demands to be paid for giving information. He then admits
he has not seen MacArthur since he took the picture. Agent Wilcox
tells Faulkner to contact them, immediately, if he sees Adam MacArthur
Colonel Vise is in a physician's office.
The doctor tells him that his gunshot wounds are not healing appropriately
and that she does not know why. She also notes that his white blood
cell count is elevated. During the examination, she discovers that
Vise has a fever. Finally, the doctor orders the Colonel to clear
his schedule, presumably over concerns about his health.
Adam and Magnolia are in a restaurant.
Magnolia continues to speak about her life and the visions she has.
Adam tells Magnolia her visions are a gift, and that she can help people.
He suggests that the plague she sees doesn't have to come.
They are interrupted by the arrival of
Agents Wilcox, Larue and Van Patten. MacArthur quickly disappears from
the table, but Magnolia remains to have her tomato juice and tomatoes.
When the agents question her, she claims not to have seen Adam MacArthur.
Magnolia removes a glove, touches Agent
Wilcox, and is overtaken by another vision. This one includes Agent Van
Patten and Agent Wilcox. Magnolia tells Wilcox that, in her vision,
he dies and it is Agent Van Patten who kills him.
The three agents discuss these developments
outside the restaurant. Van Patten is noticeably shaken by Magnolia's
prediction. He is familiar with Magnolia Vale's abilities from past
cases. He tries to convince his colleagues to leave with him.
His friends belittle Van Patten's fears. "We're not going to leave a case
because something's got you spooked, Craig", says Larue. Wilcox says,
"Come on, we've got a job to do." Suddenly, the agents realize that Magnolia
has disappeared from the restaurant.
Adam MacArthur and Magnolia escape together
down a side street. They are spotted by Ozzie Faulkner who is lurking
near-by. Escaping through a hole in a fence, MacArthur and Magnolia
hide in an old warehouse. The FBI agents pass by and lose the trail.
While they hide inside the warehouse, Adam
tells Magnolia, "What you see isn't set in stone. What you see is
only one possibility", Adam explains. "One among many in an infinite number
of possible futures." When Magnolia says that has not been her experience,
Adam adds, "It has. You've just chosen not to act on it before.
You get to choose, 'do I change the future or don't I?'"
With Adam's support, Magnolia examines
her vision. She describes the humanoid form she sees. Suddenly she
realizes, "Those that bring the plague are marked." Magnolia
reproduces an emblem from the figure's sleeve by tracing the design in
dirt on the warehouse window. Outside,
Faulkner is watching and photographing. The design matches the logo
used by Cummings Pharmaceuticals.
Colonel Vise enters an NSA research lab
after hours. "What's it gonna be? Heaven or hell?" he asks
himself, as he removes the mysterious liquid from its container with the
biohazard marking. Vise swallows the yellowish liquid from the beaker.
At Cummings Pharmaceuticals, Ozzie Faulkner
has just infiltrated the facility by riding in on the top of a tank truck
making a delivery. At the same time, MacArthur and Magnolia are questioning
a security guard in the reception area about what work is done at this
The guard insists that they must wait until
morning to talk with a PR person. When MacArthur reveals their fear
that a terrible accident might happen there that night, the guard begins
to call the police. Adam and Magnolia leave quickly, then re-enter
the facility via the loading dock.
In the meantime, Faulkner, with a cigarette
dangling from his mouth, manages to enter a secure area. He appears
fascinated by the site of human bodies submersed in tanks of fluid.
He begins photographing the bodies. Listening to a noise, he absent-mindedly
drops his cigarette on the floor. A fire erupts causing security doors
to close and lock.
Magnolia leads MacArthur through corridors
of the pharmaceutical company toward the site of the accident she predicted.
Alarms sound and lights flash in response to the fire. Magnolia pauses
and confides to Adam that this disaster is
going to happen.
MacArthur insists that the future she has seen can be changed. "Come
on! It's time. You either believe or you don't", he finally
states, pulling her along by the hand.
A hazardous materials team is arriving
as the three FBI agents exit their car outside of Cummings Pharmaceuticals.
Van Patten is still pleading with the others to "sit this one out", but
he is shamed into following them inside. The agents learn of Adam
MacArthur's whereabouts in the building by consulting a security guard,
who reluctantly helps them.
Inside the restricted area, Faulkner continues
to snoop through the lab. He inadvertently spills fluid from a beaker onto
his wrist and a new alarm sounds. The door to the room locks closed
and the reporter grasps his throat and shouts for help.
Adam and Magnolia locate the fire.
It is quickly extinguished. They notice the reporter in his death-throes,
trying desperately to escape his locked chamber. As Adam and Magnolia
look on, Wilcox, Van Patten and Larue arrive. Wilcox draws his gun
on MacArthur and Van Patten attempts to open the chamber where Faulkner
Adam yells and rushes toward Van Patten
to prevent him from opening the chamber, but then quickly rushes at Wilcox,
knocking him down. Wilcox's gun fires into an oxygen tank instead
of breaking the glass that has shielded them from the bio-hazardous substance
in the locked chamber.
A Cummings employee in a protective suit
sprays down the area obscuring the view. By the time the view clears,
Adam MacArthur has disappeared. Wilcox is escorted out of the facility.
Colonel Vise's physician is incredulous.
"It doesn't make sense. The T-cells, the white count, and all of
it. It's like you were never sick", she exclaims.
She asks Vise how he managed to be miraculously
cured. He responds, "There are no miracles, doctor. Only choices."
He adds, "I pray you never have to make the choices I have."
The FBI agents are talking among themselves
outside the pharmaceutical company. Larue has discovered that the
facility does brain research. A bio-active substance causing severe
rage was contained in the chamber and that is what killed the reporter.
Van Patten is convinced that Magnolia was
correct in her prediction. He concluded that the shot from Wilcox's
gun could have broken the glass and started a plague if Adam hadn't prevented
it. The agents cannot determine why MacArthur was in the town or at the
facility in the first place.
Magnolia is getting ready to board a bus.
She tells Adam, "You can't change the future. Because the future
doesn't exist unless we make it, and you can't change something that doesn't
Adam smiles as tells Magnolia, "You just
crossed the threshold. Welcome." Before getting on the bus,
Magnolia kisses Adam's cheek, then removes a glove and touches Adam in
the same spot. She tells Adam that his son is alive and that he will