CATHERINE AND LARA INVESTIGATE WHEN FIVE GIRLS CLAIM THEY SAW A VISION OF THE VIRGIN MARY.
Catherine, anxious and tense, rushes down an empty hallway of a high school. Inside one of the classrooms, a group of five girls--Clare, Leslie, Shelley, Maureen and Kelly-- gathers for prayer circle. A figure opens the classroom door and removes a handgun, pointing it inside. The gun fires--and screams reverberate throughout the school.
The story flashes back to two days earlier. In Rowan, Washington, Catherine meets with Emma Shetterly, the high school Vice Principal. The town has been rocked to its foundation ever since five female students claimed they saw a vision of the Virgin Mary. Emma wonders why such a vision would appear to five girls who, in her mind, are "unworthy." The leader of the group, Clare McKenna, has been in trouble a number of times before. Catherine makes an effort to reach out to the girls. Maureen gives her account of how her friends experienced the vision during Reverend Sam Hanes' sermon. Shortly thereafter, Catherine is approached by Hanes' son, Alex. He gives a different account of events, claiming the girls were, in fact, disruptive during his father's service. When Hanes put the girls on notice, Clare experienced the "vision." Alex claims Clare is far from divine. Later, when Catherine returns to speak with Emma, she realizes Lara is inside her office.
Lara tells Catherine and Emma that, throughout the years, the Millennium Group has investigated similar apparitions. Though there is undeniable friction between Catherine and Lara, the ice slowly breaks as they observe the young students attending a prayer meeting. Lara locks eyes with Ben Fisher, a drama teacher, then looks away, somewhat uncomfortable. As the prayer meeting gets underway, Alex clashes with Clare over her recitation of a passage she claims is from the Bible. As Clare continues, she mentions "the beginning and the end," the same words spoken by the Polaroid Man. Catherine is stunned. When she later approaches the girl about what she said, Clare reveals even more about the Polaroid Man, furthering Catherine's speachlessness. Lara steps up behind Catherine. She experiences a vision, seeing a cloaked woman standing near trees. Later, Lara and Catherine discuss the event. Lara believes Clare is, indeed, a visionary, while Catherine believes the girl is simply being mischievous. But Lara explains that the words Clare recited were from Gnostic texts, which were excluded from the Bible for promoting the idea that Mary Magdalene was the only apostle who truly understood Christ's teachings.
Lara and Catherine meet with Clare's father, Ray. They observe a great many books in Clare's bedroom, books given her by Ben Fisher. Ray believes Ben is the only person genuinely concerned for his daughter's welfare. The women then note a Black Virgin, a statue associated with natural phenomena. According to legend, the object will grow heavy if moved against its will. Catherine discovers she cannot, in fact, lift it. An outraged Clare runs into the room and easily lifts the statue, cradling it like a doll.
Ray telephones Catherine, informing her that Clare and her friends have disappeared. Lara and Catherine set off to the woods. During their journey, Lara reveals that the vision the girls saw was not of the Virgin Mary, but of Mary Magdalene. Catherine is stunned. Later, the women come upon the girls standing in a grotto. A scuffle breaks out. Ben lunges at Lara, but she drops him with an impressive right hook. Ben is taken into custody. Later, Reverend Hanes forcibly baptizes four of the girls, believing it is the only way to end their "Godlessness." But when it is Clare's turn, the wispy form of the cloaked woman appears in the water. Everyone, including Catherine and Lara, are stunned. Later, Lara confronts Ben Fisher. Ben, it is revealed, is a member of The Family, a former part of the Millennium Group. Fisher is acting as Clare's...Read More