The story is losely based on the movie “Dead Again” with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, directed by Kenneth Branagh.
This is Mike Portnoys brief summary:
MP: It’s a story about a person in the modern day, 1999, who keeps having flashbacks or dreams of this other world, this other life, and he goes to a hypnotherapist and gets regressed. He finds out that he is in fact the reincarnated soul of this girl that lived in the 1920s. And as the album goes on, he investigates this girl’s life and finds out that she was murdered at a young age, and she was caught up in this love triangle with two brothers. And that’s where Metropolis pt.1 gets tied in with The Miracle and The Sleeper. Basically, it’s a kind of murder mystery thing, where he’s investigating the murders, and throughout the entire album, you’re led down one path toward solving the mystery, but at the end it sort of twists into some different places, and you can find some clues at the end of the album that lead you to believe something else. It’s very involved, and it’s constantly shifting back and forth in time. It’s like Pulp Fiction, where you’re jumping back and forth between the past and the present, and it’s totally non-linearly, so you never know exactly where you are. It’s absolutely mandatory that you have the lyric sheet in front of you to understand who is speaking, and what time frame they’re speaking from.
Here’s an old analysis I found in my mailbox from 16th of November, 1999. Sent to me by one Yvette Boertje.
Dream Theater- Scenes from a Memory
Cast of Characters: Nicholas, Victoria Page, Julian Baynes (the Sleeper), Senator Edward Baynes (the Miracle), The Hypnotherapist
This is a story where past and present come together. And create great confusion.
Nicholas (living in the present: 1999) wants to find out who he was in his previous life and visits a hypnotherapist for regression therapy. Nicholas wants to find some answers to dreams that have been plagueing his mind.
In his previous life he was a woman, a mystery to Nicholas, her name is Victoria Page who died in 1928. In his sessions he sees her as he looks into the mirror. Nicholas realizes that this woman’s life is etched in his minds own memory. But there is something wrong. He needs to uncover it.
He is not quite prepared for the journey that follows. Vague images and voices tell him in bits and pieces what happened to Victoria. She was murdered in a house that Nicholas is strangely drawn to in his dreams. He knows it is his mission to solve the crime once and for all.
In a newspaper article concerning the murder he reads about a witness who saw Victoria and a man. Victoria was already dead when the man shoots himself mumbling something about love. This tragic scene as witnessed by an unnamed source, indicates that this crime was a homicide/suicide of lovers scorned and the case is closed.
However, the witness is Senator Edward Baynes, and the so-called killer is Julian Baynes his brother, his twin brother. The Miracle is a succeful man, Edward is a Senator after all, and Julian a drug addict and a gambler, is the sleeper. What is more, the woman was Edward Baynes lover. Victoria had a a short affair with him after she went crying to him about the relationship she just ended with Julian.
When Edward found out that Victoria was going to be with another, in his eyes ungrateful man, even though he was his brother, he knew he had to do something. Finding the door locked at the house where Victoria and Julian have a secret, he breaks a window to open the door >from the inside. (Edward knows that there is a meeting because of the psychic twin connection). Once inside Edward walks towards Julian and pulls a gun.
Julian screams. Edward fires two gun shots at Julian. Victoria screams in terror. Edward says, “Open your eyes Victoria,” and fires two more shots at Victoria. After he planted a suicide note in Julian’s pocket Edward runs towards the door and lets himself out of the house. He knew for sure that he was in the clear and that this would look like a murder suicide. To make his story even more believable, he becomes the witness to the crime, leaving his statement for the paper to print..
Nicholas, re-living the horrible night as Victoria, goes home after therapy, “Finally Free” blasting out of his car stereo. In Nicholas’ house however we hear the foot steps of Edward Baynes. He turns the tv off, pours himself a drink and turns on an old record player as we hear Nicholas’ car drive up the driveway- the echo of “Finally Free” coming from the car. Edward hides away as Nicholas comes in. Wondering why the record player and the tv is turned on Nicholas shuts off the tv and walks over to the player. Lifting the needle, when Edward, aka The Hypnotherapist walks up to him and speaks to Nicholas an all to familiar line with an all too familiar voice. The needle scratches the record as Nicholas is startled, the record player is stuck on the inner edge of the record…
This is all accurate, but there are quite a few plot holes.
- How would the police not have realized that the witness was the killer’s brother?
- The newspaper article talks about Victoria lying on the ground, and the switchblade being found on the ground. Not on the floor. So, the newspaper story has the murder/suicide taking place outside, not in a house. So, apparently, Edward moved both the bodies, while arranging the outside scene well enough that the police wouldn’t know, but, then, there’s the older man at the house that told Nicholas the murder happened there… how did he know? If he was the hypnotherapist/Edward, Nicholas would have recognized him.
- Minimum age for a senator is 30, so Edward would have had to be at least 101 in 1999. Not impossible, but unlikely to be threatening to a much younger Nicholas.
- Where were Nicholas’ wife and son when he got home?
Edit: after some discussions elsewhere, and reviewing the lyrics again, 2 is just the old man being wrong. The murder occurred “in a pathway out of view”, not at the house. We don’t even know whose house it is, though… Victoria’s? Julian’s?
Consensus for 3 is that the hypnotist is not Edward at 101+ years old. But I don’t think there is any evidence that he is reincarnated Edward either… though a lot of people think he is.
1 is still a definite plot hole, or, at the least, pretty strong evidence that the police helped cover up the murders. Adding to that is that Edward has to go somewhere else to clean up and write the note and then go back and put the note in Julian’s pocket before he “ran for assistance.” The pathway out of view must have been pretty far from everything for four gunshots to go unnoticed on a Friday evening.