After last week's season high great episode, I suppose I should have been primed for some type of letdown, which is exactly what we got here with "Total Awareness." Not that there weren't parts of it that worked, mind you--but those were, unfortunately, relegated to the status of sub-plots. I really enjoyed the scenes of Johnny trying to be "cool dad" and using his powers to pick out the perfect present for J.J. Couple that with the nicely done scenes of Johnny at J.J.'s birthday party and then his allowing J.J. to skate in the mansion and you had some great character moments. However, the main plot, which started off intriguingly enough just really fizzled out. Part of it was that it had a blink and you'll miss it motivation for why Gibson was on the run and what her connection to things was and then the reasoning behind taking out all the pyschics wasn't quite as clear as it should have been. I think a large part of this is we've seen the whole--you're being watched and vast conspiracy plotline done a lot better on other shows. Not that Dead Zone
couldn't do it and do it well, but there wasn't enough time to set everything up and then have the kind of payoff we needed or wanted without it all feeling too rushed, too cliched and too much of the been there, done that feeling that we got here.
However, as disappointing as the main plot was, I think we have picked up a few vital clues that will play out over the course of the rest of the season and series. One is that Johnny's bills aren't being paid by the trust on time and he's slowly becoming aware of it. (As we all know, Purdy depleted the trust to pay-off Stillson in the two-part season premiere). Next, Johnny now knows that the armageddon vision he's been seeing could occur on New Years' Eve. We don't know an exact year yet, but at least we have a date for it.
Also, I have to question one other thing in this one--we estabish at J.J.'s birthday party that Walt is there and apparently off-duty. So why does he have to show up at Johnny's house when Gibson calls the cops? Yes, I know it's so Walt can have some part of the story, but honestly, are there not any other cops in the county who can handle things? Especially for your son's birthday party, when things aren't exactly normal to start with right now. You'd think Walt might want to restore some sense of normalcy to J.J.s life--esp. in the light that Johnny mysteriously vanishes halfway through the party.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/08/2004 10:54:00 AM