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Tuesday, August 03, 2004
The 4440: Trial By Fire
The first three epiosdes of the series were all about putting a name and a face of the 4400. We got to follow the stories of four returnees (really three separate plotlines since Richard and Lilly hook up) and one kind of returnee of the week type of plot. I think the overall goal of this was to make us sensitive to their plight--something that also takes place in the show this week with the 4400 being attacked with bombs left and right. This week, we only get one unfamiliar face and she ain't long for this world when her van blows up (which the only way to make it more obvious that she was not long for this world would have been to put her in a red shirt!). Instead, we get to see a bit more of the ripple effect that was discussed last week. But the unanswered question is still--what is the purpose of the ripples?

The thing is, The 4400 has done a great job of making me actually care about the plight of all these characters. I really don't want to see something bad happen to Richard and Lilly, I don't want to see Maia taken from Diana, you can almost feel the pain with Tom at getting Kyle back only it might not really be him and you can almost hate Mark Valley's character for being such a bastard to Tom and Diana. About the only plotline that leaves me scratching my head is the whole Sean and Nikki thing and that's only because it's way too cliched and paint by numbers for my liking. They foreshadowed this from episode one with the whole Sean comment--oh Nikki is cute, but she's too young. Suddenly he's gone for three years, she grows up and boom-chica-wow-wow! (Ya know, it almost makes you wonder if she really cared about the brother since one day after breaking up with him she's knocking boots with Sean down by the pond).

But the best scenes belonged to Ryland, who makes good on his threats to Barbara Yates when she refuses to call off the dogs. Wow! The move of opening her closet, finding that skelton and turning it over to the police--it was one of those great moments in the show. It almost had me wondering if Ryland was somehow distantly related to the Cigarette Smoking Man, the way he was able to pull the strings to quickly and get the results he wanted. And Ryland's indignation with Mark Valley's character (who it's great to see him after FOX woefully underrated the brilliance of Keen Eddie last year!) also was nicely done.

All of this sets events in motion for next week's finale. In a lot of ways, it's good that this series was limited to six hours (five total episodes) and that the creators hopefully had an idea of where it could end when they started. I know that next Sunday evening, I'll be tuning in to have the questions answered. I have a feeling it's either going to be totally brilliant or an utter disappointment. Based on the pedigree of the writing staff--three former DS9 writers on it--I am hopeful that it will fall into the category of brilliant. And who knows--they might just leave the door open for a continuation...

For those of you who missed any of the show, USA is repeating the entire series starting at 4 p.m. EST on Sunday. Set those VCRs or Tivo now!


posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/03/2004 01:40:00 PM | |
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