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Monday, August 09, 2004
TV Round Up
The 4400: White Light
In watching the final episode of The 4400, I was reminded of some of the "big" episodes of The X-Files. You had a lot of plot threads coming together, you had plot twists coming, you had characters put into situations and you had some answers, but even more questions. Basically, what it all boils down to is the aliens who took the humans aren't aliens, but instead people from the future. The future apparently ain't such a wonderful place and they've traced our time as the time when things started to unravel. So, they took the 4400 forward in time, gave each of them some type of ability and sent them back to the current day to cause a ripple effect, thus changing history. It's one of those premises you just have to kind of accept as part of the show and go with or else you run the risk of hurting your brain sitting around thinking about it. But the bigger questions of why certain people were chosen and why they were given the powers they were remain unanswered. One related to that is--how did the future humans know that certain people would react in certain ways? Did Orson Bailey really have a choice in taking his actions? Did the serial killer Knox? And what would happen if one of the 4400 said, "Forget this, I ain't helping out" and went to watch TV instead. (For example, if Carl Morrisey didn't go Batman and help clean up the park.) Would this affect the future or derail the plan or is it far more general than that--as in, if Carl doesn't do it, then someone else would do it in his stead?

And to wander into Enterprise Temporal Cold War territory, is Collier working for the other side who wants to see the future come to pass? Hence, his overwhelming interest in Lilly's baby. Somehow, the baby is the key--is it some kind of John Conner-like kid--one who can lead the resistance or create a better future?

So many questions, so few answers. But then again, I wasn't expecting the answers to be fully put out there. Also, as much as I enjoyed the finale hour of the show, I felt like the final scene with Richard and Lilli was tacked on later, after they figured out--hey, we're a huge success and are probably going to come back.

But I have to admit, this series entertained me a great deal. It was compelling and well told. I really loved getting to see Mark Valley as Lytell. He made for a great villain. I hope than when the series does return we see more of that character.

The Dead Zone: Cycle of Violence

I have to be honest here--based on the previews for this one, (Johnny tries to put a stop to school violence) I wasn't expected very much from it. But, I have to admit, this one actually did come as a pleasant surprise for being as well-told as it was. I figured out early on the band teacher would be the victim of the shootings (simply because why bring him up if he's not going to affect the plot?) but I didn't figure out why he'd be the target. Also, the episode's point of how far is too far for security to go was intersetingly done. Certainly, it makes me think. Back in the days when I was in high school, we had a class called guidance that was, quite frankly, to help you get in touch with your feelings. Most of us found it lame. In English, we were required to create a character with an alletrative name, so a buddy and I came up with Possessed Pat, who hated all guidance counselors and tormented them. It was mostly harmless fun and we all laughed it off, but I think that if we'd created such a charcter today and turned in a paper about him, we'd be hauled off for making terrorist threats. So, I can see Johnny's point here with the Robert Iler character and how he's misunderstood--he's a good student, but he's releasing some frustrations. Nothing wrong with that, really. Maybe he needed to choose a better way, but hey, don't we all sometimes? (I also found it interesting to see that he had his own blog!)

The entire episode had me until the final moments, which seemed a bit heavy-handed. There were just too many loopholes in the plot for the Robert Iler character to be shot and end on that disturbing note for the viewers. Johnny should have, at the least, had the principal have security escort him to the office or tell them he's coming in to talk to the principal about things. Otherwise it just smells like a set up, which it was.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/09/2004 10:47:00 AM | |
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