The 4400: Suffer the Children
This time, the "44oo of the week" is high school art's teacher Heather Tobey, who was returned with the ability to draw out the artistic strengths in people--from playing the violin to painting and a whole lot of other various artsy things in between. The drawback in her power is that she can only work with what's there and not just magically instill in you the ability to play the piano if you don't have it inside you already. Interesting power, though I'm not quite sure yet of what the ripple effect of it might be--beyond maybe getting some school districts to not keep cutting back on the art and music budget of schools, thus ensuring future generation's appreciate good art when they see it. On further thought, maybe this ability would sound the death knell of all the worst of the crop of the reality shows that are on the air these days and that might not be such a bad thing...
Anyway, back to this episode. Heather's ability to help some but not others causes tension and conflict and she's brought up on child abuse chargers. After she is exonerated, she returns to the classroom where one student in particular is unhappy that he has shown no special artistic abilty. He wants to escape his life and not be like his father, so he comes to school with a gun to force Heather to awaken the artist within. Luckily, Dad happens to be at the school at the time and hears what he's done to his son.
What I found most interesting here was how divided everyone was on the use of the power that Heather had. Those who benefited thought she was the best thing since sliced bread while those who couldn't be helped were less than enthused. Kind of mirrors the Jordan storyline of his warning Sean to only use his powers under certain circumtances and not to let the world know he has this healing ability. Kind of the--what have you done for me lately? mentality. Of course, Jordan's warnings come to fruition with Sean befriends a cute homeless girl and then has to use his power to save her boyfriend. (Showing the difference between Sean and Jordan in a lot of ways...I could see Jordan letting the boyfriend pass away so that he could move in on the girlfriend..because let's face it, Sean and the homeless girl had some chemistry.)
Meanwhile, the mythology of the show takes a baby-step forward as Jordan finally catches up to Lilly, Richard and Isabelle. He meets Isabelle and the world doesn't explode around him or he doesn't double over in pain. Jordan takes this as a sign and offers to use his pull with the NTSC to get Richard and Lilly off their David Banner-like run across the U.S. As we got to Jordan waiting to see Isabelle, I fully expected to see the words "To Be Continued" flash on screen and to have to wait two weeks to see what would happen. That said, I think this is only the calm before the storm with Jordan and Isabelle.The Dead Zone: Double Vision
Episodes like this one are why I got hooked on The Dead Zone
in the first place. The game of cat and mouse and visions within visions, all trumping each other as Johnny and Alex tried to meet was a nice touch for the story. And the plotline of the two working togther to find out whic vision was past, present or future and then how to make the changes needed to save the little boy's father from himself was nicely done. The Dead Zone
treaded a dark path, but it did so with some lighter moments that helped it not seem as dour and depressing as the first two episodes of the year did.
Seeing Johnny actually get to have some fun and smile was a nice change of pace and I do hope we get to see Alex back again soon as I liked the give and take between the two of them. Plus having someone in there who can be a bit of a wild card to the show could make for some fun. And if we're not going to have Dana back....I guess Alex serve as good eye candy.
This hour just flew by and at the end, I was left thinking--man, no new Dead Zone
next week. That stinks. The Inside: Everything Nice
Over the years, it's been interesting to watch the development of Jane Espenson as a writer. She started out on Buffy
and has written for all three Mutant Enemy shows. The thing about Esponson is when she's on top of her game, she's as good as anyone writing for television today.
"Everything Nice" was Esponson at the top of her game.
I want to say this was a nice hour of TV, but nothing about it was nice. It was chilling and disturbing on many levels, but yet was absoulutely rivetting. The scene in the treehouse as Rebecca confronts the alleged killer (who is a 10-year old girl) was just amazing. The look on the little girl's face as she jumped off the treehouse ladder and screamed that Rebecca had pushed her was chilingly effective. Also, the investigation that slowly reveals that this little girl is behind the killing of the boy in her neighborhood and that she stayed around to hear and see the mother find the body....wow, that's some dark, gruesome and disturbing terrirtory. And to see how she'd framed the innocent groundskeeper, not only costing him his job but maybe his reputation and sanity was a nice touch.
Intersting the way parent/child realtionships play out in this one. We have the victim and his mother, where the mother seems to know something is bothering her son, but she waits too long to find out what's going on and misses the opportunity to maybe save her child. Then we have Madison, the 10-year-old girl who kills the boy and her mother. As we see them interact on screen, her mother is always giving orders or making judging comments. Also, I felt as if Madison were more an accessory child to her parents than a child to raise, love and nurture. Rebecca implies as much about the expensive treehouse that Madison has...I guess it's out of sight, out of mind until you need the picture of the perfect family.
Then, we had Virgil. As the father-figure of the team, he allows the squabbling of his kids in order to solve the case. He pits the two theories as to who killed the boy against each other, even giving them a deadline to make their case to him. And it's interesting how these two diverging viewpoints eventually help each other assist the separate investigations.
I hate to admit it, but I really like this show. Which can only mean FOX will cancel it next week.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/30/2005 10:19:00 AM