Monday, September 17, 2007

Report on the 4400: "The Great Leap Forward"

After two sub-par weeks, and a sub-par first 3 minutes to this week's episode, the Season Finale of The 4400 returned to the fantastic form it showed for most of this season, and reminded me why I love this show so much -- because anything can happen.

In order to adequately tie-together all of the different plotlines opened up this season, this finale had to pack in a lot -- and for the most part, the show was able to do so, establishing a heart-pumping frenetic pace in the process.

And while I enjoyed this finale immensely, now that the season is over the question I pose is, did the writers try to fit in too much this year? While each plotline was being opened, one at a time, I could not be more excited at the prospects each represented. But, after seeing them all closed, I wonder if there should have been less stories and more depth to them.

The Marked came along, and already, the marked have been vanquished. Tom became marked, and in a flash, he was healed (which, by the way, was the one part of this finale that was done poorly, in my opinion, there was little to no drama). Collier became marked, and before he even manifested it, he's healed. Isabelle became good, Isabelle became bad, Isabelle became good again, Isabelle became dead. It all just happened so fast.

I feel like this season, as exciting as each episode was individually, suffered from a lack of focus. And at no time has this been more evident, than with the finale's namesake, the "great leap forward" of Danny exposing all those people to promicin.

After all year watching the growth of the "White Light" religion, and watching the Marked plot against the 4400's, it is all just rendered null and void thanks to a freak circumstance of Danny's powers. The religion had no effect on Danny. Danny was not Marked. Danny was just an unlucky schlub who was dealt a damned hand -- and because of it, all of the past season is kind of meaningless. It's been great episodes along the way, but still, it's meaningless.

I would have much rather that the person who could infect you with promicin came from Promise City, as a part of the "White Light" plan, that would have at least given the season balance.

The biggest mystery of the season was whether Cassie is good or is she bad -- and it did not even need to be resolved yet because Danny's power changed everything.

And, as long as we're talking about Danny's power, I don't know if I've ever been more uncomfortable watching TV than while watching those random people just start coming down with promicin death left and right. It was just done so well that I really had that feeling of despair and "who's next to fall?"

Danny's scenes with Shawn were equally touching, for the same hopeless reasons -- go inside Sean's head for a moment -- how many people are going to die in front of him?

And now, everything in the show has changed, just like it did at the end of Season 3. The writers have very carefully positioned the pieces again, and I am especially intrigued by the fact that Diana cannot become promicin positive.

The problem is, at this point last year, we were already sure that another 13 episode season was on the way. As of yet, USA Network has not bought a Fifth season -- and with the ratings as they are, I really doubt it is going to happen. This finale really was a "Great Leap Forward," and I will be truly disappointed if we don't get to watch where that leads.

Would you like some season-ending Random Thoughts?

1) If Tom takes the shot, and Diana cannot take the shot, does that put them on opposite sides, eventually?

2) I'm glad Isabelle is dead, if only because a character that powerful should not be running around.

3) Two Garritys! Twice the amount of people who can get sick, or hurt, or whatever else since he's always the first guy to get affected by anything at NTAC.

4) Megan can change Pens into Flowers? Watch out Bic!

5) Marco is a teleporter now? He and Hiro Nakamura should have contests to decide who the nerdy-er teleporter is.

6) Kyle did a pretty good job in a leadership role... and was it just me, or does he have more on-screen chemistry with Megan than Tom does?

7) Where does this leave Shawn? If there is a Fifth Season, is he the opposition to Collier? But he did just heal Collier and help him stop being Marked, right? I cannot see him become the real hardcore opposition if he's always helping Jordan...

8) I still want to know if Cassie is evil, damnit!

9) Maia telling Diana "We're in Charge Now. It's better that way" was just plain creepy.

10) At what point do the people of Promise City remember that communism only works in a small city, not in a giant country? The more Promise City grows, the less it will work...

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