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Promicin Exchange: Sinners and Saints on "The 4400"

Plus ca change, plus ce la meme chose. The more things change, as they say...

I can't believe that this season of USA's abductee drama The 4400 has come and gone already. I spent the entire summer catching up on what has now become one of my favorite shows (though I sorely miss Lily and Kyle, but more on that in a bit) and can't believe I've reached the end of the road... for now anyway. I already miss Tom Baldwin (Joel Gretsch) and Diana Skouris (Jacqueline McKenzie) and I don't know about you but that ending made me a little... weepy. (In the most manly way, of course.) Putting aside that three-hanky ending, I would be remiss if I didn't bring up some of the momentous, um, moments in this week's finale ("Fifty-Fifty").

I love the little 4400 cabal created by Jordan (Billy Campbell). Or at least its inner circle comprised of Jordan, Tess (Firefly's Summer Glau, here magnificently lucid), and Kevin Burkhoff (Jeffrey Combs). This little troika, I think, has the potential to become next season's power villains. Or heroes. Depending on your point of view and definition of "grey." Speaking of which, Jordan is totally off his rocker. At least, I think so.

One of the series' strengths has been its knack at keeping you guessing as to the motivations and machinations of its most enigmatic character, Jordan Collier, who has transformed from ruthless capitalist to cult leader to Messiah, who might just be the savior of the so-called 4400... or their damnation. (Jesus? Or Judas? Take your pick.) Was he resurrected to save humanity or end it altogether? And how exactly was he resurrected? (And which future faction wanted him dead?) And better still: what exactly is Jordan's 4400 ability? It was a fantastic twist that Jordan went after the promicin itself and plans to distribute the entire stockpile to any willing human volunteers. Of course there is that pesky fifty-fifty chance that volunteers will develop abilities... or they'll die within 48 hours.

I think I'd opt not to take the promicin, even if a diluted version seems to have had no permanent effects on mad scientist Kevin Burkhoff, the "father" of 4400 technology. But Devon wasn't so lucky. The first volunteer and president of the I Heart Jordan Collier Fan Club, Devon ends up having a massive aneurysm and dies in Shawn's arms as even his healing abilities can't save her. Poor, poor Devon, going from bedding Jordan to becoming his first sacrifice. I've missed seeing her this season and think that she should have become a larger part of the show, becoming Shawn's right-hand, er, woman.

Diana's sister April (Pasadena's Natasha Gregson-Wagner) seems to have no such qualms about taking the promicin, especially after Diana stole her boyfriend Ben (Brennan Elliott). Jordan's whole plan hinges on the fact that the volunteers are lost souls that he's saving and offering a second chance at life as 4400s and no one seems to be quite as lost as April. Other than Kyle Baldwin (Chad Faust), that is. I can only hope that Kyle's presence at the end of the episode signifies his return to the series (he's sorely missed). That shot of him holding a syringe containing promicin makes me believe that he injects himself; he was almost a 4400 (no thanks to glory-hog Shawn) and has been used and abused by nearly everyone since he emerged from his coma in Season One. Kyle as a willing 4400 just makes sense. And it also puts him squarely on the opposite side of a battle from dear ol' dad, Tom. The lines of combat are swiftly being drawn...

Speaking of combat, I am glad that Tom had the stones to finally take down Isabelle (albeit in a less-than-permanent way). While I wish that Isabelle's arc from naive insta-adult to psychotic would-be child-killer was a bit smoother, I think that the end result was worth a little choppiness. Tom does his best to take her down but it's Richard (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali)--using his newfound telekinetic ability--who administers that mysterious future injection into his beloved (and freaky) daughter. And then Tom hesitates for a second before shooting her. Isabelle's powers may be gone (for now, anyway) but it doesn't mean that she's any less dangerous than before. If anything, she now truly has nothing holding her back from destroying the 4400. Not even Shawn (Patrick Flueger), whom she ruthlessly put into a coma after "interrogating" him at Dennis Ryland (Peter Coyote)'s behest. I can only wonder what Lily would have done and who she would have supported, given this turn of events. (Something tells me that she would have sided with Isabelle, even though she's clearly EVIL.)

After Isabelle's attack on the 4400 Center, where she nearly killed everyone inside (including the cutest little precog ever, Maia), Diana decides that she's going to leave the Pacific Northwest and head someplace safer. Namely Spain. Ben has been offered a job there and Diana is taking Maia (Conchita Campbell) away from the madness of Jordan, Isabelle, Dennis Ryland, and the 4400s. She and Tom have a truly bittersweet moment on the steps of his house as she says goodbye and I couldn't help but get a little teary... especially as Diana has truly grown on me in the last three seasons of the show. I may have thought she was a "wet blanket" originally, but she has become the heart and soul of The 4400. But fret not, Diana and Maia will be back next season, though I had no idea that Maia's heart-breaking prediction about Alana would already come true...

With Shawn out of commission and Kyle wandering the country, the only family Tom truly has left (discounting, yes, the sister and kooky nephew) is his girlfriend Alana (Karina Lombard). United by an eight-year relationship they had in an alternate reality of her creation (yes, you read that correctly), Alana and Tom have had their ups and downs (doesn't help your relationship when your girlfriend is a fugitive), but no sooner does Tom say goodbye to partner and friend Diana then Alana is disappeared (again!) but a shimmering ball of light that whisks her off of her suburban street into the ether. Why has she been taken again? By whom? And for what purpose? Tom was able to bring Maia back into the timeline before, but something tells me that the future is not going to help him on this one. I'm curious as to why Alana was taken at this moment and whether or not Tom (or the audience) will be seeing her next season. I hope so because I don't want Tom to become a dour loner again...

But then again, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Even for Tom Baldwin.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Big Brother: All-Stars (CBS); Fear Factor (NBC); Gilmore Girls (WB); According to Jim/According to Jim (ABC); Celebrity Duets (FOX; 8-10 pm); Major League Baseball (UPN)

9 pm: Rock Star: Supernova (CBS); Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC); Gilmore Girls (WB); According to Jim/According to Jim (ABC)

10 pm: 48 Hours (CBS); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC); Primetime (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

9 pm: Eureka on Sci-Fi.

The whimsical new sci-fi drama that's more Northern Exposure than Stargate. On tonight's episode ("Blink"), Zoe meets Allison's son (remember him?) while Stark pits two research teams against one another. Like you'd expect anything less from him...

11 pm: Love Soup on BBC America. (10 pm ET)

The whimsical British romantic drama, starring Black Books' Tamsin Greig and Lois & Clark's Michael Landes and written by Jonathan Creek creator David Renwick, returns with another new installment tonight. In tonight's episode ("Take Five"), Alice's neighbor develops a crush on her, but he already has a live-in girlfriend; meanwhile, Gil arranges a date with a fellow writer.


Anonymous said…
IIRC, Karina Lombard will be returning to the cast of The L Word next year, so I would expect Alana to make one or two appearances next season at best.
Anonymous said…
I enjoyed the season finale very much, and liked the season as a whole. About halfway through the season I thought they had gone completely off the rails, mostly because of the Isabelle character. I think her character arc was more than clunky, and unfortunately the actress could not make up for the confusing character motivation. The only thing that saved this season for me was the return of Jordan Collier and his mission to give regular people 4400 abilities to help in the future fight for the human race. I thought that was very compelling and Billy Campbell is pitch perfect in the role.

Even though I am not a fan of Isabelle, I was satisfied with the resolution of her arc this year. I think stripping her of her powers will give her a more interesting and realistic storyline. I'm already very excited for the next season!!

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