So, by now most of the TVgasm readers should have an idea about the background of The 4400. Abducted by future humans, changed somehow, and brought back in order to save mankind. Why so many? Well, if you’ve seen a movie like 12 Monkeys, you really know the danger of leaving the fate of the world in the hands of one anonymous time traveler. Why does the mission have to be secret? Why can’t other people know why you’re around? For every person out there who would want to lock you up, there is sure to be a Madeleine Stowe or two around that will want to help. As it turns out, the future humans took a good gamble, and even the government is trying to help them out.Not all of the 4400 realize that they have powers right away. Some are just beginning to learn that they have some sort of gift. One of those people is Gary Navarro (played by Sharif Atkins of er fame), a baseball player who was taken in 1973. He made it back to the minors, and after a little bit of a hot streak, he has the attention of some scouts, some of them who may want him to join the big leagues. The only problem is that Navarro has a lot of people telling him what to do and he can’t block them out of his head, which is understandable, because now he can read minds.
I know what you’re saying, mind reading would be cool. You could find out what your coworkers are thinking about you, determine if your friends really like your jokes or are just laughing to be polite, and my personal favorite, to find out if that girl likes you for your personality, your gorgeous looks, or your modesty. And in the beginning, it was OK for Navarro as well. He could hear what the catcher or pitcher was thinking before anything happened, and was always prepared for the next pitch. Unfortunately, sometimes things go too far, and you can’t block out what anybody is saying, like Mel Gibson in “What Women Want.” Everything you hear is driving you crazy.
After going crazy on a baseball scout, Gary decides to seek some help from NTAC. Diana and Tom are assigned to the case, of course, and although they don’t really believe him at first, they see he is telling the truth. Case closed, get the kid some help, right? If for nothing else than the fact that Sharif Atkins is really over-acting during the times when he is supposed to be going crazy, they should do something. He is taking some anti-psychosis medicine that seems to help him concentrate on only one voice, so with a little work, maybe he can learn to control what is happening to him.
Straightforward, right? Well, not so much. Remember Jordan Collier, billionaire turned 4400, turned megalomaniac, turned prophet, turned author? If people thought Tess Doerner was a little paranoid with all of the talk of scientists in submarines, you would really start to wonder about Jordan Collier. He seemingly has his place swept hourly to find listening devices. NTAC has sent in plenty of people to bug his offices in search of more information on what he is trying to do (which I guess makes Collier less paranoid if people really are trying to get him), especially since they noticed a crazy South African hanging around who specializes in arming mercenaries and funding guerillas. What better way to find out information about him than to send in a person who can only function with regular doses of drugs to calm his nerves? I guess Tom Cruise wasn’t around to personally take Navarro off of drugs and save him from psychiatrists. Nothing is going to go wrong with that plan.
But before we go on with that, how about a little update on Richard, Lily, and Isabel? Richard made it to the emergency room, and they bought a truck (bonus, you won’t get run off the road, anti-bonus, have you seen the gas prices on the west coast?!). Things are pretty decent, but Richard will have to eventually find a job because they burned through most of their money. Now, I am not being misogynistic by saying that Richard needs to be the bread winner, but they do have a baby that can apparently control nature and convince men to blow their own heads off with shotguns. Isabel only talks to Lily, so she kind of needs to stay home with her.
The motel they find is adequate, but still lacking. They had to abandon their other car, so they need some things for the baby, including blankets to keep her warm. Lily asks the manager for a blanket. Chivalry isn’t what it used to be, and Lily has to beg the manager for a blanket. The manager doesn’t know that the baby can kill him with just a few thoughts, but apparently Isabel isn’t too concerned about keeping warm, because she doesn’t force the guy to hang himself with his belt. Instead, her mom has to give the guy five dollars for a blanket. He takes the money, and goes to get a blanket, but just after he leaves, the cash drawer comes comes open. She is anguished at what to do, but they really need the money, so she swipes some cash out of the drawer and closes it before he comes back.
They made it look like Lily had taken a lot of money, but she took cash from the rightmost side of the till, which is usually reserved for the small bills – at least wherever I have worked it was. Still, you could argue that some people put the big bills on the right and she did get a lot of money, but nothing more than a couple of hundred of dollars. She decides that she is going to go crazy and buy some diapers and some Chinese food. When Richard comes home, he wonders how the hell she bought all of that food, because they were supposed to save money. Lily explains about the register, and Richard really gets pissed.
Now I can understand why Richard is upset, but this guy is *really* self-righteous with his “that’s not how I live my life” and “is that what we’re trying to teach our daughter.” Lily comes back with the “well, I didn’t imagine my life like this either,” meaning she didn’t think she was going to have run around being poor all day. She starts eating, but Richard is not hungry anymore, apparently too good for food not bought legally. Uh, Richard, did you notice that you left three bodies dead in the woods, two of them with point-blank shotgun wounds? In the grand scheme of things, eating some lo mein purchased with stolen money is not going to kill you. Eat some food Richard, maybe you’ll have some energy to have sex with your wife. I know you are from 1955 and holding hands in public is practically x-rated, but some sex might take the edge off. Although you can’t really afford another mouth to feed (I am actually surprised Lily doesn’t breast feed to tell you the truth), it might be nice to have a baby around that isn’t, you know, capable of telepathic homicide.
Richard has another dream, this time that cops are coming after him, and the dream comes true. Oh no! He knew he should have turned his wife in for stealing that money out of the register, or perhaps turn his baby over for the triple homicide. But luckily, the cops aren’t after him, but some other people staying at the motel, likely meth bakers or some shit. One night there is good, and Richard decides to move on. He sees that a small child is playing with his daughter, so he better take her away. No, he’s not a bad parent, he just doesn’t want her to get upset and kill the boy with her mind. Before he can say much more, he has a small attack like what happened to the reverend before he died. Was the baby upset with Daddy? Before that time, she had only hurt other people. If she would do this to her parents, I hope they really enjoy SpongeBob Squarepants, because she is going to be getting her way.
So, what about Maia? Did she recover from the sleep over where everybody mocked her Frank Sinatra crush? The answer is yes, and she has a new friend in town. Since Maia was freaking everybody out at the other schools with her predictions, Diana has been home schooling her. Maia is very smart, but she is also cooped up for most of the day, but things are about to change when Diana’s sister comes to visit. We didn’t know that Diana had a sister, and Maia is very happy to see her new aunt. You can tell she is not like the aunt who made you eat your peas, she is way cooler. Need evidence? She is a tattoo artist and is in town for a convention, and she wears the semi-slutty clothes and sports the free-wheeling demeanor that tells you she was the black sheep of the family.
Diana’s sister sort of invites herself to stay, and she sees that Maia is locked up and decides to take her out. In fact, she pulls her out of home school and the two of them have a ton of fun. What Diana’s sister doesn’t know is that she can’t simply feed a young girl all the food that she can eat, and when she returns home, Maia has to go puke. To top if off, Diana had no clue where either of them were, which tends to get parents a little jumpy. The two women get in an argument, and Diana’s sister decides to leave, but Maia tells her not to go. Something bad is going to happen at the motel if she leaves, and Maia lets it out that she knows. Although Diana know she was having visions, Maia is upset she let it slip and goes to cry in her room. Don’t betray her, mommy! You’ll be sorry. She said so.
Finally, we have the case of Kyle Baldwin. Not being in quarantine has its advantages, such as he is able to interact normally with people his age and pursue his interests. One of these interests is going to college, but when he goes to register, he finds that his dad hasn’t paid his tuition yet. Upset, Kyle yells at his dad later that night. His father forgot to send the check because he was too busy with his job. Kyle pouts and says it’s just like before, when his dad forgot about him in order to do his job.
God Kyle, shut up! Even the most elite colleges allow people to change classes for a week or so after classes start, sometimes later with instructor permission. I think you’ll still be able to catch up with your classes at Northwest Washington State or wherever you decided to go after missing ONE DAY. Don’t be such a whiny bitch. Make some friends, attend some parties, chase some tail, and you’ll soon stop pouting about how little time your dad spends with you. You’ll be too busy trying to convince that cute girl in the front row that you took poetry because you were interested in Yeats and not because you liked the tube top she was wearing when you signed up for the class.
Kyle avoids disaster, but on his first day he is a little lost. He doesn’t know where to go, and is kind of standing in the middle of campus, looking off into nowhere. It’s almost as if he was being possessed by future humans again. Luckily, a hot student walks by and gives him some directions. They chat a little bit, and he makes a joke about how boring his next class on 19th century French novellas or some shit is. She makes an awkward laugh, and they go their separate ways.
As this whole thing was going down, I was thinking that she is a little too old-looking and old-acting to be another student; I bet she is a teacher, and I bet she is the teacher of the class he just dissed. Sure enough, it is all true. He sits down, ready for a boring class, and she comes in to teach it. The look on his face is priceless, and when he raises a hand to ask a question, she looks at him and says “I’ll speak with you after class.” Normally not a great thing to hear, but if you are trying to keep yourself from being bored in the middle of a lit class, pondering the hidden meaning in that statement could hold you over.
Kyle is hot for teacher, so much so that he reads entire books out of his syllabus in one night instead of twenty pages at a time. (Twenty pages a night for a lit class? More like three books.) She sees that he is really interested in her material (class material, not her hot ass) so she asks him if he wants to discuss over some coffee later. See, Kyle, one week at school, and you’ve already found you some some higher education ass. Aren’t the liberal arts great? If this stuff continues, he’ll be an art history major in a week. [BTW, I think it would be a great idea if The OC writers had Ryan and a guidance counselor or teacher start getting it on. He can break her heart, and she'll move to the midwest. It's brilliant!]
With all of that out of the way, we can concentrate on Navarro. He made it into the 4400 center, and because he was a 4400 and not some mere mortal, he was able to speak with Collier directly. Shawn comes in, and has an argument with Collier. Gary knows it is about Dravit, so he decides to do a little bit of investigation himself. While the two of them are talking in the garden, he is standing nearby listening to their thoughts. He doesn’t get a chance to do it for long because Dravit catches him and reports him to Collier. Navarro makes a good excuse about not wanting to interrupt while the argument was going on, but goes to his room anyway.
When he gets back, he finds the unthinkable. They have taken away his meds! Soon, all the voices will come back and he will be certifiably crazy. He pleads with the receptionist lady who thought he was cute and liked his shoes, but they don’t believe in drugs at the center, which is funny because I didn’t notice any statues of L. Ron Hubbard anywhere.
Without his drugs, Navarro can’t concentrate. He stumbles out of one of his classes into Collier’s office, where he stumbles onto a conversation that Collier is having with Dravit, but lets it slip that he can read minds. This sends Dravit absolutely ballistic because he has all of those plans for undermining governments in his head. Things escalate a little bit, but before Dravit’s goons can blow people’s heads up, Diana and Tom burst in from their secret stakeout van and stop them. Navarro is just sane enough to tell them that Collier is looking to start a coup d’etat in some small island country and Dravit was going to help him. Collier can’t believe a 4400 betrayed him, and let Navarro read his mind that “they were at war” and he shouldn’t pick the losing side.
Finally, our poor baseball player can get the help he deserves and try and get back to the show, correct? Uh, not quite. It turns out the NSA found out what was going on with his powers and wants to sit him in on some meetings with some foreign dignitaries. It’s not like they are dropping him into the middle of China or Moscow during the Cold War, but it wasn’t the freedom he expected, and it sure went against the promise that Tom made to help him out. Mommy’s bosses will be sorry for betraying him, that’s for sure.
So now we know there are sort of two sides. There is the Jordan Collier side who is sick of the government getting in the way and wants to use the 4400 to make enough money to buy a small country, and then we have the government, who is supposed to be helping the returnees, but has no problem plucking them out of their normal lives in the interest of national security. The only question is how many of the 4400 will NTAC betray with deals similar to Navarro’s, and just how badly they will pay.
And then there is Isabel. You know, the more I think about it, the more I think Lily knows more than she lets on. Was it the baby that had the mind control powers? Because she really has only been useful to manipulate the forces of nature, not that you can call what she does a sideshow or anything. Is it possible that Lily has the mind control, and only uses it when she feels threatened? Sort of like when Collier touched her womb, or Richard was getting a little uppity when Isabel was trying to enjoy the afternoon? My other theory is that the baby communicates with Richard through his oddly accurate dreams of the near future. That might even be the way Lily communicates with the baby, but doesn’t tell anybody. But whatever it is, I hope they stop running eventually. As somebody said, we don’t want them to become the Kim Bauer of this show and have to rescue themselves from one implausible entrapment to the next.
I am thinking there is going to be some sort of Isabel/Collier showdown to finish this season, but haven’t come up with a scenario that makes sense yet.