Since the death of Jordan Collier, the main focus of The 4400 has turned away from Isabelle, who we thought to be the unholy child of Richard and Lily to, well, the events surrounding Jordan’s death. There are a lot of things that are going on. Shawn was Jordan’s handpicked successor, but because he is more charismatic than practical, Jordan also picked somebody named Matthew to handle that aspect of the movement. Tom is adjusting to his new married life, and Kyle is becoming more and more paranoid about his blackouts. In other words, pretty normal stuff for all of our little time-traveling friends and all the people around them.But before we get too deep into the episode, we should learn a little bit about our returnee of the week. His name is Edwin and he works as a nurse in the maternity ward of a hospital in Seattle. Recently, there has a been a string of “miracle babies” there. Babies who were tested in the womb and were thought to have severe mental or physical handicaps were turning out to be healthy, “normal” babies. Ethical questions aside, what Edwin does is remarkable, and he seems content to be doing things on the sidelines. Unfortunately, people like to talk, and people have noticed that the babies assigned to Edwin are often “fixed” before they were born. A doctor confronts him with these facts because she knows he is a 4400 and know there is already one healer among the 4400. Edwin admits it, but again, wants his privacy. We’ll come back to that later.
Another person in need of some privacy is Kyle Baldwin, judging by the morning wood he sprouted when he woke up. It’s taken Kyle a little while to adjust. First, he is in a coma and doesn’t know who he is. Then, he is out of the coma, but is quarantined after a white light hits and the future humans speak to him. He begins to adjust to life, even attending community college where it looks like he wants to break a little somethin’ off with one of his teachers, but then he starts getting more blackouts. Kyle finds out his dad was transported into an alternate dimension where he was married for eight years and now his dad’s alternate dimension wife is living with him and he calls her mom. Oh, and he wakes up and finds his face on the front page of the newspaper with a big “WANTED” above it.
Yes, Kyle is wanted. We had suspected that he was somehow involved in Jordan Collier’s shooting, because we saw him burying something, presumably a bag with a weapon. By coincidence, his dad was the only person who saw him at the scene, but Tom was unable to make an identification because Kyle was wearing a mask. A janitor saw Kyle enter the building without the mask, and gave a nice little description to an NTAC sketch artist. Kyle is now remembering things that happened, including a memory of shooting Jordan. Just to jog his memory, he returns to the building where the shooting took place.
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I saw myself on a wanted ad on the front page of a newspaper, I wouldn’t be going back to the scene where my flashbacks happen. Kyle either has to turn himself in, or try not to get caught. He definitely isn’t thinking about turning himself in, but for somebody who wants to be evasive, he really isn’t trying to hide all that much. Seriously, if you are wanted for murder and you know it, do you go to class? I mean, he’s in Seattle, why not steal a car and head to Canada? If you’re adventurous and are confident that people won’t recognize you, you can head to Mexico. You’d be sunning yourself on the beaches of a non-extradition treaty in no time. This really is the only way to do it in these sorts of situations.
It’s too bad Kyle doesn’t know Richard. Now that guy knows how to live life on the run. He had to lug around a wife and baby, and was able to flee detection for a long time. If he was Kyle, he probably would have made his way back to North Korea by now. If he told the government he deserted the US Army during the Korean War (even if it was because of an abduction), they’d give him a hero’s welcome and we’d never hear from him again.
So what about Richard’s service? We know that he was the only black officer in his unit, and we have been given small hints as to the type of abuse and discrimination he received, but Richard has been pretty stoic this whole time. After he returned from the future, he saw things had changed, especially with regards to race. He marveled at how interracial couples walked down the street and nobody seemed to mind. It was his relationship with a white woman, Lily’s grandmother actually, that put him in a lot of trouble with some of the people in his unit, but when somebody he respected died, he decides to go to the funeral. Everybody there was apologetic for how they treated Richard, and even though they are all 50 years older than him, they are happy for him. Everybody except one person, named Lee.
The rest of the officers in Richard’s unit want him to leave Lee alone. He is a shell of a man, living in a hospital in California and dying of emphysema. Richard wants closure, however, and insists on visiting Lee. Once there, he sees that Lee is a bigot, and hasn’t changed. It’s frustrating for Richard because Lee had no problem with Richard being in the Army or serving in his unit; he objected to who Richard chose to spend his time with, and a white woman wasn’t acceptable. Lee initiated some intimidation on Richard to get him to stop, and it was after one of these sessions when Richard was abducted. I would like to say there was something central to the story in all of this, but it was really just “oh, let’s fill you in about Richard” segment. I guess you could say it served a purpose because it confronted bigotry, yada, yada, but it was mostly filler. I feel loathe to say this because of the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act is upon us, but it was probably unnecessary.
Back at the 4400 center, Shawn is still trying to juggle life as a public figure. Matthew, the man Jordan asked help Shawn through this process, is very helpful, but it is tough for him to gain Shawn’s trust. Has anybody else noticed how similar Matthew is to Jordan? I mean the suits, the look, the hair, the mannerisms? By the next episode, ie tomorrow, I bet they give us a little more information. Remember, Jordan’s body was removed, and we don’t know what happened to it. Is he re-animated as Matthew? We’ll have to wait and find out.
Anyway, Matthew is trying to help the movement, uhhh, move along, you could say. Shawn is going to have to pay attention to what he does. They know he is a healer, so he is mobbed when he is outside. Last episode, Lily, who is some sort of empath or something, found a way to answer all of the flood of correspondence asking Shawn to save people with the need for Shawn to have a normal life. They created a foundation to select the neediest cases. Lily did the convincing, but it was Matthew’s idea, and it is clear that he has much more influence in the goings on of the 4400 Center than Shawn has. And quite frankly, Shawn kind of likes it that way until Matthew makes one request.
When Shawn came back, his family was so happy, but things weren’t easy for him. Being a 4400 made him a target at school, and all his relationships changed. Suddenly, his younger brother Danny was his age, and when he came back, his brother’s girlfriend, who always had a crush on Shawn, decided to do something about it. This upset his brother, as you would imagine, and along with everything else, Shawn decided the 4400 center was his best option. Matthew tells Shawn it would be in the best interest of the center if he had good ties with his family. One of the characteristics of a cult is that it discourages contact with outside family members. To combat this image, it would help if Shawn was at least friendly with his mom and brother.
With a little reluctance, Shawn sees his mom, who is of course delighted that he came to visit. She arranges a family dinner for him and Danny, and although things get tense for a moment or two (Danny wanted to punch Shawn and Shawn saying go ahead if it makes him feel better – fairly pedestrian stuff), they do make up. Danny, who goes to school with Kyle, tells Shawn about Kyle’s problems, and how lately Kyle has been secretive and agitated. Kyle didn’t want anybody else to know, especially Shawn, who he considers almost a traitor for being brainwashed by Jordan and the 4400 center, but Shawn and Danny come over. Shawn convinces Kyle that if he needs some time to get away from it all, the 4400 center is the best place. After a little more convincing, Kyle decides that is the best course of action.
We still have to talk about Edwin, the 4400 who can heal. Tom and Diana paid a visit to him and convinced him to come into NTAC and have the physicians take a look. If it is indeed true that he can heal birth defects after they have manifested themselves at a chromosomal level, science has much to learn. If they can gain any insight at all, it would be huge in the name of curing birth defects and many other genetic diseases. Unfortunately, no amount of poking and prodding can reveal exactly what it is that Edwin can do that helps sick children.
Edwin has continually wanted to stay out of the public eye, we believe because he is humble, but it may be for another reason. When it was learned of his abilities, Matthew had somebody from the 4400 center leak it to the press, ostensibly to foster a sense of mistrust with NTAC. When Edwin’s face came on the television screen, it was soon clear why he didn’t want publicity. He was a refugee from Rwanda who was granted political asylum in the United States, but he was the one that was actually wanted by the Rwandan government for war crimes and atrocities.
He had a medical clinic and was a Hutu, but most of the people who used his clinic, as well as his friends, were Tutsis. When the Hutu majority started their slaughter of almost a million people, they asked Edwin to tell everybody it was a safe haven. When people came to flee the killing, the Hutus began the slaughter. Now, it was likely that Edwin was forced more than he was asked to do what he did, but he did agree with it, unlike the nice people across town who ran Hotel Rwanda. His face was recognizable and immediately the Rwandan government demanded that he be extradited to face trial, which almost assuredly would have ended up with his execution by bullet or rope.
Because of Edwin’s abilities, the US decides not to give him back to Rwanda, which infuriates Tom. He can’t believe they are going to let a murderer walk free because of his abilities. Diana is looking at the big picture. Edwin is remorseful, and he does want to help. His ability might not make up for what he did in the past, but he is willing to help people now, and that is what’s important. This discussion goes back and forth, and it brings up another interesting scenario. We once saw what happened when a 4400 decided to sell his ability, and now we see a 4400 with an ability, but he is a criminal. Does that ability allow him to escape culpability for his crimes? And why would the future humans pick a criminal to be given a power? Why not somebody else?
This sort of debate goes on and on, and Tom gets more and more upset. He loathes having to guard this guy, and when the relative of one of the people Edwin killed dies of a heart attack on his lawn while protesting his existence, Tom nearly goes ballistic. But you know what? Tom doesn’t really need to freak out so much, because in the irony of all ironies, every time Edwin uses his ability, something happens to his body that causes damage. If he doesn’t use his ability to heal, he’ll be sent to Rwanda and surely die. If he does use his ability, it will eventually kill him. Edwin chooses to do good while still on this planet, but NTAC knows he’ll need protection. Edwin, however, doesn’t want to live in some cage in the basement of a government building. In the end, Edwin goes to stay at the 4400 center, which I guess was Matthew’s hope in the first place anyway.
We had earlier discussed Kyle and Shawn and their family problems, but there were other people having some difficulties. Some time ago, Diana’s sister April came to live with her and Maia. April took a liking to Maia because she is different and they are probably about the same level of maturity. April is a tattoo artist and constantly broke, so she is always looking for ways to make money, one of them being the lottery. Maia thinks it’s some type of game, and is happy to help her aunt win. But when April realizes what she has, she decides to do a little more betting, and starts to ask Maia who will win baseball games and the like, and starts racking up easy money. Maia catches on to what she does, and is upset, so she tells April the wrong answer once on purpose in order to see why she was really betting. It was all very much like that Simpsons where Lisa starts betting with Homer.
April is upset at what Maia did, and Maia is upset because she was being used. To compound things, April pawned off her mother’s engagement ring, which was actually given to Diana, because she wanted to place a bigger bet. With her loss, she lost the ring. Diana is upset about that, but is even more upset with how April treated Maia. Yes, the little girl is precocious, but she is still a child and April took advantage of her. April apologizes, but Diana forces her to leave. April’s departure upsets Maia, who admittedly has a very confined family life and not too many friends. She loves her mom, but Aunt April was becoming one of her best friends, and she doesn’t understand why she has to leave. After some deliberation, Diana decides that she is a little too harsh. It’s going to take some time before she can trust April again, but she doesn’t want things between them to end badly. Diana buys back the engagement ring, and gives it to April. She tells April that Maia is going to wear it when she gets married, and she hopes that sometime April and Maia will be friends and talking again. And then April left for Berkeley, because hippies need lots of tattoos, and if April has to be homeless for awhile, nobody down there seems to mind and lots of people are smelly anyway, so she’ll fit in.
But while Diana, April, and Maia have some problems, nothing is like what is going on in the Baldwin home. Kyle has decided that he can’t take it anymore and runs away, leaving one of the weakest goodbye notes you have ever seen. But wait! He’s going to see Shawn at the 4400 center. Umm, no, that is not the case either, because Shawn wonders where the hell he is as well.
There you have it – Kyle is going to be caught, I would think in the next couple of weeks. There is a huge question as to why he was chosen to do everything. We thought that maybe he was around to combat Jordan, but what if the future humans really wanted to have Jordan killed. When you consider that he is possible reincarnated as Matthew, perhaps it all happened so Jordan could be more effective? And what about Isabelle? She hasn’t killed anybody or ruptured any internal organs of her enemies for a couple of weeks now. I am starting to wonder just what kind of pure evil she is supposed to be.