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So, here is the deal with The 4400. I really like the show, and I have liked most of the episodes, but for some reason, a number of parts this season have just seemed boring. They had been dealing with so many different plot points that some of the stories have been lost in the shuffle. You might find a story interesting, but right when you are ready for some resolution, the writers leave it a lone for a little while. By the stories you thought were interesting have come back, they don’t interest you as much anymore. The only story that we get an update on each and every week is the love affair between Shawn and Isabelle. It’s becoming more and more apparent that Isabelle will cause the end of the world, which seems like it sucks, but WE ALREADY KNOW HOW TO STOP HER. I know Tom and Diana are trying to stop a government conspiracy, but shouldn’t preventing a global armageddon be higher on their list?You know, it’s interesting to have these new 4400 abilities pop up every now and then, but seriously, every now and then you have to take a break. This week, we learn that there is a male prostitute section of Seattle, and some guy appears to be picking up a 4400. I assume this because the John tells the prostitute, Tim, that he has no idea how “special” he is. I guess that means the prostitute is a 4400. Whatever the case is, Tim isn’t there to chat, and he would rather have his $40 and then get started. Wow, at $40 a pop, Tim is going to have to go down on a lot of guys to support his meth habit or whatever.
Suddenly, things take a turn for the worse, and no, I don’t think that Tim was saying he doesn’t like Madonna. The John tells Tim that he will change the world unless he is stopped, and then proceeds to kill the Tim. Hmm, we know that the people in the future who didn’t like the 4400 sent Isabelle back to do some damage. Could it be that they sent an insurance policy to get rid of 4400s in case Isabelle wasn’t up to the task? Isabelle is a pretty potent weapon, but if what sort of murderous regime plans the end of the world without a backup plan?
NTAC was called out to the scene of the crime, but the person who died, Tim McCarron, wasn’t a 4400, so why would somebody target him? And if the person wasn’t targeting 4400s, then what the hell explains the way this poor bastard died? Adding to the mystery was there was a number “27″ pinned on the corpse, which had been given the Janice Dickinson treatment, or in other words, looked like a mummified corpse.
Diana and Tom aren’t new to law enforcement, so when they saw how the body was placed and the number on it, they immediately suspected that it was a serial killer. That might be the case, but if there had been 26 other bodies that looked like Tim McCarron, somebody would have noticed. One or two, maybe the government can keep it under wraps. Three or four, maybe the black helicopter types have to cleanse a town or two. Five or six, and the New York Times starts to notice. Seven or eight, and Tom Cruise blames the psychologists. Reach ten, and Mel Gibson blames the Jews. Reach twenty, and Michael Moore makes a movie to blame President Bush. By the time you are at 25, Jerry Bruckheimer has made a movie and Brett Ratner wants to do a sequel. If you actually got to 27, there are a few million people calling it a hoax. Obviously, this is a very unique case.
If all of this wasn’t enough, remember that this is also the week of Shawn and Isabelle’s wedding. He doesn’t really want to get married, but it is quickly becoming the most talked about wedding of the year. Tom even asks Diana if she would go with him. There are expected to be over 1000 4400s there, so maybe they could even qualify for overtime. Besides, if you get an invitation and decline, this is one bride where you really want to stay away from her bad side, don’t you think?
Even if Shawn isn’t exactly stoked at getting married, at least he can enjoy the gifts. One person in particular brings a gift that I am sure a lot of prospective grooms would love to receive. The person, Claudio Borghi played by Brian George who is best known (at least to me) as Babu on Seinfeld, brought Shawn a cigar, but not just any cigar. Claudio had a unique gift in that any person he touched would have visions of their future. The cigar he made for Shawn was rolled with his own hands, so much like Naomi Bonderman from a few weeks ago, his powers are transferred to the cigar. I am sure there are plenty of people who smoke something and then see visions and I myself smoked something one night in college and figured out time travel – of course I forgot to write it all down and forgot the next day, but this sort of thing would be even more extraordinary. Shawn thanks Claudio for the gift, and puts the cigar away to use a little later.
Meanwhile, it looks like our crazy killer has found another victim. I guess he was sick of picking on male prostitutes, so he decided to find number 28, or maybe he is counting down and the next number will be 26. This time he has picked himself an Asian businesswoman, and when Tom and Diana are called, they surprised (as was I) to see her tagged with a number 11. Eleven? That makes no sense, but at least they were able to get a partial print on the woman’s wedding band.
After a lot of work, Marco (still putting in the late hours for Diana, and the only thing he is tapping now is his keyboard) was able to find that the fingerprint belonged to Darren Piersahl. Now that they now who it is, you would think it would be easy to find Mr. Piersahl, but there is a little snag. Darren Piersahl was in the military and stationed in Iraq. I say “was” in the military because he was killed in action several months before. Tom and Dian head to see Darren’s father, who is very proud of his son and kept in touch with him. He said that his son’s death was a surprise because Darren had written him saying he was being taken away from the front lines for training in an elite unit, but the next thing he heard his son was dead. The army said that an RPG hit his helicopter, and six soldiers died in the crash. That doesn’t seem too fishy until Mr. Piersahl said the helicopter his son was flying in only had a crew of four. How could six people die in a helicopter that only held four people? Time to get our conspiracy hats on!
I’ll let you construct some crazy conspiracies in your head, but let us catch up with Shawn. Like I said, he has been upset about what is going on. He told Tom that he was doing this more to save others than for his own happiness, but now he has a way to see what happens if he really does marry Isabelle. He takes a toke from the cigar, and has a vision of the future. The future is a war zone, and Shawn comes across Richard, who is injured and maybe even dying. I thought that Shawn was going to take some time and heal Richard, but it was exactly the opposite. Richard says that “Isabelle changed you” and I get the feeling that they are not friends. My feelings are confirmed when Shawn says that Isabelle showed him who he really was, and then decides to kill Richard!?
Later, at the wedding rehearsal, Shawn’s brother gives a nice speech, and then it is time for Richard to say a few words. About the only thing Richard likes about this wedding is that Isabelle picked Shawn to marry. Only a little while ago, he was telling Shawn not to take advantage of his girl, but now he is counting on Shawn to prevent his daughter for destroying civilization. Richard’s words are nice, but Shawn is feeling a lot of guilt after seeing himself kill Richard and has to leave the table. When Richard follows him, Shawn tells him about his vision of the future. Now, being told that your son is going to kill you is going to come as a surprise to anybody not named Menendez, so Richard is upset, but what are they going to do? Cancel the wedding? That isn’t going to help anybody either.
Shawn tells Richard he needs to leave, and to make an excuse for him. Shawn decides to take a drive, and to have another puff of the cigar. This time, he imagines what would happen if he didn’t marry Isabelle. Well, there was a lot of destruction in his first vision, but this latest one is armageddon. Shawn is still fighting, but this time, he is talking with Tom, who is seriously injured and with his dying breaths tells Shawn to help as many people as he can. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. The world is going to hell in a hand basket no matter what he does, so which one does he choose? For me, I would take Isabelle. Sure she is crazy, sure lots of people would die, and yes history would probably remember you as the antichrist, but do you really care that you’ll be a multiple choice answer along with Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot for some kid in Peoria circa 2500 AD? Of course not! You’ll be dead. With Isabelle, you get to dominate the world for a little bit AND likely have hot sex until way past the time you even care about such things. Go for the pleasure Shawn! It will only cost you your soul!
You’ll have to continue your conspiracy brainstorm for a little while, because Tom and Diana aren’t any closer to finding Piersahl, but they did find some similarities among the victims. After Holly Martens, a housewife and number 92, was killed, Marco figured out that all of the victims had the Starzl Mutation. What is the Starzl mutation? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let me explain it to you.
Once upon a time, Seattle Presbyterian had an x-ray machine that wasn’t pumping out the correct radiation. The machine caused many patients to have a mutated gene, and some of these patients passed it on to their kids, but since there is no way of knowing who has it because there are no symptoms, many people don’t even know it exists. When they realized that the machine was broken, they named the mutation after the company that fucked things up in the first place, so we should all expect Alaska to be called Exxon in about fifty years. Whenever something like this happens, a lawsuit is sure to follow, and wherever there is a lawsuit, there is paperwork. And if you have paperwork of people who say they have a mutation, a psychopath can use that information to hunt them down and kill them.
Tom and Diana next head to Seattle Presbyterian to find the files in question. If you have been churning your conspiracies properly, you were not surprised to find that somebody had already asked for the data. That somebody? None other than Haspell Corporation. That means that questioning Dennis Ryland is the next order of business, but when they get there, Ryland denies any of it. First he says that he doesn’t know this Myles Emerick guy, and then he says he has only been around a little while and can’t keep track of everything that exits, and then says it is above his pay grade.
But just to play devil’s advocate, Ryland says that if the program did exist, any good citizen would be happy to know that their government was trying to defend their country because other countries are sure to experiment on 4400s and with promicin as well. Tom asks if it was such a good thing, why doesn’t the government just tell everybody, and Ryland says that they didn’t tell people about the Manhattan project, but that made the world a better place. Now, nuclear weapons are a slippery slope. I agree that they probable helped in WWII much quicker, but overall, the world would probably be better without nukes. Then again, you can’t exactly put the genie back in the bottle, and would the world be a better place if we didn’t have nukes? Even the French wouldn’t give up their nukes these days. I guess whoever wins this promicin arms race, we all lose.
By the time Tom and Diana returned to NTAC, Marco had been able to put a pattern together. In the plane crash that killed Piersahl, there was another soldier whose family did not receive any remains. His name was John Shaffner, and on his dog tag, the first six numbers were 279211. Or 27,92, and 11. The list from the hospital had the names of the people on the lawsuits. The numbers on that list corresponded to the numbers on the names of the people Piersahl killed. Now that they know how they chose his victims, they were able to locate the next person on the list that they thought were to be targeted. That person, a bike storeowner, did indeed see Piersahl, and he had left only moments before, promising to come back. Piersahl saw that Tom and Diana were after him, and left them a note on their car not to interfere.
From there, it might have been a closed case, because if Piersahl knows that they are on to him, he can go into hiding as long as he wants. Luckily, none other than John Shaffner decides to come out of hiding. He finds Diana and Tom, and tells them all about the program. The army told them they were to be part of an elite force, a new type of soldier, but it required secrecy and they would have to fake their deaths. They were given promicin, a little at first, but then increased dosages. Darren was the first to see any sort of change, but he also happened to go crazy.
Well, so far, nothing is all that out of the ordinary. As soon as Haspell was involved, we knew it was some secret super army the government was creating, but the interesting thing came when they were talking about the Starzl mutation. When a 4400 has a kid with a normal person, that child will not create promicin. Apparently, NTAC has been tracking this, but it was the first I heard of it, although not terrible shocking. The shocking part is that the government scientists have determined that a child born of a 4400 and a Starzl-mutated parent would gain 4400 abilities. If you are working for a government agency and your mission is to combat the 4400s in any way possible, an easy way to do that is kill of the 130 or so people known on the planet that can help them increase their numbers.
This should have blow you away, because it explains a lot about the 4400, like why they were returned to Seattle at that specific point in time. Any earlier and there might not be enough of the Starzl mutation for 4400s to be able to produce; any later and you are risking how well the 4400s can change the time line.
With their star witness in their pocket, Diana and Tom once again try Ryland, and now that they have some evidence in the form of an actual body, he is willing to help them find Piersahl in exchange for NTAC’s silence about the whole matter. While going over Piersahl’s file, they learn that he was an eagle scout, and Shaffner remembered his friend talking about a patch of forest that he would retreat to whenever he had problems. Poor guy probably didn’t have any little siblings to pick on. Diana and Tom get a team, and head out into the woods with John to try and bring Piersahl in.
After taking some more time to think, Shawn sees Richard and tells him about the alternate reality where he doesn’t marry Isabelle and things were even worse. Now, I am not one to say that Babu’s powers might not be accurate, but what if Shawn is just having a bad trip? Could you imagine if somebody gave you some magic mushroom pizza and told you that after eating it you could see your future? Would anybody fall for that shit? If they did, could you imagine how dumb they would sound? Maybe Shawn just has cold feet and his mind is giving him an excuse to get out of the marriage? Eh, I guess you can’t take the chance that the information is bad, especially when Isabelle already admitted that she is going to have to do some very bad things.
Shawn doesn’t want to choose between the two realities, but Richard isn’t a pussy. He would gladly sacrifice his own life if he thought that overall it would be better for mankind. Besides, if Shawn knows what he can become, maybe he has a chance of stopping himself before he gets there. Just before the wedding pictures, Shawn takes one last puff of the cigar, and his vision is the same. He kills Richard, but he has a little more back-story. Apparently, Richard started a war, and although Richard called it a pre-emptive strike and something he had to do, Shawn kills him. Now what would make Richard take a pre-emptive strike against the government? Hmm, maybe he found out they were building an army of soldiers to kill 4400s?
Speaking of soldiers, Shaffner found Darren, but it is clear that Darren is too brainwashed to go along quietly. Darren tries to run, and Shaffner follows him, with a whole squad of NTAC right on their heels. Tom is at the lead, and they find Shaffner, but Darren has killed him. Is there no government agency out there that can execute a hard perimeter with any effectiveness? What the hell? Just as I am about to say that Piersahl seems to have disappeared, he comes flying out of the brush and he and Tom start fighting. Diana has shown to be a decent marksman, so I can’t believe she didn’t just shoot Piersahl right away, but of course Tom and Darren appear to have similar clothing and she doesn’t want to make a mistake. Meanwhile, I’m like “Don’t wait too long or that Janice Dickinson thing will set in”, but before I can fret too much Tom emerges from the fight the winner. Shaffner had stabbed Piersahl in the stomach, which is why he didn’t have a chance to mummify Tom in all the commotion.
It’s good that Piersahl has been stopped, but now that Shaffner is dead, there is not witness. Perhaps you could build a circumstantial case and get Ryland to do something he doesn’t want to. That is of course, assuming that Ryland doesn’t want to make it public. Gathering around the telly, it looks like some unnamed general is making an announcement about a new brand of soldiers that have been created to defend the country. He wants their faces front and center so the public knows what they are doing. You have to admit, it is a shrewd move by Ryland, and although he tells Tom that those kinds of decisions are made by people much higher up in the company, you know that’s a lie. The one thing Ryland isn’t shy about is their purpose. When Tom asks if the soldiers are going to defend the country or go after the 4400, Ryland says, “Is there a difference”. I guess there is no pretending what his agenda is any longer.
So, now that we know there is a super army coming after the 4400 (and probably the reason why Richard decided that there should be a pre-emptive strike), I guess there’s no better way to celebrate than with a wedding. Shawn and Isabelle’s nuptials are a major event, and I feel bad for Shawn as I see him having to shake hands and sign autographs on his way to the altar. Then again, he probably relishes every opportunity to delay the inevitable. But see, I don’t think what Shawn saw was so inevitable. He doesn’t know Richard has an ability[thanks for the correction eelsinoc and Deena], and he doesn’t know that there is a needle out there that can kill Isabelle. What if his little choose your own adventure book that he calls life has a few more possibilities in it. But I guess for now, he does need a distraction, and there is no better way to delay the inevitable than somebody random from the past showing up on the scene….like Jordan Collier!
Yes, Jordan Collier is back. We don’t know what happened to him, and it’s strange that nobody recognizes him, except for perhaps Shawn. Jordan loved Isabelle, and we thought that perhaps it was because he saw her as a path to domination to the 4400s. Oh is he ever going to be upset when he finds out what her real purpose is. We used to think Jordan is an asshole, since it seemed he was alternately trying to get into Lily’s pants and do experiments on baby Isabelle from week to week. But compared to what’s going on now, maybe he’ll be a savior.
Jordan’s return is quite the surprise, and it means a lot of things, like Kyle getting out of prison. You can’t be sent away for killing somebody if there never was a body. Then again, attempted murder that was obviously pre-meditated is still pretty bad. I really wonder if he’ll team up with Shawn and Richard to help the 4400s. I also want to know what the hell happened to him. Although I thought the Piersahl story was kind of lame, it was a nice way to explain why the 4400 are in Seattle. Should be a very interesting episode this Sunday.
What did you think of the episode? Will Shawn’s dream come true? Will Jordan Collier save the day?