So far, the second season of the 4400 has not been a disappointment. I was never a particularly huge fan of the X-Files, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the “government agent plus partner explore a different phenomenon each week.” Perhaps it makes a difference because we are already told why everybody is so strange, so we don’t have to come up with government conspiracies or smoking men to string together all of these implausible happenings each week. At the same time, we still have just enough creepy overtones about everything to keep things interesting.In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a couple of interesting cases that show us what a double-edged sword it is to have 4400 people walking around possessing gifts that we have no clue about how they are meant to be used. Many people have gifts that they think can be used for good, but often find that there are consequences they never imagined from using them. As I stated in a previous recap, it’s this ripple effect of people using their abilities that has become the theme of the show.
Now, there are some people who have great gifts. Shawn Farrell can heal people with his hands and Maia Rutledge can predict the future. Well, actually, she just regurgitates visions she has, but same difference, right? And who can forget the case of Isabel, who can apparently sense danger and compel people to both murder and commit suicide.
Most of the 4400 with extraordinary gifts have tried to keep them under wraps. Shawn Farrell only uses his to pimp money for Jordan Collier and his 4400 centers. Gary Navarro had the ability to read minds, but was quickly taken by the NSA. Maia wanted so desperately to fit in that she hid her gift, and Richard and Lily are running all over the country trying to keep people from getting to their baby. But what if one had a great gift, and not only told people about it, but used it for his benefit, selling his services to the highest bidder? That is exactly what Trent Applebaum did when he discovered that he held the power to dramatic weight loss.
Trent was abducted 15 or 20 years ago, and when he was gone, his wife died, and his daughter gave up her dream of going to college. She now works at a diner, and he is trying to sell timeshares that aren’t worth the phone call he makes trying to sell it to you. Trent had to enlist in a loan shark, and when he couldn’t pay up, the gangsters came to collect. They pushed him around a bit, and told him they would kill him if he didn’t get his act together.
Now, a funny thing happened on the way to being wrapped up in a garbage bag in the trunk of Cadillac. When Trent’s gangster friend came to his house, he not only could give a shit about the money, but he had lost weight. And like any good person who lost a bunch of weight, he wanted to let his spouse in on the secret, and she was more than agreeable, considering he was probably getting some boom, boom, boom on the side as well. Trent had done nothing other than share some saliva with the other guy before he started his rapid weight loss. After taking a swig of water from the wife’s water bottle, Trent also started her on the path to weight loss as well. Like any good capitalist, Trent immediately thought of how he could make as much money from his saliva as possible without having to worry about making his jaw hurt.
Although Diana and Tom think that this is the first instance that a 4400 is selling his exclusive rights, we know that Shawn has been healing the ultra-sick (and ultra-rich) in order to get more money for Jordan’s 4400 centers. We know that Shawn really believes in what Jordan is doing, and so do a lot of followers. So what does Jordan think about his 4400 centers? Well, for one thing, it is a great way to pull some celebrity ass, in this case Chloe Granger.
Chloe Granger is a singer who is interested in the 4400 enters, and Jordan is interested in her, ostensibly because he thinks a celebrity will be good for publicity, and we know how well Kabbalah did after a few Hollywood freaks got into it. He may be interested in the publicity, but he is also interested in boning Chloe, and that is just what he does. In the sex scene, you get quite a shot of Billy Campbell’s ass as well (but nothing we haven’t seen on network television already). They sort of blurred it out though, or at least I hope they blurred it out. If they didn’t, Billy Campbell has the strangest layer of fuzz surrounding his ass this side of Robin Williams.
Shawn, who has always been wary of Jordan even while believing in his cause, disapproves of not only the sex, but the idea that somebody can move up through the level of enlightenment just by paying some more money. That doesn’t sound like any sort of cult religion that I know of. He also learns that this Chloe is not the first woman Jordan banged because he is the 4400 Supreme High Master or whatever he calls himself. Devon, the hot little brunette secretary who has been running around the center, has also done a little bit of personal tutoring with Jordan as well. I hear she went from “no teeth” to “use your left hand as well” to “roll them around” in only one night. Now that’s what I call a good student!
Richard and Lily are still schlepping around the western states looking for a place to settle. They find what appears to be a great place with a 4400 named Eric, who is even able to offer Richard a job, but Isabel doesn’t think it feels right and wants to go. That, and Lily was surely intimidated by this girl who fell in love with Richard after she found out he had flown with her dad in Korea. In fact, if her husband wasn’t there, she probably would had sex with Richard right there on the picnic table.
Oh, and remember when I said Richard should eat because he wouldn’t have enough energy to have sex with his wife? Well, it turns out all of those years in captivity must build up sexual stamina, because Lily was late, and she feared that she was pregnant. Richard isn’t unhappy, but he didn’t exactly burst out in joy when he heard the news. He would like a regular job and perhaps, you know, a house to live in before he brings another baby into the world.
It turned out it was a false alarm, but Richard’s reaction really upset Lily. Despite all of that, she was warming up to the idea of staying in the little hole of town, perhaps realizing the stress of running was getting on everybody. But before they could settle down, the jealous husband I mentioned earlier called the authorities, letting NTAC know where the could find their fugitives. On cue, Richard and Lily hopped into their Bronco and sped off.
So what about Trent Applebaum? How did his saliva sales go? Well, Trent was able to prove to a chemical/pharmaceutical company that his saliva was a weight loss guarantee. He signed a contract for $40 million, including a $1 million signing bonus. Finally, he could give his daughter the kind of life that he has always wanted.
Everything was working out great until we learn that the whole weight loss thing has a side effect. The weight loss is actually the result of an increased metabolism. The problem was, everybody’s metabolism was completely out of control. They would eat and eat and eat, and still feel hungry. After the first guy died at Trent’s feet, we learn that their metabolism will eventually starve them to death. This is not great news for the 100 people who signed up for the original test trials for the pill the pharmaceutical company was going to run (I thought it took a long time before the FDA approved trials like this, but whatever). And if things couldn’t get any more dramatic, we find out that Trent’s daughter also had some of his saliva from a water bottle. She wanted to lose 15 lbs (even though her dad said she was perfect) and so she is going to die as well. OH THE IRONY. He sold his saliva to help the one he loves, but it ends up she is going to die because of that same saliva.
Well, I thought that everybody was going to die and that would be a nice dark twist for the 4400, but they were able to save everybody. NTAC and the pharmaceutical company had all of their researchers working on it, but it was special agent Diana Skouris that came up with the answer. See, maybe they wouldn’t be able to cure the people, but if they used a sample of the antibody, perhaps they could create a vaccine and the people would be able to develop their own antibodies. They just need to use his liver to create these antibodies, but because of the time they have, they need the whole thing. I was thinking, “OK, they didn’t kill those 100 people and his daughter, but maybe he’ll have to make the choice between saving himself and his daughter, still interesting, no.” Actually, they didn’t decide to do that. Luckily for Trent there just happened to be a liver so he could get a transplant. Shortest organ transplant recipient wait EVER.
The 4400 didn’t quite take the turn I was hoping it would, and if all of these new 4400 problems they have are resolved at the end of every 60 minute episode, it sort of takes away the suspense. Our biggest questions now are still Richard and Lily (although we found out in the next episode, which was yesterday, and I’ll catch up to eventually) and the whole situation with Maia. After she saved April’s life with a prediction in the previous episode, she saved another life with a prediction in this one. April begins to wonder what is happening, and what her sister has been hiding about her new adopted daughter.