A Case of the…. The 4400

I must say, I’ve really been enjoying this season of The 4400. Like I said in one of my previous columns, I think the writers are doing a fantastic job of creating all of these factions and associations, which seem to be in opposition of each other, without blatantly stating who is “good” and who is “bad.” Are Tom, Diana, Meghan, and NTAC/the government bad? How about Jordan, Kyle, Isabelle, and the promicin users? Or Shawn, the Senator, and the 4400 clinic? What is interesting is that each side has its allegedly “good” guys (Tom and Diana, Kyle, and Shawn, respectively), its fair share of ambiguous characters (Meghan and Jordan, most notably), and the possible “bad” guys (the higher up government officials and the Senator, for example).

I’m glad we got to see more of Maia this week, as I feel she’s been highly underutilized thus far this season. This first season she was practically the poster child for the show, and the first few episodes this season she’s pretty much been nothing more than a background prop. She’s got a terrific gift that could have a lot of impact on the show, so any usage of her character is a plus, in my opinion. Also, her young age adds a new layer to the show, as most of the characters are adults (or young adults).

Quite simply, she doesn’t possess the maturity or independence that the other characters have. That’s why, in moments that she does display those qualities, it’s a special moment. I thought it was great when she snuck out of her house and put herself in a potentially dangerous situation by going to Promise City to warn Jordan of the attack. Indeed, the whole scene was very well done. She came face to face with Isabelle, who last year tried to kill her, and she showed wisdom beyond her years. Then when she did meet Jordan, instead of warning him, she asked him a question so simple, yet very momentous: “Are you a good guy or a bad guy?” It’s almost strange that nobody has really bothered to ask that yet. Ultimately Maia decided that Jordan is a good guy.

Perhaps the most mature moment she had, though, was when she feigned a vision in order to prevent Jordan from doing what could have potentially been a very deadly act. An act in which there would be no going back.

Although Jordan’s character has been a true highlight of the show for me, I will admit that I was slightly turned off by the massive posters of him in Promise City. One of the great character developing aspects of Jordan’s character has been the fact that he is, when push comes to shove, humble about his position. He denies being a messiah, and he doesn’t seem to like anybody treating him as such. With that in mind, the giant posters seemed very uncharacteristic and out of place with everything else in Promise City.

I’ve also really enjoyed Shawn’s character this season, and much like Maia, he’s wise beyond his years. In a strange way, he seems to be the moral center of the show. He’s arguably one of the few characters that isn’t willing to get his hands dirty in order to get what he wants (and I mean that in a good way). To him, the ends don’t necessarily justify the means. That was shown a couple of weeks ago when he saved his political opponent, believing that Jordan and his army were behind his stroke, and simply asked him to change. Of course, he’s also exceptionally well spoken and intelligent.

I also thought that Shawn’s reunion with Jordan a few moments ago was a powerful moment. Truly, Jordan was a father figure to Shawn, and Shawn was like a son to Jordan. However, their rift is very interesting. It does appear that their end goals are the most similar out of any of the groups (it doesn’t appear as if the government has any intense interest in uniting the 4400 with the rest of society), but the paths they take are in great contrast, as Shawn strongly believes that Jordan never should have released the promicin to the general public. To Shawn, the risk does not validate the reward. You could tell that it was tough for Shawn to tell Jordan that he didn’t believe he wasn’t behind his opponent’s stroke, and you could see that it was painful for Jordan to hear that.

Part of me does worry, though, that Shawn could be one of the two characters to be killed off next week. The previews were very unclear about who is at risk. At one point it seems like out of Tom, Jordan, Shawn, and Isabelle, two would die (in which case the easy money is on Shawn and Isabelle). Then in other scenes it looks like Kyle and Meghan are there, too. If that’s correct, then it’ll probably be Kyle and Isabelle, or maybe Kyle and Meghan. Basically, I think the only three characters that are safe are Tom, Diana, and Jordan. Don’t get me wrong, Jordan could easily be killed, but it wouldn’t happen before the finale.

We also had the first hints of a romance between Tom and Meghan, which, incidentally, was discussed in my interview with Jenni Baird. Read it!!

The one criticism I do have, though, is that the show has presented taking promicin as this highly dangerous act, both in the sense that it is considered a major crime and you have a 50% chance of dying. However, we’re yet to see any severe examples of this that would have a great impact on the show. So far, we’ve seen two characters close to the stars take the injection: Kyle and April. Neither died (when, statistically, one of them likely should have). And despite their high profile existence (due to their relationships with Tom and Diana), neither of them suffered any legal repercussions. Hell, April was offered a job! And just this past weekend, Tom, Diana, and numerous soldiers were standing face to face with Kyle (and several other promicin users), but nothing happened. I think that in order for viewers to truly understand what a grave crime and risk taking promicin is, somebody important needs to face the consequences. That’s why, when Shawn’s brother Danny was talking about taking it, I figured he would bite the dust. Although I guess that’s still a possibility.

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