A Case of the…. The 4400 – Season 4 Finale

Wow, what a finale! I know The 4400 doesn’t have the number of viewers as network hit shows like Lost, Heroes, or 24, but unlike the aforementioned shows, The 4400 never fails to deliver big time on their finales. They manage to, for the most part, wrap up the season’s story arc, tie it into an earlier idea, and set up on the storyline for the following season. This episode did not disappoint.

In my talks with some of the show’s cast, two words that were used to describe the finale were “carnage” and “excitement,” and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Earlier in the season, I criticized the show for not putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak, when it comes to the dangers of promicin. The show was setting up taking the shot as tremendously dangerous and illegal. Yet of all the main and supporting characters that took the shot, none of them died and pretty much none of them faced any legal consequences. Well, I can now forgive all of that because of what happened with Danny in the finale.

In my last column, I predicted that Danny and Shawn’s mom actually took the shot (hence her reaction) and gave Danny a placebo. Well, I was wrong, and I actually found the actual story arc far more exciting and interesting. Truth be told, it was a very creative way of instantaneously infecting a mass amount of people with promicin, resulting in half of them dying, and half of them obtaining abilities. It also very effectively created the mass hysteria that brought the three factions of this season (NTAC, Promise City, and The 4400 Center) together. I’m jumping ahead of myself here, but I enjoyed how each group aided each other: Shawn helped NTAC rid Tom of being marked. Shawn then helped do the same for Jordan. Promise City helped NTAC restore order in the city. NTAC and The 4400 Center collectively created a vaccine. Incidentally, Jordan could have provided Shawn with the greatest gift: Neutralizing Danny’s ability. However, people either didn’t know he could do that, or they simply didn’t bother to suggest it given his captivity.

Indeed, it was a very sad episode for Shawn. He nearly lost his uncle, did lose his mother, and then had to take his little brother’s life (although he did it out of mercy). I’ve referred to Shawn as the moral center of the show, and I think that description rings truer than ever this episode. As Diana told him after announcing the vaccine, he was the right face to spread the message. He’s somebody that virtually everybody on the show trusts. NTAC brought him to save Tom, and while I’m sure this has a lot to do with Jordan’s compassion for Shawn, Promise City has allowed him much more leniency than they do most people. In a way, Shawn is like the John Carter of ER, or John Locke of Lost: he may not always be considered the “star,” but he’s the heart of the show.

The reunion between Shawn, Kyle, and Tom at the end of the episode was especially touching. By the way, seeing Tom pretending to be marked, and talking about how he had to fake shedding tears over his sister’s death was downright chilling.

Last column I also discussed Isabelle’s redemption and resulting death. While it didn’t go exactly the way I predicted (she didn’t have to kill Jordan, although she almost did), I came pretty close. She was ultimately unable to take Kyle’s life, as he was the first person to see goodness within her. Following that, she decided to sacrifice her life in order to save the movement she had turned to. I must say, the scripting of that scene was great, with Tom and Jordan bound to chairs in a closed in room, hearing a commotion outside, and not knowing whether the good or the bad will walk through the door. In the end, it was Isabelle, who used her last bit of strength to use her ability to untie the two prisoners. She then fell to the ground, with the two “fathers” of the person who had helped her turn to goodness, and uttered “make the world better than it is.” A brilliantly written send off, trumped only by Charlie’s death on Lost.

Oh, and Isabelle destroying a bullet as she’s being shot at was probably the most badass effect they’ve ever done on the show.

I also liked Jordan and Tom’s escape scene, with Jordan noting that the distinction between their “sides” may no longer exist soon, and Jordan telling him to “be well.”

Lets not forget about how the show references events that occurred earlier in the series. First off, the payoff to Burkhoff injecting Diana with a modified version of the promicin serum giving her immunity from the injection’s effects was very nice. For one, it solidly secures Diana as a “regular person,” whereas pretty much everybody else on the show will now have an ability. Not to mention that it was an effective plot device as well.

The second call back, so to speak, was Kyle’s discussion with Tom about killing somebody when you’re not yourself, but still feeling responsible. Incidentally, earlier in the episode I wondered to myself if Tom would do what his son did, which was take responsibility and turn himself in. Whatever the case may be, the scene was further strengthened by Kyle’s renewed desire for Tom to take the shot. Remember, according to Kyle’s book, Tom must take the shot for Heaven on Earth to occur. Before, Tom never would have taken it. Now he may feel desperate enough to.

The conclusion of the episode, with Maia once again referring to Jordan as a good guy (I love how simplistically she states it, given how complicated his character is), and then stating that “us” being in charge is a good thing. I presume that this vague comment is a reference to one of her visions, as if stating that this regime prevents whatever catastrophe is coming, but I must also wonder who she is referring to when she says “us.” Those with abilities? The movement? Or, perhaps, the collective unit of Promise City and NTAC?

The montage at the end, which showed all of the cast members realizing that they have now gained abilities, was very cool, and helped set up the possibilities for next season. Honestly, USA (the network, not the country), why on earth would you not renew this show? There’s easily another season’s worth of storylines ahead of us.

Should the show not get picked up, this is a fitting (but not ideal) conclusion to the series. In a strange way, it acts as an appropriate bookend to the season, which kicked off with Jordan dreaming about a world in which everybody has abilities. Now, in Seattle anyway, that’s coming to fruition (since everyone is pretty much either dead or has abilities). According to Maia’s comment, the world is now on the right path.

Sir Linksalot: The 4400

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