The 4400: Gone, part II
(S03E05) As if the writers were pumping promicin themselves and reading the viewers' minds, Maia is neither gone nor forgotten in the second part of "Gone." And she comes back with explosive force, erupting into Tom and Alanna's fantasy worlds, radiating through Diana's frantic subconscious. I'm rapt as I watch Diana making a frightening collage of little girls' faces, as I see her sink into desperation when she learns that Maia has been sent back to the 1800s -- and died, at 25, only having left diaries behind as she expired on the Oregon Trail.
While I'm rapt by Tom and Diana emerging from the distinct wooden quality of the past several episodes, I'm thrown by the seemingly random details skittering about the edges of the plot. The 4400 we meet this week, an investment banker, can smell pheremones. It's a cool party trick and, you'd think, useful in the plot of a drama starring Alicia Silverstone. But it's a sideshow, just like the valiant efforts made (and subsequently erased) in the far past by the other children: synthetic fuel, colonies on the moon. Lovely, but ... why do these very interesting details feel as if they were picked out of a science fiction grab bag?
When we come to the climax of the show, and Tom attempts suicide rightly believing that he's too important to the future for them to let him die, I hold my breath. But it's almost too easy. Tom gets sent back and we're told, as we all supposed, that there are two factions in the future; one fighting to reverse the course of events that ends in the coming destruction of mankind, another who believes that the chaos will make them more powerful. They've unleashed a powerful evil force on the present. Only Tom can stop it. (only Tom? he's not even a 4400! why him?) Naturally, it'll be super hard. Yada yada *yawn* ...
That powerful evil force, we all think in concert, must be Isabelle.
It would have been interesting if the evil force was not Isabelle. But it is. Tom opens his mysterious package and it's a syringe filled, no doubt, with some sort of deadly potion. The handwritten note says, "Kill Isabelle."
But she can't even kill herself. How will this kill her? And how is that so hard for Tom? He has no love for Isabelle and Shawn is rendered completely useless as a defensive force by the mind-bending tactics of the Nova Group. At once we've wrapped up all kinds of loose ends -- we've learned that Isabelle is, indeed evil; there are two factions in the future; Tom has his mission; and we've got Maia back. I like all these neat pieces of yarn woven into the fabric of the plot. But I'm not sure how the writers will keep us at the edges of our seats if it's just going to be all easy like that.
Next week, we're promised, one of the 4400 will die: "and it's not who you think." That will be quite some challenge as I've already thought of everyone.