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October 8, 2015

The Dead Zone: Revelations

by Jen Creer, posted Aug 14th 2006 3:18PM
Revelations (Dead Zone)(S05E09) This week's episode provided some revelations, just like the title promises. There are answers to questions about Gene Purdy's past that the show has only hinted at prior to now.One of the things I enjoy about this show, and that continues to fascinate me, is the use of scriptures and religion. We have the Reverend Gene Purdy as a main character (despite David Ogden Spears' persistent status as a special guest star). Then, there is Greg Stillson, who used to be a Bible salesman. Johnny doesn't really have much faith-- and yet his psychic gift is undeniably recognized to be a force for good. Maybe someone with a gift like that doesn't need to believe-- they just know. Then, we have Bruce, whose father was a preacher. Bruce himself started off as a preacher-- it was his destiny before he ran off to become a physician therapist, and John Smith's best friend.

So, the undercurrents for this episode have already been laid out during the course of the series. John is at a dedication for a library, finance by his late mother, Vera, when someone brushes against him and a current travels through the crown, who are all touching in some fashion or another. John has a vision that Gene is in danger (again!). My husband said to me at this point, "Should be have a countdown to see when the gun first appears?" Maybe we could turn it into a drinking game. Gene appears, in the vision, to be in danger from a dark-haired woman, who has come to the dedication to make a revelation: She is Gene Purdy's daughter.

Through the course of the episode, John tracks the woman (Jessica) and her background. John finds out that Purdy used to be a carnival preacher named Raymond Franklin-- Bruce knows the terminology: Tent revivals. Purdy had a conman partner named Edmund Nolan. They would follow the carnival from town to town, and do research on the rich citizens. Purdy was posing as a faith healer. This is very interesting in the context of the series because Greg Stillson also got his start as a conman-- a dishonest Bible salesman who is more interested in seducing farm wives than anything else. Is the reason Purdy endorses Stillson because they are snakes of the same skin?

During the course of the episode, it is revealed the Purdy's faith healing went a little too far: Jessica's mother, who is genuinely ill, comes to believe the good Reverend Franklin so much that she stops taking her medication and dies. In an attempt to repent, Purdy uses the money he got from her mother to start a hedge fund, and sends Jessica money monthly for her entire life. But he is not Jessica's father. (This leads to MY question-- Purdy is a reverend, but he obviously had some kind of affair with the redheaded reporter, Dana-- so why the attempt to keep Purdy chaste and celibate? His church is non-denominational as far as I can tell).

But the most important question to arise out of the episode is John's: If Purdy started out as a phony faith healer, then did Purdy con John's wealthy, widowed mother for her money, too? And why can't John touch Gene and find out?

In former episodes, we have seen that Gene didn't kill John's mother (she killed herself in grief when she believed John would never awaken from his coma, and Gene helped hide the cause of her death to protect her from scandal); we have seen that Gene struggles with his faith (he wants John to touch John the Baptist's finger), and in this episode, we learn that Gene is honest. He reformed after Jessica's mother died. He tells John, "Jessica's mother made me turn to God. Your mother was my reward."

Even the women's names have symmetry: Cora and Vera. Jessica, the daughter with a J name, and John, the son. This a nice parallelism, whether it is intentional or not.

Unlike some of the other episodes this season, which I have complained about being stand-alone, and having no point, this episode seems to be building toward something. I am starting to wonder now about the rest of the episodes too.

I think that in the coming confrontation between John and Greg Stillson, it's going to be important to understand that this show respects spirituality and mysticism. This show believes in God. And it has also been important to find out about Purdy and John where they stand: Purdy truly is a man of faith, and John doesn't necessarily believe-- but he just might know.

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Regarding the coming confrontation between John and Stillson, all I have to say is I'm really tired of waiting on it. It's been dragged on so long I've lost interest in that storyline and find myself less interested in the series as a whole now. The show doesn't fascinate or surprise me like it used to and I really want it to have that effect on me again.

August 15 2006 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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