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August 28, 2015

The Dead Zone: The Hunting Party (season finale)

by Jen Creer, posted Aug 28th 2006 11:03AM
Dead Zone Season Finale(S05E11) Well, after nine episodes of nary a mention of Greg Stillson's name, he's baaaaaack. Of course, this is to prepare us for what is coming in Season Six. I keep telling myself that all of these other episodes that are seemingly disconnected are somehow designed to show us things about John's character-- what he believes in, what he will and won't do, with what he finds important. We know from five seasons that John Smith is ultimately not corruptable. It would almost be more interesting if there was some chance that he were, you know?

This episode is unabashedly following a declared Oswald-conspiracy-theory pattern. John Smith gets a "free" computer from a magazine sweepstakes he never entered. He ends up, through people being able to send him visions via computer and crime scenes, meeting Marshall Frost. Marshall Frost is an unstable webcaster who talks about the need for the corrupt Vice President to be killed. The writers do some very funny things poking fun of Dick Cheney-- including having the Vice President be shot and killed while on a hunting expedition. He is hunting quail.

Via a super-secret marine group that had once served missions in Afghanistan, a group of people have surrounded Marshall Frost to set him up as the patsy for killing the Vice President. The marine group is led by none other than the nefarious Malcolm Janus. I adore Malcolm Janus because he is unrelentingly evil. But most of all, I love him because he is played by Martin Donovan, who got his start in alternative movies made by the great Hal Hartley. Janus heads a table of white-haired men who convince Greg Stillson that the Vice President must be eliminated, with Stillson's aid on the hunting trip, so that Stillson can be chosen to be the new Vice President. This will nearly guarantee a Stillson presidency.

The most important part of the season finale is that every step of the way, Janus has gone out of his way to make sure that John has known what was going on. Janus shows up in John's house at the end of the episode and John asks him why it was important for John to know what was going on. After all, John has no evidence. Even a stellar track record as a psychic can't help him in the light of no evidence, and a well-orchestrated cover-up. Janus wants John to join them in their evil plot to take over the world. He thinks that with John on their side, they will be unstoppable. So, he makes John an offer he won't be able to refuse -- next season.

This season was a big disappointment in so many ways. I hope the promise of this episode is manifested in Season Six.

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sue johnson


January 15 2007 at 3:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with the point that once the Armageddon arc kicks in gear, it should remain rolling until its logical conclusion. I also agree that it is difficult to wait year after year for some significant progress. I have loved season 5 because it seems to be edging Johnny back into a more isolated, and hopefully, more angst-ridden (or dark) than we've seen. I think DZ has or should have at least one or two good seasons to build up to a a great ending.

As for Greg Stillson, I never could foresee how, in the book, a man like him could've ever risen to power without conspiracy and back-handed shenannigans. I've often wondered what it was to make him totally lose it and push the button to send up the nukes. The movie version just didn't quite give enough story detail to satisfy my love for such things. I want to know how the character arrives at that point, not just take it on "faith" or vision that Greg Stillson was the only one responsible. Granted, being President, he is the one to authorize and can stop the nukes from flying...that or the other guy with a key or an all-out civil war to throw the man out of office.

Ever since the introduction of FJ, I've been dying to know what happened. I believe, despite throwing away the cane, that John can still become that manifestation of himself. The life events will be the same and maybe even the choices, but John won't have the benefit of his future self's advice (unless FJ finds another way to connect to John as John connected to 1995 John).

There is so much missing that I'm glad to see more of DZ. TV Guide's Aussiello has said his "spies" have informed him that DZ has been renewed for a season 6, but USA Network has yet to post the official word.

I'm along for the ride with DZ whereever she may take us. It is truly one of my all-time favorite shows.

September 17 2006 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think I am finished with the DZ. I enjoyed most episodes of the past seasons but these left me a little flat. MAH always seemed to have that pissed off, "You better make time for this, Gene!" look on his face and it got a little preachy and disconnected for me. There are other things I can do for an hour a week.

August 30 2006 at 11:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This whole Stillson/armageddon line has been stretched far beyond my ability to care. That story line should've been finished within the span of about half a season. The Dead Zone used to be one of my favorite shows, but something in the writing and cleverness of the storylines seems to have changed. Now, it's just using Johnny's ability as a cheap gimmick in different situations, not that it wasn't always that way, but now it's nowhere as imaginative or compelling.

August 29 2006 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually liked a few of the episodes this season because they didn't have the whole Stillson story line in it. Maybe because some of the episodes reminded me more of how Dead Zone started. But I do agree that if Johnny saves the world too quickly, where would this series go then?

August 28 2006 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As season finales go this was a good one and appropriately ominous. However, I hope Dead Zone doesn't return as a series. It's lived long past it's life. Even though seasons four and five were filmed as one long season over a year ago these episoded were really lacking in quality. It would be best for Dead Zone to come back as a two or three part mini-series to wrap of the main story line: Johnny vs. the Armageddon nuts. Then end it for good.

August 28 2006 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

What didn't you like about the season, Jen? I thought it was a kick-ass season. They have to draw out the big Armageddon plot, because once that gets going, they won't be able to stop it until its done.

August 28 2006 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This could be it for the Dead Zone since USA has not renewed the show as far as I know.....

That said, this episode was made as part of sesaon four....so it was filmed long before the Chaney thing happened.

August 28 2006 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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