The 4400

Season 3 Episode 9

The Ballad of Kevin and Tess

Aired Unknown Jul 30, 2006 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
273 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Ballad of Kevin and Tess
Kevin Burkhoff becomes a marked man when his research on promicin is discovered. Tom and Diana search for Kevin, but discover how far he will go to protect his work. Shawn meets his idol at the 4400 Center.

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  • The Ballad of Kevin and Tess

    The Ballad of Kevin and Tess was a perfect episode of The 4400 and one of my favorites. I enjoyed watching this episode because we get to see more of Tess and her amazing ability. Her relationship with Kevin is beautifully show cased and both characters had a lot of development. I thought it was crazy what Kevin did to Diana. This added a new twist to his research. Richard tries to master his new ability with the help of Ms. Tobey, and by the end of the episode it appears he has got a grip on it. I thought Shawns minor story line was interesting and fun to watch. Overall this episode had a little of every thing that makes the show fun and exciting to watch. The writers, directors, and actors are all to be commended for making the show realistic and up to par on continuity. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!moreless
  • Dr Burkhoff and Tess kidnap Diana.

    Cleverly plotted and above avergae episode.

    I liked how they reunited Tess and Kevin for this episode and it will be interesting to see what abilities or ability Kevin develops. So far, he's shown the capacity for self-healing but I'm not sure the writers will leave it at that. I'm sure they manage to come up with something else.

    I thought it was very good how they progressed the storyline involving Richard and his abilities. Getting help from a nice, female teacher is the normal thing to do, so it made perfect sense. The last scene also made clear why he wants to control his ability.

    While it was interesting to see Shawn in some leisure clothing, he was never going to leave the center, so I'm unsure of why this particular storyline was included.moreless
  • Better

    Diana: Kevin, you're brilliant, but you're wrong.

    Much better than the below average Blink, but still not that great. Shawn trying to kill Isobelle last time is just ignored, and everyone except Richard seems fine about it. However, Richard has a nice sub-plot, and Tessa and Kevin make a good couple. Needs to get better if this show is to continue to succeed.
  • Oh brother. What a choice! Shawn gets to choose between going on the road with the drugged out idiot and his entourage of drugged out idiots, or marry the spoiled brat from hell who is going to destroy the world. Did he make the right choice?moreless

    I wish I had missed this episode altogether. I was so excited about this season, and I am so disappointed by the direction it is going now. All we need is a non-4400 with powers, or a gazillion tubes of that 4400 juice in the hands of corporate and government slimeballs so they can buy and sell 4400 powers.

    Tom should have killed Isabelle while he had the chance, at least she would not have hooked up with Ryland and generated a room full of tubes of that stuff. And what was up with Kevin in the gas station bathroom? Did he shed his skin, or wipe it off, or what?

    Maybe in the next episode, someone is going to wake up and it will have all been a dream...wish I had that luxury.moreless
  • Another great episode in the best season of the series

    If the previous episode felt a bit more “stand-alone”, then this is a massive return to the strong continuity that has been the hallmark of this season. There are three major plot threads in this episode, and all of them promise to result in future plot twists. And then there’s the ending, which points to a finale with implications that far exceed those of the second season finale. Any worry I might have had about the pacing of the season has been addressed.

    The main plot thread for the episode, of course, is the alliance between Dr. Burkhoff and Tess, the schizophrenic patient played by Summer Glau in the second season premiere. With her inclusion in the story, Dr. Burkhoff’s arc becomes a lot more substantial. Now the circumstances of his reawakening links into the current events, adding seemingly stand-alone elements into the big picture. I’m very happy to see that Burkhoff’s experiments are connected to his role as the “father of the 4400”, and I’m even more convinced that it ties into the catastrophe at the core of the mythology.

    The question remains: will Burkhoff’s experiments, definitely known by Ryland’s allies within the government, lead into the “military applications” that Burkhoff mentioned in an episode earlier this season? It’s only speculation, but I would guess that Ryland’s interest in Isabel and her ability to produce promycin, key to her ability to save the 4400 at the end of the second season, is designed to level the playing field. Burkhoff would be the perfect case study to determine how best to use the promycin to create an “anti-4400” force. (And my guess is that the ensuing conflict will lead to the catastrophe, thus creating that time paradox loop that I’ve speculated upon before.)

    Diana’s forced evolution further complicates her relationship to the 4400. The injections might have been stopped in time, but it’s also possible that permanent changes have been made to her physiology. If so, how would that compromise her position within NTAC? This could go in a lot of directions, because it’s quite possible that she could end up a renegade, with Tom forced to choose between allegiance to his partner and the 4400 and the demands of his superiors.

    Back at the 4400 Center, Shawn is getting a chance to rebel, but that opportunity is also reminding him that his ability puts him in a bad position. He could easily compromise his morality and run off with the band, leaving the Center to Richard and damning the consequences. He’d have a lot of fun with the groupies, and since his new friends have a deathwish, who cares if Isabelle finds him and takes a few of them out as an example? Shawn, of course, is trying to deal with the fact that he’s trapped, and it’s taking him into a bad place.

    Richard, meanwhile, is finally getting an interesting arc of his own. Along with some alone time with the gorgeous Heather, he’s also learning how to control his emerging telekinesis. He obviously intends to use that power to stop his daughter, and there’s an interesting possibility with that. Tom has a syringe with the means to eliminate Isabelle. Isabelle knows that Tom will eventually come for her, and she could probably deal with Tom. But would she expect her father to use his ability to drive the syringe into her with an ability he wasn’t supposed to be able to control?

    Like many “4400” episodes this season, there’s almost too much to talk about and speculate. It’s easily the most consistent series of the summer, and it’s driving towards one hell of a finale. With only four episodes left for the season, there’s a lot to cover. But something tells me that the writers are more than capable of the challenge.

    (As a sidenote: I also have a podcast associated with my various reviews called “Dispatches from Tuzenor”. Recent episodes cover the “The 4400”, so it might be something of interest. Go to if you want to listen!)

Kathryn Gordon

Kathryn Gordon

Heather Toby

Guest Star

Neil Hopkins

Neil Hopkins

Nick Crowley

Guest Star

Nancy Sivak

Nancy Sivak

Dr. Anapurn

Guest Star

Summer Glau

Summer Glau

Tess Doerner

Recurring Role

Jody Thompson

Jody Thompson


Recurring Role

Kavan Smith

Kavan Smith

Agent Garrity

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions