The 4400

Season 4 Episode 5

Try the Pie

Aired Unknown Jul 15, 2007 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
226 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Try the Pie
After realizing Tom knows he is promicin-positive, Kyle joins Jordan in a remote town called Evanston. Tom follows Kyle, and learns the remarkable truth about Evanston: all of its residents are promicin-positive.

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  • Try the Pie

    Try the Pie was a perfect episode of The 4400. I enjoyed watching this episode because the story was good, Jordan's movement takes a new direction, and Tom discovers an amazing town, Shawn discovers how dirty politics can be and Maia has disturbing visions of the future in her nightmares. There was a lot of character and plot development as well as action, drama, and intrigue. There were some religious tones and interesting allusions. I thought there were some scenes where Kyle seemed like he was brainwashed and in a cult especially Kyle talking with Tom. The ending was interesting and surprising. I look forward to watching the next episode of The 4400!!!!!!!moreless
  • Interesting. New abilities.

    Interesting episode. First, annoying Cassie tells Kyle that his father knows that he has taken the promicin shot, then she warns him to stay way from his house. So he and Isabelle go to a small city called Evanston, where all the inhabitants have taken the promicin shot and have abilities. In this small city Kyle and Isabelle meet Jordan Collier. Kyle tells him that Tom is a promicin-positive and his name is the last listed on a prophetic book.

    Tom tracks his son and goes to Evanston where he gets to see all these people, their abilities and meets Jordan. He also gets to know by his son he's a promicin-positive. Kyle wants him to take the shot(without forcing Tom to accept it), but he decides no to take it. Right after, he's sedated and all the city residents (Kyle and Jordan too) leave the town and let Tom in there.

    Meanwhile, Maia is having terrible nightmares about a future that reminds the WWII, with all the people with abilities being put in prison by Shawn's opponent, in case this one wins.

    It was good to see Tom and Kyle relationship. It was also good to see Tom's reaction towards him being a promicin-positive.moreless
  • The 4400 utopia

    This episode has been particulary interesting. It shows a glimpse of how an utopia will be for the 4400.Kyle finally finds Collier and almost injects promicine to Tom. Besides we find out about Maia's vission of a future where 4400 will be send in which looks like concentration camps and that Shawn's political rival is going to be responsible for it. At the end of the episode Collier decide to move the people in Evanson to Seattle and apparently fight against the government. This is the first episode that Tom considers to take promicing so it is interesting to know that he is willing to do it al least for Kyle.moreless
  • A good episode with lots of political insight, some exciting developments, but some clunky allegorical references.

    I feel conflicted by this episode because I loved the Kyle/Jordan Collier storyline and much of the Shawn/Diana/Maia storyline (except major reservations about the political commentary which I'll discuss later), but the spooky small town theme especially upset the show for me, and I don't exactly know why except that it just wasn't fully engaging. Some of the political themes relating to Maia's dream and emotional drama relating to the townsfolk seemed a bit "on the nose" -- a bit too self-conscious and not subtle enough. The most awkward but striking element was the use of the magic pie, which allowed a level of understanding among those in the room. I wonder if it's not promicin that is the key to world peace, but this pie -- probably drenched in some promicin injectee's super sweat -- because it is so often the lack of understanding of the other's experiences that distances people in our world, and allows homogenization and dehumanization of the unfamiliar.

    Regarding the townsfolk, I think it's fair to say the show has real trouble making stand-alone characters deserving of any moment of the small amount of episodes granted each year for The 4400. While I understand the need to match a certain realism in not having a select few be the only pivotal players, and conveying a more believable interconnectedness between our beloved main and recurring characters and newer or standalone ones to better reflect how society functions, the drama that grows out of this is less than satisfying. The best thing a dull character like Boyd Gelder did in Season 3, after wasting an entire episode like "Being Tom Baldwin," was to die as a suicide bomber in the amazing season finale in a fantastic moment of political commentary about the nature of terrorism. While such characters may serve a purpose narratively for setting up such dramatic moments or affecting the setting for the better-written characters, they rarely seem very interesting; there was something cringe-worth in how that boy yelled like The X-Men's Banshee, which even Bryan Singer struggled to make believable or interesting; some powers just look silly. Some rare exceptions are Heather Tobey and Gary Navarro, who became much more interesting after their debuts. Perhaps, then, some characters are just slow to develop, but this is hardly reassuring in this show's 4th season in which every rare episode needs to be a home-run.

    As usual, Kyle was fantastic in every way and I really enjoyed Jordan Collier's behavior. Instead of the reassured messianic figure I expected, he delivered some surprising moments of toughness, suspicion and uncertainty in his interaction with Kyle and especially Isabelle; I did wonder if she looked terrified enough, but perhaps she's still emotionally underdeveloped. (I just re-watched Season 3's "Graduation Day" and was reminded what a great actress she is.) I especially liked the complicated but understandable position Jordan took on injecting Tom by frighteningly taking away the latter's right to choose because of his trust of Kyle's zealous desire to fulfill fate, but later -- perhaps finding more certainty in his position -- encouraging Kyle to let Tom's free will play itself out. Also, there was some very truthful and engaging commentary on religion and political activism/terrorism that played out in this subplot. One can make comparisons between Kyle and the average faithful follower of any cause searching for meaning, be they student activist, violent revolutionary, or present-day potential Muslim martyr. For now, Jordan Collier has shown more grace and restraint than some fundamentalist Muslim clerics, but that may change if his faith in the book's prophesy is placed in doubt.

    The subplot with Shawn was pretty good and there were some tense moments when it seemed Shawn was going to kill Gabriel Hewitt. Still, I found the subplot a bit of a departure from the realism for which the show aims -- on the first level, regarding the details of human interaction and, on the second, the political insight the show usually does so well. Gabriel Hewitt's remarks to the media seemed a bit too obviously against Shawn for his identity as a 4400. While this would definitely be emphasized in a real campaign, politicians usually use code language to avoid appearing bigoted. Then again, the perceived threat of The 4400 might allow people to be so overt; talk radio (including Glen Beck) certainly has no trouble taking shots at Muslims and Arabs as inherently inferior, I suppose. What I found most unbelievable was Hewitt's confession to Shawn that he had nothing against him personally, but was just using the national platform his campaign brought to elevate himself in the public spotlight. I just can't imagine a ruthless political rival speaking so honestly if he expects to win, even if the motivations Hewitt revealed were a refreshingly unique and believable spin on the usual depiction of campaigns.

    The political commentary of the Shawn/Hewitt/Diana/Maia storyline was what I found especially lacking because it employed such an obvious and cliché set of Nazi themes of persecution. So often recalled in sci-fi and other forms of Western storytelling and exploited for dramatic foreboding, threats of totalitarian Communism and Nazism are actually rarer than the more subtle and much more widespread economic and social discrimination and other forms of human cruelty that have occurred in history and, with our electoral consent in present times, continue to threaten human beings. As a result, viewers may take the message to wait until Nazi-like circumstances surround them before taking a stand, when there are so many other ways in which human viciousness manifests itself -- often with democratic consent. While themes reflecting the threats of Communism and Nazism are worth remembering, their continual emphasis in American culture reflects less their relevance as continuing challenges to the human experience than the fact these were threats to America and its peoples. Obsession with these experiences reflects a kind of nationalist bias in which America's cultural practices of excessive individualism and capitalist profit priorities are never questioned; only the institution of slavery is emphasized comfortably because it can be relegated to the distant past as unAmerican.

    The complex challenges facing American society within and without are far more indicative of those facing other societies, where the extreme circumstances leading to and part of Nazism and totalitarian Communism are unlikely to occur, and where the lessons of these political organizations are inapplicable. It would be more worthwhile to explore actions that have been practiced by the American government since its inception toward native Americans and other ethnic groups (colonialism), and toward Latin America and other peoples the world over indirectly through support of despotic regimes (in the name of anti-Communism) or defense of exploitative multilateral corporations (neo-colonialism, Capitalism, neo-liberalism) which don't take the form of overt Nazi fascism but have shattered many lives and their hopes for democratic freedom and equality. Many other societies are guilty of or likely to practice comparable actions, which means there is a greater truth and likelihood to the human experience we can decipher when we examine such frequently-occurring human activity.

    Here are two examples of how complicated it is to deal with cruelty when it's not caused by the obvious form of Nazi oppression and intentional harm, but by conflicting freedoms and interests when creating justice for one group creates injustice for another; these scenarios are easily the most frequent causes of injustice, when citizens of more powerful peoples have to take responsibility for their government's policies' unintended consequences, and make hard choices. During the Cold War, the US endorsed unimpeded international capitalism when it favored its interests, while protecting its manufacturers and farmers with tariffs. This allowed America's United Fruit Company to bribe the Guatemalan government to let it confiscate common land shared by natives and establish bogus property rights. The UFC turned natives into an exploited labor force if they wanted to stay, and made them into indentured servants to work off the debt from advancing them useless supplies. The UFC replaced subsistence crops on which the inhabitants lived with cash crops that were poor in nutrition, so they had to enter this new economy to have money to buy food from elsewhere to survive. I saw a documentary a year ago about either Chile or Argentina, in which a multinational corporation is still exploiting people this way. Complete freedom of capital sometimes means the powerless lose their freedom. In this light, the American means of combating Communism could be as bad for non-Americans as the totalitarian threat they were claiming to destroy.

    Similarly, sensitivity toward the terrible trauma of the Holocaust has led much of the West to absolve itself of guilt for allowing its historic anti-Semitism to reach such proportions by giving Israel carte blanche in the Middle East, and labeling the Arab reaction as inherently irrational as that which motivated Hitler In compensation for that tragedy toward European Jewry, the West and especially the US have turned a blind eye toward their support for inhumane aspects involved in ensuring a secure home for Zionist Jews – namely, Israeli colonialism and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians who lived there. The worthwhile principle of defending any social group (Jews, Rwandan Tutsis or anyone else) has become confused with permitting members of a historically-targeted group (Israeli Jews) to engage in aggression against another (Palestinians and Lebanese). The obsession with Nazi racism has permitted Zionist colonialism, in the name of self-defense, to victimize Palestinians, whose grievances are not due to religious identity but practical concerns. Yet all this (in addition to US Cold War interference with democratic roots in the Middle East) has helped the growth of misguided anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism in the Muslim world, which is upset by the Palestinian plight. In both these examples, American policy favored justice for one group in such a way that it created injustice for another. It supported the capitalist rights of US corporations, based on the entrepreneurial spirit that building wealth would supposedly trickle down to the poor (though it didn't), and disregarded the rights of Latin Americans, especially the lower class Indios. In the second case, it supported the goals of traumatized Zionist Jews and sympathetic evangelical Christians (President Truman, who supported the creation of Israel against the warnings of many including Secy of State George Marshall, would not let Jews into his home, but believed in the End Times prophesy.) but totally ignored the rights of Palestinians. The latter were chased out of their homes by militant Zionists, and had to live in squalor in refugee camps. Indeed, many liberal Jews (some in Israel) have opposed the occupation or, at least, further settlement of disputed land.

    My fear is that sci-fi fans and much of the broader public too often may only regard as the threat of Nazi-like dominance -- as in "V for Vendetta" -- to be the societal tendency to watch out for, when most societies (not just the US) presently often allow much less obvious forms of dehumanization to occur. These terrible things are happening in the world and people should take action and mobilize against it as they did Nazism, but simply don't see these things as threatening or harmful because they don't resemble Nazism or Communist totalitarianism. Most cruelty in this world has not and does not resemble those movements or their aims (however important they were to the 20th Century), but occurs in much more subtle and widespread ways often with the complicity of the viewing public, which votes for politicians who directly or indirectly participate in or prolong this cruelty. While exploration of Nazism and Communist totalitarianism is important to understanding those kinds of extreme circumstances which affected millions, such allegories hardly depict the dilemmas facing the lives of untold billions who have lived, and who have been impacted by subtler, less concentrated, but nearly as traumatic experiences in the long-term. In short, just because Bill Clinton or George W. Bush is not Hitler doesn't mean any policies they bring about which threaten freedom and create or perpetuate human suffering should not be stopped. Vigilance of this kind against smaller scale cruelty may be a more effective way of pre-empting circumstances from ever reaching desperate levels of Nazism.

    In any case, Nazism has been explored to death in fiction. My one hope is that Maia's vision was a kind of surrealism informed by her knowledge of Nazism, just as Shawn's reaction has been, and that none of these far too allegorical references will come to pass. What would be interesting is if, since Shawn, Diana, Maia and most Americans' views of the world and human nature have been affected by the specter of Nazism or Communist totalitarianism, they actually miss out in seeing the real threat that may be growing, and that Gabriel Hewitt may turn out to be a different kind of challenge. That would really be something to mirror our modern times, and point out the flawed way in which Western society engages with "evil." My fear is that it won't be anything as intricate, and that Shawn's storyline involves preventing another Nazi-type solution.

    The storyline has been moving much faster than I'd expected.

    Good but not great.

    7.8 out of 10

    (I should emphasize the only the rarest of shows get 10 -- only the absolute best episodes of The X-Files ("Talitha Cumi", "Paper Hearts", "Redux II", etc.), Battlestar Galactica ("Pegasus","Lay Down Your Burdens", "Occupation"/"Precipice") and Deep Space Nine ("In the Pale Moonlight"). I would give the best story of The 4400 to date, "Terrible Swift Sword"/"Fifty Fifty," around 9.0, and I really loved that.)moreless
  • Free will or not!

    I selected pivotal as my classification. It's one I don't use very often but I think it's justified in this case. More on that later, first, the other storyline.

    Shawn's political career becomes a whole lot more important and interesting when Maia has vision of Shawn's opponent as the presiden of some totalitarian state where all 4400s are put in prisons simply for being a 4400. The plot reminded me a bit of The Dead Zone and Johnny's fight against Stillson.

    Then, the main plot. Kyle deciding, ultimately, not to force his dad to take the promicin shot was a pivotal moment, I felt. If Kyle and JOrdan had forced Tom, their whole movement and belief would have been compromised. I'm not siding with either side yet, but forcing a decision is never good and while I hoped that Kyle wouldn't betray his dad, I was glad to see he didn't, despite the writers making it seem like he did, which was a great scene too, but the shot was 'just' a sedative.moreless
Martin Cummins

Martin Cummins

Gabriel Hewitt

Guest Star

Iris Quinn

Iris Quinn


Guest Star

Mark Acheson

Mark Acheson

Paul Weir

Guest Star

Tristin Leffler

Tristin Leffler


Recurring Role

Kathryn Gordon

Kathryn Gordon

Heather Tobey

Recurring Role

Richard Kahan

Richard Kahan

Marco Pacella

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Featured Promicin Positives

      * Unidentified adult male who can produce fire from his hands.
      * Unidentified adult female who either has telekinetic abilities or can manipulate gravity. Tom sees her using her ability to gather apples from a tree.
      * Billy, a young boy, can produce a deafening shriek with his voice.
      * Unidentified adult African-American male who can superheat metal, including weapons, making them too hot to handle.
      * Dalton, he has sophisticated mechanical skills that enable him to make advanced technology, including a special tracking bracelet that was worn on Tom's wrist, as well as a machine that specifically extracts promicin from 4400s or those who've taken the shot.
      * Unidentified Caucasian who male can induce intense headaches that can incapacitate a person or worse. He uses this ability if someone becomes violent or tries to attack him or others.
      * Shannon, a young adult female, she is able to relieve others' anxieties simply by engaging them in conversation. After a session, a small green object or figurine appears that may seem to reprsent the subject's fears and anxieties.
      * Unknown resident of Evanston who produces a special ingredient that can be placed in food, which enables those who eat it, to share one collective mind, telepathically communicating with each other, and seeing each others' memories in the process. Among the memories seen were those of Paul and Kathy, likely an elderly couple who became engaged three weeks after they met in their younger days.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Diana: Yeah, but we're talking about prison camps. Maia hasn't broken any laws. She is a 4400. She didn't take promicin.
      P.J.: I'm afraid that distinction doesn't mean much these days. People are scared. A lot of them wanna lock up every p-positive out there. The wrong leader comes to power, someone who exploits all that fear everybody's feeling, and suddenly this doesn't seem so far-fetched.

    • Kyle: I couldn't force him to take it, Jordan. I'm sorry.
      Collier: Well, I left the choice up to you.

    • Kathy: (to Tom) You don't come all this way to skip my famous apple pie.

    • Isabelle: (to Collier) I'm not a threat to you. I don't have my abilities anymore.

    • Diana: You just had a nightmare.
      Maia: It's like a prison. All the people with abilities are there.

    • Cassie: (to Kyle) Your father knows you took the promicin shot.

    • (Shawn surprises Gabriel Hewitt at his garage)
      Gabriel: What are you doing here?
      Shawn: I wanted to see you without the cameras. When you put your public face up for the night, have a look at your eyes. I have reason to believe that you're capable of terrible things and that you have an evil living inside of you.
      Gabriel: What if you did see evil? Then what?
      Shawn: Honestly, I don't know what I would do, but the truth is I can't see anything. You may be full of fear and hatred, but you're just a man for now. Listen, you may not know it yet, you wouldn't make a very good leader. I'm not gonna let you become one.

    • Jordan: It must have been difficult to take the promicin shot. But I've read your book. It's wrong. I'm no Messiah.
      Kyle: I know how it sounds. It was hard for me to believe, too. I'm nobody's religious nut, but these visions I have are never wrong, not once, and if they say that book is important, I have to believe what's in there. Promicin isn't just here to improve the world, Jordan. It's here to bring Heaven to earth. I don't know exactly what that means, but you're supposed to make it happen and I'm supposed to help you. It's like it says in the book. You are going to lead us all to God.

  • NOTES (1)