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!!!!!!!
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Try the Pie
This was a pretty good episode. I really like the twist with Kyle, Shawn and Tom. Obviously, Kyle was originally destined to become a 4400, therefor it's no big surprise that he survived the shot. I think Tom will also come around taking the shot, in order somehow to save Kyle. I think it was inevitable for all 3 of them to be 4400's. I do enjoy the way that storyline is going. I'm a little frustrated with Maia's storyline, and Diana's too. We need to see more of them. I think this episode while enjoyable and informative was one of those eppies that aren't really all that exciting. It should have been fun for those who don't like the next eppy new ability person episodes (extra crispy). I loved the way we got to see a bunch of new people and their abilities. I am enjoying this season immensely and look forward again to the next episode!!
Try the pie... seems like it comes STRAIGHT out of Twin Peaks. David Lynch's fascination with the Cherry Pie in the Double R diner. "Cooper, have you tried this pie?" That overly happy feeling that comes from that pie, wow. I started worrying over the expression on Tom's face.
The other part that I felt was another plot rehashed was again the DEAD ZONE. The more this storyline blends with the FUTURE destruction that Johnny Smith is fighting against... and then you see the picture on the desk of the 'president' and it's the other candidate opposite of Shawn... I just kept thinking to myself... is this 4400? or Dead Zone?
Now that the introductions are effectively over, the writers turn to plot progression. The result is a transitional episode designed to move forward on some plot threads and set the stage for larger conflicts later in the season. Beyond Tom’s discovery of Jordan’s emerging cult, very little happens to define the episode as a whole.
As anticipated, Tom finds himself caught between his sense of duty and the desire to be with Kyle when he arrives in Evanston, and that struggle only comes to the end of the first round in this episode. Kyle is convinced that his father must take promicin, but he doesn’t want to force the issue. Tom is tempted, but he’s against everything that Jordan Collier stands for. It’s not an easy situation, and one can see how this could tie into the rest of the season arc.
Tom has been compromised by his personal relationship to the 4400 since the very beginning of the series. While that’s never been explored as thoroughly as it could have been, it makes sense for that internal conflict to escalate to a single choice. He’s probably the only person on the planet who knows, with a high degree of certainty, that he would survive the promicin shot, so the probabilities aren’t an issue.
That brings up the question of Kyle and his ability. Kyle is convinced that his father will survive, but he’s basing that on his ability and Isabelle’s translation of the book, which may or may not be valid (especially since the book itself is a matter of debate). That means Kyle is operating on faith, which Jordan is willing to exploit. So would Tom really survive the shot, or is it possible that he might die, proving Kyle wrong? Granted, it’s unlikely for Tom to die, given his leading role in the story, but it would be one hell of a plot twist.
In terms of Jordan, I like his characterization in this episode. He has no problem playing the revolutionary; he’s been playing that kind of role since the first season. But his reluctance to claim a messianic role, even with an apparent shaman proclaiming him a central figure in the creation of a new paradise, brings depth to the character. An intriguing arc for Jordan would be one of self-delusion: starting with the intentions of using a religious movement to gain power for his people and ending with the actual belief that he is a messiah (something foreshadowed in the season premiere).
Back in Seattle, Diana is dealing with Maia and her latest round of visions, and they are not pleasant. In fact, they reflect something that is all too easy to believe. Given the evidence of human history, if something like promicin were discovered, who wouldn’t expect some politician to suggest interment? Here again we have a parallel to some of the concepts from “The X-Men”, solidly based in the continuity of the series. After all, the government had already attempted to control the powered once with the promicin inhibitor.
Without the exploration of the newly-powered early in the season, the political and social climate would be less established and less satisfying. Now it’s easy to imagine a politician using Shawn’s attempt to reframe the public image of the powered as a tool to further his own ambitions. And Shawn could end up being the catalyst for something that damages the 4400 more than ever. Contemplating that slippery slope is one of the highlights of watching “The 4400”, and why each new season is always worth the wait.
Tonight viewers were able to take steps farther into this intense journey with both Tom Baldwin and his son, Kyle, as they both had new opportunities knock on their doors of life. Tom was magically opened into the world of promicin positive and slowly guided too be able to see their side of reality as Kyle was opened to the final steps of making the major decision of following and living for Jordan Collier. What is so crucial for both Dad and Son is their love and devotion for each other. So no matter what happens, I believe they will protect each other to as what they each see as safe.
Maia's nightmares have disclosed an uncertain future for the promicin positive and the 4400 that could possibly be a potential repeat of past historic fact tragedies of genocide.
This show continually amazes me every week due to the fantastic writing and a superb cast that is very serious about their craft to make this show so entertaining. The spiritual and psychological effects concerning the show are always brought to the viewers that continually spellbound them on a regular basis.
Maia has visions of anyone who is Promicin positive being rounded up and forced to wear yellow "P" arm bands - marking them as a threat. Very creepy and similar to what the Nazis did with the Jews during WW II.
Tom Baldwin searches for Kyle and comes upon a town set up by Jordan Collier with 4400s and others with powers. They try to convince him to become one of them. Kyle and Isabel are held prisoner until Jordan decides to give them a chance to join them. Though he is naturally suspicious of Isabel. Shawn must decide whether or not to continue to run for city council after Maia's nightmare of his opponents involvement in the rounding up of the 4400s was revealed.
Next week 10 "agent from the future" arrive - what will be their real mission? Will it be to pick up where Isabelle left off? In any case the plot was finally moved forward and not just another "power of the week" episode.
As Tom Baldwin searches for Kyle he finds a town where Jordan Collier has gathered 4400's and others who have taken promicin to beging building a better world. Jordan turns Kyle and Isabel loose after being convinced they are there for the right reasons - though he is still suspicious of Isabel - for good reason, considering how many 4400s she killed. Tom is the last name in Kyle's mystery book from the past who is supposed to take promicin - when he refuses, he is drugged and released. The 4400s then search for a new home. Jordan thinks Tom will eventually come to them after he decides on his own to take promicin.
This one finally got away from the "power of the week" episodes. Now we get to see what might happen to the 4400s and others who now have powers as paranoia of the general population builds as a result of Maias nightmares. The people with the yellow "P" for Promicin arm bands was creepy and reminded me of what the Nazis did during WW II. Shawns city council competition was in Maia's dream as in important figure in the rounding up of the Promicin positives. Would Shawn winning the election keep him from rising to power or cause it?
Next week looks even better as "10 agents from the future" arrive to try and do what Isabel failed to do. Maybe we will begin to get more answers about the 2 factions of people from the future. One wants the 4400s to succeed, the other wants them to fail. Which group is good and which is bad? Its easy to think of the bad that could come of everyone have super human powers - but its also easy to think of the good that could come of it. Are people with powers what eventually caused the catastrophe or are they what will stop it?
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