The Dead Zone

Season 6 Episode 4

Big Top

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Jul 08, 2007 on USA

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
78 votes
  • Interesting start with the circus. But got too "soap-opera-y" for me.

    I did like the start and premise of the episode. A murder at the big top. The circus is always creeps-ville for me, and I was waiting and interested to see where it would go.
    Now, I don't mind JJ, especially a "little" grown up, with his "love interest". Reminds me of when I was that age. But I think this became too family-centric for my liking. If this one were done in the first season or two, say Johnny and Bruce, this would probably have been a much more involved and mysterious episode.
    But it seems this whole show has taken a not so interesting turn. JJ, Sara, Walt...I like them in their places. But this episode seems to tell us that that is going to be the main focus now.
  • Sloppy execution and predictable plot delivers the first subpar episode of the season

    I’ve had a rather favorable impression of the latest episodes, so I had high hopes for this installment. I’ve also been a fan of Hatem’s work for quite some time, so seeing his name in the credits gave me even more reason to believe. Unfortunately, there was something missing from this episode, and I’m not quite sure where the issue lies.

    In terms of the writing, there were some annoying bits. I was concerned about the presence of a baby on the show for several reasons, but largely because most scenes (and plots) with babies resort to comedic cliché. And sure enough, that’s how the episode started, and it grated on my nerves as a result. Admittedly, that’s a personal nitpick; I just think that writers get lazy when it comes to dealing with babies on television shows, based on previous genre examples.

    On the other hand, one of the underlying themes of the episode is family. Johnny is trying to figure out where he belongs, while Sarah and JJ are still trying to figure out if he should belong at all. The baby becomes a metaphor for how overwhelming life has become for Sarah. Johnny is there to step into the gap when possible, but however good his intentions might be, his methods grate on mother and son. (Bringing the audience to recall “Ego”, where it was noted that Johnny tends to act without much regard for the feelings of others.)

    I don’t recall if JJ’s possible psychic ability has been dealt with in the past to this degree, but it was a nice touch. For all that Sarah and JJ think that Johnny is trying to take Walt’s place, JJ is a part of Johnny’s legacy. Past episodes have developed the idea of Johnny’s ability as genetic in nature, so it makes sense that JJ (coming through puberty) would begin expressing the ability on that basis. This sets the stage for a better relationship between father and son in the future.

    That said, I still don’t think that JJ is a strong character, despite this season’s attempt at resolving that problem, and that contributes to the missing elements of this episode. The plot itself is also a bit predictable. While I love the symmetry of JJ expressing his ability and interest in the opposite sex in a location important to Johnny and Sarah, Alice and JJ had almost no chemistry. The murder mystery was far too obvious, which also robbed the episode of dramatic tension.

    While I find most of the Johnny/Sarah interaction to be better than it’s been in a long time (and Nicole de Boer looks gorgeous lately), JJ continues to be a weak link in the cast. And that’s after yet another cast change. When I look at how well the children were cast for “Medium”, as a comparable example, it’s hard to imagine that this role would be consistently miscast for so long.

    Despite all of that, an episode with good direction and editing might have overcome the challenges. In this case, that didn’t happen. While there were some intriguing transitions, the editing (especially in the final act) telegraphed much of the plot. This episode also had the weakest music of the season, seemingly over-emphasizing the dramatic idea of a scene to the point of distraction. These items contributed to a poor showing for the season so far, despite some good underlying ideas.
  • Another wonderful ep of The Dead Zone, season 6 rocks!

    Another great episode. I loved seeing more interaction between Johnny and JJ. The new JJ, Connor Price and Anthony Michael Hall are building a great chemistry. Very nice story with some nice references to Stephen King stuff, and intentional or not, Anthony Michael Hall's studio project and cd "Hall of Mirrors". I really love this season so far!
  • Thumbs up! I really did enjoy this episode. I hope this is only the beginning of what's to come.

    At the beginning of this season I knew that doors were being opened to new possibilities and this episode proved it. During season one I felt very crushed for Johnny and the pain that he must have experienced when waking up from a coma of six years to a new world where everything had changed, including the fact that his fiancé, Sarah, the woman he loved, had gave birth to his son, but moved forth without him and now was married to someone else. Plus his mother was now passed away and he now had to learn to live with this new found second sight and go on in a world without his previous plans that seemed like only yesterday to him.

    What was nice about this episode was to see Johnny having a chance to take on the role of being a father and working together with Sarah to solve family problems together. This I hope for Johnny is only the beginning. He has had enough tragedy in his life.

    During this episode we were privileged to see a prior time during Johnny and Sarah's younger years as a couple when they were at a circus, although the circus held bittersweet memories for both of them considering that this was the same circus where apparently something had occurred around the time of Johnny's accident.

    J.J. had taken time to sneak over to the circus to try to get to know a young girl that is part of the show, whom he was smitten with. Johnny got wind of it and went to bring him home but decided to give him a few more minutes with her. During this episode Johnny was able to witness a couple of incidents that are leading to the possibility that J.J. might have some of his old dad's ability in him.

    As usual we were able to witness yet another excellent job accomplished as Johnny uncovered a murder done eight years ago by a circus worker, but who was falsely accused and sentenced. Johnny was able to expose the true murderer, whom happened to be one of his old friends in the circus business.