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The Dead Zone

Season 4 Episode 10

Coming Home

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Aug 21, 2005 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
93 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Coming Home
Johnny gets a vision of death concerning Sara's father, who is apparently being stalked by a "Shadow Man" who is preying on an old folks' community home.

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  • An interesting character piece is broken down by a confusing plot and terrible chemistry

    After a couple of great episodes that restored my interest in the season, this week was surprisingly weak. There were some good moments, but the story never felt like it came together as well as the writers had hoped. It’s probably not shocking to many that the stronger moments centered around Johnny and Bruce, and that the weakest scenes involved Sarah and her father.

    The core idea seems to be a healing for Sarah and her relationship with her father, much as the previous episode seemed to be all about Johnny and his father. The difference is that Sarah’s father is alive. That actually doesn’t help the episode very much. In the previous episode, Johnny was forced to take a personal journey of discovery to understand what happened to his father.

    In this case, Sarah’s father is front and center. Unfortunately, as capable as Ed Asner might have been in the past, he has no chemistry with Nicole at all. This only serves to highlight some of the weaknesses in the Sarah character and Nicole’s portrayal. While I’m one of the first to point out that Sarah is unfairly maligned and that Nicole has been the victim of some problematic plotting choices, the woman can act when she has something or someone to work with.

    Two scenes made this very clear to me. The scene between Johnny and Sarah, where she discovers that Johnny has had a vision of her mother’s death, is very well done. There was the appropriate mixture of hope and horror on Sarah’s face at the notion that Johnny’s ability would allow him such insight. Clearly this isn’t something she’s discussed with Walt, let alone anyone else, and it brings them closer together at a rather delicate time. Just when these two seem to be growing into a friendship, they’ve gotten closer than ever.

    On the other hand, when Sarah and her father finally find each other at the end of the episode, it’s painful to watch. There’s a clear attempt to make the emotional connections work, but there’s just nothing there. The fake crying gets old very fast, and I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief and let it happen. It was jarring, to say the least.

    If the rest of the episode had been as strong as the Johnny/Sarah scene, then the episode might have overcome the lack of chemistry between Asner and Nicole. But the main plot is rather murky, and by the final act, it’s not all that compelling, either. I found myself struggling to work out the plot, which is usually not a problem for me, and the whole “Shadow Man” element was just plain silly.

    It felt like the writers didn’t believe that the drama of Sarah’s family would justify an entire episode, but that the resulting closeness between Johnny and Sarah was something that they needed to work out. So element after element was tossed into the mix, from what I can tell, to make the episode complex enough to fill the hour. The problem is that it didn’t come together as well as it could have, and so once again, I’m left wondering if the writing staff underwent too much of a changeover this season, resulting in a lack of focus.

  • Guest Starring Ed Asner!

    Watch the Dead Zone, guest starring Ed Asner! Watch it, because Big Ed is all you're going to get this week. And, of course, if you find Big Ed a tiresome below average actor who is always trying to recreate Lou Grant in every role he plays, then you are out of luck. Because that's what this episode of the Dead Zone was all about: Lou Grant goes to a retirement home. Of course, underneath all the gruffness, ill temper, and abrasiveness is a tender sentimentalist, who was just too much of a bear to really understand what Mary Richards, er, uh, I mean, Sara needed as daughter. But he comes through at the end. Now, where's Ted, Murray, Sue Ann, and Georgette?moreless
  • This was a good episode!

    I knew this episode wasn’t going to advance the plot just by watching the previews of it before it aired last night. So that didn’t even bother me since I was ready and I was actually pleasantly surprised that it really had quite a bit of character development in it. I really liked how they made Sara and her father’s relationship bad and really made her efforts of fixing that relationship important to the episode. I also liked how they didn’t exclude Johnny too much but gave him his own mystery to solve instead of making him interfere too much. So all in all I am going to have to say that the purpose of this episode was character development and it did a very good job of it.moreless
  • The commercials seem to never do the series justice.

    This is another example of what I mean.

    I thought that it was going to revolve around Sara's father, but it didn't.

    I liked the idea of the shadow walker and the bodies in the field. It was all very interesting until the last five minutes or so, when everything was explained. Not the best of them, I wish that it ended more interesting than the way it did.

    Anyways, still a great show. Let's see what the season finale has in store for us next week!moreless
  • Not quite what I expected!

    After the past two episodes I was pretty excited about this one. I was let down. A good episode, just not quite what I expected. We find Johnny and Sarah catching up with Sarah’s dad. Johnny starts getting visions of people bodies with numbers on them. We hear about a shadow man, and Johnny sees him. We later discover the truth about the shadow man.

    The bodies with numbers are linked to a body farm. I will not tell you everything for I do not want to spoil it for everyone. Overall it was an okay episode, I am disappointed but the season finale is next week!! Will hope for a better episode next week! Until then…

Edward Asner

Edward Asner

Marty Bracknell

Guest Star

Teach Grant

Teach Grant


Guest Star

Brynn Thayer

Brynn Thayer

Aunt Cokie

Guest Star

Spencer Achtymichuk

Spencer Achtymichuk

Little Johnny Bannerman

Recurring Role

Watch Online

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • That is one quick funeral for Mrs. Anderson. You've usually got a 2-3 day minimum, for visitation, mortuary preparations, etc. But Johnny thinks people are being murdered - if that much time passed there is no indication that he did anything about his concerns or was at all worried that a murderer was stalking the old folks' home in those inexplicably-absent days.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Sarah: J.J., say hi to your grandfather.
      Marty Bracknell: What's the matter, cat got your tongue?
      J.J.: Are you gonna die soon?

    • Johnny: Oh, that's funny. You know, when we were dating you were always late.
      Sara: I was not!
      Johnny: Yes you were. I missed the first 20 minutes of every movie we ever saw. How did E.T. get to Earth? I dunno. Why did the Empire need to strike back? Beats me.
      J.J.: Way to go, mom.

    • Johnny: Mr. Bracknell! Remember me?
      Marty Bracknell: I'm old, not stupid.

    • Johnny: What's wrong?
      J.J.: It smells in here.
      Sarah: Smells like what?
      J.J.: Old people.
      Johnny (snickering) He said it!

  • NOTES (1)


    • Johnny: Why did the Empire need to strike back?
      This references the immensely popular George Lucas The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars movie of 1980.