The Dead Zone

Season 4 Episode 7

Grains of Sand

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Jul 31, 2005 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
107 votes

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Episode Summary

Grains of Sand
When an immigrant woman dies, Johnny is determined to take care of her baby and reunite it with the father.

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  • This is getting old

    Propaganda. And there is nothing I hate more than being pounded over the head with propaganda. I did not need to have another illegal alien sob story crammed down my throat. And that's exactly what happened on this episode. Jeesh! Even the villain had to be "good". Her violations of the law, and even her intent to commit murder, were ok, because "her heart was in the right place".

    Make no mistake about it. This story had nothing to do with the "development" of the series. The producers just force fed it to hit viewers over the head and make them change their mind on a political issue, about which 75 percent of Americans disagree with them.moreless
  • Johnny's a dad.

    Well only for a little while anyway. In this episode Johnny and bruce get a child out of a car which has gone into a river they cannot get the mother out in time and she dies. Johnny then says that they cannot tell Walt about the baby until he works it all out. He has a number of bad visions but eventually tracks down the father and saves the day. So overall this was another good episode it was still a filelr but some of it was funny and exciting. As i have said before so far so good.moreless
  • This is a goof because Johnny gets visions of the far future but there is no armageddon in them. The writers forgot about.

    This is a goof because Johnny gets visions of the far future but there is no armageddon in them. When he touches the baby, sees it falling victim to the system the kid is 18 years old or something when he is killed in a gang. Or when Johnny sees himself raising the kid. Where is the armageddon in those visions? If it's coming and it's going to happen soon, shouldn't the world be destroyed before the kid even starts school? Or does this mean that Johnny stops armageddon and this is a secret message that the writers put in as to how the show ends and armageddon never happens? Or the writers completely forgot about the destruction of the world looming in about couple of years, way before the kid should even become a teenager? Oh, well, enough of this rant. As for an illegal alien sob story, it wasn't that bad. I've seen TV shows that would've done a way more boring job on something like that. Congrats to "The Dead Zone" on that.moreless
  • Better than the past few episodes!

    Coming into this episode, there were three relatively predictable and, in my opinion, overly average installments that suggested that the writers were struggling to keep the series moving forward. The season premiere had been designed as something of a mission statement, with Johnny demonstrating a higher degree of self-confidence. Unfortunately, too many of the ensuing episodes were little more than Johnny Smith, Psychic Detective.

    This episode takes a completely different approach. Instead of a murder mystery, Johnny is embroiled in an illegal immigration tale, complete with a family that has been tragically torn apart in the process of seeking a better life. Like the episode of “The 4400” that aired the same night, the central theme is social and political commentary. Johnny is driven to some difficult decisions, because his visions predict a bad life for the baby that he has saved.

    Where the plot was fairly predictable on “The 4400”, this episode uses the unique format provided by Johnny’s ability to play on audience expectation and allow for a wider variety of plot twists. Most of them revolved around Eva, the duplicitous INS agent. My wife and I were both convinced that baby Miguelito would end up with her by the end of the episode. Thankfully, it wasn’t quite as obvious as that.

    At the heart of the tale is Johnny’s struggle to let go of his desire for fatherhood. He wants to be able to raise a son in his own image. I’m surprised that no one brought up the matter of JJ, because he was key to understanding Johnny’s psychology in this episode. Johnny has a role in his son’s life, but the fact remains that Walt will (barring a plot twist between now and the end of the series) always be JJ’s primary male influence.

    It’s natural, then, for Johnny to see the chance to influence and shape the future of a child who, it seems, has no future without his intervention. It’s not simply that Johnny wonders if a baby will be able to survive in the kind of world that illegal immigrants are often subjected to, as depicted in this episode; he has the ability to gauge, moment to moment, whether or not Mikey will have a chance to fulfill his potential.

    So the central conflict for Johnny, so far as I can tell, is his lingering desire for fatherhood and the moral responsibility to return the child to his true father. This triggers Johnny’s involvement in the trafficking of human beings and the realization that a form of slavery is alive and well in America. While shipping illegal immigrants around the world in shipping containers has been going on for a long time, it’s a horror that many Americans have been shielded from, thanks to the media.

    Johnny also gets a harsh lesson in how such trafficking is typically run. While the situation is simplified somewhat within the episode, the fact remains that many illegal immigrant subcultures are victimized by their own people, who seek to advance their own chances of survival by preying on others with the same hopes and dreams. It’s not a world that Johnny understands, and as such, he puts himself in the line of fire, trying to do the right thing within a very grey situation.

    As the episode progresses, Johnny’s visions unlock more and more of the puzzle, and the depth of the problem is ever more clear. When the writers let the story unveil itself in such a manner, it’s all for the best. The audience gets to learn along with Johnny, which is what was missing from the last few episodes. Too often, the audience was waiting for Johnny to catch up with what they already knew.

    If there’s a troubling side to this episode, it’s the manner in which Johnny’s designs on Mikey are handled. His actions are far beyond legal, and Walt would have every reason to call in the authorities and lock Johnny up for good measure. But two things are very clear as the episode evolves: Sarah is getting very good at knowing when Johnny has a vision and is lying about it, and Walt has gotten to the point of trusting Johnny’s instincts with little or no argument. Granted, Walt was very quick to trust Johnny’s instincts, but on something this questionable, he really presents very little resistance.

    There are some sloppy editing moments with the baby, but that’s expected when dealing with a young infant on set. The writers also try to avoid getting too cute with the baby, though some of Johnny’s visions are a bit over the top (and those child actors were horrible!). Some of the baby jokes were a bit clichéd, but in general, it worked. If those scenes had led to more depth regarding Johnny’s hopes and fears regarding JJ, this would have been an even stronger episode overall.

  • Something different but still the Dead Zone

    This episode has something a little different from Johnny's usual save the day stuff. A lighter episode compared to some of the earlier ones of the season. What is interesting about this episode is to see Johnny and his interactions with the kid, pretty cute and warm. Now for the bad part. The other characters on the show are growing thin, how much screen time in the episode did Sarah have? Although Bruce tried to help Johnny cover, his lines are also little and doesn't have anything much else other than babysitting. As for Walt, it seems that his job in this episode was to just listen to Johnny, everything Johnny. Where's the old Walt where he voices himself? I mean they have become something like Johnny's Groupies instead of 'supporting' Johnny. But all in all, expect a little difference but not too much, it is still the Dead Zone.moreless
Wilmer Calderon

Wilmer Calderon


Guest Star

Alonso Oyarzun

Alonso Oyarzun


Guest Star

Lourdes Benedicto

Lourdes Benedicto

Eva Cortez

Guest Star

Bill Mondy

Bill Mondy

Deputy Roscoe

Recurring Role

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