The Dead Zone ~ Outcome: I really liked this episode alot. I haven't looked much in the forums to see what other's thought of it. But I really enjoyed Sara's friend, Elaine, and I liked that Johnny had someone else to bounce ideas off of for once. I thought the storyline was terrific, all of those life convergences, and how each one of them had a small part to play in the chaos that would have come. I really enjoyed the fact that it was Johnny all along that set off the chain of events, as well as stopped them. When all was said and done it was an interesting and eclectic episode, with wonderful twists and turns. I know that a lot of the fans aren't happy with the changes in the show this season, but I certainly think they're shaking it up a bit. A big thumbs up on this one for me.
Much like the episode of "The 4400" that aired on the same night, this was a "bottle show". Nearly everything in the episode took place within the confines of the train station at the heart of the story, centering on multiple iterations of a single vision. This is the second such episode in a row, but in an odd way, it works. It serves as a capable follow-up to the previous installment, which brought the relationship between Johnny and Sarah to an interesting place.
Instead of stepping right past the issues and settling into a relationship for the two characters, the writers keep things nebulous. Johnny isn't sure where things stand, even after Sarah's apparent declaration of intent, and his past history is at the forefront of his mind. Without getting into the subject too deeply, especially without Sarah in the episode, the writers touch on the delicate emotional matters that stand in the way.
The previous installment set up the case for setting aside the roadblocks. Past episodes have shown that Walt's death has a tendency to drive Johnny and Sarah back together, if Johnny's visions are taken as accurate. This episode, coming sometime well after the infamous kiss, gives us a better look at Johnny's concerns. This could be setting up a situation where Johnny, wanting to prevent a disaster, sets himself up for heartache by waiting too long. That's actually a minor part of the episode, but it does alleviate some of the concern that Johnny and Sarah are moving too quickly after Walt's death.
Most of the episode is another look at Johnny's psychological issues, which is typically the side effect of a "bottle show" in the first place. Walt's death and the subsequent introduction of Sheriff Turner has highlighted Johnny's tendency to take action without anyone else's consent, as though he has the right to act because he has the visions. This episode reinforces a related issue: Johnny can become so focused on the big picture that he doesn't see how his actions can make things better on the small scale.
This could be an effect of Bruce's departure earlier this season. Bruce was there to remind Johnny that it wasn't all about preventing Armageddon; it was about changing things for the better one day at a time. Without Bruce, is Johnny beginning to lose that perspective again? On the other hand, Johnny is practically impulsive when it comes to helping others, so perhaps it's a matter of Johnny's perception.
Whatever the case, most of this episode is a string of smaller moments, all of which get better because of Johnny's intervention, linked to an impending disaster that Johnny himself might cause. That chain of events is the highlight of the episode; the relationships at play last just long enough to stay interesting without being overextended. The conversations about Sarah keep this episode from being completely stand-alone, tying it to the larger season arc, which at this point, could have been a point of contention. All in all, a solid episode for the middle of the season.
After last weeks rather weak offering (Numb) "Outcome" arrives as a breath of fresh air. It returns all of the things that make 'The Dead Zone' such a great show. A show that echoed much of the feelings and style of "Precipitate" (Season 2: Episode 4) - Just to note "Precipitate" in my opinion remains one of the finest episodes this show has ever produced, so the fact that "Outcome" brings back memories of that episode speaks volumes for the excellence in this episode.
We have Johnny back doing what he does best, solving a complex, multilayered situation where he's not sure exactly what the root cause is. Where every step he takes unveils a little more of the solution. Where he gets a chance to not just save the lives of the people he encounters but improve them as well.
Maxim Roy (as Elaine Dowd) was fantastic as a sidekick, providing the kind of support and insight that Bruce used to give Johnny. While it is unlikely she'll do much more than guest star it's exactly her kind of character that works so well alongside Johnny. Her emotional grounding speech that she gives towards the end of the episode was clearly something he needed to hear and was beautifully timed. While it seems quite likely that Sarah and Johnny will end up back together (something I still don't agree with) this episode has shown that the writers aren't willing to just shove them together wholesale and are instead working towards more organic relationship growth between them.
All in all this episode brought strong characters, intricate plotting, excellent dialog and a little something to think about afterwards. Making it one of the better episodes this season and showing that there is still plenty of life left in 'The Dead Zone'.
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