The Dead Zone

Season 4 Episode 8

Vanguard

0
Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Aug 07, 2005 on USA
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (12)

8.8
out of 10
Average
105 votes
  • This definatly has been the best episode so far this season.

    9.9
    Plot wise you have to agree that this was a great episode. We finally learn a little more about how Stillson will bring about he end of the world. But we also find out that he is gonig to become president of the United States. So Johnny feels he has failed but also we learn about how the end will come when Johnny's old student develops a weapon in a lab which he dies trying to distroy. But little does he know that his lab partner has coppied all the data. So overall i think this is a very inportant episode for the series. I really look forward to the next episode.
  • A step foward for the show in a great way!!

    9.4
    This episode is by far one of the better ones that I have seen recently and is defiantly better than any of the episodes that have aired this season. I was glad they brought the whole Armageddon thing back into the series since it gives the show a sense of direction and as far as I can tell it is Johnny’s destiny to stop it. One thing that I really liked about this episode is that they used Johnny's background as a science teacher and even used one of his former students as the focus of the episode. It also revealed a lot more about Stillson since they show him as president, which explains how he is connected to visions of death that Johnny sees.
  • Got me back into the show

    9.5
    This episode was written, filmed and acted beautifully. Guest star Danny Masterson proved to everyone that he is more than just a comedic actor with this role. The ending totally caught me off guard but because of this episode it made me love the show again.

    Also, this is a little off topic but if you ever saw the movie \"Suicide Kings\" (go see it if you haven\'t amazing film) Sean Patrick Flannery (Stillson) dates Laura Harris (Miranda Ellis) in the film and it looks like they are doing to be a \"couple\" again in this show!
  • Strap yourselves in

    9.0
    This episode is definitely why I am glued to the show in the first place. The main storyline continues on here. Nice story that reveals more about what stillson could have done to destroy the world and I have found my familiar friend of the show in the battle of wits between Johnny and Stillson. This episode has quench the curiosity of a lot of viewers after the main story was dropped after the first episode of the season. However, it still leaves more, like the mysterious man that is now helping Stillson, epescially at the end of the episode, he has acquired the near finish prototype. It is extremely painful to see that, and of course not to mention, interferring Rev. Purdy when he nearly found salvation. Mysteries grow here and it will leave any Dead Zone fan wanting more in the upcoming episodes.
  • A welcome revisit to the the X-File-sian mythology arc.

    9.5
    That\'s the great thing about this show, like The X-Files before it, we get standalone episodes(some filler, some prime examples of human drama)to keep the non-regular viewers happy, then we longtime viewers are rewarded with an installment of the series defining \"mythology arc\". The Stillson/Armageddon arc has almost as many twists and turns TXF\'s Conspiracy arc, but still manages to put the characters first. Here, Johnny is reunited with former student Alex Connors (Hyde from That 70s Show), who is working on an experimental polymer. Johnny keeps seeing visions of the apocalypse when he touches Alex, and he faces the moral dilemma of whether or not to sabotage his work to prevent Armageddon. Along the way, we learn that Greg Stillson will become President of the United States, and we are introduced to the woman who will be his First Lady. We also get a return appearance of Malcolm Janus, the Illuminati member introduced in the season premeiere. It seems like it will only be a matter of time before Janus forces Reverend Purdy to turn against Johnny. All in all, intriguing ep, can\'t wait for the next mytharc ep.
  • Back to basics for Johnny Smith and the rest of the crew, as we jump back into the Stillson storyline after weeks of filler.

    8.5
    The fun thing about putting up with the filler episodes of the Dead Zone is that it's always so exciting when we get back to Stillson. And not only that, but we get Danny Masterson and Reverend Purdy as well! This was very interesting from the start, as you could tell from each passing moment that Johnny was getting more and more frustrated with the hunt for Stillson. One thing that I also noticed was that this episode moved about a million miles per hour. There was a very big lack of dramatic pause in this episode, as the writers seemed to cram as much as possible into 40 minutes to get this important storyline out of the way. I knew that the episode wouldn't have a happy ending, though, as it's the only way to set up for the eventual happy ending that I'm expecting towards the end of the season. There was Sarah/Johnny interaction this episode too, which was rather interesting as it's clear that Sarah does not want to know anything about the new baby until she knows it first. Anyway, it looks like we're good to go for the rest of the season on the Stillson train, which I'm sure will lead to a rather climatic finale. Overall, I would've appreciated at least a couple dramatic pauses, but otherwise I have no complaints.
  • This is more like the show that I've become addicted to:)

    8.9
    Well after a few episodes that were still good by all means this one finally kicked it up a notch. I think the mystery surrounding Stillson and armageddon is a big plot grabber and keeps you coming back to find out more. Danny Masterson does a good job as Johnny Smith's former science student not scientist at a chemical plant bent on making sure his research isn't exploited to harm anyone. It was a bit sad that he ended up giving the ultimate sacrifice only to have his co-worker give over what he was trying to protect. Thrilling was seeing Stillson linked yet again in Johnny's visions to an impending armageddon. Good epi!:)
  • This is what it's all about!!

    9.0
    This was another spectacular episode. This is by far, on of the best episodes of the entire series. This will be remembered as a memorable episode.

    This episode was simply fantastic, bringing back elements of seasons 1 and 2 that were believed to be long forgotten. It was great to see a bunch of characters return after a long abscence. Purdy, Stillson and J.J. all return. It was great to see Martin Donovan return as Malcolm Janus. He brings a lot of depth to that mysterious character. Danny Masterson also did a splendid job in his guest appearance. This episode probably silenced critics towards a controversial fourth season. The episode foreshadows a few things, including a possible romantic interest for Greg Stillson.

    This episode was extremely pivotal to the Armageddon storyline and was a feel good episode for fans of the series.
  • It was good to see Johnny back in his old roots.

    8.2
    I was glad to see an episode that let us see how Johnny was with his students and how much he actually helped them to become what they are now. We have never really seen this kind of episode before that shows us his students and him working them them. He got involved and you could tell Johnny still loves science!
  • Yet another wonderful chess game between Johnny and Stilson

    9.0
    I’m actually on vacation this week (at least, part of the week), so I didn’t get to see this one uninterrupted. Nonetheless, I got to see most of the episode, and I was very happy to see a return to the underlying mythology of the series. It’s still very complicated, and one is never really sure if Johnny is getting anywhere in his crusade against Stilson, but it’s always a lot of fun!

    I happen to enjoy these episodes more than most of the stand-alone installments, but I almost always prefer “mythology” episodes because of the depth that they provide to the writers in terms of material and past continuity. There’s something to be said for a really strong anthology-style episode, and this series has more than its share; however, being able to turn back to Stilson and his machinations every so often is a good thing.

    Oddly enough, my sister finds this aspect of the series to be boring. She has little patience for the chess game between Johnny and Stilson, probably because Johnny rarely makes any headway. But that’s part of the reason that I love these episodes. They highlight many of the drawbacks to Johnny’s ability. It’s easy for the writers to use Johnny’s ability as a crutch in some of the stand-alone installments, since he needs to be right most of the time to retain credibility. (How he’s proven right, and the lengths he must take to decipher his visions, generate the better part of the drama.)

    It’s a lot harder for Johnny to be “right” and effective at the same time when dealing with the Stilson episodes. After all, Stilson must get away somehow, and if Johnny were to stop Stilson from bringing on the end of the world, how much fun would that be? Thus each side must gain some sense of victory, even if it’s fleeting. Stilson must always be one step ahead, and Johnny must deal with the fact that changing things based on visions is a gamble, at best.

    This episode is a perfect example. It turns out that Alex, basically Johnny’s former star pupil, will invent a material that has unexpected (at least by some) military applications. Those applications enable a more compact and stable design for the core of a nuclear weapon. Thus nuclear war is made simpler, just in time for Stilson to become President of the United States. The implication is that when Stilson destroys the world, this weapon is the key; without the material that Alex invents, that future is prevented.

    There are actually a lot of holes in that logic, and the episode deals with the most obvious of them: why is Alex the only person who can invent the material? Sure enough, anyone with the basic design can carry the work forward. Perhaps more troubling is the assumption that Stilson’s endgame, intentional or not, can be prevented by changing one small detail. Yes, it’s clear from the visions that the material becomes an important element in the future apocalypse, but there’s nothing to prevent something else to take its place if this material is not invented.

    The point is that there are clearly many paths to be taken to the same future. In this case, the fact that Alex is out of the equation is meaningless. One is left to wonder if he is simply fulfilling a function that would have been completed by someone else. In other words, perhaps the future is meant to happen, regardless of whatever Johnny tries to do, and the key elements will happen with or without his intervention. Only the names change.

    So for me, this episode is fun because both sides are playing the odds in a game that they don’t completely understand. They all know that Johnny and Stilson are at odds. Many of them understand the stakes. Stilson is playing to win on his own terms, regardless of what he may or may not intend as a future consequence. Johnny is trying to prevent that, but he makes decisions on limited and conflicting information. Neither really knows if they are making the right moves, because they can’t see the whole board. It lends this episode, which has a relatively standard plot, a bit more depth and drama.

    Aside from the interplay between Johnny and Stilson, which is always fun, there’s the little matter of Sarah’s news. Things were complicated enough when it was Johnny, Sarah, Walt, and JJ. JJ was essentially a continual trigger for Sarah’s torment. Now that things have more or less settled, there’s a new complication. In the previous episode, Sarah seemed to be thinking about her relationship to Johnny again. Now there’s a new child in the mix, and it’s clearly Walt’s. Sarah would have a clear reason to commit herself to Walt and her family, and that could be something that the writers intend to use to explore whether or not Sarah is really ready to let go of Johnny as anything other than a friend.
  • That's more like it

    9.4
    Good episode. Glad to see that things were put back on track after last week's debacle, the illegal alien sob story. Nice to see Johnny back hard at work trying to save the world from Armegeddon generated by Stillson and the unwitting but ever so corruptible Purdy, instead of saving the blueberry crop from being deprived of illegal alien blueberry pickers.

    Otherwise, it was nice to see Stargate SG-1 alumni, Don Davis and Teryl Rothery put in appearances, albeit limited ones. Speaking of which, Teryl Rothery is looking more than a bit worn and aged since her time at Stargate Command.
  • Johnny Smith has a reunion with his former students and finds out one of them may be involved in the end of the world. Johnny must then find a way to prevent the young scientist from being involved.

    10
    Truly a great episode all the way through. Every main character had at least a small part in the episode. Very well acted by Anthony Michael Hall and Danny Masterson, they did a great job together. The whole story was great including the ending which was a little predictable, when Dr. Connors assistant sold the unfinished research to Stillson's men. This episode was essential in the big plot of the show, Armageddon. Fans of this show must not miss this episode, if they do they will be very dissapointed they missed out on such a fantastic portion of this great show.
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