Sunday, June 10, 2012

The 4400: Voices Carry

Voices Carry (Episode 2.2)
Directed by Vincent Misiano
Written by Lisa Melamed
Co-Starring Sharif Atkins and Stephen McHattie
First aired 12 June 2005
Rating: 7/10

Previous episode: Wake-Up Call.
Next episode: Weight of the World.

[Minor spoilers.]

Promising young baseball player Gary Navarro (Sharif Atkins) can read minds. This helps in knowing what the pitcher is about to throw, making him the perfect hitter, and an excellentprospect for the major league. Yes, he is a returnee, and his prospects go sour while, on the field in front of recruits, the thoughts of everyone around him pound into his head, sending him into a violent rampage. At first my cynical self grinned and thought, But how come his mind-reading never troubled him before? Well, the episode later explains that at first he could read only select thoughts, while on that fateful day he was unexpectedly able to read every thought in the park. The debilitating part of Navarro's ability struck during such an important moment in his career, and might lead some to label the scene as "pure coincidence," whereas I label it as "drama," which to be honest often is born of pure coincidence.

(Ah, the ability to read minds. I know what you're thinking... that it's the best possible ability next to flight. But in reality we're human, each of us with his or her nasty thoughts, so it's best to keep away from the minds of others. Besides, I have enough trouble figuring out what's on my own mind.)

Homeland Security wants to borrow this ability to penetrate JC's lair and figure out what's up with the cult dude. I won't detail the events, but will mention gun-running and JC's need to make money. Lots of money. There is a great twist at the end as poor Navarro, a nice enough guy, is ultimately being used by the nation, as the FBI now want to recruit his abilities. Tom is guilt-struck since he's the one who promised that after the JC stint he'd be left alone. This twist places the government on par with Jordan Collier, so that the nation itself becomes an implicit cult centre, with leaders using its best citizen members for its own benefits. Like Collier the leaders will surely defend themselves by arguing that it's for the greater good.

(Gun-runner Dravitt is played by character actor Stephen McHattie who I praised in the excellent Tales from the Darkside episode "Family Reunion.")

Meanwhile, back in somewhere, USA (appropriately filmed in western Canada), Lily and Richard are still on the run. Demon child Isabelle has toned down from murder to petty theft as she opens a cash register at the grimy motel and Lily snatches up the twenties. If she continues along this path, by the end of the season she'll be an angel. Richard is deeply pained by this life, while Lily just appears to be out to lunch.

Along more interesting lines, Kyle blanks out at school, leading me to suspect he might be harbouring other abilities, or partially-formed abilities. While blanking out he meets hot chick Wendy Paulson (Torontonian Lexa Doig) who turns out to be his professor for Survey of Nineteenth Century Novellas (sounds like a great course). First on the list is Joseph Conrad's excellent The Secret Sharer, and of course my conditioned brain tries to make links between Kyle and the doubled boatman. Curious to see where this leads.

In other news... Diana reads Maia's journal and learns that the little girl can still premonition, and Diana's tattoo artist sister April comes for self-invited visit. Still my favourite thread; there's something natural between the actors that it makes the drama a pleasure to follow. Just look at those smiles.

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