THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
I enjoyed thinking about my five favourite moments from The Walking Dead last week, so thought I’d do my favourite 4400 moments, as I’ve been rewatching all four series so I can sell on the DVDs.
It wasn’t the best show in the world, but it did explore some clever ideas, and deserved more attention than it got. I would have loved to have had a further two or three series to finish off the story, but it was cruelly cut short just as it started to get interesting – as so many other shows have been before.
So here are my top moments, and if you like thought provoking but low key scifi, I’d recommend checking this series out.
The end of series 3 sees a new neural transmitter released to the public. Take the shot and your body learns to develop promicin and you gain an ability. Or you die. Fifty-fifty. What I loved about this set up was that it challenged the viewer to consider what they’d do in that situation. 50% chance you develop a superhuman ability. 50% chance you die. Huge risk for huge gain, and better odds than most casinos. The way that the man handing out the promicin shots at the very end of the series talks directly to the camera, as if to the viewer, is a little cheesy, but really hammers the point home. I wouldn’t take it, I’d be too terrified. But I think a lot of people would…
2. Tom and Alana ‘Remember’ Maia in a Dream World
After Maia and a few other 4400 children get re-kidnapped to be sent even further back in the past, only those who lived closely with them remember them. So while Tom’s partner Diana is going crazy because she knows she’s lost something, but can’t really remember what, Tom can’t remember a thing. Except the memory of Maia is trapped in his mind somewhere, because when he and Alana go into one of their dream worlds for a joyride in the countryside, they nearly run over a super creepy, faceless version of Maia.
I like how this plays on the idea of what we remember and the way our subconscious can sometimes throw up things that we’d forgotten we’d forgotten. Plus the faceless thing was pretty horrible in a way the show hadn’t really been before.
3. Tom Baldwin and Jordan Collier Beat ‘the Game’
One of the best episodes in the final season, when the major players in the cast are brought together for a game of survival by a 4400 ability, enemies Tom Baldwin and Jordan Collier have to work together to save everyone else. And by working together, I mean use their bodies to connect a circuit, effectively committing suicide to save themselves. There is the feeling that it’s all a dream (the game world is dreamt up by a 4400) but there’s an underlying tension created by the fact that no one is really sure what happens to those who die in the dream world. Add to that these two alpha males trying to find a way to reluctantly cooperate with each other, and it makes for a great moment.
4. Danny Infects Seattle with Promicin
Poor Danny. He was always in the shadow of Shawn. It must have been difficult to be second to him when he vanished, and then to be second to him again when he reappeared. The promicin shot gave Danny a way to be a part of what Shawn was involved in, finally being as good as his brother. Shawn persuades him to hold off until he can guarantee he’ll survive it. Danny finally gets his moment, only to kill his mother and 9000 people in Seattle by spreading Promicin like a virus. It was a great way of showing that abilities aren’t everything, and perhaps people might be better off without them, and also cleverly done with the character who most perfectly encapsulated all that was stood to gain and lose by taking the shot.
5. Tess Builds a Machine to Contact the Future
I love this whole double episode. Partly because Summer Glau – is she ever not good in anything? – but also because it explores the idea of where the 4400 have been while they’ve been gone. Okay, Tess is schizophrenic so we’re reluctant to trust a word she says, but her description is compelling, making the discovery that she got it out of a book all the more disheartening. You just start to doubt that her machine is anything other than a part of her madness, when it actually works and ‘wakes up’ one of the other patients. It’s a sequence that plays with our expectations over and over again, and ends tragically with Tess being left behind by her friend. The 4400 is quite a quiet show – not much for big spectacle – so the most emotional moments are usually low key. But that doesn’t mean Kevin kissing Tess on the head as he leaves is any less heartbreaking.