Monday, July 30, 2007

The 4400: One nation under Jordan

Alternate, but too long, title for this post: "Take me down to the Promise City, where the river is clean and the garden is pretty."

(Spoilers ahead, of course.)

You know, I should have seen it coming. This entire season of The 4400 seemed to be building toward it. First he just had a following; then he had a city; now Jordan Collier has annexed himself a piece of Seattle and called it Promise City. Of course, that's just a backdrop to the real point of the episode, the question that's been hanging over this season – and possibly over the preceding three as well – is Jordan Collier a good guy or a bad guy?

The fact is, we didn't get a definitive answer. We were invited to make up our minds, as Maia did. On the one hand, Jordan took a toxic corner of Seattle on the Duwamish River delta and cleaned up the river, made all kinds of plants grow, and promised to work miracles everywhere. On the other hand, he caused mini-disasters to happen as a demonstration of his power and essentially carved a sovereign nation out of a major city, which the government wasn't too cool with. So the government sent in enhanced soldiers – remember them? – commanded by Glenn Morshower, Aaron on 24, who can't seem to not play government or military personnel.

Since Maia foresaw that something very bad, possibly the end of the world, was going to happen if the soldiers killed Jordan, she snuck in to Promise City like the teenager she almost is. There she saw enough to decide that Jordan was good, and she warned him about the soldiers. But she still didn't trust him; she lied and told him that she'd had a vision that a war would doom all mankind, hoping to keep Jordan from hurting anyone. It worked, since Jordan's response to getting invaded was not a bloody reprisal, but an expansion of his borders.

As always, the mystery of Jordan continues to be fascinating. He seems to be gentle and reasonable, but there are hidden reserves of ruthlessness, and he's certainly not above allowing his minions to do the really dirty work, so he doesn't have to. And I was glad that there was a lot of Maia in this episode, as she's been lacking recently. I don't remember seeing Maia take this much action before – she doesn't go out on her own much – and it seems like another indication that she's growing up. It's the natural next step for her, and I'm just happy that the writers thought to take it.

Shawn, meanwhile, jumped into the running for Worst Political Candidate Ever. He dated the daughter of a woman he healed, slept with her, and proceeded to be surprised when it got all over the internet. Shawn, you idiot, the internet knows all. But as he didn't have the foresight to spend the entire campaign sitting quietly and doing nothing, he did the next best thing: admitted he had made a mistake. He also, in spite of warnings from his mentor, asserted that he would continue to take the middle road between promicin-positive people and the rest of the world. At least, that's what he keeps saying, but I haven't seen much of this middle road. Now that the divisions are starting up in earnest, I'd love to know what the middle road is and what he proposes to do, especially because Shawn is the only character who's advocating this middle course.

And Tom/Meghan shippers got something to squee over when Marco totally walked in on them almost-but-not-kissing. I like Meghan; certainly the show has gone out of its way to give her a personality, what with the sick dad and the Fellini predilection. But I'm not really feeling this Tom/Meghan love. Oddly enough, the only person Tom seems to have any chemistry with is Diana (see: their cute dinner at the beginning of the episode, in which Diana got all gal pal with Tom and grilled him about Meghan). But, as I actually enjoy the fact that they're the only male-female partnership on TV without any sexual tension between them, I don't want them to get together. Tom is nice; Meghan is nice; I wish I could care about them together.