Come one, come all to Dead Zone: The Next Generation! See JJ develop a circus fetish! Marvel at the duplicitous nature of the White Rabbit! Gasp at Sarah Bannerman’s baby-juggling prowess! Chastise Sheriff Turner for her continued scoffing and annoyance! Plus, acrobats! Mirror mazes! Snakes! Murders! Nobility restored! The guilty punished! Gratuitous purring! There’s something for everyone!
Spoilers lurk beyond.
Poor little JJ. Not only is puberty, and puppy-love, hitting him hard, but he’s also struggling with feelings of freakishness. Johnny suspects JJ is following in his psychic footsteps, but JJ denies it — I’m no freak! That would be more convincing if he didn’t have an astonishing run of "luck" at the very same Wheel of Chance that Johnny managed to bankrupt just before his accident. Curious.
JJ exhibits his prowess at betting to impress Monique, a 14-year-old acrobat and Alice at an Alice-in-Wonderland-themed circus. The circus is run by an old friend of Johnny’s, Lorenzo, who got on an Alice kick and revamped the old carnival to take it through the looking glass. Also through the looking glass: a dead blond woman, who Johnny flashes on in the house of mirrors. Funnily enough, Lorenzo is talking to the sheriff because the circus was vandalized — dozens of mirrors smashed. Later, Johnny sees a beefy arm with an "Alice" tattoo hovering over the body and tries to tell Lorenzo. When Johnny opens the door to Lorenzo’s trailer, another mirror smashes and fake blood and blond hair is strewn about. Curious and curiouser.
It doesn’t end there. Johnny gets a vision of Lorenzo being attacked by snakes. It comes to pass (fortunately, they were non-venomous serpents), and Johnny finally tracks down the phantom vandal — Duncan Miller, a deaf-mute former circus hand who was convicted of killing an exotic dancer (who worked with snakes, naturally) named Alice about 10 years ago. Duncan was obsessed with Alice, Lorenzo said, but she just mocked him., Eventually he snapped and killed her.
Duncan’s touch tells another story — yes, he was in the house of mirrors when Alice died, but Lorenzo was too. What’s more, Johnny gets another vision of Lorenzo packing away a necklace Alice used to wear. Johnny figures out Lorenzo actually did the killing, and Lorenzo blames it on a fit of passion. Alice and I were in love, he says. We were going to be married, and then she decided to leave me and run off with Duncan! I lost it! After he killed her, Lorenzo redesigned the circus to the Wonderland theme in homage to his dead love. Johnny turns Lorenzo in. The circus folk gather around while Lorenzo is carted away in handcuffs.
Back at the circus, JJ visits Monique to say goodbye, and she decided to show him her act. I just don’t think it’s a good idea, he says, but Monique pooh-poohs those worries. She shouldn’t have done that — while she’s performing, the cable starts to snap, and Monique panics. Duncan is in the rigging, seemingly fooling with the cables, but Johnny figures out Duncan was actually trying to save Monique. (Granted, Duncan was trying to save Monique because he’d rigged the cables to break for Lorenzo, but we won’t quibble.) He slows her descent enough that when she does tumble, JJ breaks her fall and she’s ok. She invites Duncan to join the circus family, and kisses JJ goodbye. JJ is grounded for life for sneaking out, but he decides it’s totally worth it just for that smooch.
JJ finally admits that, while he’s not getting full-on visions like Johnny, he does have strong "feelings" about things. From now on, he says, he’ll pay attention to those feelings and tell people if they’re in danger. Sure, some people may think he’s a freak, but it’s better than letting someone die.
Do you like the idea of JJ being psychic? What did you think of the Alice-themed circus? Did you suspect Lorenzo from the moment he came on screen? Can you believe Johnny didn’t think to buy diapers? What the heck kind of psychic can’t see that babies always need more diapers?