This week on Dead Zone, Sarah and Johnny go on a date, which inevitably leads to Johnny falling into a coma. Sarah has the worst luck with men ever. It’s all a ploy to get Sarah and Johnny into a creepy hospital, for Sarah and Johnny to get menaced by a creepy doctor, and for me to be plagued with worries about how much they’re going to owe the babysitter. Hey, you wanted commentary — be careful what you wish for.

I see spoilers ahead.

Sarah and Johnny go out to see a product-placed band that I can’t be bothered to look up. They stop for food on the way back, which is notable only because (1) Sarah mentions that if they hadn’t done so, they would have gotten back to relieve the babysitter before midnight, and (2) they have a sweet little near-kiss as they reach into the backseat for the ketchup. We’re supposed to concentrate on the latter, but my Babysitter Meter starts pinging — Allison, the sitter, is about to be able to afford a new iPod. Johnny doubles over in pain, and Sarah drags him to the nearest hospital, which is in the middle of nowhere, undergoing reconstruction, and nearly deserted, all of which are bad signs. Keep driving, Sarah! She doesn’t listen to me, and she doesn’t listen to Johnny when he tells her to get him out of here or he’ll go into a coma. Again.

Nurse Carrie tends to Johnny — she’ll page Dr. Cole, who is just the best! she gushes. (A note to the writers: Making your character say she’s such a cliché does not make her any less of one.) Johnny babbles about flowers, lions… he’s seeing a safari? Dr. Cole smarms his way in. Long story short, Johnny has appendicitis. He’s got to go under the knife immediately, or it could be bad. Johnny insists that staying here is more dangerous — call Sheriff Turner! Later, Sarah runs into Cole pushing a bald patient in a wheelchair (don’t they have orderlies for that?) and asks what’s up with Johnny. He should be waking up in an hour or so, Cole says. (Allison can start shopping for an iPhone.)  Sarah mentions that Johnny was talking crazy talk, all about floral safaris and calling the sheriff… Cole gets shifty-eyed.

Two or three hours later (Allison can get a new computer), Johnny’s still not awake. Oh no! He’s in a coma! Who could have foreseen that? Well, Johnny, who told Sarah… Now you wish you’d listened to him, huh? Sarah tearfully tells an unconscious Johnny that she’s sorry they’re in this position again — she thought they’d have more time! She kisses him. Then it’s off to figure out how to save Johnny.

I could give you a detailed account of what Sarah does — demanding more treatment; threatening to move Johnny; getting accosted by the guy in the wheelchair, who tells Sarah Cole’s a bad man; meeting a kindly black man who plays piano for coma patients; figuring out Lyons and Flowers referred to two of said coma patients; calling Turner; following Cole into the disused part of the hospital and finding the dying bald guy; fighting with Turner; losing the dead bald guy; confronting nurse Carrie; spilling the news that Cole is married and has three kids; seeing Carrie go all woman-scorned and confess everything; finding out Dr. Cole is defrauding the insurance companies by keeping long-term coma patients; finding out he’s also purposely putting trauma patients into comas, then forging their signature on power of attorney forms so he can get complete control of their finances and their care; rushing to save Johnny; getting strangled by Dr. Cole — except none of it really happens. It’s all a vision Johnny has in the time it takes Sarah to lock lips with him. Even in a not-quite-so-persistent vegetative state, Johnny Smith can crack the case.

So, Sarah’s kiss, and the vision of her being menaced, wakes Johnny, and they’re able to stop Cole before he can carry out his dastardly plans. Plus, Sarah gets to brain Cole with a hospital tray, which is nice. The coma patients wake up, and two of the patients who have been next to each other for two years find they’re soul mates, despite never being conscious in the same place at the same time. We’ll see how in love they are once they start actually talking to each other on a daily basis.

By now, it’s possible several hours or possibly even a day have passed (the timeline gets a little confusing — Day? Night? It’s like an Edd Wood movie here!), and Allison may have college tuition for freshman year at a private school, possibly an Ivy. And I can’t help but think this wouldn’t be a problem if the producers hadn’t decided to get rid of absolutely everyone Johnny and Sarah knew in town — Walt, Bruce, even Rev. Purdy — so they couldn’t get an adult to stay with the kids. I’m sure Allison is a competent sitter, but really, when you’re fending off evil doctors, wouldn’t you be happier knowing someone seriously reliable is around?

But the folks behind Dead Zone don’t want up to think about that — they want us to focus in on Johnny and Sarah, sitting in the truck in the rain. You kissed me, Johnny says. Sarah confesses that she’s liking living with Johnny, and when he went into a coma (again), she felt like she was losing it all (again). Sarah, your kiss saved my  life, Johnny says. Well, with a line like that, you know they’re going to kiss again. I know I’m supposed to get all swoony at this point, but I find myself idly wondering if Sarah’s kisses can be used as sort of a lippy version of The Clapper. One kiss, he’s awake! Next kiss, he’s asleep! Kiss on, kiss off, the Kisser! Just me? Hmm.

Other thoughts: I would feel sorry for Carrie, being a young, innocent woman duped by an unfeeling cad, but she spent a lot of time burbling about how great and compassionate Dr. Cole was, when she knew he was deliberately putting people in comas. Either she’s had some really, really bad boyfriends, or she’s not exactly without sin, you know? Also, I covet the leather coats Turner and Sarah are wearing. Seriously — the costumer on this show knows how to pick a mighty fine leather jacket.

Posted by:Sarah Jersild