You know all the stuff that didn’t happen in the rest of the season of Dead Zone, stuff about conspiracies and apocalypses and bad men and secrets and all the rest? They saved it all up for this episode. They jam so much in here that I can hardly keep track of it all. But in the end, it looks like we’re right back at the beginning, like this season never happened.
I see spoilers ahead.
Sarah has apparently been attacked by some sort of brain-sucking monster. How else do you explain why she didn’t pick up on any of the signs that Stillson was a bad, bad man? When a waitress compliments Stillson on his beautiful family, Stillson doesn’t clear up her mistake. Sign No. 1 that Sarah should run far, far away. She doesn’t, of course — she invites him back to the secluded cabin and makes him cookies. Sigh. Stillson asks her to come to D.C., take a job on his campaign staff — sign No. 2 that something is wonky, because, the hell? That sounds an awful lot like "Hey, come down to D.C. and I’ll install you as my mistress and/or use you to further my political career." Sarah leans toward yes. J.J. tells Sarah that he’s not so sure about Stillson — he cheated at cards! Sarah dismisses J.J.’s concerns. Sarah, sweetie, you’re 0 for 3.
Johnny starts getting visions of his dead parents to supplement his usual menu. Curious. He then gets a vision of Walt talking to the mysterious woman he saw before he died. Her name’s Jacinta, she helps out at the Garden of Grace, and she used to be Herb Smith’s nurse. Johnny confronts her at the garden, and she starts to give him some background — Herb wigged people out because he could see things. She told the director, and then people started showing up to "observe." Before she can tell him more, she gets shot. Bye, Jacinta!
Johnny finds Reverend Purdy, and gets a psychic hit of Gene faking Herb’s death certificate. Purdy claims he was protecting Vera, which, please! That’s the stupidest thing ever heard. Purdy claims they moved Herb, and he died in a fire five years ago. Johnny is somewhat miffed, as five years ago he was awake and could have seen his dad. Purdy tries to justify, but no one’s buying it. Then Purdy says he’s been trying to figure everything out — they should combine forces! For some reason, Johnny agrees. Perhaps we missed the scene of Johnny beating Purdy about the head and shoulders with a large blunt object? Because god knows that’s what I would have done.
Johnny and Purdy find financial transactions on Walt’s computer linking Janus and the Coalition for a Better America to Jacinta, the Garden of Grace and an organization called Global Horizon Ventures. When Johnny and Purdy check out the Garden, someone starts shooting at them. With a vision-assist, Johnny flings some powerful bug spray at the (highly incompetent) shooter, who turns out to be Sonny Elliman, a former associate of Stillson’s. He was heading for a secret hatch (And oy! With the secret hatches! Sorry, getting a Lost flashback here…), so Johnny and Purdy investigate. They find an exact replica of Stately Smith Manor — all the better to keep one Herb Smith passive and talkative. Herb, by the way, is played by the fabulous Tom Skerritt, who was Sheriff Bannerman in the movie. Oooh, meta! If only they could have worked in Martin Sheen or Christopher Walken, too.
The Evil Stillson Posse had somehow convinced Herb that Stillson was Johnny, and were using his mind-mojo powers to get Stillson into the White House. Herb’s latest prediction — no one votes for a single guy as president, so he’d need to find himself a wife. Say, a comely young widow with photogenic kids. Herb leans in and tells Johnny that Sarah will marry Johnny, and she loves him very much. "He has to marry her — if he doesn’t, the world will end." Cut to a vision of Stillson telling Elliman to knock off Johnny so no one comes between him and Sarah.
And here, I’ll admit to being a little confused. Does that mean the world will end if Stillson doesn’t marry Sarah, or Johnny? Because at this point, Herb thinks Stillson is Johnny. Heck, does this mean Johnny’s supposed to be the Vice President? And are we seriously to believe that Sarah is the key to world salvation or destruction? Why — because Stillson wouldn’t get elected without her? Couldn’t he find another widow with kids? Just go to Match.com, dude, I’m sure you can find someone.
Johnny calls Sarah to warn her. Sarah initially doesn’t want to talk to him, but Johnny throws in an impassioned pitch about how if they have any chance, if he ever meant anything to her at all, she’ll listen right now. Personally, I think that’s the wrong tactic — why is it about him and their relationship? Tell her it’s about J.J., tell her it’s about the end of the world, tell her it’s about Walt, but don’t make it about their relationship. Again.
Johnny gets a flash off a picture of him and J.J. that Herb has, of Walt talking directly to him. (Does it work that way?) Walt knows Stillson’s men are getting close. He asks Johnny to take care of Sarah and J.J. and the baby, teach J.J. to shave, be a good guy, blah blah blah. Walt sells it, but things are a bit muddled at this point, jumping from Walt to Herb to Johnny to Stillson and back, that it’s hard to appreciate. Herb finally realizes that Johnny’s his son, and promptly dies — he was poisoned earlier that day. Bummer, dude. Again, I’m sure this is meant to be heartrending, but there’s just too damn much going on.
Sarah tells Stillson to get the hell out. Stillson tries to blame this all on Janus and begs Sarah to come to D.C. with him — she’s part of his second chance! He’ll never do anything to hurt her, or anyone else he cares about! That would be slightly easier to believe if he didn’t grapple with Sarah, then send J.J. sprawling when he runs in to defend her. When Stillson helps J.J. up, the kid gets a flash of the apocalypse. Sarah tells Stillson if he ever touches J.J. again, she’ll kill him. Go Sarah! Finally showing some sense!
Johnny meets up with Sarah and J.J. at the cabin — cue the tinkling, sensitive music and the bonding. I guess that’s supposed to give us hope? But I’m still confused — was Stillson always going to trigger Armageddon, and somehow found a way to mask it from Johnny? Or is he back to being eeeeeevil because Sarah rejected him? If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be better for Sarah to marry him and keep him good? I can’t quite figure it all out.
So that’s the end of another season, and it looks like we’ve hit the reset button. While I’m glad the big bang storyline is back, I can’t help but think they could have worked the last several episodes out better, so everything wasn’t jammed into the last 20 minutes of this one. What about you?