With no word on a fifth season, The 4400 had two choices for its season finale: meekly beg for a renewal, or burn as many bridges as it could while still leaving the door open for another season. The show chose the latter option, and we were left with a very different Seattle, and a very high body count that included some important characters.

(I hope I don’t have to warn you about spoilers at this point.)

Before it did anything else this week, The 4400 addressed the two cliffhangers it had left from last week: Danny’s mom, Susan, having a bad promicin reaction, and Tom getting shot by Diana. The good news was that Tom got shot up with polonium and quickly healed by Shawn, leaving him healthy and unmarked. The bad news was that Danny accompanied his mother to a hospital, infected everyone there with promicin, and started a city-wide contagion. Half the people who were exposed died, including Susan, half became promicin-positive, and it seemed to spread just fine without Danny’s help, because as Danny was seeking shelter with Shawn at the 4400 Center, the virus was reaching NTAC. Inside NTAC, the only victims of the virus were, luckily, a few redshirts and one person with a speaking role, Brady the nerd. Brady, we hardly knew ye. Seriously, though, we didn’t know anything about you. And I had to look up your name.

The only person who didn’t end up with an ability or dead was Diana, thanks to the early-stage synthetic promicin Dr. Kevin injected her with last year, which gave her a promicin resistance, according to Marco’s magical science explanation. Conveniently, the very substance that caused the resistance was available over the counter, so Meghan, Kyle, and their respective commands, NTAC and Jordan’s Army, teamed up to get the medicine out at the few non-looted pharmacies.

Meanwhile, Penny Johnson Jerald was given one last evil hurrah, as Parrish captured Tom when he infiltrated the Marked House to rescue Jordan, and then, in an act so cruel it was clear that Parrish wouldn’t survive the hour, ordered Isabelle to kill Kyle. Of course Isabelle couldn’t do it, so she kissed Kyle goodbye and then it was her turn to go out in style. She defenestrated, speared, and threw around a few minions before taking on Parrish. In killing her, Isabelle’s own "kill switch" was activated, which meant that she had just enough time to free Tom and Jordan and exchange a few heartfelt words with them before dying nobly. But what a way for Isabelle to go. She proved her change of heart once and for all, and she got to kick serious butt doing it.

For Isabelle’s death, I cheered, because she was so awesome at taking everyone down with her. But there was another death that was nothing but tearjerking, and I was unable to resist its maudlin spell. That was Danny Farrell’s. Although Dr. Kevin and Shawn managed to get Danny on the inhibitor, his body was still producing promicin, but with nowhere to put it, so Danny was essentially drowning in promicin. Danny, in the most heartbreaking scene ever, begged his brother to kill him. I lost it after Danny said, "I love you," and I was crying like Andrae explaining his denim chi pao as Shawn finally did as his brother asked. Curse you, The 4400. I didn’t even care about Danny that much!

Finally, there was a quick check-in with the new p-positives at NTAC, each of whom had an ability that was surprisingly appropriate. Meghan’s ability, turning things into flowers, was pretty, but of questionable usefulness. Garrity, the emergency backup NTAC agent, had the ability to clone himself, providing a cheap source of manpower and/or redshirts. And Marco? Just like Hiro Nakamura, that other loveable nerd on that other show about people with special powers, Marco can teleport! But to my eternal disappointment, he did not yell, "Yata!" at finding himself unexpectedly in Promise City. It still made me happier than possibly any other ability they could have given him, and almost completely made up for Danny’s awful, weeping-inducing death scene.

The episode and season ended with Jordan effectively in charge in Seattle as it more or less became absorbed into Promise City, almost everyone in the city exposed to promicin in some way, either positive or resistant, Maia predicting good things for the future, and Kyle placing a promicin shot in front of Tom.

It was a tremendous end to the season, and I hope that there will be a season five. There are so many new avenues to explore now: Seattle under the control of Jordan and his crew, the breakdown of distinctions between positives and NTAC, NTAC agents with abilities, how the rest of the world will respond, etc. Here’s hoping we’ll find out what happens next summer.

For more TV recaps and commentary, visit Glowy Box.

Posted by:Lori Brown