I’m sure I posited this to you guys a couple of weeks ago, but here’s my theorem of The 4400: you can’t go wrong with any episode with Marco and his geeky sidekicks. I don’t know if they make the episodes good, or they just happen to be in good episodes, I just know that it’s true. And, unsurprisingly, based on how important the nerds were to this week’s episode, it was extremely entertaining.

(Spoilers ahead.)

This week, representatives from both sides — essentially everyone from the opening credits, plus Marco and his nerdly buddies P.J. and Brady — woke up inside a locked-down NTAC, with no memory of how they got there. At first the two sides only cared about attacking or defending themselves from the other side, but then the building started trying to kill all of them, and succeeded, in the cases of Meghan and Shawn. Turns out the entire situation was really just a war game concocted by extra crispy nerd P.J., who wanted to try and heal the rift between NTAC and Jordan’s group, and the only way for them to get out was for the two sides to work together. Of course, "the two sides" really just meant "Tom and Jordan," the figureheads and men of action for each faction, so it’s the two of them who not only had to create a power surge to kill the building, but used themselves to complete the circuit. So Tom and Jordan went out in a blaze of symbolism, clasping hands and sacrificing themselves for everyone.

The only problem was — it didn’t really accomplish anything. Okay, yes, everyone woke up, and was fine, and the people who died weren’t dead anymore, but the positives and negatives are still at odds, and Jordan even called Tom specifically to underline this fact. ("Hi, Tom. We may have sacrificed ourselves together for the greater good, but we’re still not friends.") The only thing that’s different is that there’s a certain amount of respect between them now, as Tom called Collier "Jordan." Yeah, I’m sure Meghan and Shawn will be pleased to know that they didn’t die in the simulation in vain. I understand the need to hit the reset button on a series and put everything back to normal, but — there couldn’t be a little bit more cooperation? The beginnings of a deal, perhaps? A détente?

Ah, well. There were other détentes that the war game brought about, most notably an end to the weirdness between Diana and Marco, as Marco got an invitation to dinner. Yay! (Steal her back, Marco! Prove Maia wrong about that future husband guy!) Truces were also declared between Isabelle and Diana and Isabelle and Shawn — hmm, I’d almost forgotten how many people were mad at her. Granted, they were just momentary cease-fires, because you can’t take all of the conflict out of the show, but Maia, at least, does seem to be cool with Isabelle now, for whatever reason. Maybe that apology last week really worked.

In all, this was probably my favorite episode of the season so far. Good story, great character development and interaction, and a couple of shocking moments when recurring characters were killed off. It was obvious that they were going to come back, but still, you don’t see main characters die very often. And, of course, I’ve already mentioned the Marco and friends quotient. So maybe peace wasn’t declared, but I had fun anyway.

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Posted by:Lori Brown