The Dead Zone: Babble On

Johnny: "We can't let them die. Can we, Daddy?"

Very good, even though the denouement was utterly transparent. It was obvious that the floor stripping was causing Johnny's poltergeist-y nightmare visions, and it was easy to guess that Johnny's father was institutionalized because he was psychic, and that he was stalking the little girl because of his visions.

But even though I could practically write most of this story myself, I was still oddly moved by the ending. There was an emotion to it that transcended the material. And I thought the casting of Johnny's father, Herb, was outstanding; the man resembled Anthony Michael Hall and was about the same age, but he still "felt" like Johnny's father. (Note from later: Michael Cudlitz! No wonder I thought he was good!) And I didn't get that the little girl was still alive, and that the event was so far in the future, so that was a good twist.

The one thing I thought was missing was a scene exploring the conflict we know existed between Gene Purdy and Herb Smith. Having Gene think Herb was a schizophrenic and a pervert was interesting, but it really didn't go anywhere.

Bits and pieces:

-- The title, "Babble on," was clever. I assumed it referred to "babel," a confusion of sounds or voices, and not Babylon, a hedonistic ancient city.

-- Bangor Cultural Center go boom. I was surprised that Johnny didn't stop the explosion, although he did save all the people.

-- I liked all the floor scenes: Johnny going through the floor in his vision, lying on the floor to get visions, and so on. And the mallet reminded me of Stephen King's The Shining which, coincidentally, was also about a father and his psychic son.

-- Johnny did a little B&E. Bad Johnny. And hey, a file that was thirty years old: wouldn't it be in a dusty box in the basement?

-- Was the long-haired little boy who played young Johnny the same one who played him in the pilot? No, that couldn't be: it was four years ago.

-- Nicole deBoer was not in this episode.

Definitely worth watching. Three out of four stars,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

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