The Dead Zone: Playing God

Kate: "I just follow my own stupid heart wherever I want it to go."

Johnny has two close friends, siblings, whose fates are intertwined, and no matter what he does, one of them will die. This episode was Sophie's Choice; it was Captain Kirk in "City on the Edge of Forever." It jerked the tears right out of me.

Casting Ally Sheedy was inspired; it was important that we care deeply for Kate in the space of only one episode, and the Breakfast Club brat pack vibes did it for me. I was less enamored of Lochlyn Munro (too bad they couldn't get Emilio Estevez or Judd Nelson; I think they were going for someone Judd-like), but his personality was intentionally abrasive and unlikable, and the actor did a good job.

There was a lot going on here that all made sense in the end: that Jason might only make it with his sister's heart because of rejection; the fact that if Kate were saved and Jason got someone else's heart, the next person on the list would probably die; and Jason's failing marriage and abrasive personality contrasted with Kate's "good heart" and her crush on Johnny. And then there was the bus full of kids. And the fact that even getting a shotgun and shooting the drunk wouldn't have saved both Jason and Kate.

I was also moved by the fact that Johnny went ahead and made his choice, and that fate thwarted him. It certainly made that fight he picked with her at the end more touching, because at that point, what could he do?

Bits and pieces:

-- Nice little salute to The Breakfast Club, with the party in the school library and Johnny and Kate having a long talk in the school hallway. Plus, the drunk driver was well played by John Kapelos, who played the janitor in the movie.

-- I like it that Johnny always knows who is calling when he picks up the phone. Maybe he's just looking at caller ID, though. :)

-- Sarah clearly did not like the idea of Johnny and Kate as a couple; she's still jealous, although she wasn't outright hostile toward Kate as she always is toward Dana.

-- Loved Purdy saying, "dammit" when he blew his religious broadcast taping. In fact, this episode made me like Purdy even more than I already did, because he couldn't bring himself to play God. He is unlike many so-called men of God who think they know personally what God wants. Purdy is a very good man, with a strong conscience.

Quotes:

Jason: "You know what you look like with that coat and your cane? You look like death, with three legs."

Johnny: "I've sort of adopted a general 'no-hugs' policy." But then he hugged her after all, and didn't get a vision. If he had, the story might have gone in a different direction.

Jason: "I'm not asking for hope, Johnny. Just peace." Yes, I think that if I were experiencing something like this, I'd want to know, like Jason did. I'd want to either plan my future, or say goodbye.

Jason: "You know, Johnny, when I told you that I'd rather go out surrounded by women and drugs, I didn't mean nurses and morphine."

Four out of four stars; excellent. Perhaps a little maudlin, but I like maudlin when it's done well. And next week, they say, we're getting the season finale. Wasn't that an extremely short season?

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

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