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The Dead Zone: The Collector

Linda: "Life should be about more than survival, shouldn't it?"

Well, that was disappointing.

They started delving into the Sarah/Walt marriage and I thought, Finally! We're going to get some content. But no. Isn't it way past time that Sarah and Walt break up? They hinted at it all last season; let's get on with it! At least Sarah got to do more than bake cookies: she did volunteer work, enlisted Johnny to search for Erica, and played the cello. (Why not substitute teaching? Why not full time teaching?) And maybe this episode was a set-up for some divorce action later in the season. We can hope.

The serial killer plot sort of wasn't a serial killer plot. They never explained what the guy did, other than insist that his victims wear unwrinkled clothes and perfect lipstick. (At one point, Johnny asked, "Did he hurt you?" and Linda replied, "Not at first.") Did he let them all go? How was it possible that he let so many of them go, in the exact same place, and none of them ever reported it? Did he ever kill any of them? Was Erica going to be the first? And Linda was the biggest question mark of all. Unhappy marriage or not, her motivation for going back to the guy was never explained and just felt too farfetched.

I thought they were initially going for a sort of comparison: the Sarah/Walt marriage and Mr. Suds/current victim. And then when that didn't pan out, I thought that Sarah would get kidnapped by Mr. Suds. Maybe they just ran out of time.

Bits and pieces:

— I still hate the new theme music.

— This was the first episode in which Johnny did not use a cane. He appeared to be walking (and running) just fine.

— Sarah feels neglected? Walt wants to take off and go to Vegas? Maybe they will break up soon. Of course, if they do, they'll have to change the saga sell at the beginning. ("I had a perfect life until I was in a coma for six years. And then I woke up, and my fiance eventually divorced the guy she married and came back to me." Nope.

— There was a famous book and movie called The Collector that had a similar theme. The movie starred Terrence Stamp, who is currently doing the voice of Jorel on Smallville. They also ripped off Silence of the Lambs with the double doorbell scene, and the Erica/Walt scene at the end. "Don't leave me!"

— The clear mask was definitely creepy. I thought Anthony Michael Hall in the mask was even scarier than the actor who played Mr. Suds, who was actually pretty good.

— Walt commandeered a Mack truck. That was fun.

— The lye was symbolic: cleanliness that burns.

— The TV scene in the beginning was of Wolfgang Puck. I think.

— The most interesting scene was Johnny's salacious hooker-vision in the transient hotel room.

— Erica is now in Sarah and Walt's guest room. Will she be around next week?


Tammy: (opening her coat) "Hey. You wanna touch me and guess your future?"

Tammy: (who clearly had all the good lines) "What's the point of having superpowers unless there's some cash in it?"

A lot of creepy promise, but it fizzled out. Perhaps not as bad as "When quarter horses attack," but definitely not a quality episode.

One out of four stars,

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


  1. Creepy enough to make me get up and check the door locks, but otherwise not very good. I thought things were finally settled with the Bannermen, and then all this "neglect" drama. I actually thought that Sarah was teaching all this time, that her schedule matched up well enough with JJ's that she could be there most of the time and that kindly older neighbors helped out when needed. It's summer when I'm watching this and I thought she was just on break, but you're right, it's not summer in the episode. Huh. I wish things could just be settled with the Bannermen. A lot of this was settled way back in Ascent, but we have to keep rehashing it.

    I also don't understand why Linda took the shotgun if she didn't mean to shoot Mr Suds.

    There's no parallel between Walt and Mr Suds; Walt's incredibly forgiving of others' shortcomings. If anything, the parallel is with Linda's husband, "a good man" and Walt, which I guess makes Johnny Mr Suds, the more exciting, all consuming love from her past? Except that Johnny is also a good man, and incredibly respectful of others' freedom and choices. So no, all in all, a botched opportunity. Johnny in the mask was creepy as all get out though.

  2. Another good comment, Anonymous. I'm enjoying them.

  3. Thanks Billie Doux. I always come read your review as soon as I watch the episode. It's an integral part of my viewing experience. -KES

  4. I agree with you Billie that this was a weak episode and that Linda was undermotivated. This doesn't seem to be classic Stockholm Syndrome, it's something else that's not really explained. A lot of Linda's dialogue felt very artificial to me, like somebody reading lines from a novel. Maybe it was intended as a clue that she wasn't sincere in her dealings with Johnny but it just made her feel unconvincing to me.


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