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The Dead Zone: Descent

Johnny: "Would John Wayne talk to Randolph Scott like this?"
Walt: "Yeah, right before one of them dies."

This was a love triangle episode masquerading as a mine cave-in rescue episode. Well, okay, there was some serious mine stuff as well, but hey, I loved the relationship stuff and I'm going to talk about that first.

Johnny and Walt have been forced to work together for awhile, a situation that neither finds comfortable. Deep down, I think the two of them envy each other's relationship with Sarah; Walt wants to be the love of Sarah's life, and Johnny wants to be Sarah's husband and JJ's father, the role that fate took from him. In this episode, in a life or death situation, the two men finally talked about it, and I think it took their relationship to another level.

At the beginning of the series, Walt seemed to me at first to be somewhat stiff and unsympathetic. Not any more. I'm starting to see him more as the strong, silent type, the kind of man who feels deeply but finds it almost impossible to express his emotions. Walt is the odd man out in his own home, raising a son who isn't his own child, knowing that his presence keeps Sarah and Johnny apart. Walt is no fool; he knows that something happened between Sarah and Johnny; but does he know what it is? His upfront and almost painful honesty makes him likable ("The truth is, John, you were always a better match for Sarah"). I've grown to care for Walt, and I really don't want Sarah to betray him.

Sarah was outright hysterical at the prospect of losing Walt, which surprised me a little. I like that she cares so much... but was some of that hysteria caused by guilt? I also liked her telling Dana off, and that Dana was clearly still hot for Johnny and jealous of Sarah.

Johnny seemed a lot more like himself this week – "Okay, talking to myself, that's bad. Monologues, visions of Armageddon, obsessive internet searches... the trifecta of mental health warning signs." And a few moments later, after covering up his Stillson obsession bulletin board, "And then there's the paranoia... and I'm still talking to myself." The clever Johnny/Walt dialogue in the mine was also simply terrific.

The visions Johnny had in 4XctNorth, and the scene with the bones in the water, were all extremely creepy. Anthony Michael Hall was believable as Johnny's heartless businessman grandfather, and we may get more about Johnny making restitution for what his grandfather did to those miners. But as far as I'm concerned, I'm eager for next week because I want to see what happens to Walt, and what Johnny will do about it. Even though I'm certain Johnny will be virtuous and good and do everything he can to save Walt... isn't he just a little bit tempted to let Walt die?

Bits and pieces:

— Johnny and Sarah both mentioned going into the mine when they were teenagers. Did they go together?

— Bruce wasn't in this episode at all.

— The movie theater looked the same as the one in "What it Seems."

— We learned an interesting thing about the Faith Heritage Alliance; they acted like a big corporation with the public relations and all.

I have to give this one a four out of four stars. Excellent episode, and I can't wait for next week,

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

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