The Dead Zone: The Hunt

"This is what we get for recruiting from the tabloids."

I read somewhere that this episode was made earlier in season two but not aired; it was referred to as, "The Hunt for Osama." The name "Osama" was never actually given, although there were so many hints that they probably should have just gone ahead and used the name.

I wasn't looking forward to this one, but it was better than I expected. John got to interact with other genuine psychics, which was shiny and new. Sylvia even picked up on the Stillson thing while reading Johnny, and Reg helped him expand a vision and get through that doorway.

The remote vision thing was an interesting concept. And the entire battle scene with Johnny walking through the battle and relaying info to "Strike Team Tiger Six" worked well. The explosion going through John's astral body was a cool effect.

Johnny "doodling with his dead zone" didn't work for me. He said himself that he wasn't an artist, and the drawing sequences looked fake. It takes a lot longer to add that kind of detail to a sketch, too. For that matter, why didn't Johnny transcribe the vernacular writing on the market street signs, or repeat more of what the people were saying? Wouldn't that have helped them find the location a lot faster than just describing what they were wearing?

And what is more improbable? That a psychic could figure out where Osama bin Laden was? Or that Al Qaeda would know they were doing it, and set a booby trap?

Bits and pieces:

— Many Dead Zone episodes have only part of the cast. This one just had Anthony Michael Hall, and (briefly) the voices of John L. Adams and David Ogden Stiers.

— John's comments about the phone booth and the Cone of Silence were references to the old comedy series, Get Smart.

— The aircraft carrier they showed was the "U.S.S. Enterprise," which of course has a lot of meaning for sci-fi fans.

— If the "Agency" didn't want the psychics to compare notes, then why did they put them together in the same room?

— Halsey mentioned the "Grissom thing" as John's last interaction with "The Agency." He was referring to the episode, "The Man Who Never Was."

— Halsey said that John is a psychometric. I don't believe the technical term for Johnny's visions has been mentioned before.

— Sylvia's mug said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." I'd never heard that one, but I liked it. Hunter Thompson, huh?

— We never did see the psychiatric evaluation. John would probably be classified as paranoid if he told them the truth.

— There was no "I had the perfect life" intro. Instead, there was a message read by David Ogden Stiers: "Following the events of 9/11, the United States Government has been using all available means to track down the perpetrators of this crime against the American people. This story, while fiction, is based on facts provided by sources close to the investigation. The U.S. Government will neither confirm nor deny that similar events have actually occurred."

I didn't care much for this episode, but I have to give them credit for taking on such a heavy subject. I also really liked the other psychics, especially Sylvia and Reg; wouldn't mind seeing them again.

Two out of four stars,

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

5 comments:

Unknown said...

To me, this episode failed at its base level, because the Johnny Smith we have seen before and after this one would *never* have agreed to working with the military.

magritte said...

I found the beginning a bit confusing as it didn't cover how Johnny got recruited. While I can imagine circumstances where he might be persuaded to work for the government (if he was convinced that he was going to save lives), I actually was wondering if he'd effectively been kidnapped. And I'm dubious that the Agency would simply let such a valuable asset head back to civilian life once he'd proven himself so impressively.

And you raise a rather good point about the comparing notes issue, Billy. I don't think Al Qaeda needed to know how they were finding them to set up a decoy, though.

Xzilen said...

Looks like recent comments again. I like that. Glad to see others rewatching this. Given the context of the time, this was a very daring episode, and if I recall correctly it definitely played a little bit better than. The world was still recovering from the shock of all of that
Decent eposide. I too loved the little nod to the stilson arc when he grabbed the card

Billie Doux said...

Xzilen, I'm not quite sure why there have been so many recent comments when these reviews have been up so long with few or none, but I've been enjoying every one of them. :)

Unknown said...

Hey guys. So is anyone actually intrigued by the beginning comments in the episode? Think that could be true?