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The Dead Zone: Still Life

Lyne: "Never trust the surface, Chloe. It's always beautiful, and it's almost always a lie."

Yet another episode of "Johnny Smith, Psychic Detective."

Well, I didn't hate it. The scenery in this episode was stunning: the houses, the beach, the studio, the lighthouse, very artsy and New-England-y. The visions were great (the visions on this show are always wonderful) as were the living recreations of the paintings. And I didn't guess whodunnit right until the end, although at one point I was saying, "Johnny, go touch Nora. I bet she knows something."

But all the characters left me cold. Andrew Lyne's relationship with Julia and Chloe was so distastefully sexual, even if they didn't have sex; what sort of man goes to Eyes Wide Shut parties with a girl he treats like a daughter? Poor, pathetic, homicidal Nora wasn't pretty enough or interesting enough to be her father's muse, and didn't interest me as a character at all. The sleazeball art dealer was an obvious red herring. Even Chloe/Laura wasn't that likable; her motives were unclear through most of the episode, and she did give up her identity for money and fame, after all.

I was a lot more interested in our four main characters than Andrew Lyne and his twisted "family," and there was nothing for them here. Johnny pretty much played detective, and mimicked Patrick Bauchau. Walt was a plot device with a search warrant. Sarah wasn't in the episode at all. I love the Johnny/Bruce relationship and their banter is always fun, but it was only supplemental to the story.

So I liked it better than the serial kidnapper episode, but it still didn't ring my chimes. I'm starting to wonder if the formula has stopped working for me. They used to do such unique plots on The Dead Zone. I don't care much for detective shows. I really, really don't want to see Johnny just solve a crime every week.

Bits and pieces:

— Bruce is into art as well as radio broadcasting and comparative religion. Well-rounded guy.

— The part where Johnny found a painting under another painting was cool, although I doubt that it's that easy to remove a layer of paint and gesso to get to an earlier work. And why couldn't Johnny just see the painting beneath by touching the canvas?

— Johnny was able to draw in "The Hunt," too. Yummy continuity goodness.

— Two girls kissing. Not something you usually see on The Dead Zone.

— Chloe's real name was Laura Tierney. There's an old movie called Laura, and the title character was played by Gene Tierney.

— How could the actress who played Chloe/Laura stand getting fake blood in her eye like that?

— Patrick Bauchau (Andrew Lyne) was a regular on one of my old faves, The Pretender.

— USA ran a very funny commercial for The Dead Zone in the middle of this episode. It showed Johnny petting his cat, seeing it in mortal danger nine times, and finally saying, "I'm getting a dog." Very clever. I particularly liked the cat on the train tracks playing with the cat toy.

— Bruce, as usual, got all the best lines: "Is this the part where you say 'redrum'?" "Remind me to bring you along on my next bank heist." and "If God is an art lover, then be prepared to do a lot of explaining."

I want episodes that are better than this, dammit. Two out of four stars,

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


  1. Do you know which house (Gamble house/ Gambol?) is in the episode?

  2. I just saw this episode (the Dead Zone season 4 episode 4) and the amazing house by the sea, where the artist Andrew Lyne lives. I would love to know where that house is, does anyone know? Are there any pictures of it?

  3. It's not a great episode but it did remind me pleasantly of Edward Hopper's Lighthouse Hill. I enjoyed the look and feel of the episode more than the content.


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