The Dead Zone: Vortex

"Does the name 'Waco' ring a bell?"

Now this one worked. Maybe I'm reaching the point where non-arc episodes just don't have as strong an impact on me. I mean, it's just strange having whole episodes with no mention of the looming Armageddon.

Yes, Cyrus Carter and the Seekers (good name for a rock group) were transparent analogs of David Koresh and Waco, but that was okay. In fact, it was cool. Because they actually drew a firm line between rapture nuts and what Johnny sees when he touches Greg Stillson.

The performances were just excellent, too. Gold acting stars for Anthony Michael Hall for this episode, as well as Sean Patrick Flanery, who has Greg Stillson's public political platitudes and private snark down pat. I particularly liked the standoff between Johnny and Greg in the men's room, because I love the way these two actors play off each other. We also got a brief callback to the episode "Zion," with Bruce doing a little of the preaching he did as a child.

The way they do Johnny's visions on this show are often spectacular. I was particularly impressed this time with the visions of Johnny walking among the splinters and flames of Cyrus's explosion. I also liked what Johnny did in the minefield.

I thought the commission was investigating a catastrophe involving a lot of deaths, so I didn't guess what would happen in the end. Johnny managed to save all of them, except for Cyrus Carter. And Carter is one of those people that is (arguably) better off dead.

Bits and pieces:

— Cyrus said that Johnny was the second prophet from the book of Revelations. Wasn't Janus saying Johnny could be the third ruler in the kingdom? All these biblical titles for Johnny.

— Walt did his usual right thing by bringing in a news crew to stop the SWAT team.

Quotes:

Stillson: "Are you saying that Johnny Smith has seen the end of the world?" This is really interesting. What would Greg Stillson do if he knew he was going to cause Armageddon? Would he care? Would he choose not to believe it? The real Greg is still something of a mystery.

Nora: "You said when the rapture came, we'd be with Daddy. If I die, then I can go to heaven and be with him." This actually got to me.

Johnny: "He makes me look like a dangerous lunatic, while he comes off as a hero."

I'm tempted to give it four stars. Very good,

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

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