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Dueling Saviors on ‘The 4400′

4400_idol.jpgSunday night marked the premiere of season four for “The 4400″ on USA–a show about 4,400 indivuduals who disappeared during different points of the 20th century and then mysteriously reappeared–all together, all at once–one day on a beach with no memory and without having aged a day. And they have special abilities! (My favorite thing in a television show.)
If last night’s episode was any indication, this season “The 4400″ will focus even more heavily on religion, the next messiah, the end of the world, saving the world, and all that good stuff we love.
At the end of season three, Jordan Collier–a rich businessman, one of the 4400, and originally their leader until he was assassinated at the end of season two–mysteriously came back from the dead. And that’s not all. He returned looking like your stereotypical Jesus (long flowing hair, beard, sandals) and a Jesus attitude to match: People believed he was the messiah and Collier preached to anyone who’d listen that it was his destiny to literally save the entire world.


Part of saving the world, however, meant death and destruction to some. (Every world-saving needs at least a little apocalypse right?). Because Jordan also believed that to save the world, anyone willing should inject themselves with Promicin–the mysterious substance found in the blood of every single one of the 4400 and believed to give them their amazing abilities (made illegal by the government). Jordan ignored this directive because he he said he had special knowledge that to avoid the end of the world as we know it, and the world needed far more than 4,400 people with special abilities.
Well, by Jordan’s insistence at spreading the Promicin wealth he also gave himself some competition in the messiah department. The first episode of season four was about a boy who took the Promicin and developed an ability, a rather unique ability: Anyone who came into significant contact with the boy believed he was God. That’s right, God. What an ability, huh?
Well, given that the boy was a fifteen-year-old high school student with a track record for being unpopular, suddenly having every member of your school (including all the cute girls and your principal) at your beck and call is quite a trip. Graham (the boy) didn’t handle his Godliness well, however, and before long he’s trying to convert the entire city of Seattle.
As soon as Jordan finds out, he’s extremely unhappy. After all, he’s the true savior of all. And he proves it (maybe): Jordan’s ability is apparently to take other’s abilities away, and he ends Graham’s messiah-trip on national television.
Is Jordan really the savior? Or is he someone with only his own power in mind, someone more sinister than one might imagine a messiah would have to be? Or will he show us an alternative vision of the divine-human–one who is less self sacrificing than we’d expect?
Regardless, last night’s premier hooked me right back into the series, and I’m in for the duration.
(Some of you reading this might be thinking … hmmmm … special abilitlies … that sounds familiar right? It must be said before I go any further, that while “The 4400″ is nowhere near as good as “Heroes,” fans of “Heroes” looking for a summer fix might enjoy turning to “The 4400″ to tide them over to the fall.)

  • Reese

    I love the 4400 and I’m glad I bumped into your column. It was good and so is the show. I didn’t think I would like it from the previews but one episode and I was hooked.
    I just hope Isabelle and Shawn get back together, she was really dealt a bad hand in all of this. She was so nieve that she was totally lead astray. That’s what happends when you have no foundation (hint hint).

  • Melissa

    “Heroes” and “The 4400″ both involve superhuman abilities, but they really are very different shows with their own particular tone and universe. (I am a big fan of both shows.) I do want to point out, for those less familiar with “The 4400″ than “Heroes,” that saying “The 4400″ is “nowhere near as good as ‘Heroes'” implies that one is SO much lesser than the other, which I’ll go ahead and disagree with. They’re so distinct that it’s unfair to compare them like that, really. For people who want a summer holdover until “Heroes,” I agree that they will likely enjoy “The 4400.” But for people who also want a show notable in its execution, character development and thought-provoking storylines, “The 4400″ is a good choice. It’s stood on its own two feet going into the fourth season now, for good reason.

  • Ckani

    I actually enjoy the 4400 a bit more than Heroes because the characters seem more developed and real.

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