What a ride! Where do we go from here?
On 4400 Season 1 Episode 13 we got a showdown at the Bois Blanc and a glimpse into the future — at least, one possible future.
It was an action-packed finale that answered some questions but raised many more.
4400 has had some pacing issues in the past, but there was none of that here. Everything moved along briskly, and no time was wasted.
I don’t know how you top a giant iguana dancing to Dua Lipa, but full props to whoever came up with that one. We can say with absolute certainty that that is the first time that has ever happened on television.
It was absurd and ridiculous but a sequence of pure fun that had LaDonna written all over it.
For all the major issues this show packs in, it can be incredibly silly sometimes, which doesn’t always work, but at least keeps the surprises fresh.
Humanity needs you. Will you help us change the world?
Dr. Amber Campbell/Sienna Stone
So, Sienna Stone of BHN is really a scientist from 40 years in the future bent on saving the world. (Sienna Stone = Amber, did you catch that?)
Stone/Campbell’s speech about the butterfly effect hearkened back to LaDonna’s monologue to her father about the butterflies in 4400 Season 1 Episode 11.
The 4400 truly are butterflies, not just for their remarkable transformations, courtesy of ZMIT, but for their effect on the future.
The time they were gone, gaining their powers, was, therefore, their chrysalis. This would be consistent with why they don’t remember anything from that period.
Andre’s final scene with Sienna was shot beautifully. The stark light and shadow were so impactful. He was facing the dark unknown of the future but had the light of his power and the past behind him.
It was disconcerting that Sienna told Andre that the Baattle of the Bois Blanc never went well for him.
How many attempts have there been? How many timelines? And how will they know when they’ve got it right?
Time travel works slightly differently in nearly every work of fiction in which it appears. What are the laws of time in this universe? Is it more like 12 Monkeys or, say, Back To The Future?
Which Manny is it that returns at the end of the episode? Has he been reset to his “factory settings”? Is there another version of him out there somewhere?
The green light seems to return when someone important is close to death — the Rev, Logan, and Manny. Hayden simply hitchhiked on Logan — why he did so is unclear. Maybe to protect his father figure, or maybe in the hope of getting answers.
Hopefully, future technology will be able to heal them. But will it return them after that happens?
The phone call between Mariah, Logan, Shanice, and Hayden was one of the saddest things we’ve ever seen on this show.
Mariah coached them through what they needed to do to stay safe, like so many other American teenagers, based on what she knew from active shooter drills at school.
This sequence hit home the gravity of the whole thing. It was a real possibility that she would lose three people she loved in that moment, but she remained calm. They all managed to express their love for each other.
Manny: This is how real change happens.
Jharrel: With a body count?
How many families have had to do this for avoidable reasons? Why isn’t every American as angry as Manny? Again, 4400 doesn’t shy away from the issues and makes them relevant to the context of these characters.
Our heroes are fantastical in many regards, but they are grounded in harsh truths and a reality we all have to face.
After she loses Logan and Hayden, the traumatized Shanice intends to make things right, even though she’s not at fault for her disappearance.
For me, the green lights have ruined everything.
Reconnecting to Mariah is what Shanice needs right now, even if it means saying goodbye to Andre. Maybe after she realized she still loved Logan, it would be unfair to continue with Andre.
If Shanice hadn’t left at that point, might he have had to do the breaking up instead? He wouldn’t be able to tell her about his work with Stone and BHN — that might make their life together difficult.
Regarding the Millies, my only complaint would be that the show didn’t take enough time to explore their relationship and help us understand why Millicent would make the decisions she did.
Raven Whitley and Autumn Best had such great chemistry and connection as those two, but Millicent’s motivations were always murky — and whoa, she’s got metal fists! Iron? Titanium? Steel? That’s quite the power to pull out of your sleeve like that.
And how did Keisha shoot Manny without being able to see him? She’s a parole offer, has she even fired a live weapon before? It clearly rattled her to have to do what she did, which is the correct response to a situation like that.
Keisha and Jessica seem to be back together (no sign of Soraya), and Jessica is now, maybe, at last, on the side of good.
She’s been fired, so what choice does she have? Jessica understands now what’s at stake, and whatever her part has been in the incarceration of the 4400 up until this point, she can try to make right with the information she has.
I want to tear down all the institutions that maintain the status quo.
Manny became a mouthpiece for everything that this show is about. His urges are violent, but when the fate of the world is at stake, anger is absolutely justified, especially when everyone seems to think it’s fine to take baby steps when leaps are necessary.
His methods may have been questionable, but it seems like the Bois Blanc attack has happened before, many times, and it’s never yielded the results for which the future scientists had hoped.
4400 is and always has been a show for those who have felt marginalized or underrepresented, crying out: “See us! Hear us!”
4400 unapologetically tells its audience that we need a revolution. There is no more room for incremental change. It’s all about action now. We can’t, and we won’t, go back to the way things were.
It’s not that there is a war coming. The war has been fought for centuries already. If you hadn’t noticed, it’s because you’ve benefited from it.
Jharrel and Keisha are the pacifist idealists, whereas Manny and Claudette are their anarchist, realist counterparts.
Guilt flows freely into an open wound.
Manny’s way may be too violent and cause more destruction than necessary, but as Claudette pointed out, nothing seems to have changed, so where are they left now?
What’s the point of being temporarily comfortable in a dying world when you have the power to save it?
4400 is a richly imaginative show that still has so much potential. There are so many characters and stories to tell, all worthwhile, but there’s still a need for cohesion and focus that is occasionally lacking.
Just by existing, this 4400 offers something unique that is brave, inclusive, and celebratory and deserves to stick around.
What did you think of the season finale? What are your hopes for season two? Share your thoughts in the comments!
You can watch 4400 online right here!
Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.