Season two of The 4400 ended not with one, but two shockers. First, baby Isabelle turned into a 20-year-old overnight (now played by Megalyn Echikunwoke). Then, it was revealed that Jordan Collier (Billy Campbell), who was believed dead, is still alive. The third year begins with more surprises. While Isabelle was aging, so was her mother, Lily (Tippi Hedren, replacing Laura Allen), who fast-forwards several decades. Suffice to say, her husband, Richard (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), is not pleased. Also, the Nova Group, a splinter organization within the 4400, has started to eliminate those they perceive as their enemies—including their own. The 4400′s third season was widely considered its weakest, but solid ratings justified a fourth. The pace doesn’t pick up until Jordan’s return–in real life, Campbell took off 13 months to sail the world–but the concept and the characters remain intriguing. For instance, Shawn (Patrick Flueger), head of the 4400 Center, embarks on a relationship with Isabelle, while his uncle, NTAC agent Tom (Joel Gretsch), gets bad news about wife Alana (Karina Lombard) and good news about son Kyle (Chad Faust). Dennis Ryland (Peter Coyote), meanwhile, moves from the NTAC into the private sector where he continues to micro-manage the 4400.
Recurring characters include Gary Navarro (Sharif Atkins), who joins the Nova Group, Dr. Burkoff (Jeffrey Combs), who injects himself with promicin–the mysterious substance associated with the 4400–and the sympathetic Tess (Summer Glau), who assists in his attempt to see if he can develop similar powers. Guest stars include Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact) as a woman with a special interest in Diana’s adopted daughter Maia (“Gone”) and Brian Dennehy (Cocoon) as Tom’s father (“Blink”). As with season two, three features commentary from the cast and crew plus a trio of featurettes. –Kathleen C. Fennessy
There’s nothing like a psych-out to shake things up. In The 4400′s fourth season opener, everyone has taken the medicine Jordan Collier (Billy Campbell) distributed in year three, and all’s right with the world. Then he wakes up from his dream. In truth, promicin helps some and harms others. Soon, Shawn (Patrick Flueger) emerges from his coma and Isabelle (Megalyn Echikunwoke), who tried to kill him, escapes from prison. As for NTAC, agents Tom (Joel Gretsch) still mourns the missing Alana, while Diana (Jacqueline McKenzie) returns to work when she finds out her sister, April (Natasha Gregson Wagner), has taken the shot. As the season continues, promicin-related strangeness accelerates, like the outcast (Cameron Bright) who becomes a messiah–and insists his followers only listen to TV on the radio–or the librarian (Constance Towers) who can astral project. An attractive new NTAC supervisor, Meghan Doyle (Jenni Baird), joins Tom and Diana to monitor the positives and those they affect, including Tom’s son, Kyle (Chad Faust), who helps Collier establish Seattle’s Promise City, an all-positive community. As ever, shades of grey dominate, and anyone can change at any time. Even an NTAC agent can become one of the Marked.
The fourth year ends with a viral outbreak, followed by the death of a key character. For the most part, though, the conclusion holds out hope for relations between the positives and the rest of the population–if they can stop the Marked in time. Because the USA Network chose not to renew the show, some questions may never be answered. Fortunately, The 4400 went out with both humor and heart. Extra features include deleted scenes, featurettes, a blooper reel, and commentary from creator Scott Peters on “Till We Have Built Jerusalem” and the director’s cut of finalé “The Great Leap Forward.” –Kathleen C. Fennessy