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"The Dead Zone" Panic (2006)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

No need to panic about this one

7/10
Author: Mo (Mublumm@aol.com) from Canada
25 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Another thing needed to get over with while watching this series, along with the fact that TDZ refuses to continue its main storyline for several episodes at a time and air what I call "standalones," is the trauma factor. Johnny Smith has had a plethora of women, for whom he deeply cared about, die on him, he has seen countless murders take place, and he has come close to death on a number of other occasions. Any one of these things happening to a normal person is enough to send him or her into therapy for years with nightmares, insomnia, and/or drugs in the package. Yet these things happen week after week on the Dead Zone, not just to Johnny, but to his son JJ, JJ's adopted father Walt, Johnny's best bud Bruce, and the other cast of characters whenever they're paired up with Johnny. In this particular episode, two murderers threaten the family, JJ included, they attempt to set fire to the Smith home, and they cause scary damage. In the next episode all this will have been forgotten like a dream and there will be a new problem stalking OFP (our favorite psychic) and whoever is hanging out with him at the time. So, after getting over the standalone factor, I then realized that I had to get over the trauma factor. Once I forced myself to do that, I started to really enjoy this episode.

The way to get over the trauma factor is to view each show as a complete bubble from the others. All the traumatic events that happened to Johnny and his family in the episodes preceding this one mean nothing, just forget that they are supposed to have any real effect. Now watch this like it is the only problem that they are ever going to face. Each episode's trauma is the big one. And then when next week rolls around, this show never happened either. Basically, you have to learn to not treat the DZ series to equate to: "This episode happened AND then this happened AND then this episode happened AND then this episode happened" because that will add up to a lot of trauma for anyone to handle. So, instead, except for the Stillson arc storyline, watch the shows thinking, "This happened to Johnny OR maybe this happened OR it would be cool if this happened to Johnny and JJ." Since they won't reference any past traumatic experience, like for example with JJ in the way Sara's father almost got killed and JJ had to save him, or people trying to kill JJ and his family when they were going hiking in season 2, or how Johnny, Sara, and JJ almost got killed in a bank robbery in the first season, just pretend it never happened and that the episode you're watching is the only Dead Zone trauma that ever happened to the boy. Once that mindset is achieved, part of you will feel like a goof for having to go through this weird exercise and the other part of you will be glad you did because the shows themselves are really well done.

I never saw the movie Panic Room but I am assuming that this episode was a take on that movie, with the locking yourself in a room while people try to hunt you down through your house. I usually think it's silly to blatantly copy movie ideas for TV show episode concepts but it didn't bother me so much here because I never saw the film and also because at least they were not trying to hide the fact that they were doing so. They actually called the show Panic, telling us that, "Yea, we know, but we don't care. We saw the movie and thought it would be a cool idea for a DZ show." And that's respectable.

And I'm always a sucker for Johnny discovering things about his father and grandfather's past. They make it so that sometimes you actually think that the ancestors and Johnny, who is viewing them, can see each other. I love that. Plus, the production crew always makes sure to put some kind of cool visual in every episode and this one was no exception. The shot of the bad guy with the Search and Destroy tattoo across his back watching while the world in front of him was in flames was a very cool angle, looking like he was standing before the gates of some type of hell.

There was also a lot of great action in this episode. It was a thrilling ride from start to finish, and although the obligatory corny moments were present, it was a roller-coaster worth experiencing.

(If I could, I would rate this a 7.5)

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The worst episode of the series

1/10
Author: guycorhuo from Madrid, Spain
10 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In scriptwriting there are many basic rules you must respect to do a good story. One of them it's don't abuse of coincidences. This episode has one after another. I agree that there's something in fiction called poetic license, and it usually take shape like coincidences, but in this episode it's too much.

*Guns that get empty in the necessary second. *A lighter that falls at the feet of a character when he'll need it *A photograph of Walt and J.J. that appears (in a absolutely dark house)just when the killers need to know their relationship. *Wooden doors that can't be open with a gunshot at the lock *Air-condition tubes in a private house that are enough big to let pass an adult (the reason :cause they are old) *A pro-killer that's caught unawares by a ten years old boy's kick (and so hard that he loose his foot and fall down.)

And finally the summit:

* Not just one secret door to let the characters run away from a closed room. When they get caught in the basement with no chances, there's a second secret door to avoid 'em escape in a passage.

Terrible.(And to complete the disastrous episode, John waits till the killer throw down the door and comes in to run away and in a incomprehensible way never has behind him the killer trying to shoot him -even though it's a long corridor).

A sad, shameful, and awful episode that should never been filmed (or written).

Fortunately, The Dead Zone has many other great episodes that let us forget (and forgive) this mistake.

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