A fellini-esque ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed circus provides a surreal backdrop for this week’s The Dead Zone
, “Big Top.” Johnny (Anthony Michael Hall
) and Johnny Jr. episodes have been few and far between, but “Big Top” was easily the best so far. For the first time we begin to get the feeling of a father and son bond, as well as the revelation of a unique similarity between Johnny and Junior that may yet have larger story implications.
The episode begins with Johnny following up on a call from junior’s soccer coach, seems the young lad hasn’t been showing up for practice. Johnny tracks junior to the circus that has pulled into town and finds him spying on a young acrobat named Monique. Seems junior has developed a bit of a crush on the girl.
It turns out that the circus is the same outfit as the one Johnny famously first discovered his powers at before going into the coma. At that time, it was more like an unexplainable knack for guessing, but it was clear even before the accident that Johnny had some powers. It soon becomes evident that young Johnny might have a little of the old man’s mojo as well. But first, the mystery.
Johnny runs into an old friend, Lorenzo, who is now the owner of the circus. Before long Sheriff Turner shows up and Johnny is knee deep in another investigation. This time it is some vandalism in one of the dressing rooms. When Johnny lays hands, though, he sees a murder. A blond woman lay in blood-spattered fragments of mirrors. In perhaps the best line of the episode, Johnny tells Turner he just had a vision of the past and the cheeky Sheriff replies, “I call those memories.”
Junior finds himself at a wheel of fortune game with Monique and surprisingly is able to call every turn except the final one, and then he initially makes the right choice but changes it. Johnny is nearby and sees that junior has inherited the power.
As young Johnny moves closer to snaring his first babe, big Johnny closes in on the identity of the person executing the vandalism against Lorenzo’s circus. In the end it winds up being a recently released inmate, named Duncan Miller who had been accused of murdering a girl at the original carnival and is now trying to get even for his wrongful incarceration.
It turns out that Duncan, played by Kwasi Songui, is a mute and was actually trying to rescue the girl all those years back, and in a replay of history his final act of vandalism nearly kills Monique, even though that wasn’t his intent. He had rigged a line to break as an older acrobat is lifted from the ground. Under the weight of an adult, the line would snap at ground level, but the much light Monique is elevated high into the air and the frayed line quickly turns into a death trap.
In the end, Duncan’s innocence is revealed as he helps to rescue the girl and he is invited into the family of the circus. Meanwhile, a new and very intriguing bond has formed between Johnny and Johnny Junior.
- Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of the USA Network)