The troublemakers are being let loose!
On 4400 Season 1 Episode 4, four of the returnees — Shanice, Claudette, LaDonna, and the Reverend — are given the opportunity to visit the outside world.
Dr. Andre’s past comes to light, including a secret he’s been holding close to his heart.
Andre’s trying to figure the big questions. One of them is something viewers are curious about — why do some of the 4400 have powers and some do not? Are they all going to eventually manifest?
His tests on Millie seem to go well until they go spectacularly wrong. It seems like she can’t maintain her powers while she’s being touched, so this information could be dangerous if it gets into the wrong hands. What’s that all about?
Mildred is so injured from the disastrous results of Andre’s test that she ends up in the hospital. Hayden lashes out at Dr. Andre, even though he previously sought advice from him. Based on what Hayden has said, it seems like he was in a mental hospital before the green light came for him.
It’s sad because earlier in the episode, Hayden is looking to Dr. Andre for advice.
It’s unfortunate that Dr. Andre doesn’t respect Hayden’s dislike of doctors — he wants to test him anyway. This seems slightly out of character, but then the flashback shows how Dr. Andre doesn’t respect his lover Cynthia’s autonomy much, either.
I told you I didn’t trust doctors, and you proved me right.
Andre wanted Cynthia to participate in one of his test studies. She did not. Granted, he probably knew that it could save her life, which was why he was so insistent. And she did do it, even after he disappeared. Maybe it was a way to honor him, the man she loved, even though he was gone for the rest of her life.
Also, the amount of dancing and music in this episode was super enjoyable. Dr. Andre’s got moves! An LGBTQ-themed 1920’s party scene is everything you could hope for!
For the second time, Dr. Andre was so obsessed with finding a solution that he didn’t think of the way it would make the participants feel — first Cynthia, then Mildred, and also Hayden.
It was slightly disappointing that the chosen four didn’t really do much with their freedom. It would have been nice to give Shanice more time with Logan and Mariah, though seeing Mrs. Grover again was an unexpected delight.
We in the era of Black Lady Excellence, or so the kids call it.
And wouldn’t it have been great to give Claudette more of an opportunity to look around the modern city of Detroit? Mrs. Grover is about as cool as old ladies get, but if I had traveled 70 years into the future and got to go outside for the first time, I would want to take everything in there that there is to see.
We could have had a LaDonna reunion with her mother and watched the sparks fly there. LaDonna’s mom probably has plenty of ideas about what happened to her daughter.
All the Reverend did was find out his son — Quincy Solarin — is vocally opposed to conversion therapy and dislikes the Reverend’s family. And this, for some reason, makes the Reverend want to forget his son exists. Is the Reverend one of those anti-gay Christians? Or is there more to it?
This episode is airing during Transgender Awareness Week (November 13 – 19), which feels right.
In a heartfelt scene, Dr. Andre allows Shanice to read his memories, revealing the scene when Noah told Andre he was trans. Shanice puts the pieces together, figuring out that Andre himself is trans.
Though Shanice seems shocked or frightened at first, that doesn’t stop her from kissing him.
The whole scene is played sensitively and sweetly. Shanice and Andre have had such a deep, mutually respectful friendship until now. It makes sense to progress it. They’ve come a long way since 4400 Season 1 Episode 1 when he mistook her for a secretary!
It doesn’t look like we’ll find out for a while, but it would be fascinating to know what life was like for a black trans man in the 1920’s. Judging by the partygoers, it seems like a fairly gender non-conforming bunch. He would likely be out with them, but in society, it would surely have been more challenging.
Dr. Andre didn’t even know the term “transgender” (because it didn’t exist then), but yet he recognized the term as something that could be used to describe himself and an important part of his identity.
4400 tackles human issues in a meaningful and respectful way.
For instance, Mildred’s disability is addressed in a matter-of-fact way that doesn’t brush over it but simply says “this is how it is” and moves on.
We were gonna fight the man together, now you are the man.
Whatever/whoever took and returned the 4400 them clearly had some kind of reason behind it, but it remains a mystery. But it’s something that celebrates and champions the marginalized and disenfranchised owning their power.
It seems to me you’ve got to stop focusing on the past. Be in the present. Figure that out first.
Keisha is right to be suspicious. If there are less than scrupulous people among the 4400, with superpowers developing, that could spell danger to the populous at large. At least she’s finally coming around to the idea that these people are actually who they say they are.
The federal government likely has some idea of what’s going on. They may even know about the superpowers. It’s interesting that both Keisha and Jharrel have partners or ex-partners working different branches of the case and the push-and-pull that shows up there.
Jharrel: Don’t you feel a little goofy babysitting some grown adults in a library?
Carla: Oh, I feel completely ridiculous. But the person I’m here to babysit is you.
“Project Reintegration” is well-meaning, but what about the people who have no place to go? Those from decades ago? There are so many variables. They can’t continue to be held captive, but for some, it feels safer than the current outside world.
It’s refreshing how these characters are so good to each other.
The theme of “found family” and community is resonant. These people have been put together and formed a tight-knit band of loyal friends.
Sharing a traumatic experience — especially with time travel and superpowers — brings people together and creates a bond that will be no doubt be everlasting.
What did you think of the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.