by Andrea Elizabeth
We finished watching The 4400 last week. I blogged about the series half-way through here. In that post I mentioned being perplexed about the series being cancelled. *Spoiler alert* The problem started for me when the show begab centering around Promicin shots instead of the original 4400 people, each with unique special abilities, who had been abducted by the people of the future and sent back in 2004 to save the world from their fate. Promicin is the extracted chemical that is found to have given the 4400 their abilities, which if injected in the population will give half of them abilities, but will kill the other half. The first couple of seasons had the original 4400 trigger ripple effects for change in ordinary people. Then it became about Promicin envy and conspiracy theories.
I much prefer personal stories to the over-arching conspiracy stories, which I have trouble following anyway. I watched X-Files for the individual phenomena, not the smoking man stuff, which I still don’t understand. I liked the first book of The Hunger Games when it was about Katniss and her family and friends better than the second when it got all professional. I still haven’t finished the third global book.
I have a theory that stories mirror the writer’s theology. If a character has a positive arc, then usually it means that the author believes hard times can make good people stronger. They believe in free will. And that God is sort of mean for either allowing or causing bad things to happen, but it will all work out in the end. This is western stories. I haven’t thought about if Russian stories are like this. There are obvious messianic messages in The 4400. The abilities are like miracle-working. At the beginning there were the Chosen who were sent to bless the world. But then when they extracted the Promicin, it was more like evangelization where the 50% who were injected were made into “Christians”, and the other 50% died of a leaking brain hemorrhage, even though they wanted to be “Christians”. This seems Calvinist to me, except they would say no one wanted to be Christians, but some were made so anyway and to the others the message was lethal.
Let’s see, how would a free will person view it? I suppose Christianity is sort of like being injected with the Holy Spirit and the mysteries of the Church. And there are lethal side effects. You have to learn to die to yourself. If you do, maybe you’ll become a miracle worker that will help people. If you stay selfish you’ll either make people stumble or become an example of what not to do, which can still motivate people to change. Their choice.
The ending had one person develop the ability to subject everyone with whom he came into contact, and increasingly beyond his proximity, to the effects Promicin so that half the people died instantly and the other half developed abilities. I suppose it was a little like judgment day, except there didn’t appear to be any difference in anyone’s character, sort of like Calvinism, only they were all innocent seeming.