Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Downhill, strawmen, and the Dead Zone...

The Dead Zone has been going down hill for a while. I recently caught episode 609 which dealt with religion and faith.

Spoiler Alert: On the freakish off chance that you don't want to know how a three week old episode of some show you probably don't watch plays out stop reading this post.

Faith vs Science is a topic the Dead Zone has covered here and there and always with crap and straw men. Our intrepid psychic protagonist has interplay and crisis... he's had visions where Father Tony said that he thinks he killed X (not censuring her name, I don't recall it) in a confession no less. He's had vision of bloody clothing being found near Father Tony, and the dead woman's wedding ring being physically found in his quarters. -- This is too much, all these "visions" and "science" overrule the elder priests "faith" and Johnny goes to the police. Just to throw the wrong person in jail! Oh, the humanity... he should have trusted faith!

With added throw in lines like "Faith's let me down Father." Even though as a long time viewer, I've never seen such a thing happen... no faith in things... no being let down by said faith. The real problem with this is Johnny is stupid. If you see somebody unsure that they killed somebody in a confession that's a little odd. And why not ask to see the bloody clothing? Why not try to get a vision off Father Tony himself? Why not try for a vision on the husband? The entire episode isn't faith vs. science it's ignorance vs. different type of ignorance.

We see this same thing in the microcosms of the theme when the Johnny argues that he believes his visions are science (because he got in an accident and now he has visions)... and well if true he could win the JREF prize and certainly it would be science. Even if nobody could say how it works there would be plenty to suggest *that* it works. Compared to the priest's claim that it's spiritual with no backup at all (though, there's no way to back that up... and that's kind of the point).

This show has gone downhill. The first couple seasons seemed atheistic with Rev. Purdy being a clearly sinister character, embezzling, sinister activities, perhaps even murder? -- Well, they quickly reversed that and every religious character is portrayed as good and insightful. When they aren't, it's because they are having a crisis of faith or being lead astray by demonic folk (the large story arc people are seen as demonic). Often with faith besting the visions of Johnny Smith. This is usually achieved by Johnny being completely stupid and assuming things that actually don't fit the data. Father Tony going through an exorcism and loopy right now, it must all be an elaborate hoax. The show has been declining for a while, but the religion episodes are the worst.

At least it ends on a high note, Father Tony resigns on the logic that "It doesn't matter. In the eyes of God, one broken commandment whether it's adultery or murder is as good or as bad as another."

They come to a pluralistic mesh... Johnny: "I was wrong about his guilt." Priest: "I was wrong to assume it was the devil's work." Johnny: "There's enough evil right here on Earth without the Satan talk, if you ask me." Priest: "There's still plenty of people who do God's good work as well." *GROAN!*

The Priest also says that Johnny's visions are the closest thing to hard proof that God touches all our lives. To which Johnny says "I wish I had your faith..."


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