THE HUNTING PARTY (#4020)
EPISODE PREMIERE: August 27, 2006
In the season finale, Johnny is witness to Janus' secret plot to assassinate the Vice President in order to move Stillson one step closer to the White House.
Radical webcaster Marshall Frost (Jason Schombing) is in the middle of his evening show, ranting about the dirty deeds of Vice President Eric Danbury (Keith Martin Gordey), when he gets a call from “The Wolf” (Richard Zeman), his source for the dirt on Danbury. The Wolf tells him it's no longer safe to talk. Frost notices that the webcast is no longer online, so heads to the booth only to find Phil (Andrew Moxham), his engineer, dead. Moments later, he is knocked unconscious by a masked assailant.
Meanwhile, at the Smith home, Johnny (Anthony Michael Hall) and Bruce (John L. Adams) are setting up a new computer Johnny won in a contest. As the computer powers on, there is a cryptic e-mail waiting for him, sent earlier by the assassin at the webcasting studio. As Johnny touches the mouse, he flashes to the studio and sees Phil's murder take place.
Back in the present, Johnny and Walt (Chris Bruno) head to Frost's studio, where they find him in a panic. He leads them to the booth, but once inside, they see that Phil is gone and the blood has been cleaned up. Frost is at a loss, but Johnny confirms the man's story based on his vision. At Frost's dilapidated trailer later, Frost tells Johnny about The Wolf, who began calling the show four months earlier and had extensive proof linking Danbury to several illegal activities. Suddenly, they're interrupted by Kendra Crowe (Miranda Frigon), an attractive woman who emerges from Frost's bedroom wearing next to nothing. When Frost orders them both to leave, Kendra agrees to give Johnny a ride home. En route, the woman explains that she's been keeping Frost company since his wife left him a year earlier, taking their little girl with her.
At home, Johnny picks up the TV remote and is struck with a vision of a national newscast reporting that Vice President Danbury is dead. Snapping back to reality, Johnny notes that the day of the assassination is two days in the future. At the sheriff's station, Johnny, growing frustrated by the lack of evidence at the webcasting studio, learns from Walt that Frost has a history of stalking the Vice President. At Frost's trailer, Johnny confronts the radical about his past, but Frost insists he has put that part of his life behind him. He searches for a cigarette and Johnny spies a half-smoked one that Kendra snuffed out the night before. Touching the ashtray, he's hit with a vision of Kendra at the Coalition for a Better America, dressed in business attire. Flashing back to reality, Johnny asks Frost more about Kendra and the two head to her apartment. She's not home, but after entering using a set of unattended keys, Johnny touches a glass on the table, which triggers a vision of men “dressing” the room with items meant to show the apartment is inhabited. Back in the present, Frost can't believe the place is a fake, but a closer look at the photos in the frames confirms Johnny's vision.
Suddenly, the phone rings – it's The Wolf for Johnny. The mysterious man directs the two to meet him at Anderson Park. There, Johnny touches the water fountain and sees a man addressing him directly. Snapping back to reality, he scans the park and sees The Wolf near two park benches. Frost and Johnny walk over and sit down on the benches with their backs to The Wolf, as instructed. The informant tells them in vague terms that the conspiracy with Danbury goes very deep and everyone plays a role in it, even the two of them. Their conversation is cut short when the man spots Walt approaching and takes off. Johnny, Frost and Walt follow him, but as The Wolf runs, he bumps into a woman jogging. Almost immediately, he keels over and when Johnny touches him, he's hit with a vision of himself as The Wolf moments before. He sees that the jogger is actually Kendra in a wig, who pokes him with something. Back in the present, The Wolf is pronounced dead.
Later that day, the coroner tells Johnny and Walt that he believes a drug developed by the military may have caused The Wolf's death, but when he goes to show them the body, it's gone. A lab tech tells the men that several people from the FBI came and took it away. Luckily, the coroner took some Polaroids beforehand, which show a strange tattoo on the man's forearm. Walt recognizes it as a military tattoo and tells Johnny he'll make some calls to see what he can find out. Outside, a paranoid Frost tells Johnny it's “every man for himself” and leaves.
Later, at his trailer, an intoxicated Frost notices a large sniper rifle and picks it up. Moments later, several masked commandos render him unconscious and carefully put the rifle in a plastic bag. At the sheriff's station, Walt shows Johnny a photo of a top secret Army Ranger unit. Johnny recognizes The Wolf in the photo, but is shocked to see a few other familiar faces as well – namely, Kendra Crowe, Phil and Malcolm Janus (Martin Donovan), their leader.
Johnny rushes to Boston to the Coalition for a Better America and lets himself into the conference room he saw in his earlier vision. As he touches one of the chairs, he's struck with a vision of a meeting attended by several men, including Greg Stillson (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Janus. Stillson seems a bit uneasy as Janus pressures him to commit to doing what he says is necessary in order for the young congressman to take his place in history. A secretary interrupts, telling the men the Vice President will be landing soon and Stillson finally acquiesces to Janus' plan. Snapping back to reality, Johnny is left to wonder what Janus has up his sleeve before being forcibly escorted out of the building by security.
Back in Maine, Johnny breaks into Frost's trailer and as he picks up a bottle, he flashes on the scene earlier with the commandos. In the present, Walt arrives at the trailer and tells Johnny the police have received a tip that Frost is going to shoot the Vice President. Johnny realizes Frost has been set up to be the fall guy with Johnny as a witness, knowing he can't prove anything he's seen. Walt gets a call telling them that Danbury has just landed in Maine for an unscheduled hunting trip, and the two race to Briar Hill.
On the way, they see a military helicopter and several black SUVs heading in the opposite direction of the hunting ground. When they arrive at the lodge, they find out that Danbury has been shot and Stillson is injured. Realizing he's too late, Johnny dons an EMT uniform and is able to talk his way inside the crime scene. He sees Stillson being carried out on a gurney and when he approaches, the groggy congressman recognizes him and grabs his arm, triggering a vision of Danbury out in the woods with Stillson and several Secret Service agents. The two chat until the group hears some rustling in the brush and gets ready to fire. Suddenly, a sniper shoots a high-velocity projectile through a Secret Service agent, hitting the Vice President, before injuring Stillson, who gets a shot off before collapsing.
Horrified, Johnny snaps back to reality and notices a body bag nearby. He opens it to find Frost and as he touches him, he is hit with a vision of himself as the sniper, looking through the scope. He shoots Danbury and sees Stillson fire back, missing completely. Sniper Johnny quickly removes some nearby brush to unveil Frost, already dead. After placing the gun in his hands, the real sniper is revealed to be none other than Kendra Crowe.
At home later that evening, a defeated Johnny turns on the TV to hear that his fears have been confirmed – the Vice President is dead and Stillson is being declared the likely candidate to fill the office. Suddenly, Janus emerges from the darkness and offers Johnny the chance to join with him, tempting him with the prospect of the amazing things they could accomplish together. Should he refuse, Janus warns, there won't be any future for Johnny. Quickly exiting, he leaves Johnny to ponder the implications of that threat...