Review: Medium season-five premiere is a “Soul Survivor”

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Jul 5, 2015, 4:53 PM EDT

Finally! It's about time Medium returned to NBC, and once again the series transports us into the mind-bending world of Allison Dubois (Patricia Arquette) as she tries to unlock mysterious clues about a murder. As season five begins, Allison is back at work on another case for the district attorney's office before she's even been assigned it, thanks to a dream.

Gone is the painful fourth season, which left both Allison and her husband, Joe (Jake Weber), unemployed and struggling, as the ousted D.A. Devalos (Miguel Sandoval) and the ostracized Detective Scanlon (David Cubitt) fought their own battles. Thank God! Unemployment might be real, especially in this economy, but it's really not very much fun to watch. Plus, think of all those killers who got away in the Medium universe.

Clever writers Robert Doherty and Craig Sweeny quickly remind us why we like Medium as the season premiere, "Soul Survivor," leads Allison through a twisted cold case involving body hopping and a conniving murder victim.

Considering that most of the mystery's clues arrive via Allison's dreams, it's amazing that woman can get to sleep at all, what with all the murderous deeds that pop up to shock her awake every night. As usual, Allison believes her dreams are true as she launches forward to find the murderer. It does create a little problem when she discovers he was dead when the victim was murdered.

You'd think Allison would hold off making accusations for once, until she's had a few dreams. It's reminiscent of how season one dealt with husband Joe when he was skeptical all the time. That didn't make sense any more than Allison's continual headstrong leap to believe that one dream shows her the entire story, despite four previous seasons that prove that's not the case.

That little character flaw aside, it's good have Medium back. While the mysteries tend to be over the top, the family drama is right on target. Joe's dealing with more than one psychic woman in his life now that two of his three daughters have their own psychic powers, and, with Allison off to catch murderers, it's Joe's job to tackle the home-based mysteries.

In this case, middle daughter Bridgette (Maria Lark) is drawing naked pictures of her art teacher, a situation that upsets Bridgette, the parents and the teacher. But Joe's on the case, and he proves why there's no reason a guy can't solve global warming and figure out why his daughter is having trouble at school.

"Soul Survivor" is a typical outing for Medium, but it reminds us that sci-fi can be grounded in family drama at its core. The second episode, "Things to Do in Phoenix When You're Dead," is an even better episode, involving a ghostly watcher who isn't what he seems, blackmail and a murder most heinous. Still, it's Joe to the rescue when he figures out why Ariel is acting out of character.

Medium has been put back where it belongs, on Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET, at least this spring. In the fall, Jay Leno's new show will take over all the 10 p.m. spots through the week. So while our crystal ball may not know what the future holds for Medium beyond this season, we will have consecutive episodes of the series through May to look forward to. Medium's fifth season premieres on Feb. 2 after Heroes.