“The Event” returns from a lengthy hiatus tonight with not one, but two hours chock full of...well, stuff that happens. The series has been gone for so long that, in my excitement over recapping it again, I forgot for a moment that I don’t actually much care for this show. But with the appropriately titled “And Then There Were More,” and “Inostranka” fresh off my television set, I already feel exhausted by the thought of coming up with something, [i]anything[/i], to say about this series that’s supposed to be providing water-cooler intrigue.
[Full recap after the break...]
Luckily, catching up on the plot isn’t much of a chore. As of the last time we saw our characters, Thomas has nearly instigated a nuclear war with the United States of America in order to complete his devious, multi-billion-dollar, multi-decade-in-the-making plot to launch a communications satellite. President Martinez and Blake Sterling are hell bent on capturing him, while Sophia has realized that she’s lost control of her renegade son. Some old dude named Dempsey is running an evil syndicate apparently more powerful than the American government that’s focused primarily on turning little girls into elderly mutants. Meanwhile, Sean and Leila still have zero relevance to the master plot, but they have run around a lot and discovered that Leila’s half alien.
There’s not a whole lot more nuance to this needlessly complicated story, and the new episodes provide little else beyond boredom. Honestly, the plotting of these episodes is so agonizingly dull that I found myself longing for the terrible asynchronous editing that used to provide the series with some sense of induced motion, however inauthentic it was.
Sean and Leila, after gawking for a couple moments at old photos of Leila’s ageless father, hear some noises that lead them to a random woman stalking the burnt-out basement they’re in, who, of course, provides them with just enough information to get them to their next plot point. “Head east!” they’re told, and so east they head, moving literally in a straight line from point A to point B, down a dark highway, until they catch up to a white cargo van that Sean manages to run off the road with his sedan. One would think that the woman Sean interrogated would have called the driver of the van and suggested that maybe he should take a different route, but, hey, this is “The Event” we’re talking about. Dempsey’s evil cabal has the vice president under its power, has thoroughly infiltrated the FBI, and can assemble SWAT teams in a moment’s notice, yet apparently employs agents that lack the wherewithal to warn each other when their positions are compromised.
Of course, none of this makes sense to begin with. We spent the first nine episodes of this series with the bad guy seemingly obsessed with capturing Sean, only to reveal later that it was Leila they were after all along. Except, you know, for all those times they had Leila prisoner and were simply using her as bait to get to Sean. The one time they thought they had captured Sean they were even about to give Vicky the go-ahead to kill Leila! These continue to be the worst villains I’ve ever seen on television. Or that I’ve seen anywhere else, for that matter.
With this round of pathetic villains vanquished, Sean rescues alien-hybrid Sam and disappears into the night, leaving all of the mutant-little-girl freaks to fend for themselves until the police come. But it isn’t much longer until someone else materializes--this time the ever-handy Agent Collier--to send Sean on the next leg of his wacky adventure. Now Leila’s alien father Mike, recently repatriated by Sophia and Simon, wants to reunite with his children before he’ll agree to help Sophia capture Thomas. For a moment this is a welcomed development--finally Sean can meet up with one of the series’ other major players, compare notes, and do something other than pointlessly run around.
But after a brief, entirely uninformative meeting with Sophia, Sean once again sets off on his own, freeing Leila of the guilt of choosing to leave him to follow her father. And so the Sean and Leila arc has served no purpose other than to convince Mike to help Sophia search for Thomas, an episode-old development that I imagine exactly zero people are invested in. Now Sean, who for reasons no one has yet explained has been the focal point of this massive conspiracy, has no meaningful connection to anything else that’s happening in the series. It’s okay, though, because evil, old-man Dempsey caps off the episode quite cryptically by muttering some nonsensical mumbo jumbo about his and Sean’s timelines crossing soon, or something. And why not? Something stupid [i]has[/i] to fall from the sky to keep Sean involved. This guy is supposed to be the star of the show, and it doesn’t feel like anybody has a clue what to do with him.
The worst thing about “The Event” universe, though, may be the apparent reality that controlling the world is as easy as walking up to powerful people and saying “I’ll kill your family!” I’ve lost count of how many times the show has lazily relied on this stand-by, but tonight may be the worst example yet. Thomas, with all of his cunning, bitchin’ alien technology, and advanced super math, uses nothing more than the tried-and-true family threat to gain access to America’s most top-secret, heavily guarded facility. Then, with a few guns and gas canisters, Thomas and his crew easily storm Inostranka and release the detainees, with nary a thing all of the covert-op soldiers stationed at the compound can do about it. Only Blake Sterling, the elderly D.C. bureaucrat, puts up much of a fight.
I imagine die-hard Blake fans (they exist, right?) are about the only viewers who found anything of substance in these two episodes. The prison escape itself is boring, and is basically stalled for an hour and a half until finally arriving at the point it was obviously heading towards to begin with (Thomas frees the detainees, Mia helps Blake.) The only meaningful development here may be that, through her actions, Mia has proven to Blake that there’s more nuance (read: Sophia’s not evil!) among the aliens than he had thought. But that’s a lot of straining to find anything of interest here. Thomas has an army now. So what? It’s another piece of the puzzle he needs to bring about his alien invasion, but it’s executed so poorly that it lacks any meaning beyond what that node (or module, or whatever the hell that steel bar Thomas needed for his warp gate is called) has.
Because President Martinez needs stuff to do, too, Virginia Madsen is thrown into the mix as some folksy Alaskan politician, talkin’ ‘bout her Dad teaching her to play poker, and making sure to keep the black President on his toes. (Seriously.) Only, as a twist, she’s a bleeding-heart liberal who wants to expose the President’s abuse of detainees at Inostranka and make sure that America follows international human rights law. This all culminates in a ridiculous showdown on Hardball with Chris Mattews. (!)
Really, what more is there to say?
I still have no idea what the “event” is, or even if there is an “event” we’ll be finding out about, at some point. I wonder if any of our readers can fill me in on this, because it’s been so long since anyone mentioned this infamous event (since the pilot, as best I can remember), that I’m beginning to suspect it’s an abandoned plot device that they’re now stuck with as the title of the show. Was the “event” simply aliens landing on Earth?
Surely there has to be more. So far this is not some mysterious plot with gaps that still need to be fleshed out. This is a plot that just flat-out doesn’t make sense. Why would Sophia stay silent for so long, and order Mia to kill her boyfriend, if her mission was “find an empty planet to colonize, but don’t hurt any existing civilizations”?
But between Thomas’ strange decision to take the most difficult path possible to launch his communications satellite, to Dempsey’s entire stupid operation and his ridiculous handling of Sean, I’ve learned not to assume any sort of logical motivations when predicting the turns “The Event” will take. It’s all incredibly silly.
Which would be okay if it weren’t so god awfully boring.
What did any of you think about the return of "The Event"?