Phew, for a moment there I was worried. After last week’s closing shot saw “The Event” ascend to the heights of random absurdity, it seemed like this week’s episode, “For the Good of Our Country,” had retreated back to dull-as-you-can-imagine political intrigue. But then, with five seconds left and seemingly all hope lost, evil, old-man Dempsey looks into his mirror-mirror-on-the-wall and briefly morphs into a young man, before transforming back to his whithered self just as quickly.
Now we at least have something fun to talk about, and distract us from the rest of this awful episode. At least, as best I can tell, that’s the plan of the “Event” team, who have given us a second incredibly dull episode in a row that’s capped off with laughably goofy imagery.
[More thoughts on Monday's (Nov. 15) "The Event" after the break...]
Somewhere at the bottom of this is an almost-interesting idea. Advanced, ageless aliens came to our planet over half a century ago, and the malicious, all-encompassing conspiracy that has sprouted up around them has nothing to do with world domination or the accumulation of wealth. Rather, it’s an apolitical plot by some rich white dude to regain his youth. It makes a lot of sense in those terms, actually: most powerful Americans happen to be rich white dudes with few worries beyond their advancing age. In execution, though, it’s just silly.
The flashbacks this week expose Vice President Jarvis as the turncoat, who was bought-and-paid-for during the primaries by wealthy donor James Dempsey. The dialogue here rivals even last week’s reference to alien math in its sheer absurdity: all-powerful Dempsey informs Jarvis that Martinez’ election is already a “done deal” (all part of his pernicious plot, we’re sure), and his refusal to name either Jarvis’ or Martinez’ party is reminiscent of the “24” dialogue that would only vaguely reference “the country” that America was about to go to war with.
I will say that Blair Underwood’s President Martinez grew on me a bit this episode, as the president reveals himself to be the only believably competent character in the cast by tracking Jarvis down as the traitor. Underwood’s work here is actually solid, as he plays the role of a man whose closest ally tried to kill him, his family, and a whole bunch of other people. But, as it has in the past, “The Event” tries to build a relationship and produce its payoff at the same time, and it results in Underwood’s work being wasted on the president’s underdeveloped relationship with Jarvis, which we care absolutely nothing about.
Meanwhile, Vicky reemerges and now appears to be fighting exclusively for the good guys. Her motives are murky, of course: she’s pretty sure that Dempsey will have her murdered. But after she nonchalantly takes orders to assassinate the vice president (which is much easier than you would think, it seems!), she kills yet another one of Dempsey’s goons (one we’ve seen before, but, really, who cares?) and advises Jarvis that their lives depend on him exposing Dempsey. Easily convinced, Jarvis tries to tell Martinez everything over the phone, but is comically cut off right around “the name of the big bad guy is...” by a car bomb that leaves him smoldering on the street. The Secret Service agents, like almost everyone else on this show, apparently really suck at their jobs.
The Sean-and-Leila b-plot is so inconsequential, superfluous and boring that I fear I may lose readers just by discussing it. One of Dempsey’s many disposable, maniacal villains emerges from last week’s explosion injured, but still capable of climbing down a vertical wall and shooting Sean in the shoulder. Whatever these random goons lack in competency, they at least make up for in resiliency. Sean’s up to the task, however, as he takes the bullet and still has the physical ability and mental wherewithal to have Leila distract the zombie-like gunman before clubbing him into a coma using his remaining good arm and a rebar, and then to teach Leila how to use a screwdriver to steal a car in under five seconds.
At this point I wanted to complain further about how little sense this story makes. President Martinez has already followed this conspiracy all the way to the vice president, prompting Dempsey to have VP Jarvis assassinated. That’s some pretty high-stakes shit going on there and I’m at a loss as to what Sean could possibly add to the investigation. Yet killing Sean Walker is still of such utmost importance that Dempsey’s goons are engaging in a gun battle in an open street. It’s okay to keep things secretive, for a while, but the writers need to give us some sign that there’s more to this story on its way. For the time being it seems like a glaring oversight.
But from there things get so much worse, as Leila, not content in letting her boyfriend play the Jack Bauer role all by himself, abducts some doctor at gunpoint and forces him to operate on Sean in a back alley. The doctor, a truly magnanimous sort, treats Sean and tells Leila to take him to an ER if there are any complications, or, failing that, to “abduct another doctor.” Of all the nondescript and pointless characters that have helped Sean on his journey, so far, this guy has to be the worst. Beyond how unbelievable and stupid this plot is, its cardinal sin is being really, goddamn boring. I suppose from a character development standpoint it’s supposed to demonstrate that Leila’s just as willing to go to the mattresses for Sean as he is for her. Beyond that shocking revelation, this entire plot is pointless. We’re talking in the Kim-Bauer-and-the-cougar realm of pointless, only not nearly as funny.
“For the Good of Our Country” is the dullest episode “The Event” has yet produced, and that’s saying a lot. It somehow made me miss Thomas and Agent Lee, who were absent tonight. Instead we we’re given the reveal of a high-level mole no one cares about, who is then almost killed, but then not killed, and then possibly killed again before accomplishing anything of importance. The vice-president-as-a-villain story has come and gone with such little impact that it makes clear how little punch the political story packs in general. Where do they go from here? The president is really an alien?
As for the final image of Dempsey transforming into a young man: it’s entertaining insofar as the special effects look terrible (and ridiculously out of place). In short, it plays the exact role of last week’s elderly-little-girls reveal, only now it’s not nearly as novel. It comes as a welcomed relief only because the rest of the episode is as outrageously insipid as it is.
These are bad times for “The Event.” For a little while there it almost seemed to be picking up steam, but these last two episodes have been irredeemably bad. Maybe this is just the mid-season doldrums, but I’m at a loss as to what could save “The Event” at this point.
What were your thoughts on "For the Good of Our Country"?