The title of this week’s episode of “The Event” contains a major spoiler: “One Will Live, One Will Die.” After last week’s introduction of a certain all-too-convenient antidote, it’s not hard to figure out which character will live. The reveal that someone will die, however, is typically a fairly big deal for a television series, leaving fans guessing as to who it will be. In this case, sadly, the answer is equally as unexciting as that time “The Event” promised to reveal that a major character is secretly an alien.
Last episode, Sean and Vicky cornered Alex, transporter of the super-flu, in a parking garage, but allowed her to escape in a scene that served little purpose beyond reminding us once again that Vicky really does like Sean. It matters little, though, because Sean memorizes the license plate number of Alex’s rental vehicle and uses it to hack into the rental company’s server and access the vehicle’s location through a tracking device that, apparently, rental companies had installed in all of their cars back in the ‘90s. (Wouldn’t it have been easier to say Sean was accessing the car’s GPS device? I mean, really.)
Sean’s computer skills now less resemble those of an actual “hacker,” and more those of Penny from “Inspector Gadget.” When inventing a new character to materialize for no purpose beyond providing Sean with some helpful information (whatever happened to poor Agent Collier, anyway? Or those two conspiracy nuts whose apartment Sean got blown up?), he can always just consult his “computer book” and learn whatever he needs.There comes a point where the show might as well quit inventing devices that direct Sean forward in his journey, and instead just have him declare that his “Spidey sense is tingling.”
Regardless, Sean and Vicky track Alex to a shopping mall, where Sophia intends to have the virus released for a test run. (Not content with imitating the broad strokes anymore, here “The Event” dusts off and reuses the specific plot of a third-season “24” episode.) Sean has some rote battle with a gunman on the roof, whom he foils with the old switching-direction-after-chasing-each-other-around-in-a-circle trick, while Vicky has the mall evacuated. The two later converge to deactivate Alex’s flu-bomb by shooting it several times, in a scene that I actually half-enjoyed purely due to Jason Ritter’s bumbling charm. But why did Alex use a timer, exactly? We learn this episode that the aliens are immune to the flu (lucky them--no shots required!), so why didn’t she just release the damn thing?
Elsewhere, Leila remains a character despite never doing anything as she, for the second time this season, is tied up and held captive in a shipping container. Evil-Sophia lectures her about how the blood of Michael and Sean is on her hands (a strange conclusion Sophia offers little support for), and not a lot else happens until the end of the episode. Alex arrives along with the super-flu. Sean and Vicky may have deactivated her bomb in the mall, but she takes the opportunity to infect a bunch of fleeing shoppers on a bus. The shoppers are all dead by the time Alex drives the bus to Sophia’s lair, information that Dr. Lu uses to determine that the flu kills far too quickly for widespread contamination. In a masterful stroke of plot-device hackery, Dr. Lu determines that since the virus kills humans instantly but aliens not at all, they can mutate a perfect medium virus by infecting a half-human, half-alien hybrid.
And so Leila, after a full-season of just sorta hanging around, will become the titular one who must die, as she is tied down and swabbed with goopy stuff that I guess we’re to assume is the super-flu, while maniacal Sophia narrated about how this particular strain of the Spanish flu turned entire villages into graveyards (earlier Sean tells Vicky that, if the Spanish flu killed 50-100 million people in 1918, there’s no telling how many it will kill now that international travel is so easy, though I guess modern hospitals will not factor into the equation.) And so the super-flu that instantly kills everyone it comes into contact with, for some reason, will mutate into a slightly less potent strain by killing Leila, for some reason.
Sean and Leila are, respectively, the episode’s B and C plots, and the worst thing about either is that they both feel like it. Sean is saving a mall full of innocent civilians, but it never feel like anything more than an afterthought. Apparently it takes more than recycling a “24” plot to create tension and suspense.
The A plot of the episode, luckily, fares a little better. Newly sworn in President Jarvis becomes increasingly unhinged and paranoid after Sophia informs him that Agent Lee has escaped with an antidote that can save President Martinez. As expected, Agent Lee goes to Blake for help, and together they concoct a plot to enlist the help of First Lady Christina Martinez, as she would be the only person able to get the antidote to her husband.
Jarvis receives news that Blake has contacted Christina, and quickly takes action, telling Christina that Blake is the one who poisoned the President, and asking her for help in bringing Blake and Agent Lee to justice. A distraught Christina confesses to Jarvis about the phone call, and tells him about the meeting place she had agreed to with Blake.
A seemingly insane Jarvis watches Blake and Simon enter the meeting place through a satellite image, and orders the air force to conduct a domestic drone missile strike to kill them both. It’s all a ruse, of course, as Simon and Blake have long-since escaped via an underground passage (a must anytime a building blows up in “The Event”) by the time the missile strikes, and Sophia, playing Jarvis all the while, takes a syringe passed to her by Simon and injects it into the comatose president.
I admit that I rather enjoy seeing Blake and Simon, both perfectly likable characters, play Jarvis for a fool, but to whatever extent the defeat of Jarvis was satisfying, it comes with the caveat that everything leading to it is terrible. Jarvis is reduced to an utterly absurd caricature who randomly begins acting out of insane blood thirst. Sure, the show gets to appear a little timely by talking about a drone strike and a targeted assassination, but one would think that ordering an air strike on US soil would hurt Jarvis’ presidency a fair bit more than whatever accusations Sterling could make from prison would. The antidote itself is just another bad plot device in a long line of bad plot devices. We’ve had to sit through huge amounts of clunky writing for this: a decent-but-far-from-great five-minute payoff. Now President Martinez will wake up, and we will be back where we started.
But this is how “The Event” goes; every plot is a mere diversion from the fact that nothing really happens. We always end up right back where we started. This late in the game we’re far past the point of hoping for the show to get better, or for it to justify its existence with some massive reveal, so now the only silver lining is that we’re all a mere two episodes away from thankfully winding up back where we originally started: not watching “The Event.”
What'd you think?