Recap: 'The Event' - 'Us or Them'
And then there was another episode.
It’s hard to believe that there is so very little time left in the first (and likely last) season of “The Event.” This week’s installment, “Us of Them,” seems to consciously avoid any effort to build momentum or ramp up the action. Instead of watching our heroes perform the badass deeds we expect of an end game, we watch them develop an under-cooked love story. We watch them find the bad guy...but then not really. They quarantine an airplane...but then not really. What we really watch them do is kill time, and little else. I’m forced to assume that poor reception and terrible ratings have forced the writers to abort most of what they had planned for the inaugural season, because this simply cannot be all that they had planned, right?
I feel bad continuing to take potshots at a series that has clearly had everything possible go wrong for it, but at the same time no show, with this few episodes remaining, should be this much of a chore to sit through.
[Full recap of Monday’s (May 2) “The Event” after the break...]
The episode opens on a montage that cross cuts Jarvis being sworn in as the acting president with deposed President Martinez slipping into a coma. I gather that there’s supposed to be some dramatic weight to this scene, some sort of foreboding regarding Jarvis’ reign. Yet no matter how earnestly the show tries, it’s unable to create any tension with a character this slight and hollow. There’s no menace to this situation, because Jarvis is nothing more than the writers’ shortcut to giving Sophia some power without actually having her do anything.
This is indicative of something broader that can make watching “The Event” so painful, at times: having to sit through scene after scene that are supposed to have some sort of effect that they simply do not have. Everywhere we turn in this show it’s just more people who seem to be play acting supposedly serious roles: Sean play acting the role of rogue action hero, Sophia play acting the role of murderous villain, and Jarvis play acting the role of duplicitous usurper. The only one in any of this who actually seems to fill out his role is cagey vet Zeljko Ivanek as Blake Sterling, and that’s only because I can sort of pretend that I’m watching the Zeljko Ivanek of so many better shows.
This certain isn’t the show’s fault, but especially now, given certain real-world developments this week (which actually included something one might refer to as an “event”), the already inert DC storyline of “The Event” just plays out as downright juvenile. You almost want to yell at the characters for acting as if anything that they’re doing is important.
Because there are no real stakes. “The Event” has essentially given us a situation where the choices are between the total genocide of the human race, and the good guys winning. This is the worst mystery show I’ve ever seen in the sense that we already know everything that’s going to happen, and are now just watching the characters go through the required motions. With the introduction of a magic elixir, we can’t even wonder if Martinez will survive or not, any more. We were already pretty sure that he would, but now the show has erased all doubt.
Yet, even in a coma Martinez manages to make himself more active, through periodic spasms, than evil mastermind Sophia ever is in all her insane plotting. Sophia’s turn toward evil has so far consisted entirely of her sitting around in a suburban compound, barking a few orders and giving a speech here and there. This week she acknowledges her own ridiculous 180 while giving Michael the order to kill Simon, letting him know that she understands how difficult it is to be evil, but that he’s always been someone who won’t let his familial connections get in the way of what must be done (this being said, of course, to the character who began the series trying to fly an airplane into Sophia because his children had been threatened.)
There’s no real reason for Sophia, or even the aliens themselves, to exist at this point, beyond that they’re the ones providing the threat. Sophia is nothing beyond a convenient cipher required for the plot to move forward. There’s no permanence to this character. It’s just Laura Innes, who used to be doing one thing and is now doing another. Her allusions to Thomas and to the entirely different character she began the series as do little to help this glaring gap in the writing.
Sophia is mistaken about Michael, of course, because she underestimated the power of Leila telling him some story about a bird. Michael frees Simon, something he could have done a long time ago had Leila told him her story earlier, and then disappears off screen for a while, apparently to visit a magic doctor. He shows up later with a bullet wound and a vial that can save Martinez’s life. No real explanation is given, other than that something had to materialize to save the president. Leila remains behind to stand by her dying father’s side and say something snarky to Sophia, while Simon runs off to save the man he devoted his career to betraying.
Simon will undoubtedly join forces with Blake, creating a brief moment of tension (possibly involving Blake wrapping his hand around Simon’s throat and calling him an enemy spy) until Simon reveals the elixir. This will possibly give Blake the opportunity to come full circle and remember the alien woman back at Inostranka who saved his life and promised that they didn’t all want genocide.
Blake and Simon will save Martinez while Sean and Vicky, who literally spend the episode doing absolutely nothing of consequence (beyond mildly inconveniencing a drug runner) on a plane, follow the Spanish flu trail all the way to Sophia. Sean will save the day, and a revived Martinez will deal with Jarvis and Sophia.
After Dempsey killed himself a couple episodes ago, I had sort of hoped the season would flare out with a bevy of ridiculous nonsense. Instead it looks to peter out in as rote a manner as possible. As “The Event” reaches its climactic moments, it has given us its most uneventful episode to date. A show so in love with its own mystery has materialized into a show about boring, banal suburbanites we’re to believe are aliens giving people the flu. Only it’s a flu that kills 100% of people within an hour, or so. For some unknown reason.
Great pay off, guys!