The Event S1E3: Protect Them from the Truth
Real world concerns kept us from getting to this review before now and for that we apologize, minions. It’s not that we didn’t like the episode. It’s just that we had to watch it twice because we were so confused the first time we saw it. Which is a good sign. These kinds of serial mystery dramas need to be a little confusing in order to work.
On the other hand, sometimes you just want a straightforward narrative. We were momentarily thrown when the episode opened with Sean in the hotel room with a bloodied Agent Collier. “Wait…how did last week’s episode end again?” We should have realized it was that facacta time-jumping. We were at least slightly mollified that this episode had a minimum of that little whiplash-inducing motif. No, this time the story stayed mostly linear and mostly in the present day, except for a brief stop in 1944.
Unfortunately, there’s one entire third of this story that not only isn’t of any interest to us, it’s dumb as hell. We’re talking about Shmarack Fauxbama, President Cop. Poor Blair Underwood. He’s doing his best with what he’s been given, but the simple fact of the matter is no actor could make a President of the United States who says things like “I want them found!” and “Help me find them and bring them to justice!” into a believable character. Although they did slip in the subtle-as-a-jackhammer “I’ll not condone the use of torture.” to make him sound like a President while he did all these things no President would do or be allowed to do.
Things like touring a disaster site, which has already proven itself to be a major national security risk, mere hours after the disaster. Don’t even get us started on the whole interrogating a prisoner bit. It’s sloppy and kind of insulting writing. You don’t need to be a political scientist to realize their view of the Presidency is unintentionally laughable.
Thankfully, Sean’s story mostly works for us. That’s partly because of Jason Ritter and partly because his story actually moves. He went from being a prisoner, to a hero, to a hostage-taker, to a stowaway, to breaking in (walking in, actually) to the FBI branch office and tapping into their mainframe, to surviving a firefight with rogue federal agents. As implausible as most of his story was, it was still pretty fun to watch. Like a video game. Although we have to say we’re a tiny bit disappointed how “action hero” he’s become. We like it when they exploit Ritter’s every man qualities. He’s a little too ahead of the game for someone who’s only supposed to be a freelance software programmer. We can see how a guy like that could be smart and useful in a story like this, but surviving car crashes and staying one step ahead of FBI agents (admittedly, only temporarily) means he’s definitely going the more typically heroic route, which is a shame.
Leila and Vicki are starting to work as a narrative strand as well. Leila’s showing a little more backbone and personality finally and hey, she drew first blood, so that’s gotta count for something. Vicki is just an all around stone cold bitch you love to hate. We’re hoping Leila gets the opportunity to beat her to a pulp at some point.
What prompted a second viewing for us was the whole thing with the rogue federal agents. We couldn’t figure out who anyone was working for. At first we thought Secretary Sterling had something to do with it since he just found out about Sean but he seems to be independent of Vicki’s little band of rogues. Which means he may not be the mustache-twirlingly eeeeevil character they’re hinting at, but it also means that Sean now has two groups of dangerous government types after him. That’s assuming Vicki and her gang are some sort of underground intelligence operatives like we’ve been told.
As for the 97, the writers are still being awfully cagey about who they are and what their intentions are. Sophia comes across as well-intentioned but she essentially ordered the killing of that turncoat guy. The flashback to ’44 told us nothing we didn’t already know or surmised. They have some sort of mission, Sophia’s some sort of leader, and getting captured was part of the plan. Aside from that, we’re stumped. And while we’re a bit frustrated how uneven the narrative is, we thought that scene where the turncoat’s girlfriend killed him while pleading with him to “keep imagining” better things, was chilling and kind of powerful.
And that’s the problem here. It’s a potentially gripping story, with potentially powerful scenes, but there are a lot of weak points in the structure of the thing. It’s possible they can iron out the rough spots with time, but the ratings aren’t so hot on this show, which is a shame. It has more potential than any of the shows that tried to ape Lost’s style and success.
* We’re kinda digging Agent Collier. Maybe it’s the cat pictures on her computer. Or maybe it’s the fact that she isn’t one of those stupid characters you always see in these stories who refuse to see what’s right in front of them. Even before the attack on the field office, she was starting to believe Sean.
* That just reminded us of another stupidity, though. Collier walking around the field office, drenched in blood, but apparently perfectly healed from her wounds and not even remotely concerned that her partner got killed.
* It’s still to early for major theorizing, but we’re holding onto the theory that the 97 are time travelers. There was something about the way William the turncoat 97 and his girlfriend stared in awe at the Washington skyline. Granted, they’d been imprisoned for 66 years, but something about the scene just made us feel like we weren’t looking at aliens.
As always, you can catch the episode here. Like we said, it’s not perfect, but parts of it are fun.
Labels: The Event