The bad news: ‘Chuck’ wasn’t on last week. The good news: Well, there really isn’t any good news, per se. The “Eh, whatever” news: Last Monday, NBC brought back ‘The Event’ for a special two-hour return… umm… event, to kick off the second half of the show’s season. Was it worth the wait?
Frankly, I’m surprised that NBC hasn’t just written the underwhelming and underperforming series off yet, and dumped it without airing the remaining episodes. I guess the network spent too much money on it and doesn’t have anything better to run in its place. ‘The Cape’ sure hasn’t turned the network’s fortunes around, now has it?
As we last left things before the series went on hiatus, renegade Thomas had launched a communications satellite into orbit, aimed out into space. If that wasn’t enough confirmation that his people are aliens (and not time travelers from the future or something), this episode makes it official. They are “non-terrestrials” from a planet we humans know as NG-3253. The two-part return, ‘And Then There Were More / Inostranka’, opens with the satellite self-destructing after having broadcast a seven second message, which the CIA and NSA decode as saying: “Preparations are being made for your arrival.” The unavoidable conclusion here is that an invasion is planned.
We learn that Thomas is building a gigantic matter transport array, hidden in the Himalayas. Before the rest of his people can arrive, he needs to raise an army. As such, he launches a raid on the Mt. Inostranka prison camp in Alaska to liberate all of the detainees there.
This happens to coincide with Director Sterling (Željko Ivanek) visiting the facility to interrogate Maya (Clea DuVall) about the message. She insists that her people are peaceful and have sworn an oath not to interfere with humanity. An invasion would violate their moral code. Of course, it’s in the middle of this conversation that Thomas blasts his way into the prison, killing soldiers left and right.
Sterling is wounded in the ensuring chaos, but does his best to lock down the facility and prevent Thomas or the detainees from escaping. He fails and is eventually captured. Thomas gives the detainees an inspirational speech about how Sophia’s leadership has failed and it’s time for them to take the planet for themselves. Most join his cause right away. Maya initially pretends to follow Thomas, until she learns that he’s executed all of the dissenters. She helps Sterling to escape but is killed in the process.
Meanwhile, President Martinez (Blair Underwood) has to contend with a new Senator from Alaska (Virginia Madsen, looking a lot better here than in her recent failed series, ‘Scoundrels‘) who’s been snooping into Mt. Inostranka. When she tries to strong-arm some information out of him, the President basically bitch-slaps her back into her place. In retaliation, the Senator goes on ‘Hardball’ (Chris Matthews even cameos as himself) and threatens to reveal enough information to get the public curious about what’s going on up there. Martinez calls her during the commercial break and caves to her demand to tell her everything he knows so long as she’ll shut up and divert the conversation on TV.
In other events, Sean and Leila get a lead on her kidnapped sister, Samantha. They chase down a van transporting the children who were being experimented on and rescue Samantha, but leave the rest of the kids (the ones who all look like the mutant children in ‘Akira‘) to fend for themselves or something. Real nice.
Sophia (Laura Innes) and her CIA mole Simon bust Leila’s father Michael out of prison and facilitate a little family reunion with Leila, Samantha, and Sean. Michael lays all of his cards on the table for Leila. He tells her they’re aliens and that life on their home planet is unsustainable. He asks her to join him and Sophia, but says that Sean can’t come. She’s conflicted by this and tells Sean. He suggests that she sleep on it and make a decision in the morning, but sneaks out before she wakes up to spare her the trouble.
Finally, mean old man Dempsey (Hal Holbrook) is informed that all of the children test subjects were set free by Sean. He reveals some weird sort of map thing made out of stones on his desk and promises that he and Sean will cross paths again in the future.
The promo for the rest of the season was filled with lots of action and special effects, and was extremely spoiler-heavy.
One thing I happened to realize when watching these episodes is that, somewhere along the way, the show gave up that annoying flashback-flashback-flashback-flashback structure that so burdened the early parts of the season. That’s a good thing, at least.