I wrote in last week’s recap of the pilot episode that I wasn’t terribly impressed with ‘The Event’. I found the flashback-flashback-flashback structure annoying, and didn’t think that the big shocking mystery seemed all that mysterious. I made my guess as to who the super-secret detainees in the military prison would turn out to be. Sure enough, the second episode (‘To Keep Us Safe’) lets the cat right out of the bag. Just as I predicted, they’re… (Spoilers!)
Oooh, shocker. That wasn’t totally obvious halfway through the first episode at all, was it? Oh, right, it was.
Anyway, here’s what we know now: Aliens crashed in Alaska in 1944. A group of them were injured, and had to linger at the wreckage until they were picked up by the military, which has held them ever since. Outwardly, they look just like humans. But they have some minor differences in their circulatory systems, and they age very very slowly. Their leader (Laura Innes) looks exactly the same after 66 years.
The President (Blair Underwood) objects to the fact that they’ve been kept a secret. He wants to go public. His advisor (Zeljko Ivanek) insists that they’re up to no good and are dangerous. “They have a hidden agenda. I can feel it in my bones.” Indeed, we learn in a flashback that there were more aliens who fled from the crash site and have been integrating into human society.
I find it kind of interesting that the show would divulge this big plot twist so early. In fact, the series already has a weird way of playing things up as if they’re going to be huge mysteries (even though they aren’t that difficult to guess) and then just saying “To hell with it” and spilling the beans. In this second episode, Ivanek’s character suspects that there are sleeper aliens who’ve infiltrated the government and military. He assigns his top CIA guy to root them out. At the exact moment he’s doing that, we in the audience can take a look at the CIA dude and guess that he’s going to turn out to be an alien. And then, by episode’s end, that’s exactly what happens. So much for stringing out the suspense.
Anyway, the other major storyline involves that plane that vanished above the President’s compound. It pops out of that wormhole-thingie over the desert and promptly crashes. Pretty much everyone survives and crawls out of the plane. They think they’re being rescued when helicopters fly their way, but the pilot (Scott Patterson) tells Sean (Jason Ritter) that they’re still in danger and he should hightail it the hell out of there. So Sean runs, leaving everybody behind.
Sean later passes out on a road and wakes up in a hospital in Yuma, AZ. The nurse thinks he’s dehydrated and delirious when he babbles about a cruise and plane crash. (Turns out that the government covered up the jet’s disappearance and concocted a story to explain what witnesses saw happen in Miami). She agrees to call his story in to the police anyway. The cops run his name through a database and warn her that he’s been flagged as having murdered someone on his cruise. So, a couple of FBI agents sweep into the hospital. Sean tries to escape, but he’s pretty incompetent at it and gets caught quickly. As the feds haul him off, they think he’s a psycho killer with all of his crazy stories. They drive near the plane crash site, and are turned around by a Statie who claims there’s been a chemical spill. Sean insists that they drive through to see the plane crash, but they tell him to shut up and then turn the car around.
Well, of course, the plane is still there just on the other side of a hill. All sorts of government people are investigating it, including the alien CIA guy. All of the plane’s passengers (except Sean, obviously) have been murdered.
Now then, is the second episode of ‘The Event’ better than the first? A little bit. Although it’s still burdened with an abundance of flashbacks, the pieces of the puzzle fit together a little more coherently now. Most of the flashbacks here are used to fill in the gaps of things that didn’t make sense in the pilot episode. Is this enough to keep me watching? I don’t know. I’m going to take it on an episode-by-episode basis for now. I’ll give it at least one more.
The network’s ads for the series have played it up as some sort of cultural phenomenon, with millions of people around the country wrapped up in the drama of Sean’s epic love story and search for his girlfriend. How ridiculous. That storyline isn’t particularly original or even very compelling. Jason Ritter is no leading man, and is frankly kind of annoying. I sincerely doubt that many viewers give a crap about him or his quest to rescue his girlfriend. I sure don’t.