“They have a hidden agenda, sir. I know it in my bones.” – Sterling
See, The Event? Was that so hard? Just show a few things actually happening, and you’re suddenly a million times more interesting! After spending an hour with the show last week and pretty much only seeing a vanishing plane, I was ready to give up on this show if it didn’t get more interesting fast. Truth be told, I was sorta looking forward to getting the time back, or at least being able to invest it in a different show. Instead, The Event decided that it finally wants to peel back a few more layers and actually show us a few things. The plane reappears and crash lands in Arizona, some weird black helicopters descend on the plane and basically kill everyone dead, and Sean manages to get away from the crash site, only to wind up in a hospital and under the custody of the police. Seems he is wanted for the murder of Greg, one of the two new friends that he and his girlfriend met on the cruise ship a week ago. Sean is innocent, of course, but the people who did murder Greg also are holding Sean’s missing girlfriend, Leila, hostage. Oh yeah, and that other new friend they met on the cruise ship, Vicky? Yeah, she’s in cahoots with the kidnappers/murderers, who were also the ones that convinced Leila’s dad to hijack the plane and attempt to kill the president with it.
Meanwhile, we learn a bit more about the 97 prisoners kept in Russia that the president had just found out about in the last episode (he was planning on holding a press conference announcing their existence and freeing them from captivity). It turns out, they were discovered nearly 70 years ago, and are aliens! Or rather, they’re humanoids that are similar to us, but possess significant differences in their DNA sequence. Everyone involved in this particular conspiracy seems to believe that this means that they are extraterrestrial, but I’m more inclined to believe that this might mean they are a highly evolved version of the human. I’d put my money on an upcoming revelation that the 97 prisoners were actually time travelers, and not aliens. Either way, we learn a few things about them this episode: there’s more than just the 97 in captivity (some of the original group discovered by the government managed to avoid capture), they are responsible for what happened to that plane, and the director of National Intelligence, Sterling, believes they’re hiding something. They go really out of the way to make it seem like this Sterling guy is obsessed with proving that the aliens are hostile. We don’t know anything about the aliens. For all we know, they might as well be trying to enslave all of humanity. Yet based on Sterling’s creep factor and the fact that he described knowing something because he “feels it in his bones,” I’m inclined to side with the aliens. That Sterling guy is just bad news, and there’s going to be some upcoming twist involving that is going to further paint his character in a bad light. I know it in my bones.
One thing about the show that is getting very distracting, though, is its need to constantly give us some backstory on the current scene by showing a lengthy flashback sequence, complete with “_____ YEARS AGO” caption. I understand that there are a lot of details they’re trying to fill in along the way, but literally having one per act is going overboard. The rate at which the show jumps us back in time the wide ranges of times in which we flash back to make the show feel very unfocused, a bit like we’re getting the story told by someone who has severe ADD. We start out simple and reasonable enough with “TEN DAYS AGO”, then 10 minutes later, we’ve escalated to “ELEVEN YEARS AGO.” By the time we hit “NOVEMBER 2ND, 1944”, I had to laugh. It was getting absolutely ridiculous, almost to the point of self-parody. I get that they’re trying to keep us on our toes by bouncing us around the storyline, but it’s honestly much more distracting at this point than it is exciting. I would have much preferred a smaller number of flashbacks, all limited to relatively the same timeframe.
So we’ve got a lot of different factions at work here: there’s the aliens, the government that has the aliens captive, the extremist group trying to kill the president for some reason, the non-captive aliens that may or may not be trying to free the captives (they even have a mole on the inside, Agent Lee), and the people caught in the middle of it all, like Sean or his kidnapped girlfriend. Last week was a very uneven and unexciting introduction to the series, and it would have gone a long way to incorporate some of the scenes from this second episode into the first. I wasn’t sure if I would be keeping this show on my TV schedule (apparently so did a lot of other people, ratings are down from last week), but I’m glad I at least stuck it out through this week, as things look much more promising for the show. Unlike last time, I’m actually looking forward to seeing how some of the new developments will be addressed or resolved. We’ll see how long The Event can keep this pace and momentum.