Table setting episodes are part of the deal the viewer makes when committing to a serialized drama. Sure, it’s nice when such shows can pace themselves and keep enough balls in the air that it never seems like there are narrative troughs, but it’s mostly inevitable. But man, when said drama is The Event, is it ever a bummer. “Turnabout” was one of those episodes, and it committed the worst sin this show can commit: It was just so boring.
Maybe it suffered because it follows the sugar rush of “Inostranka,” which had the advantage of an immediate, high-stakes story, in addition to being mostly about Sterling. But I struggled to pay attention to “Turnabout,” even as it delivered gun fights and attempted murders and a guy digging an alien Jawbone out of his radiation-poisoned pudding face. Granted, that’s mostly because I stopped caring about the show overall, and my interest wanes more as the chances of a renewal get increasingly dim. But it’s also because at this point in this story, I just can’t stand to watch people stand around and talk about things for more than 20 seconds at a time. And there were a lot of conversations and not enough action in “Turnabout.”
I don’t envy James Wong, the writer of tonight’s episode, or, really, anyone whose job it is to bridge the gap between the reveal of the portal array and the final confrontation wherein Thomas is either able to successful transport his people here or not. With that framework in place for what will likely be the remainder of the season, most characters are left running in place while that battle is waged. Sean and Leila’s relationship to the story is still tangential at best, even though Sean is still technically the main character and Leila found out she’s half-EBE. Simon’s role as Sophia’s right hand limits any sort of character development for him; he’s simply too busy making it happen. Hal Holbrook is still a specter, rather than a character. If Martinez ever finds a way to contact Thomas directly without having his mother chaperone, even Sophia will be kind of superfluous. It’s down to a battle of wits between Thomas and Martinez, but unfortunately, The Event has an ensemble to service.
I will say that I am really excited about the long-awaited showdown between Martinez and Thomas. Are Blair Underwood and Clifton Collins, Jr., both slumming it? Absolutely. But they’ve made their characters work as much as can be expected of actors of their caliber with material of this caliber. Plus, following a dream sequence in which Sophia was punking him out, Martinez is finally finding his conviction and not putting up with any more EBE nonsense. His friendship with Sophia is long over. His goal is to protect the country and its natives, not Sophia and her come-latelies. I fear we’re in for a long wait before the two share screentime, but I’m hopeful it’ll prove worth the wait.
One last point, before I fire off slight observations as an episode like this necessitates, does anybody else feel like this show is less entertaining the more plausible it is? Without the barrage of plot and logic holes that I’m used to, I found that I didn’t enjoy The Event much. This show has made a masochist out of me.
- Michael’s old EBE buddy is Andrea Zuckerman, which is awesome.
- Portal as a verb? Fine, The Event, just… whatever.
- I was hoping for a Sean-free episode, but no such luck. After performing facial reconstruction on a rowdy barfly, Sean is propelled back into action by his sister, who tells him he’s not the type to give up. That’s pretty terrible sibling advice, telling Sean to go solo against the massive, global conspiracy.
- It was cute that Thomas caused Chernobyl. The historical references tickle me more than anything on this show.
- Vicky’s back! So, there’s that.