Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Event: "Arrival"

Illustration for article titled The Event: "Arrival"

Before I watched "Arrival," the unintended series finale of The Event, I went back through my DVR and gave the episodes another cursory scan. I was all ready to deem the show some kind of fun failure, at least, but then I watched the episode. I was almost guaranteed to be frustrated by this episode. If it was suddenly, inexplicably great, I'd be pissed that the show had waited so long to get it together but totally impressed. Instead, I get a more disappointing kind of frustration, the kind that comes from knowing that even after this many episodes, no one working on this thing understands how it works.

I'd understand if "Arrival" had been written as a hasty series finale, an attempt to bring the storylines to some kind of conclusion since a cancellation was almost certain after the hiatus. But clearly, the writers went the other way, and the result was a just baffling hour. As usual, the show is still in its inferior 24 mode, but while recent episodes done in that style had been boring, they hadn't been this laughably stupid.

I really enjoyed Blair Underwood's performance on this show. There's something really entertaining about watching a phenomenal actor slumming it, trying to animate the most leaden dialogue. And he did that again and again this season. So it was beyond depressing to see such a misshapen and goofy story for him in this episode. Apparently, when a vice president steps in for an ailing president, he doesn't have to return control back to the president until the cabinet votes, which is totally just, like, a popularity contest. Seriously, was anything we've seen on the show up until this point quite so conspicuously dumb? All of which leads to some bizarro kangaroo court that's some combination of Judge Judy and Donald Trump's boardroom. And then Martinez pulls out his tape recording of Jarvis, which if you've ever watched a television show before, you were expecting the moment Jarvis and Martinez had that conversation.

All this was necessary, though, in order to stall for time while Sophia was getting into place at Dulles to release the canisters of the virus. Tactical teams at the two other sites Sophia targeted took down the sleepers, and now, it was up to her. There were trace elements of suspense in the Dulles story, just because I was never sure the series wouldn't release the virus in the airport. It's what 24 would have done, anyway: Isolate the virus to a small space, then release it with our protagonists inside. But anything 24 can do, The Event can do terribly. Instead, we get a series of inert chases leading to a conversation between Sophia and Sean and an incident-free capture. Um… hooray?

With Sophia captured, Martinez tries to lean on her to stop the transport of her people using the portal array. But Sophia says its too late and says a whole lot more vague, ominous stuff. Then, what appears to be their entire planet rubberbands into our orbit. Oh, and Martinez's wife is totally one of them after all, something she might regret having mentioned to their son. That ending was kind of cool, I'll admit. But surrounded by so much other nonsense, like Roma Maffia's hilariously creepy nurse who's hiding an incredibly easy-to-guess secret about Leila, it's hard to be impressed.

Am I being too harsh? Was The Event a fun failure?