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

The Event: "One Will Live, One Will Die"

Illustration for article titled The Event: "One Will Live, One Will Die"

It’s clear by now we’ll never actually know what the titular event was supposed to be. The writers have made it plain that they hadn’t figured out what the event was when they started, and then after having written and shot a bunch of different things happening, decided they couldn’t pick which one it was supposed to be. And in a way, it’s all of our faults for being so disappointed by this show. Let’s say a guy calls his wife at work and says “Hey sweetie, don’t make any plans tonight, I’ve got a huge surprise.” And she gets home, and he got her cupcakes from her favorite bakery, and she’s like “Aw, so sweet! Now what’s this surprise you’ve got for me? I’ve been puzzling over it all day.” Well he’s going to feel like crap. That’s how we made the writers of The Event feel. If you have to ask what the event is, then obviously it didn’t mean as much to you as it meant to them, sniffle sniffle.

One thing is for sure though: the event already happened. I say this not because this is the first and last season, but because the show is so unbelievably boring now, like whatever air was still in the balloon a month or so ago has seeped out. I’ll still confess to having found “Face Off” a lot of fun, with the Washington Monument collapse and all. But this show has just gotten so, so dull. I admit I skipped last week's episode up until yesterday. (Thanks much to the estimable Noel Murray for taking it off my hands last week. It was like a three-day weekend.) And I wish I could have skipped it forever. I initially liked that the show might settle into a sort of 24-with-aliens rhythm, because that's at least an workable concept as opposed to the sticky paste of half-baked genre ideas it’s been up until now.

But what the show is doing now with "Us and Them" and now with "One Will Live, One Will Die," is becoming a really awful 24 knock off. All the talking and the convenient overhearing, none of the action, the urgency, the emotional depth, the neck-snapping cliffhangers. There's just nothing compelling about this. Especially because the aliens don’t act like aliens. They look like people, they barely do their magic tricks anymore, and they don’t have lizard skin underneath their people skin. They are utterly unintimidating aliens. The humans in the show are scared to death obviously, but the audience isn’t, because we know Sophia and her people are the Bad News Bears of alien takeovers, and that they can’t back up their threats more often than not.

I can imagine no higher stakes than the release of a virus that could potentially eliminate the entire human race, and yet The Event managed to turn it into a sleep aid. I think part of my inability to invest in the show is that I can't accept the premise of the human race's survival in the hands of Sean Walker. At no point am I willing to believe that this guy has just willed himself into being an action hero. I just see this goofball and his hot but superfluous sidekick doing stuff and nothing about it seems the least bit important. But what happened with them, so that we're all on the same page, is that they spent the episode tracking down the weapon before Sophia could spread it to the population. They sort of succeeded, but also sort of failed. Thankfully, there were no scenes this week of Sean being all "Vicky, I don't get you, you're so hot and you have a son and I think you have a heart but you act so heartless." And then Vicky is like "Sean you'll never get me. I'm a tough, complicated girl who shelters her heart because that's what the job requires, ‘cause that's how my character was described."

Meanwhile, Jarvis continues to snivel Charles Logan style. I really don't understand Jarvis's character, or maybe Bill Smitrovich isn't quite making the right choices in his performance. Jarvis is clearly a man who didn't realize that his talent wasn't nearly at the level of his ambition. But he doesn't seem like he even wants to be president. Even as he schemes to eliminate Martinez while covering his tracks, even as he orders airstrikes, even as he lies so casually to Christina, I never believe that he actually wants to be the president. None of it rings true or feels interesting. I didn't realize how much Blair Underwood anchors this show until seeing the episodes without him. There's no one interesting to focus on when everything else is going off the rails.

Sophia was shrieking like a petulant child the entire episode. She had to track down Simon so she could stop him from giving Martinez the antidote that would save his life. Jarvis is a lackey, and takes all his orders from Sophia now, and Sophia's pissed because he has all those resources and can't find one guy. Though again, Jarvis doesn't seem like he has access to much of anything. I'm never sure that guy is president, even though he is. But, she got some news from her mad scientist. The virus would be hard to spread because it kills humans too quickly, but doesn't affect the Hetero sapiens at all. The way to spread it is by infecting one of the half-alien, half-human children. Sophia figures that's a good use for Leila, who has just gone and ruined everything.


And Sterling and Simon teamed up to get the antidote to Martinez. The story was really goofy but sort of fun. It was like a half-assed webisode of Leverage built into a depressing episode of The Event. It was all a ruse to trick Jarvis! Christina knew all along! Simon was the flower guy! The antidote went into the flowers! She had the flowers! (Am I the only one who felt beaten over the head with this?) So apparently Martinez will be recovering from his coma next week. I assume he won't be up and around, but at least Underwood will be back hopefully, and Jarvis can be drawn and quartered or something.

Stray observations:

  • I never again want to see on this show, or any show like it, a story paced by the decryption of a phone call. It's lazy and stupid and I hate it.
  • The scene between Vicky and the mall cop should send a message to all mall cop supervisors. Empower your officers to take charge and do their jobs.
  • The way Sophia Innes did the creepy cheek quiver at the end of the episode really made me laugh, so that was a nice thing.