Say this for “The Event” on Monday (March 28): It looked lovely. The episode (called “Face Off”) was directed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, and as you might expect from a man who’s worked with Steven Spielberg on a dozen movies, it had a more cinematic sweep than the show usually does.
But that’s the Paula Abdul-on-“American Idol” way of backing into what I really thought of the episode, which is not much. It’s getting pretty difficult to track where characters’ motives lie week to week, and in a show that’s otherwise built heavily on plot momentum, that’s a big flaw. Consistent characterization is the way through a story where everything else is in service of what happens next, and that’s not happening right now on “The Event.”
We get, President Martinez, that you’re tired of being a step behind Sophia and her cohorts, and we really get that something like the destruction of the Washington Monument (yes, it actually happened tonight; we’ve been seeing that NBC promo for, what, two months?) and the killing of innocent people there would call for a swift response. But nowhere in your character, before halfway through last week’s episode, had it been indicated that you’re an eye-for-an-eye sort of man. So we’re having a hard time buying your sudden tough-guy routine.
And Sophia, we understand how the surrounding of your people by teams of snipers and other military types would get to you. But even if the White House hadn’t unscrambled your conversation with Agent Lee and found out you were bluffing about destroying the rest of Washington, do you really think the president would’ve just sat on his hands while you got away? Even before he turned into John Wayne last week, that would’ve been a hard sell.
While we’re on the subject of sudden changes of heart, Sophia, where did your nuts-to-diplomacy attitude come from? You spent 66 years in a prison camp trying to bargain your people’s freedom; a few more hours for a negotiated solution doesn’t seem too much to ask. Yes, yes, your home world is dying. But seriously — take a step back.
And don’t think we’ve forgotten about you, faceless helicopter pilot who blew up two of the aliens’ buses tonight. You were locked in on the middle bus in the convoy — the one carrying Sophia, as well as fellow cast regulars Michael and Leila — but did it somehow escape your notice that before you fired your second missile, the two remaining buses changed places? You couldn’t have taken a few seconds to recalibrate? Don’t get us wrong; we’re not sorry to see Isabel, Thomas’ whiny, would-be Lady Macbeth, go. But still.
In other “Event” news, Sean is in France. Sean, who a couple weeks ago was infected with the same I’m-a-badass-now bug that the president has caught (wait — is “The Event” really a zombie-virus kind of thing, like a really mild form of what got into people in “28 Days Later”? Nah.), has brought Vicky along for the ride because she has a contact who might know what Dempsey’s up to. Turns out the old man is seeking some ancient artifacts — like, super-ancient — that sound like they’re related to the aliens, and he’s so into them that he shoots the archeologist who looked at some cave painting before he did.
Fortunately, Dempsey is nicer to the other guy who leads him into the cave. Because otherwise Dempsey would be explaining the guardian-angel stuff to himself, and telling himself that he’s apparently the latest in a line of guardians on account of the triangle thing tattooed on his arm, and apparently he’s going to save us all?
So … that all happened. Tune in next week, when plot will presumably continue to drive character rather than the other way around.