“The Event” shares some structural DNA and an executive producer with “24,” and with the aliens taking the week off, this episode felt very much like a middle-of-the-season episode of the late FOX series, with conspiracies, DIY medicine and ineffective security all over the place.
The big revelation was that the vice president has been working with the mysterious, evil Hal Holbrook — OK, we’ll call him by his character name: Dempsey — and that he knew about and didn’t try to stop the attempted assassination-by-jetliner on President Martinez. His call to Dempsey shortly before the plane took off is what helps Martinez and Sterling connect the dots to him.
VP Jarvis is about to come clean for all his sins — he’s even told Martinez that he worked with “a very powerful man” — when, oh, some random blue van just drives into the perimeter around the veep’s doctor’s office, right where Jarvis is coming out. Boom goes the van, and Jarvis is in no condition to say the name “Dempsey.” (The full scene in all its implausible glory is below.)
That van, by the way, is the backup plan for hot killer Vicky, who wants out from under Dempsey’s thumb and hopes Jarvis can help her get there by not killing him a few minutes before. She’s now presumably on Dempsey’s hit list, along with Sean, Leila, Michael, the president and anyone else who will dare get in his way.
And all of you who called bull when Dempsey said he was putting some “herbal sweetener” in his coffee, you get a smiley face. Whatever the stuff in his dropper is, it can make him shape-shift for a second or two before reverting to his old self. We’re going to go ahead and make the leap to say his magic formula is somehow connected to Sophia and the other aliens.
So while Martinez and Sterling are left to puzzle out who the “very powerful man” is who was pulling Jarvis’ strings, Sean and Leila have to deal with him getting shot as they tried to escape Dempsey’s goons. (Plus one to director Jeffrey Reiner, by the way, for staging the scene in which their pursuer drops into the background, gathers himself and gives chase long enough to get a shot off at Sean.)
Leila shows herself to be just as resourceful as Sean in a tight situation, which is good, because the whiny, “Where are we going?” Leila of that initial scene would have gotten old quickly. She kidnaps a doctor outside a hospital, who then patches up Sean’s wound in an alley and is sent on his way. Having the doc just do his job under duress felt like a right note too — either he sort of bought into Leila’s story or he just wanted to get away, but the scene was tense enough with Sean’s health in the balance. It didn’t need Leila waving a gun around.
“The Event” was initially conceived without the sci-fi element; aside from Dempsey’s morphing, this episode felt very much like what that show would have been. We hope it’s just a coincidence that the picture got this much clearer with the aliens offstage for a week.
A couple other brief thoughts on “For the Good of Our Country”:
- Speaking of sci-fi elements: The episode’s biggest suspend-your-disbelief moment wasn’t the hit on Jarvis or Dempsey’s youth elixir but the notion that a one-time presidential candidate from one party would cross the aisle and be his rival party’s running mate. (And didja notice they never said which parties Jarvis and Martinez belong to? It was just “your party” and “his party.”)
- The subplot with Sean and Leila on the run has been reasonably fun to watch — we like both Jason Ritter and Sarah Roemer — but it still feels a little like they’re in a different show. We’re still hoping for more information as to why Sean is a target beyond his connection to Leila and Michael.
Did you like this alien-free episode? What do you think Dempsey really wants? Here’s the climactic scene:
Photo credit: NBC