The Event s1 ep 22

Sean’s got a busy few hours ahead of him saving humanity, but first he has to check in with Leila, who lapses into unconsciousness. At least, I think she does; you’ll appreciate it’s hard to tell. That having been done, he’s back with Vicky and the gang trying to shut down the American-centric virus release. With the food and money virus-spreading operations dealt with, it’s just Sophia at the airport to go. It turns out that Sean – let’s not forget, a software engineer – is pretty handy in a gunfight, and seems to be a skilled negotiator as well, as we find out when he corners Sophia with the remaining lung-bomb. In fairness, perhaps it’s just skills he’s picked up watching TV – I like to think that if the situation arose I could be all, “cover me” and “copy that”. Sophia surrenders, although somewhat defiantly. Killing everyone was an act of mercy, apparently. Well perhaps, Sofes, although not how I would regard it.

Meantime in Washington President Martinez snatches power back from Jarvis, but while he’s doing so there’s a series of earth tremors all over the world. The aliens are coming! (Those who aren’t already here, obv.) There’s a bit more blathering about how they were here first, and then – just in the nick of time, you might think – we get to find out what The Event actually is, apart from an underperforming sci-fi drama limping towards cancellation. “It’s a rebirth”, explains Simon. “The next step for our people. We’ll change. Evolve into something else. Something greater. But your people won’t survive it.” Rather then clarify what he means, though, he directs Sean towards the ancient scrolls.

Finale. Sean reluctantly gives Vicky a hug then – can I say again, inexplicably – leaves her to go and touch Leila through the plastic of her isolation tent. Oh, but he’s knocked her up. He’s going to be the daddy of a quarter-alien baby! Lovely. And the aliens arrive: or, at least, their planet does. Now I’m no astronomer, but I have a vague feeling that there’s something about gravity which makes having a planet hang in the sky a bad thing all round. Not for FAOTUS, though, who breathes “Home!” when she sees it, confirming her membership of Team Alien.

And we’re (probably) done. I say probably, because there seems to be an outside chance that The Event might be revived on another broadcaster, although that seems to me like the tough-talking that execs do when their show gets cancelled. I’d be surprised, but who knows?

Overall, The Event was kind of not bad; I quite enjoyed it, and watching it rarely felt like a duty. The Washington scenes worked almost embarrassingly better than the out-in-the-field scenes, to the point where it looked as if the writers recognised this by pulling Leila out of active duty and replacing her with someone more kickass. I’d never seen Jason Ritter before (although I’m presently loving him in early Parenthood, of which more soon) but felt that he was a little miscast here, although he did his best. Can I settle for “better than FlashForward” as an epitaph?

The Event s1 ep 21

I don’t know about you, but I always thought that the end of the world would be more… suspenseful? Anyway, Sophia ignores her conscience for long enough to lay out her plans for lung-based infection of the world; weirdly, it’s mostly based around the western and eastern coasts of the US, with an airport thrown in to ensure that the rest of the world catches a cold as well. We also get a clear hint that there has all along – as I speculated way back when – been a reason for the constant references to “our people”: the aliens were here first. Presumably this will be kind-of explained next week, and the creepy old-faced children will be forgotten.

In other developments: I’ve mentioned the 24 influence before, and it turns out that The Event has also borrowed the world’s best doctors from it. Like Ethan in the final season of 24, and like Jack Bauer in every season ever, President Martinez isn’t going to let a little thing like a near-fatality keep him bedridden for more than an hour or two; there’s a world to save. Why he couldn’t just tell people what to do from his ward isn’t really gone into. The Sean/Vicky axis meets the Zeljko/Mole axis, and they team up to go and have adventures; unfortunately, this means that Sean meets Leila again, and it’s pretty clear he prefers her insipid charms to what Vicky has to offer. And the portal’s open. (If portals “open”. Whatever it is they do.)

Next week – billions of aliens vs Sean and his MacBook Air in the last ever episode.

The Event s1 ep 20

With only two episodes to go after this one, is it fair to point out that the storylines involving those creepy old-faced children, whatever-it-was people were injecting themselves with to keep themselves young, and the “sentinels”, seem to have died a death along with Dempsey? Perhaps there’ll be a guard of honour of old-faced children welcoming the aliens in the finale. Sophia needs to find out just how powerful her Spanish flu WMD is because apparently radiation levels on her home planet “have become catastrophic. People are dying.” No they aren’t; not on your home planet anyway, Sofes, although in order to engineer mass genocide she needs to find out just how quickly her flu virus would spread. To the shopping mall! I’ve just been reading a very good biography of Chris Morris, and it occurred to me that the lung-bomb Alex puts together this week is exactly the sort of concept he would approve of. Lung-bombs. Lovely. The lung-bomb is attached to the ventilation shaft of the mall and, of course, has a handy red LED clock on it, so we can see exactly how close it is to exploding. Will Sean and Vicky disarm it in time?

As ever, it’s just that little bit more exciting back in Washington, with some pacy editing giving some zing to the race to save the President. Jarvis is getting insufferably bossy little lectures from Sophia, while Zeljko and Simon have joined up to try and smuggle the antidote into hospital, enlisting Mrs President, who might or might not be an alien. Fortunately for whoever’s writing the last two episodes Sophia’s got a plan, um, C? (memo to self – check how many plans this is), and fortunately for us the writers have finally found a use for Leila. I can’t help but think there’s a flaw in the logic of infecting half-alien Leila with a virus that the aliens have, hitherto, been immune to, but what do I know? I’m no Dr Lu.

The Event s1 ep 19

24 would have done this so much better. So, so much better. Zeljko discovers that the President was poisoned with something they’re calling a bio-catalyst, so trots off to confront acting POTUS Jarvis, who’s declared a truce with Brer Alien. Jarvis sacks him. No word on Zeljko’s plan B. Sean and Vicky’s world tour continues with a flight from Moscow back to the US on a plane containing two WMDs, in the spongy shape of the lungs of the dude exhumed a couple of weeks ago. They find the lung courier, then they don’t, then a military plane appears, then goes away, then they find the real courier, then she gets away, then they catch up… etc. More importantly Sean seems, understandably, to be forgetting all about half-alien comatose fiancee Leila, as Vicky fires some smouldering looks at him. (Incidentally, due to the vagaries of UK scheduling Jason Ritter has just turned up in Parenthood, as the young teacher who’s presumably going to tap Sarah before long. Off topic I know, but Parenthood is quite something, isn’t it? Anyway, back to The Event.)  The end of the world – and the end of The Event – are approaching, you crazy kids. Just make out already. And in Wistalien Lane, Sophia’s turning into a crazed dictator, leading to all of the characters we actually know about turning against her, and old mole Simon getting something to do apart from be captured. Three to go.

The Event s1 ep 18

Really not much of an episode, this one. As ever the Washington parts are better: Jarvis follows through on Sophia’s plan, and poisons the presidential coffee. President Not-Obama takes a couple of sips and falls over, later lapsing into a coma. Leila, of course, has already been in one for seventeen episodes, but managed to rouse herself last week to phone Sean and warn him about the impending alien-pocalypse; Luis (new redshirted alien) wants to hand her over to Sophia but gets killed by Michael.

Sean, meantime, has been promoted back to the first half of the episode, and finds out that there’s something bad going on in Murmansk. Five minutes later – having lost none of his power of instantaneous travel – he’s there; it’s something to do with a mummified soldier, lungs, and Spanish flu, although I’m pretty sure Spanish flu wouldn’t be as fast-acting as is suggested here. Perhaps it’s mutated while it’s been frozen, or something. And back in Washington Zeljko suspects Jarvis but doesn’t yet have enough proof to stop him invoking the 25th Amendment; it’s President Jarvis! Who, at least, isn’t married to an alien. Possibly. The Event is presently doing little more than keeping going.

The Event s1 ep 17

After the last, rather good, episode this was a bit of a dip in class again. Sophia’s pressing on with her final solution, and to clear the way a little intends to kill President Not-Obama. As he probably constitutes something of a dove when it comes to Sophia’s “people” it isn’t immediately clear why this would assist her, until she points a bit of extraterrestrial cleavage at the Vice-President, whereupon he agrees to kill his boss, take over, then live in harmony with Brer Alien; or, in other words, become a dupe. Meantime it looks as if the President has done even more for diversity than he knows: his wife tearfully confesses that her big secret is… her parents came from the Dominican Republic and not Cuba, then makes “Actually, I’m TOTALLY AN ALIEN!” faces at the camera while getting hugged by POTUS. Which I think would make her FAOTUS.

Once again Sean is noticeably relegated to B-plot status, this week rescuing Vicky. Last week Dempsey ordered his henchman to kill her; this, of course, means that she is being killed in the slowest and least reliable way possible. We’re back with the sharks and the fricking laser beams. “Why didn’t you just shoot her?” Dempsey doesn’t say to his thug. Then, though, Dempsey explains that he’s part of a race of sentinels (I know, WTF?) dedicated to protecting the planet from the alien threat, designates Sean as his heir, and kills himself, unless that stuff he was shooting up with earlier in the season can bring him back to life. And poor old Leila’s being kept hidden away in Wistalien Lane. Not as annoying as FlashForward became, but nothing great.

The Event s1 ep 16

Well, now. Who would have thought it? This verged on the good. Significantly, more or less the whole episode went the 24-lite route we’ve been advocating for some time; also significantly, Sean (played by nominal star-of-the-show Jason Ritter) didn’t appear at all until the second half. So we’re back in Washington D.C., with Simon having been un-moled, although frustratingly it turns out that there’s yet another mole in the White House: those of us who, ages ago, backed FLOTUS as being clearly not of this earth are about to collect on our ante-post bets, although of course the show might be feinting. Anyway, to flush out mole #2 President NotObama proposes a covert nationwide DNA grab which inevitably has a civil liberties angle.

Simon, meantime, has driven to the gated alien estate we saw a couple of weeks ago, although given the show’s lack of interest in dramatic consistency this doesn’t tell us whether it’s ten minutes out of the capital or next to the Mexican border. Sophia’s there working hard on another historical allusion: her aliens need room to live (Lebensraum?) so she’s proposing a “permanent solution” (final solution?) which totally involves killing like a few billion people. I can’t imagine the special effects budget will stretch to that. Even Sean’s got the 24 bug, though; he’s interrogating some French dude in a torture scene which is so reminiscent of the Bauer technique that there may be legal issues. But let’s be fair; I enjoyed this.

The Event s1 ep 15

This episode was directed by Steven Spielberg’s long-time cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, for some reason; lots of vaguely disconcerting close-ups. Anyway, we’re back with the Alien National Convention, and The Event’s burning desire to be 24; in fairness these parts of the show have generally worked much better than the rest. There’s a siege going on, and the President gives Sophia a 10 minute deadline to surrender – after which I half-expected to see 24’s beeping clock – following which he’s going to level the place. The delay, he advises Zeljko, isn’t for “humanitarian reasons”. Well, it wouldn’t be, would it? Fortunately for the aliens Sophia’s got a stunt up her sleeve: “You have no idea what we’re capable of”, she replies. It’s hard to escape the suspicion that the writers haven’t either.

This all plays out improbably but well enough, which is fortunate; elsewhere we’ve got Dempsey blathering on about ancient French amphoras, and Sean on the run again, even if Vicky, his new travelling companion, is significantly more interesting than Leila, now reduced to hanging out with the aliens and occasional exposition duties. I think she was on the bus which didn’t get blown up, but whether she’s alive or dead it’s hard to imagine her acting style changing. In whatever time this show has left to it, the showrunners might be well advised to stick with the 24-lite.

The Event s1 ep 14

It feels like half a lifetime ago that I mentioned in the passing that the aliens were a pretty Caucasian bunch. Well, now we’ve had our first black visitor from outer space: an African-American-Alien, if you will, and we know he’s on Team Thomas because he shoots a blameless human just as they’re picking up a message from the cosmos in their observatory. Home planet’s been back in touch; something about a supernova, gamma rays, and imminent extinction, so now everyone’s coming to Earth.

Sean’s back in the car again, now driving Vicky around. They’re trying to get to the Vice-President to find out about Dempsey in a sequence which wants to be 24 so much it’s actually kind of sweet: there’s the cover story to get themselves into a hotel where the VP’s appearing at a fundraiser, the fake documentation, the false-fingerprint dealie to get them through security, the bit where a gun gets pointed at the VP while Jack – sorry, Sean – shouts “Who are you working for? I REPEAT: WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?” or whatever. All that to discover that Dempsey has gone to France. And Thomas has organised the first annual alien social event, a convention-cum-mixer, where they can discuss important alien-pertaining issues (imminent death of home planet), meet like-minded aliens, and talk about the future of their “people”. But they’re surrounded by humans with guns. Probably just as well that they’ve already shown that they have the power to do really powerful things, then, otherwise they’d all be back in Guantalien Bay instanter, and this show which I’m now really only watching out of stubbornness would be at an end.

BTW, does anyone remember how this show used to be crammed with flashbacks?

The Event s1 ep 13

So it turns out that Thomas the Bad Alien hasn’t just been plotting the overthrow of humanity, or whatever it is – The Event being one of those dramas where no-one actually says what’s going to happen, just that it’s bad and that it’ll get explained later on – he’s also been investing in real estate. There’s a housing development for alien use, and a fleet of SUVs for doing the shopping. Rather like the huge metallic disc in the desert, nobody seems to have noticed, but presumably it won’t do house prices any good. Oh, and he also caused the Chernobyl disaster. Sean can’t drive about with his half-alien fiancee any more, because she’s off hanging out with other aliens, so he needs to find something else to do, and he captures Vicky, a character I’m not ashamed to say I’d forgotten about. President Not-Obama is getting unconvincingly tough, and threatening to kill Sophia. And there’s yet another new character, called Hansen. Although at first I thought he was being called “Handsome” by everyone, which I interpreted as ironic humour in view of the fact that he has a colossal collection of facial deformities. Every cloud, though; he’s able to conceal things in the folds and holes in his skin, and one productive rummage yields some sort of small transmitter/receiver. Presumably there are snacks in there as well. American ratings are now in freefall, and those who have left can’t really be blamed.