Wednesday, 10 November 2010

'THE EVENT' 1.7 - "I Know Who You Are"

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

This week's flashbacks were better enmeshed in the story and had thematic resonance to the present-day, so in that sense The Event came closer to echoing Lost than ever before. But let's not get carried away here; "I Know Who You Are" was just okay for a disposable sci-fi caper, told in the manner of a perfunctory hour of 24. It's therefore a pity Sean (Jason Ritter) is no Kiefer Sutherland, because what The Event lacks is an actor with muscle who can shoulder the ridiculousness of this show, allowing the audience to latch onto them when all else fails. Ritter's been fine as the resourceful everyman type, but his character's beginning to bore me ever since he rescued his fiancé.

Sean and Leila (Sarah Roemer) learned of the involvement of aliens this week -- or, more accurately, Extra-Terrestrial Biological Entities. EBE's -- is that what we're meant to call them now? From there, Sean and Leila agreed to accompany conspiracy "nut" Madeline (Paula Malcomson) to see her code-breaking friend, who can decrypt a list of female names and numbers that Leila's father wrote down in a journal. Credit to the writers for lifting the curtain on this subplot finally, as it became clear the man behind chasing Sean, who also had Leila's sister kidnapped and organized the kamikaze attack on the President's retreat, is an ageing man called Dempsey (Hal Holbrook). He's someone who appears to be dying and, once we learn that the list of female names belong to kidnapped little girls with wrinkled faces (in a freaky final shot), it seems obvious his plan is to use alien DNA to prolong his lifespan. It's suddenly become very X Files, no?

However, the episode was mainly focused on Blake Sterling (Zeljko Ivanek), whose character/career was fleshed out via a 14-year-old flashback to the time his beautiful wife was exposed as a Russian spy by his belligerent father. In having his trust compromised to heartlessly, this led to Blake becoming a very insular, suspicious man, and his past echoed a current situation with word of a "mole" in his team. The prime suspect is the convalescing Agent Lee (Ian Anthony Dale), but fortunately Lee's fellow aliens (sorry, EBE's) are able to frame the innocent agent who pointed the finger at Lee to begin with, which satisfied Blake and has thus maintained Lee's cover at the CIA.

We also learned that Sophia (Laure Innes) is the mother of Thomas (Clifton Collins Jr), and that Thomas's 60-year-plan has been to develop mankind's technology so it can reach a level advantageous to people getting home. Thomas has had success developing wormholes, but so far they can only teleport large objects a few thousand miles, and to extend its range for a trip home they'll need to find nuclear components.

This leaves me reiterating this question: why don't the aliensEBE's come clean about their desire to get home, and strike a deal with the President to let that happen? Help us get home and we'll return the favour by giving you improved technology? I also don't understand why the EBE's were detained for decades, with no positive outcome. Were they interrogated? Wouldn't you question aliens about a thousand different things, if you had so many under lock and key? As far as I can tell, locking up Sophia and her compatriots only succeeded in angering the escapees so much they've spent 60 years trying to get the others released, at whatever cost. And that's understandable, no? The more I think about it, the more I'm siding with the EBE's.

Overall, I think it's becoming clear that The Event's beginning to drift into FlashForward-level quality, but is being kept afloat because it's doing a reasonable job unspooling its mystery. Then again, I'm not sure if there even is a "mystery" (beyond the ominous series title - which hasn't been referred to in ages), as large swathes of the show doesn't feel that mysterious to me. I have questions and want clarifications on many things, sure, but a good mystery is told in a manner than demonstrates that it's worth the viewer's time. So far, The Event is already ignored some plot-holes (like how Sean ever got onto a passenger plane with a gun in the pilot), and it feels like the writers are half-improvising the majority of events.

Like FlashForward, The Event's starting to rely on erratic action sequences and bizarre cliffhangers to hold your attention -- and that works, to a point, but after awhile you start craving a tangible sign The Event has real ambition and, more importantly, the talent to see it through. It would also be nice to have characters who, alone, are worth tuning in to watch every week. The annoying thing is how The Event has some high-quality actors at its disposal -- like Emmy winner Ivanek -- but even in a more character-focused episode like "I Know Who You Are" the material wasn't strong enough to truly stretch him.

What did you think? Are you close to ditching The Event? Is it brainless fun, best enjoyed in the moment? Or do you think it's showing signs of improvement most weeks?

  • If you enter a room full of little girls playing with dolls, and they don't turn around to acknowledge you entering the room, expect bad things when they do show their faces. It's one of life's little rules.
  • Does Thomas have an Oedipus complex? I get a weird vibe between him and Sophia. Just me?
  • Is Laura Innes a cutprice Julianne Moore?
WRITERS: Evan Katz & Lisa Zwerling
DIRECTOR: Milan Cheylov
TRANSMISSION: 8 November 2010, NBC, 9/8c