I'm close to giving up on The Event (having already decided to switch to UK-paced reviews so close to the mid-season hiatus), but something keeps me watching. Maybe it's the uncertainty with the aliens, regarding their long-term plans, motivations and back-story. With the exception of Thomas (Clifton Collins Jr) they seem like reasonable people who don't mean us any outright harm, and Thomas was only taking desperate measures to secure the release of his mother Sophia (Laura Innes) and maintain the secrecy of his people. In many ways, it's the humans who are the real villains: President Martinez (Blair Underwood) represents a country that detained aliens for no apparent reason, other than they fact they're aliens; while Dempsey (Hal Holbrook) is using alien DNA to experiment on human children he kidnaps, in the hope of reversing the ageing process. Or so it seems.
I liked the suggestion that Sophia's been locked away for so long that she's lost touch with what the majority of her kind want. She seems oddly determined to get her people home, despite the fact it sounds like their planet is a hellhole compared to Earth. This appears to be because she believed their presence will cause lasting damage to humanity. I assume she means human-lien offspring are not a good idea, as hybrids don't survive long? If so, are there really so many aliens that them having short-lived progeny would affect the world's population to any noticeable extent? Then again, these aliens appear to live a very long time (perhaps hundreds, maybe thousands of years), so she may be thinking a few millennia ahead.
On the downside, everything involving Leila and Sean is becoming almost unwatchable. Sean's one-man battle to find his fiancé worked quite well in the early episode, but now he's been joined by his rescued fiancé and both their attention is focused on her sister, it's losing something for me. Maybe it's because the search is so one-sided, as you can't flip to see things from Samantha's perspective, because the actress isn't old enough to do anything but look like a victim. Maybe it's because Roemer's limited acting skill is becoming clearer, or that Ritter's charisma's burnt its fuse. If they were stronger characters, it might not be so bad, but it's difficult to really care about them and their search.
- The show has been compared to 24 (minus the real time format, but with aliens as villains) and that feels increasingly apt. The fact Necar Zadegan is fresh from appearing in 24's final season as Dalia Hassan certainly gave this episode more of a 24 vibe than usual, too.
- During the opening seminar, with Sophia addressing a huge room full of "sleepers", did anyone else think of Roald Dahl's The Witches? I was half-expecting Sophia to ask everyone to "rrrremove zer vigs!"
- I think the theory that Sophia's people are from the future is well and truly kaput now. They talk about their planet in terms that aren't loose enough to mean a future Earth. But if they're true aliens, why do they resemble humans so much, including having different ethnic looks? Just something you'll have to suspend your disbelief about?
WRITERS: Dan Dworkin & Jay Beattie
DIRECTOR: Michelle MacLaren
TRANSMISSION: 10 December 2010, Channel 4/HD, 9PM