The Event – Face Off

Another frustrating episode of The Event.  It’s not a bad show, it’s just disappointing.  Every episode is full of potential, but somehow the wheels come off and we’re left, on the ground, knees grazed, soaked with tears.

The visitors/aliens/things are still holed-up on a church, after last week’s clatteringly predictable finale.  SWAT teams have arrived and have surrounded Sophia, Thomas, Leila, Leila’s dad, and 200-odd extras.  They have no option but to surrender.  Well, they don’t have a lot of other options besides surrendering.  Martinez has had enough.  Tired of being misled, he’s getting down to brass tacks.  Surrender or die, he’s ready to tell the aliens.  Or surrender, or get smacked about the face with the ass-end of a rifle.  There’s never a mention of SWAT using gas, flashbangs, anything like that.  So it’s gun or be gunned.  And Thomas has hidden arms in the church, so it’s all ready to pop off, like July 4th in Bed-Stuy.  I’m white and Scottish by the way, I only know that from Wu-Tang songs.

Sean The Hacker and Vicky The Assassin are on the run in DC.  Chased by the Secret Service after threatening the Vice-Pres, Sean finds a handy van with the keys in the ignition, drives off, stops to pick Vicky up, and they flee the bumbling agents.  Is this what hackers are really like?  If so, they’re underused, in their mum’s basement, in front of a monitor all day.  Sean beat up a 6’4” slab of muscle two weeks ago.  Last week he pistol-whipped two people, cloned their fingerprints, and threatened to shoot the Vice-President with a plastic gun.  This is a hackers life, don’t be fooled.

Sean and Vicky go to France, on the trail of Dempsey.  Dempsey is the old fella who made some bizarre comment about Sean and fate a few weeks ago.  You know, the old guy from Into the Wild.  You know the one – he’s old.  Incidentally, they make their way to France on a private jet.  This is explained away by Vicky saying she had to cash in some favours, or something similar.

When going to France was first mentioned, I made a hilarious comment, “France?  What, are they going to CGI it in?”.  Once we had all stopped laughing, I realised I wasn’t far from the truth.  Sean and Vicky are in car, with footage of the countryside playing around them, like you used to see in silent films.  At least, that’s how it looked to me.  It was also hideously over-lit.  To the crew of The Event, France is on a huge mountain, which puts it thousands of miles closer to the sun than America.  It looked bizarre, like the appearance of Gandalf the White in Lord of The Rings.  It was so overly bright and magical-looking that I briefly wondered whether or not it was a dream sequence.

They arrive at the house/cave of a friend of Vicky’s, who calls her Sally.  He’s soon revealed as a French stereotype, pouring wine for everyone and speaking in a ridiculously thick accent.  He reveals that Vicky is a former CIA agent, and was scapegoated out of the role.  So now she’s what, a noble assassin?  Like Ghost Dog?  He also says that Vicky is helping Sean because she wants to, not because he’s blackmailing her.  Which builds on other moments when Vicky was looking at Sean in a particularly horny fashion.  Where could this end up?  Perhaps either:

  1. Sean struggles to choose between Leila and Vicky.   Two very attractive women fighting for his affections?  Ah, the life of a hacker.
  2. Sean understandably rejects Vicky.  She goes crazy and tries to kill Leila.

2 would be good, but is unlikely.  1 would be ridiculous.  Considering the lengths Sean has gone to for Leila, for him to have anymore than a drunken fumble with the woman who kidnapped her would be preposterous.  But I’m not putting it past The Event writers to do it.  And perhaps this suggests that Leila will be leaving Earth.

We see Dempsey in France.  At least his France is much darker.  He turns up at the site of an archaeological dig  that he funded.  He meets the site manager, who shows him recently unearthed artifacts, and mentions a buried chamber, which gets Dempsey all kinds of excited.  He then turns all kinds of irate though, when the man says that he entered the chamber, despite Dempsey’s instructions not to.  Dempsey shoots him to death.  Boom, another victim.  He doesn’t even ask if anyone else had been in the chamber.  Are we to presume this was a one man operation?

Dempsey heads into the chamber to see for himself.  He’s with another man, who I’m assuming drove him here.  He finds a wall painting.  It’s of a figure which, to me, looks huge and not human, (“The Iron Giant” being my first comment).  But they’re concerned instead with what is painted behind it – hundreds of much smaller, faceless figures.  Dempsey talks of guardian angels, of their mythical and metaphorical status, then says that sometimes they can be quite literal.  Really?  The giant robot thingy has triangles on its arms.  Dempsey has these also.

Back Stateside, things are serious.  Sophia and Thomas realise that the only way to escape arrest and another 66 years in prison is to be teleported out.  The teleport that was used to transfer the plane in episode one could be used to save them all, if only there’s enough uranium to power it.  There isn’t.  But there’s enough to send a message to that dang President over there in his fancy pale palace.  The White House starts to shake.  Sterling and Martinez are scared.  The Washington Monument collapses.  People are like “My gawd, the Washington Monument collapsed”.

This attack is enough for Martinez to call the siege off and allow the aliens to leave.  He doesn’t know (yet, #spoilers) that this was really a bluff, that the aliens don’t yet have the power to attack like this again.

Sophia calls the Pres, trying vainly to do her best Dr Evil impression.  Martinez agrees to send some buses to get her people out.  In the meantime, White House staffers get to work on decrypting calls from Sophia’s phone.  Three buses arrive.  No one makes any attempt to detain the buses while these very important phone calls are being investigated.  Sophia gets on Bus 1, Thomas and wench on Bus 2, and Michael and some redshirts get on the Death Bus.  They depart, and on route to wherever the hell they’re going, Sophia’s call is decrypted.  Martinez realises that the aliens don’t have the power for another attack.  He, as this episode tries to so overtly tell us, has had enough.  He sics an Apache helicopter on the buses.  Boom, the Death Bus bursts into flames.  Thomas gets a call from Johnny Teleport.  He now has the power to transport a bus, but only one.  Thomas knows that Sophia is a better leader than he, and a leader is what his people need now (giving that their planet is on the verge of extinction.  I guess I didn’t explain that.  Moving on…).  He makes the ultimate sacrifice, and his bus gets rocketed to bits, while Sophia’s portals away.  This scene was played well, thought tainted by the awful acting by one of the bus drivers.  As the first bus explodes, Sophia’s overtakes.  She stares, stunned, at the fireball opposite.  But the driver isn’t phased in the slightest, and drives on as if that’s something he sees daily.  Maybe he does, maybe he’s a real-life bus driver in Iraq or Springburn.

I had another problem with this scene.  The first bus gets blown up and there’s a minute or two wait as the pilot needs the go-ahead from Martinez to shoot Sophia’s bus.  If you’re on the bus, next in line for fiery death, wouldn’t you get off?  As we’ve learned from GTA, or launching missiles in Call of Duty, it’s much harder to hit lots of small targets than one big one.  The trick in COD games is to hit the jeep full of soldiers as it arrives, don’t wait for them to get out.  Yet the passengers all sit docile, as the bus patiently idles towards doom.

The dialogue clanked more here than normal too.  Laura Innes had to utter some horrid line similar to “Okay Michael, we will proceed on this bus, report back if anything dangerous happens”.  She may as well just narrate the show at times.

Despite my criticisms, this wasn’t that bad an episode.  At least we’re moving forward.  I struggle to believe that Thomas is dead, but if he is, good on the writers for having the balls to kill off a major player.  Any scene with Dempsey is a plus point, as the mystery surrounding him makes him by far the most interesting character on the show.  We’re also getting something resembling a character arc for Martinez too, although its executed in a heavy-handed way.  He started out pure, a man concerned with truth and transparency, a non-violent man.  Now he’s angry and vicious.  We don’t need multiple close-ups of him telling us, again and again, that he’s had enough of Sophia’s lies and Thomas and all these damn aliens.  There is a decided lack of subtlety there.

Sean’s change is slightly more gradual.  Deliberately written or not, every episode now he has to stretch the boundaries of what he considers morally right, in order to get what he wants.


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