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The Event Retrospective

With the first half of the premiere season done its time to take a look back at The Event and decide whether or not it stacks up. We all know that NBC was taking a run at making the new Lost, but the biggest surprise was how closely they mirrored ABC’s hit. While The Event is no Lost, it is a enjoyable show that seems both conflicted and confused. We will break down the show in a couple of categories.

 

Characters: Like Lost, The Event has an ensemble cast ranging from a MIT graduate looking for his girlfriend to the president of the United States.

Sean Walker: The main character of the show, which follows his quest to find his girlfriend that ensnares him in a government conspiracy spanning multiple decades and possibly other worlds.

Leila Buchanan: Sean’s girlfriend who upon being rescued sets herself and Sean on a new mission to find her sister.

Michael Buchanan: Leila’s father, a pilot who discovered the aliens and is being used by the faction of non-terrestrials that are plotting for unknown reasons.

Simon Lee: The CIA operative we see the most and one of the “aliens” living in disguise.

Sophia Maguire: Leader of the non-terrestrials (at least when they originally crashed), a prisoner for 62 years and now freed.

Thomas: Son of Sophia and unseen father, in Sophia’s absence became the unofficial leader of the visitors. He differs with his mother on how to interact with humans and could possibly prove himself to be the antagonist.

President Elias Martinez: Current president whose new status makes him privy to the existence of the non-terrestrials. He worked hard to set them free, but circumstances have caused a flip-flop.

Blake Sterling: National Intelligence director working beneath President Martinez, does not share Martinez’s trust in Sophia and her people but has shown himself to be loyal.

Vicky Roberts: Agent of Dempsey’s that kidnapped Leila and used her as bate to draw out Sean. Has a daughter that she turns on her employer to protect.

James Dempsey: The man behind the curtain, he seems to be pulling the strings behind the conspiracy and has the ability (or problem) of reverting back to a younger version of himself, leads us to believe that he is really one of the aliens.

 

Plot: The first episode begins with a high jacked plane on a collision course with President Martinez compound in an assassination attempt. Before the plane could hit its target a wormhole opened up in the sky and swallowed the plane, sending it three thousand miles away to the Nevada desert. It seems like the “non-terrestrials” (as they are constantly referred to) are among us and have technology far greater than humanity. They appear human in appearance and the only real difference being that they do not appear to age. The show states that they do age but at a much slower pace than the rest of humanity. From there the plot can be split into three distinct threads.

 

Number 1: Leila and her sister are abducted, their mother killed, and their father forced to be the pilot flying the plane in the assassination attempt. Sean learned about the kidnappings and sets out to find her. Along the way he is chased by a mercenary group led by Vicky. Most of the first season focuses on his search and he eventually does find her. However, they are both fugitives and are forced to go on the run in order to find Leila’s sister. We are shown the little girl being held in a hospital where she and a number of other girls are being experimented on. The other girls show signs of rapid aging causing horrible disfigurement. The two eventually find the hospital but the children has been moved. Dempsey is the man paying the mercenaries and funding the research for unknown aims.

 

Number 2: Sophia and her people were held in an Alaskan prison for 62 years. Eventually Simon, the leader on the outside, arranged for Sophia to be released. Thomas wants to take the leadership role away from Sophia, who he thinks is too weak on the humans who held their people captive for decades. Thomas had a plan to take control, including the murder of his mother, but it ultimately failed because he is, as Sophia says, “too weak to make tough decisions”. They have great wealth because Thomas has been at the front of most technological advances since they arrived, including the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Program. Simon is their man on the inside but he more aligns himself with Sophia’s philosophy than to Thomas’. They do not seem to have any connection to Dempsey, or at least none that has been shown as of yet.

 

Number 3: President Martinez is caught in a tricky balancing act dealing with Sophia and her people. Blake and Simon are the ones following his lead and have the president’s trust. Simon for his part seems like the most conflicted character caught between his desire to help humanity, and his allegiance to his people. When the plane that was used in his assassination attempt is found three thousand miles away and with all the passengers seemingly dead the president was forced to hold the prisoners in Alaska. It was quite a shock then when all the passenger started to wake up, including the pilot, Michael Buchanan. Not only that but his own Vice President was double crossing him, working with Dempsey to keep the non-terrestrials a secret. Martinez wants the answer as to why they are here but finds a dead-end at every turn.

 

Episodes: Most episodes follow the traditional Lost formula with a character centric episode having flashbacks and the main story advancing around them. The biggest problem is that the flashbacks are used to either show information we already have, or we just don’t need. There isn’t an incredibly deep and interconnected backstory and seeing how Sean met Leila doesn’t add anything or make their bond stronger. Like Lost however, the best flashbacks are when they focus on an individual character on a micro level showing what made them who they are and in doing so endear them to the audience. Of all the characters in the show the only two I find myself really caring about are Simon and Blake. The two best episodes of the shows run so far are Loyalty and For the Good of Our Country, which focuses on Simon and Blake respectively. The show needs to be more focused and develop the characters. We watched serialized shows for the story yes, but if we don’t care about the characters thrown into the events then it is all for nothing. Most episodes are adequate and have enough to keep your interest, but we need more like the two mentioned above.

The Event has a lot of potential and while the first half has been a bit rocky it is worth it to catch up and await the next half, which comes back in February. Give it a chance and it might become something to remember.           

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