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The Event recap: Characters Welcome

Episode 3 does little to flesh out Leila, Sean or the Inostranka prisoners at the heart of the central mythology

Posted on

Event Jason Ritter
Trae Patton/NBC

The Event

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season

I said a lot of things last week. I said that I enjoyed The Event. I said that the series was like a cliffhanger serial--a far-out pulp-fiction fantasy, doled out weekly in short chapters with “To Be Continued” endings. I said that it seemed to me that the show seemed to want to be that and only that, and therefore The Event should be enjoyed as such. I said that we should embrace the spirit of expert cliffhanger serial lover Jerry Blake, who wrote that being a fan of such stuff requires an embrace of “voluntary gullibility.” If you can’t roll with a cliffhanger serial’s ridiculous twists and confusing turns, if it all “sounds insane, implausible, and impossible,” writes Blake, “chances are you would be better off watching something else.”

That was last week. But this is this week. And this week, I did not enjoy The Event. It’s not that last night’s episode was any less insane, implausible and impossible than the previous two installments. Yet “Protect Them From The Truth”—the drama’s third episode—did seem uniquely engineered to put my cliffhanger serial blah blah blah to the test. We learned little-to-nothing new about the existing mysteries (I was especially bummed we didn’t get more info about the alleged alien nature of The Whatchamacallums), and we got little to nothing in the way of character development. In fact, the episode worked to stall progress in both areas, perhaps on purpose. The Event might have been trying to re-orient the audience to a more deliberate pace that a show like this probably needs if it wants to be around for the long run.

Nonetheless, there was an artlessness to this episode that bothered me, from Sean Walker’s miraculous liberation via Deus Ex Motor Home, to the squandered opportunity of personalize The Whatchamacallums via the William and Maya storyline, to all things Leila Buchanan. In general, the episode paid a price for lacking genuinely interesting characters that are enjoyable to spend time with even when they’re being put through the paces of bogus drama. I’m not giving up. I’ll be here next week. But this was not the episode I wanted, and not the episode The Event needed. Last week, the show lost over 2 million viewers from the pilot. If The Event wants to hold onto the audience it has, it’s going to have to try harder than it did last night. But anyhow, let’s recap…


Sound and fury, signifying… not much of anything.

Last week’s cliffhanger: Framed for the murder of Broken Arm Guy; arrested by FBI agents in Yuma, AZ, who didn’t buy his kooky yarn about an abducted girlfriend and airplane in the desert and deadly black helicopters.

This week’s resolution: Sean’s story picked up right where it left off, with his FBI captors backing up from the ersatz cop roadblock protecting the secret of Flight 514. Before the car could even complete its U-turn–CRASH!–a runaway RV rammed into them, instantly killing the FBI driver, the RV driver, and presumably the (fake?) highway patrolman tending the roadblock.

NEXT: Anyone notice that for three weeks straight, Sean has gotten all Bruce Willis in Die Hard? (Or something like that, anyway?)