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The Event recap: Signs of Life

As Sean hits the road with Agent Collier, we learn details about his past, but Sophia and Leila remain stuck in stifling captivity

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Event Matter Of Life
Adam Rose/NBC

The Event

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season

To be or not to be a fan of The Event? I thought I would know the answer to the question by now–but I don’t. Last week, I expressed my disappointment with this insanely implausible cliffhanger serial for being too insane and too implausible for my tastes, and did so with a degree of harshness that in retrospect might have been a smidge unfair. Yet despite my sarcastic articulation, I stand by my criticisms of the episode’s nutty plotting logic and my chief complaint about the series in general–that the show needs to do more to flesh out its characters and make them more interesting. Last night’s episode, “A Matter of Life and Death,” was commendable for cracking open some of its characters and giving us a small peek into their pasts and psyches via several flashbacks–Sean Walker’s hard, haunted upbringing, President Martinez’ Cuban roots, Sophia Maguire’s identification with refugee identity. I appreciated the effort. But my new struggle with The Event is that I wish it was about something more than just its action flick thrills and slick, shadowy look and nebulous mysteries. For example, it seems to me The Event could be using its Whatchamacallums as a metaphor for misunderstood, persecuted Otherness; maybe the vision for the show is to eventually tell stories exploring that theme, once it brings those so-called inhuman “extraterrestrials” out of their isoated Alaskan closet and into open contact with the rest of the world. (Maybe one day, Sophia can star in an “It gets better“-like youtube video.) In general, I want to see The Event get better in all phases of its creative life. “A Matter of Life and Death” showed signs of improvement, though I can’t say it wowed me. The villains aren’t compelling, Leila’s abduction plight bugs me, and Sophia’s storyline has barely inched forward since the final moment of the pilot. And where the hell is Hal Holbrook? After four episodes, I thought I’d be starting to really invest in The Event. It’s not happening–yet. But I’m willing to give it more time.


Last week’s cliffhanger: The pilot of Flight 514—also Leila’s father—was dead, murdered in the Arizona desert along with the other passengers by (presumably) Whatchamacallums in black helicopters… but in the final moments of the last episode, Michael and everyone else suddenly woke up.

This week’s developments: Turns out they were never completely dead–according to the doctors, “some process was still active in the body”–but regardless, Thomas restored them to biological functionality. They had amnesia–couldn’t remember anything about the flight or what happened to them in the desert–and Michael, sweating Leila’s fate, wouldn’t ‘fess up to Blake Sterling about what he knew about the conspiracy to kill the president. Then Michael and the 514ers began bleeding profusely out the nose and mouth, presumably another show of force and control by Thomas.

Character revelations? The episode hung a few details on Michael that may or may not be noteworthy. For example, during the Thanksgiving flashback, Michael’s (now dead) wife explained, apropos of nothing, that Michael, once flew international routes, then decided to fly domestic, and that led him to become a pilot for Avias Airlines. Are we to wonder why he made the switch in specialization? In the same flashback, Michael expressed reservations about Leila dating Sean due to the boy’s sketchy past, but ultimately offered his approval via a glass of very old Scotch. The camera doted on the label–Natape 1896. Significant?

Burning question: Could Michael be some long-lived Whatchamacallum, too?

NEXT: Anyone interested in starting a campaign for Sarah Roemer as the lead in a future remake of Halloween?