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The Event Gets Weirder In Its Second and Third Episodes

By Edited Jul 6, 2015 0 0

What is The Event to which the title of the twisty NBC drama refers? I'm still not quite sure. It could be the disappearance of an airplane containing hundreds of people, which we saw at the end of the first episode. It could refer to the plane crash in the 1940s in which a plane loaded with humanoids with lengthy life spans crashed in Alaska, as seen in flashbacks in the second episode. It could be something else entirely, having nothing to do with airplanes. One thing is clear; there may be only one Event, but many noteworthy events are involved.

While the first episode puts a fair amount of focus upon Michael Buchanan (Scott Patterson), he doesn't have much to do with the next couple of episodes. We do catch a glimpse of what happens just before he is coerced into flying the fateful plane, and when he and Sean meet up after the bumpy landing, he gives him some words of warning. For the most part, though, Michael isn't very involved anymore, at least in the second and third episodes.

The plane crash is a pretty significant part of the second episode, To Keep Us Safe. Of course, I was reminded of LOST as I watched the scenes of these people exiting the plane and moving away from it as the wreckage threatened to explode. Unlike Jack Shephard and company, these people have landed in the desert, so it's not exactly a hospitable climate, but at least it's somewhere within a hundred miles of civilization. I can't help thinking that Frank J. Lapidus probably would have put the plane down a little more smoothly - but I guess Michael at least did a better job of it than Seth Norris...

Perhaps the most interesting scene in the second episodes involves two undercover aliens discussing their rescue of these people. Blinking them into the desert assured that they would not crash into a heavily populated area, possibly killing hundreds, including President Martinez (Blair Underwood) and his family. From this little bit of dialogue, we get the sense that some in this group of escaped aliens are benevolent, while others may have shiftier motives.

Who do we trust, the humans or the visitors? Can we all work together as the president suggests? This element of the show reminds me a lot of ABC's V, except in this case, we definitely get the sense that the majority of the aliens mean humanity no harm. Of course, this could be misdirection. V is pretty heavy-handed, letting us know in no uncertain terms that most of the Visitors are not nearly as benign as they seem. Could it be that these people who seem like such innocent victims are actually gearing up for worldwide destruction? This is definitely a possibility. However, for now, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt.

So far, my favorite character is probably the President, who carries himself with great dignity and seems very willing to take diplomatic steps. He seems to be saddled with a rather unfortunate staff, however. Particularly unpleasant is Zeljko Ivanek's Blake Sterling, a creepy member of the administration who always looks as though he's up to something. Every time he's on screen, I get a little shiver of dread.

The most relatable character is Sean, whose actions are mostly motivated by love for the girlfriend to whom he was about to propose. We see more of their vacation, including scenes with the very strange couple they meet. I'm not sure what to make of Greg, the hippie-ish surfer who so warmly embraces Sean and Leila, then tries to come on to Leila when she is convalescing in her private quarters. Is he in on a greater conspiracy, or is his seductive companion merely using him? I tend to think the latter.

Leila is a spirited but very sweet girl, and every time we see her and Sean together, we get a better understanding of the depth of love these two share. Sean's scenes are action-packed; he always seems to be chased by or chasing someone. He stands accused of crimes he didn't commit, though in his desperation, he may rack up a few legitimate crimes before too long. What makes it especially hard for him to evade authorities is the fact that he needs them to get the information he needs to track down Leila. He really can't do this on his own.

There's some seriously weird stuff going on in the third episode, Protect Them From the Truth. The closing scene is a fantastically eerie cliff-hanger, and if for no other reason than that, plus the fact that Hal Holbrook will be putting in a guest appearance, I will tune in again for this week's A Matter of Life and Death. I can't help feeling a bit frustrated, however. For one thing, there is rampant violence on The Event. Not only do we have plane crashes, guns seem to go off in every other scene. I'm definitely not a fan of all this artillery, and I'd prefer not to watch everybody kill each other. For another, it's still a bit disorienting to have all these flashbacks in no particular order, making the timeline significantly harder to pin down.

I also think that the show gravely needs a little levity. Even the cruise ship scenes don't really have it, since there's always something unsettling going on. It seems as though none of the shows that have followed in LOST's wake have had much luck when it comes to balancing out the heavy stuff with humor. The attitude seems to be that if it's mysterious and supernatural, then it's gotta be dark and oppressive. For me, that's just not very entertaining. My curiosity will keep me going a little longer, but if The Event doesn't start to make me laugh once in a while, I don't know how long I'll feel motivated to stick with it.

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