The Blog Formerly Known as Rebel Prince

Cult TV, Gen Y rants, and endless opera.

The Event: “To Keep Us Safe”

Posted by therebelprince on October 2, 2010

(Spoilers, natch)

And we’re off. I can’t help thinking that NBC should’ve aired these first two episodes as a double. This episode is infinitely better than the premiere, and gives us a lot of plot leads. Plus, it would’ve felt a lot less like NBC was covering up the actual nature of the plot.

So, there’s these aliens, see? And their plane crashed in Alaska in 1944 (although there’s no indication they hadn’t been here for a long time already). Some fled, leaving Laura Innes and the wounded to be captured by the government. The prisoners – who age incredibly slowly – have been a well-kept secret, but claim their endgame doesn’t involve harming humanity. See? That’s more right there than we got for three seasons on Lost.

Meanwhile, the pilot also informs Sean of his girlfriend’s capture, leaving him on the run and in an even worse position than he was in the pilot, if that’s possible.

I’m sure in weeks to come we’ll be able to compare The Event to its predecessor Lost, although I think that show lost (heh) viewers not solely because of its format, but because audiences have an inherent distrust of sci-fi and its ilk (although they’ll happily stick around on a soap opera for ten years despite the even more labyrinthine plotting you’d find there). You could argue that the writers are overdoing the plot revelation process to overcome any allegations that they’re just going to ask heaps of questions, true. Here’s hoping that this series isn’t going to be all shadowy conspiracies and double/triple/quadruple agents.  But I’m not a hater, that’s for sure. Everyone seems to act logically: President Blair Underwood doesn’t wait for his advisors to cover anything up, instead he immediately confronts Laura Innes. (I promise I’ll learn their names eventually!)  The pilot sees helicopters coming, and directly tells Sean what has happened. So far, we’re mercifully free of characters saying “ooh I saw something beautiful on the island, Jack” and then staring off into the distance. The people here are acting like people, which is a nice change.

The only real issue for me is those damned time jumps. I appreciate them as this show’s “thing” (even if they were the last show’s thing too) but already it feels like they’re being used for some lazy writing. All the scenes here were well written – Sean’s first meeting with his girlfriend, the alien crash, etc. – but anytime something from the past is mentioned, hey let’s have a flashback! The only completely gratuitous moment here was the pilot learning that his daughter was a hostage (something that was pretty obvious, and implied by last week’s finale). Good acting, good writing, good direction: these can all tell your story without having to show every single moment that ever happened. It’s not a problem yet, and I don’t object to time jumps if they feel natural, but I’m painfully aware of how the Lost writers teased out whole episodes of nothingness by giving us mind-numbingly  pointless flashbacks. So I’m wary.

Let us not be negative. This show is working well so far. The cast are more than solid, and the mythology covers at least 66 years, which should give us some good leeway for plot revelations. I must admit, I was surprised by the alien reveal, since the last few shows to go there – the laughable Invasion, that Stephen Spielberg thing a few years ago, and (in my opinion) V – were unqualified disasters. But so far, this is all being carried out with panache, so I’m hooked.

Diverse observations:

* Nice, if disgusting, reveal with Simon Lee. Ian Anthony Dale has been on my radar for a while now, and I’m glad to see him back on a real show this time.

* Blair Underwood and Laura Innes are my dream team. Underwood’s startled “what?” when he first learned of the aliens was perfect. Unlike 24, he’s far from stupidly idealistic, so I can’t wait to see how his relationship is handled with the VP and Zeljko Ivanek. Are they good? Are they evil? Time will tell.

* In the cruise ship flashback, I did not trust Sean’s girlfriend for a second, so it was comforting when the show confirmed she wasn’t a double agent.

* Worst moment in the episode: the final scene, where the detective is swayed by Sean’s pleas. Don’t get me wrong, I find it plausible that she would heed him, but the music and the melodramatic “look into my eyes” acting just killed it for me.

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One Response to “The Event: “To Keep Us Safe””

  1. Good read. We are already getting way more answers than I would have ever expected in just two episodes. That’s what the creators promised and it looks like they’re following through. With that said I don’t think we can take everything we’re being shown at face value.

    I almost agree with you on the “Worst moment”. I don’t think real detectives would have gave his pleas any thought, but I didn’t think it was too cheesy.

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