Following advice from someone I met on Twitter I decided to check out The Event. I was advised to watch the first two episodes together to get some context. Armed with that bit of information I decided to watch the first four episodes together, I figured if I don’t know what’s going on by the end of the fourth episode then I wouldn’t waste anymore of my time.
The first episode was filled with flashbacks and first person perspective shifts which meant I had to switch off and start watching on an evening when my head was clear. It’s not the kind of pilot that you can watch while flicking through a magazine, or sipping on a glass of Bailey’s. You really need to give it your full attention otherwise you’ll be left wondering what the heck is going on
The main focus of the pilot is Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) and his girlfriend Leila Buchanan (Sarah Roemer) who meet a strange couple whilst on a cruise in St Lucia. Leila is kidnapped and Sean has to piece together information in order to find her. The story is reveiled first through Sean’s viewpoint, then CIA Agent Simon Lee’s viewpoint then President Elias Martinez’s (Blair Underwood ) viewpoint, then Leila’s father Michael Buchanan’s (Scott Patterson )viewpoint. The jumping around can get a bit tiresome but each perspective reveals a little bit more of the story.
With all the flash backs, scene jumping and government cover ups and conspiracies I was reminded more of The 4400 rather than Lost or the recently cancelled Flashforward. The 4400 featured humans who were taken from different times in history and returned all at once for some great purpose. These people return with special powers which lead the government to quarantine them and carry out tests.
In the Event the government have locked up a number of people in a secret facility. These people were rescued from an aircraft crash in 1944. They appear to be human but their DNA differs so much from humans that the government are treating them like aliens. The fact that they age very, very slowly and look the same now as they did in 1944 doesn’t help their case. Neither does the fact that they refuse to say who they are or where they come from. I guess this will be revealed over time but they have had 66 years to open up.
What is the event? This is reminiscent of the Lost question: What is the Island. Even after watching four episodes, I am no closer to finding out what the event is. Was it the crash in 1944? No, too easy. Was it the disappearance of the airplane that was on a collision course with the president’s compound? Not sure. All I know is that like Flashforward the show could be on dodgy ground with the way it chooses to reveal its mysteries. Or it could be onto a winner like Lost.
If we find out what the event is in the next couple of episodes will there still be a strong story to keep us watching? If we don’t find out in the first season, will viewers decide to tune out rather than be strung along from season to season like we were with Lost? Whatever, I will keep watching as I think The Event has the potential to fill the gap left by The 4400, Lost and Flashforward. And having seen how Flashforward turned out, hopefully the showrunners can learn from this and get the mix right.