NBC’s The Event returns tonight [8/7C] with a two-hour mid-season premiere that is, frankly, a letdown. Stripping it of its unconventional, time-hopping structure [because everyone allegedly found it confusing] has also stripped it of its imagination.
With the revelation that the aliens’ outbound message reads, ‘preparations are being made for your arrival,’ The Event sinks from the level of an intriguing and unusual series to the level of a straightforward and much duller alien invasion piece.
Thomas [Clifton Collins Jr.] has decided to free the Inostranka prisoners by force and has put together a strike force that comes in in the guise of a supply shipment. Meanwhile, Sean [Jason Ritter] and Leila [Sarah Roemer] learn the truth behind those pictures they found in the show’s mid-season cliffhanger – and while that throws them for a loop, things only get worse from there.
Meanwhile, The President [Blair Underwood] has sent Blake Sterling [Zeljko Ivanek] back to Inostranka to learn what he can from the prisoners – maybe now that they know about Thomas’ plan to bring more aliens here, they can learn more from the ones imprisoned in Alaska. Only thing is, Maya [Clea Duvall] claims she has no idea what Thomas is up to – and before Sterling can question anyone else, all hell breaks loose.
Besides the photos of Michael Buchanan [Scott Patterson], Sean and Leila have an encounter that gives them a lead on the whereabouts of her sister and the other abducted children. Meanwhile, a very junior senator [Virginia Madsen], who has filled her late husband’s seat to finish out his term, discovers a top secret file marked Inostranka and wants to know what it’s all about.
Frankly, the two episodes that comprise the mid-season premiere of The Event [And Then There Were More, Inostranka] seem kind of stale and clichéd. There really isn’t anything here that we’re not expecting [Thomas killed the aliens who refused to join him? Well, duh! He’s evil! Leila’s not entirely human? Quelle surprise!].
Without the time-hopping device that let the show fill in backstory and give the characters – even the less than wonderful ones – it seems that character development has been dropped in favor of big revelations and action sequences. The problem is that the action sequences aren’t all that compelling and the revelations are pretty much telegraphed. Leila has to choose between Sean and her father? No, really? [Why? Because it’s Sophia’s order – the same Sophia who sits down with Sean and tells him what’s going on…]
So, The Event is reduced to chases, gunfire and easily predictable ‘revelations.’ It really feels like the show’s creative team doesn’t care anymore. Where we had a series that was, seemingly, building towards something cool, The Event has become a cookie cutter, A to B to C thing that literally put me to sleep. If it doesn’t survive past the end of the season, it will not be a huge loss.
Final Grade: D-
Photos by Jordin Althaus & Chris Haston/Courtesy of NBC