The Event – Episode 6: “An Alien with a Heart”

Confession: This was planned to be the last episode of “The Event” that I was going to watch.  The show made too many contrived storytelling errors after the second episode and quickly lost my interest.  The last three episodes had been so disappointing and so riddled with plot holes that I was ready to drop the show without looking back.  Then, this week, “The Event” did something that it hasn’t done since the show began – it told a character-driven story that I (mostly) believed.

This week’s episode focused on Simon, the alien double-agent working for the President’s elite security forces.  When I saw the first flashback, I thought to myself, “Oh no, they’re going for another repeat of last week’s failed  attempt at ‘let’s humanize the bad guys’.”  Fortunately, the writers didn’t take it the same way as they did with Vicky (where they tried to convince us a stone-cold killer would suddenly turn on her allies to prevent them from finding out she adopted the child she was supposed to kill).  See, even from the beginning, Simon has shown his reluctance to help the bad guys – even going so far as to condemn affecting innocent lives.  This one fact alone makes setting up Simon as a sympathetic character a little easier.  Toss in a cluster of flashbacks centered around a romance he destroyed by following Thomas, and you actually begin to understand the character’s hesitancy.  What I liked most, however, was the fact that this week’s flashbacks actually affected this week’s present.  At the end of the episode, Simon decides not to repeat his past mistake of moving on and following Thomas.  Did this make complete sense?  Not entirely – his cover was essentially blown (or would be very shortly) and he didn’t have any particular person he was staying for – but it was nice to see events from a character’s past affecting his present decisions.  Considering we haven’t seen this in the show since the very beginning, it was a welcome change.

The rest of the episode was hit-or-miss.  I was curious what they would do with Sean now that his primary motivation (rescuing Leila) is gone.  Apparently, not much.  He was unwilling to do much of anything (except run), even with Leila’s sister missing (was I the only one who thought that was Leila’s daughter at first?).  As it turns out, Leila has more of a backbone than Sean, as she’s willing to beat on her injured captive to find out what happened to her sister (I guess being kidnapped will probably make you a little emotionally charged).  We did, however, begin to see how Sean and Leila’s experience really does involve the overall “aliens are among us” story the rest of the show has been going on about (although it took a crazy journalist spouting existential, political psychobabble to do it).

Once again, however, the show does rely on too-convenient plot devices.  The way Simon messed up the tracking system was clever, but I have a hard time believing that, for all the President was doing to follow Sophia, they didn’t notice that Simon was in the same coffee shop.  They were constantly checking security cameras – how could they not see that he was there?  Better yet, why would only one (old) man get sent to find the mole in the President’s team?  Are these guys idiots, or did they just think the mole would say “Well, you got me” and go to directly to jail?  Additionally, is everything in this show happening within a one mile radius?  How did Sean and Leila get to that house so fast?  Magic?  And, of course, what the heck is up with that journalist – was she living in that house or was it just coincidence that she just happened to show up the same time as Sean?

For all this episode gets wrong, however, I’m still happy for two things it did.  First, it didn’t give us any unnecessary plot twists.  The last few episodes of “The Event” have all tried to include plot twists, but they were, for the most part, either implausible or poorly executed.  This episode didn’t do any of that and instead gave a more straight-forward episode.  The best thing it did, however, was tell Simon’s story in a way that was more than just “he did this and now he’s doing this.”  Was it original?  Not really – Fringe gave us a similar concept two weeks ago with a bad guy unwilling to relocate.  But did it finally help us understand a character in a way that (mostly) makes sense?  Yes, and it’s about dang time.  Overall, this episode leaves me with one final question, “Did the writers take into account their failure at plot development in the last few episodes before making this one, or was it just luck?”  I guess we’ll find out in two weeks when the show comes back from its break.

I guess you can say it’s a positive thing when a show has me sticking with it for at least one more episode before I drop it completely.

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~ by digitallysmitten on October 26, 2010.

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