Wormhole in a Basement- The Event Recap

26 Oct

So you gave your son up for adoption... and then many years later... he turned into a smoke monster? I'm confused.

I really want to love The Event, and while its first season has been less than perfect, it has been engaging enough to get me excited each Monday night. I learned of two television writers who live blog comments about the show via Twitter, along the lines of Mystery Science Theater 3000. At first they were fun, as the show was flawed enough to lovingly poke fun at. But last night I had to remove them from my Twitter account. They were no longer making fun of The Event, they were bashing it for the sake of bashing it. And this seems to be a bit of a trend, not because the show is awful enough to deserve serious ridicule, but because it was over-hyped, and because in the fallout from the tragedy that was the LOST series finale, mythology-based shows are having a hard time convincing America’s increasingly idiotic television audience that they’re worth their time. Like I said, it’s not a perfect show. But by episode’s end, I was stunned. A wormhole had opened up in a basement, causing a building to collapse, and we were treated to an awesome Children of Men-type single-shot action sequence that was more impressive and expensive-looking than anything I’ve ever seen on television. That alone was cool enough to give the episode, entitled “Loyalty,” a thumbs up. And that’s why I no longer want anything to do with @daveanthony, especially since his Twitter background is a creepy pic of him in S&M gear. Not cool, bra.

To prove that I’m not being biased, let’s start off by talking about what I didn’t like about the episode, and the series in general. While I like Jason Ritter as Sean Walker, and can tolerate his girlfriend Leila, their storyline has fluctuated in quality. Their relationship is convincing and endearing, and as a young lover myself, I can relate. The show’s also been doing a good job of avoiding pigeonholing Leila as a damsel in distress- while her escape in episode 104 turned out to be completely fabricated by her captors, she is clearly capable, and even displayed a flash of vengeance last night when she grabbed the wounded leg of her former captor in an effort to torture him into revealing the location of her kidnapped sister. Sean’s story in the show’s first act was consistently more interesting: he’s on the move, he’s being shot at, he’s using his somewhat contrived hacker skills. Leila was just locked in a basement trying not to die. Thankfully, the pair was reunited after just five episodes; most shows would have tried to drag that story out for perhaps the entire season, which would have been disastrous. Part of what draws me to The Event is how it doesn’t slow its pacing. There has yet to be a filler episode, something I’ve been waiting for a television series to do for a LONG time. Even LOST, one of the most serialized shows ever, had “Hurley chases after his imaginary friend” or “Kate acts like a bitch so she can get a dumb toy airplane from a locked case” episodes. The Event refuses to relent, and in that respect, it should be commended.

Still, it was tiring to see Sean continue to try and convince people, especially Leila, that he did in fact teleport from D.C. to Arizona in an airplane. The new character introduced in the ep, a conspiracy theorist played by Amanda Graystone, was probably the weakest part of the hour. She was completely over-the-top, kind of annoying, and sort of a deus ex machina- hey, now there’s this lady who knows stuff and can explain it to both Sean and the audience! Yay! Really, it would have been just fine if Sean and Leila had learned about the Whatchamacallums naturally, simply by finding Leila’s dad’s secret stash of documents. That reveal- that Leila’s father wasn’t just an innocent bystander- was at least welcome. Not to mention that Amanda Graystone told Sean and Leila that the Whatchamacallums are aliens, which is sure to cause an uproar on the blogosphere, even though, if I was a betting man, I’d say it was a red herring designed to make the audience think they’re aliens for a couple episodes, until someone who’s not insane, perhaps even Sophia herself, reveals who the Whatchamacallums actually are. The evidence is still pointing to evolved, time traveling humans from the far future. Last week, in a flashback set right after the UFO crash in 1944, Thomas expressed disdain that us humans were still using vacuum tubes, and then later asked Simon why they should give a shit about us since “they’re all going to die anyway.” Tonight we learned that their home is bereft of water, and that they periodically “move on,” presumably teleporting ahead in time to avoid being detected as ageless weirdos. My theory? They come from the far future and have been traveling through time and space because their Earth no longer has any water, and the titular Event, mentioned only once in the pilot, is whatever cataclysm that wipes out most of our race.

Simon’s flashbacks were a nice idea, but the ones from the 50s were just a bit too sappy to grab me. Maybe it was because I couldn’t picture Simon’s lover, Violet, as anyone other than Locke’s crazy mother, who she played on LOST. What was heartwrenching were the scenes with an old, senile Violet, and Simon’s tearful apology for leaving her in the prime of their relationship. Though these flashbacks seemed to exist only to make Simon’s decision to stay with the humans believable, as before he had seemed incredibly loyal to Sophia and Thomas.

The episode’s final minutes were the best part. Lots of ambiguous alluding to whatever technology/power the Whatchamacallums tap into to teleport, and how once the process is started, it can’t be reversed. I think it’s pretty clear they don’t have a physical superpower that allows them to do this, though its unclear whether the hatch/bunker Sophia and Thomas got into pre-wormhole is what caused it, or simply a vessel to travel through it. The final action sequence, in which Simon desperately tries to escape the building as it falls apart around him, a swirling vortex of energy tearing everything apart, was amazing. It culminated in an awesome single-take shot of Simon’s escape attempt. It was really intense, and you were really rooting for him to get out, so when he’s buried under rubble I couldn’t help but scream “NOOOO!!!!” in my head. Unfortunately, the preview for the next episode spoiled that cliffhanger, though it seems the jig will be up for Simon come November 9th.

All in all, a thrilling conclusion to The Event’s first act, and one that has me hungering for more. It still feels like a show with growing pains, and much of its quality relies on whether its reveals are cool or not. It certainly doesn’t deserve the bashing it has received in some sectors, and when compared to most shows on television, it’s far superior, and at least it’s trying something new. Honestly, I feel like originality trumps everything else. Sure, the dialogue varies in quality on The Event, but the cast is so good that they almost always sell it. How critics can laud something like Blue Bloods when it’s the SAME show we’ve all seen hundreds of times before, is beyond me. At this point, I don’t see why there needs to be more than one lawyer show, one doctor show, and one cop show. Cause let’s be honest- they’re all pretty much the same fucking thing.

4 Responses to “Wormhole in a Basement- The Event Recap”

  1. Sonny 27. Oct, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    You gonna recap Caprica and give me something to do at work today? ehh??

  2. TheHil 27. Oct, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    Yup. Also, when you gonna do your guest blog?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Weird Alien Melodrama- The Event Recap | Alex Hilhorst - 23. Nov, 2010

    [...] then take a complete 180 and decide to assassinate her. He even imploded a building by opening a wormhole in its basement, which teleports him and Sophia a couple blocks away where they drive the rest of the way to [...]

  2. Is That The Event? Or Are You Just Happy to See Me? -Finale Recap & Review | Alex Hilhorst - 24. May, 2011

    [...] ENTIRE PLANET. It was the first surprising and genuinely cool moment the show had delivered since that wormhole opened up in a basement. Though I'd like to point out that the gravitational disturbance caused by tossing another [...]

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