Hello, I’ll be pinch-hitting for Joshua this week. Don’t worry, no Sarah Palin comparisons here, just passing comparisons to Lost and, uh, Dragon Ball Z. I’m going to try to stay light on the spoilers if I can, but as always, be wary, vigilant, etc.
“Your World to Take,” the ninth episode of The Event, the penultimate one before the show’s fall break, isn’t dramatically better or worse than previous episodes, though it is probably one of the show’s better entries thus far. In other words, lots of stuff almost happens, but then it mostly doesn’t. This is a blessing in disguise, considering how poorly the show’s writers have handled parceling out plot information up until this point. Most episodes only push the show’s plot forward incrementally, a crippling problem made that much worse if and when a relatively busy episode comes along and reminds us of how slow-going this show mostly is (I’m thinking specifically of the show’s seventh episode, as that one seems to be the one where the writers have most capably chucked all the show’s balls, teehee, into the air simultaneously).
Like Joshua, I’m skeptical of a show like The Event because there’s a lot of potential here, though mostly in the form of a lot of over-worked hints of something (or some “event” as it were) developing that could make the show an exciting post-Lost by way of 24 conspiracy drama. Also like Josh, I’m still not totally convinced that the mystery of deciphering the Hetero Sapiens’ (Josh’s term for the aliens) intentions is inherently that interesting. We’re not really given much reason to think this interesting, save for some mildly interesting but exhaustively hinted-at suggestions of an imminent coup within the Heteros’ (the seeds for that betrayal were basically sown since the pilot). Thomas finally makes a move this episode, but apart from that, the only thing pushing the show forward in “Your World to Take” is Sean and Leila’s search for Samantha, Leila’s sister. Which sucks because Jason Ritter and Sarah Roemer are still the show’s weakest lead actors, and their characters are too milquetoast and still mostly undefined outside of their situational dramas for them to be worth caring about.
Thankfully, the first third of “Your World to Take” is the only time during the episode when the show’s writers persist in their tendency of recapping, ahem, events more than actually developing them. Thomas schemes with Hetero girlfriend Isabel and talks about rebelling after he briefly talks with Sophia, revealing that Sophia knows her son is up to something. That would seem pretty obvious after the whole “I’m going to threaten to kill a planeful of humans without your consent” thing but maybe that’s just me.
Still, as whiny as it sounds, nothing new really seems to be developing in the show. The scene with the Heteros’ council meeting threatens to steer the show into Battlestar Galactica territory, specifically into the realm of a new group of Illuminati-type figures that secretly control everything. But unlike Ronald Moore’s recent reboot, there’s just nothing new or revelatory pushing The Event forward—yet. Thomas’ schemes to eventually betray Sophia’s trust and execute a coup sooner rather than later are brought up again, but this time, he’s actually going to make a move. The Event’s pacing is kind of like Dragon Ball Z’s in that way: Episodes break down into talk about confrontation, a recap of what led to this inevitable confrontation, more talk of said confrontation capped off with yet more hints that that confrontation is a little closer to happening. It’s one big tease, making the few times things actually happen seem more satisfying than they actually are.
Then again, “Your World to Take” also reminds us of why The Event is sporadically more even-handed in its pacing than Lost typically was. This comes across most clearly in the importance placed on the sequence where Thomas actually tries to turn the tables on Sophia. You know the big moment has arrived when both he and Sophia go down to open what’s cryptically referred to as “the module” and he pulls a gun on her. This is halfway through the episode. Admittedly, what happens as a result of Thomas’s coup suggests that he would have to make his move at least that early in the episode. Considering how Sophia takes command and regains control of the situation with her son (which is incidentally one of my favorite scenes in the show so far), the writers probably couldn’t use Thomas’ attempted takeover as a way of ending the episode with a climax, considering that would just leave too much slack for them to pick up after they resolve that encounter with Isabel’s bizarre act of self-mutilation. Still, the fact remains that a crucial plot point like Thomas’s crucial power play went down in the middle, not at the end, of an episode, a refreshing change of pace, no matter how you rationalize that placement’s necessity.
But what new news of Leila and Sean? Not much, really. Based on some information from Madeline, they track down a girl named Abby that was also kidnapped and experimented on by the government. Now, the men in the black Escalades seem to want to capture and/or kill Leila, Sean, and Abby. Or do they? For some reason the episode ends with the revelation that the latest anonymous flunky chasing after Leila and Sean wasn’t looking for Abby or Sean but rather just Leila. This makes no sense: weren’t they always looking for the two of them, even using Leila as bait to get Sean to come in so that they could kill them both as they both knew too much? Admittedly, the Heteros did allow her to reunite with Sean. But beyond that context, the shock of knowing that Leila is apparently the new sole target is only satisfying if you have the patience to adopt a wait-and-see approach. At present, I’m still not convinced that the show, like Lost’s worst plot point, is truly mysterious. Vague, yes, but mysterious? I guess I have to wait-and-see! Or not.
Then again, I suspect I wouldn’t be fixating on either the show’s pacing problems or its plotholes if its creators were more effective at conveying mood. During the show’s cold opening, Sophia’s address to an insanely enthusiastic audience of Heteros in a packed hotel conference lecture hall reveals how unmoving much of The Event is on a purely visceral level. Beyond the show’s drab, quasi-Greengrassian house style of using mostly unremarkable handheld, often only a little shakey, digital photography, this scene renders a crane shot of the assembled Heteros into something wholly underwhelming and totally unspectacular. There’s no grandeur, nor any menace to the brief sequence, just a rote shot of a roomful of peoploids, suggesting a microcosm of where the show is at present: warming you up ever so slowly for events that are still yet to come. I’ll hang around for a few more episodes but come on, guys, do something.
- Thinking about it in hindsight, I can’t help but feel that the episode’s title is the most misleading yet.
- I’m only interested in The Cape because it has Keith David in it.
- Being told that you’re not as smart as your mother while in bed must suuuuck.
- “We told the police, but it was too vague.” Too damn right it’s too vague!
- The punching sound effects during the chase sequence, when Sean beats up that flunky, made me laugh. So over the top, though I don’t now why I found it funny here as opposed to any of the other hundreds of other times I've heard it.
- The last line in the Kay’s Jewelers commercial should be: “What, because I didn’t spend thousands of dollars on a hunk of jewelry for our newborn daughter? You heartless monster!”