THE EVENT 1.15 ‘Face Off’

Simon gets exposed and the President starts killing aliens after a terrorist attack in Washington. Also, Sean goes to France!

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

THE EVENT 1.15 'Face Off'

Episode Title: "Face Off"

Writers: David Schulner & Lisa Zwerling
 
Director: Janusz Kamiński

Previously on "The Event":

Thomas (Clifton Collins Jr.) and his lover, Isabel (Necar Zadegan) made huge strides in winning over the hearts and minds of their alien race until they received a distressing message which warned them that the sun near their home planet had begun to go into super nova. This meant that their entire race had to come to Earth in order to save themselves. Hoping to put hostilities behind them, Thomas summoned his mother Sophia (Laura Innes) and almost all of the alien sleeper agents. However, Sophia and her protector, Michael Buchanan (Scott Patterson) were tracked to the meeting by armed forces loyal to President Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood).

As Thomas delivered the news in person, the army surrounded the church that the aliens were gathered into. Even Leila Buchanan (Sarah Roemer) was trapped inside despite having little idea what was going on. Elsewhere, Leila’s boyfriend and uberhacker Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) suffered some kind of mental breakdown that made him believe that taking on Dempsey (Hal Holbrook) was a good idea. To that end, he blackmailed Vicky Roberts (Taylor Cole) into helping him confront Vice President Jarvis (Bill Smitrovich). Intimidated by Sean, Jarvis revealed that Dempsey had traveled to France moments before the secret service kicked down his door.

Story:

Sean and Vicky run away from the secret service on foot until Sean steals a van. That rogue… is there anything he can’t do? After catching a bit of Vicky’s side boob while she changes, he refuses to let her go by holding her son’s info over her head. He then tells her to get them to France so they can confront Dempsey. In Washington, Simon Lee (Ian Anthony Dale) arrives in time to witness the President ordering his men to begin encircling the alien church in Los Angeles. The President calls Sophia personally and orders her to surrender. When she refuses, he gives her an additional ten minutes or else he’ll make sure they regret coming to Earth.

CIA Director Blake Sterling (Zeljko Ivanek) and Simon advocate a less lethal approach to the President, but he won’t listen to them. In fact, Blake seems suddenly suspicious of Simon’s attempts to plead for the aliens’ lives. Inside the church, Thomas and Sophia confer and she learns that they don’t have enough power to portal themselves out. As gunfire breaks out, she orders a portal to open in Washington D.C., which destroys the Washington monument. Alarmed, the President orders his men to pull back. Sophia then calls him back and demands three buses to safely to take her people to a waiting jet or she’ll destroy Washington.

Thanks to Vicky’s favors(?!), Sean and the former black ops lady fly to France in style. They also track Dempsey to an archaeological dig in the Jura Mountains. Meanwhile, Dempsey gets as giddy as an old man can about a two thousand year old building. He also kills the dig leader for disobeying his order and entering the chamber before him. Back in LA, Thomas and Sophia reconcile and he hugs her like the intergalactic momma’s boy that he is. Isabel doesn’t look happy about it either.

Back in Washington, Blake figures out that Simon is a sleeper agent and finally cues in the President. They record his scrambled call with Sophia but can’t make out what  was actually said. In France, Sean and Vicky meet up with her contact, Henri (Salvator Xuereb). Sean learns that Vicky was an ex-CIA agent and that she most likely wouldn’t be with him if she didn’t want to be. Inside the archaeological dig, Dempsey explains guardian angels to his lieutenant as if they were real. Outside the church, the vehicles finally arrive for the aliens and they pour into three separate buses.

Blake’s technicians eventually descramble Simon’s call to Sophia and hear her admit that her threat was a bluff. Incensed, the President orders an Apache helicopter to take out the buses. The first bus is destroyed and he orders Sophia’s bus to be taken out next. Realizing that the portal can only save one bus, Thomas orders his bus to take the next missile, killing himself, Isabel and another third of the aliens. The last bus with Sophia, Michael and Leila then disappears into a portal, leaving the President stunned once again.

Breakdown:

For all of its many faults (and there are several), I have to give "The Event" credit for being willing to kill off Thomas and Isabel, which essentially puts Sophia back in the position of being the defacto villain… mainly because there is no one else it could be! Dempsey is almost as disconnected from the main plot as Sean is and his motives or even objectives still haven’t been adequately explained. At least we understand what Sophia wants, although that could change if she holds a grudge over the President slaughtering so many of her people.

It’s probably best that Thomas got eliminated here. Once he was sobbing in Sophia’s arms AGAIN, it was clear that he could never be taken seriously as a villain Not that he ever made that many inroads there. Although the new direction for the series may be an improvement, it still feels like its being plotted on the fly. From one episode to the next, Thomas went from Sophia’s whipping boy to her dangerous rival while setting up an alien civil war. He even killed the aliens who wouldn’t swear loyalty to him!

Now two to three episodes later, he was back to his momma’s boy ways. Which meant that the overarching plot of the last few episodes was essentially a waste of our time. Seriously, why build to a storyline if it isn’t going to be developed all the way through? "The Event" has been on a much faster pace since it came back from its break, but it still hasn’t found a coherent narrative to hold it all together. The aliens vs. the White House story is the best thing that the series has, but the lack of character consistency from the President and others is very frustrating.

The destruction of the Washington monument was the best part of the show and one of its few epic moments since Simon’s spotlight episode early in the season. It did seem kind of odd that Blake figured out Simon’s true allegiance out of nowhere. But I’ve wondered for months what happened to the guy that Thomas framed to free Simon and why subsequent tests didn’t prove he was human.

As for Sean’s storyline, the only saving grace is Taylor Cole’s Vicky, who actually seems to enjoy having him around. Even her mentor pointed out that Sean couldn’t really force her to be there unless she wanted to be. But the idea that Sean is suddenly so obsessed with Dempsey’s downfall is still pretty ridiculous. Sean does have a murder charge over his head for killing Vicky’s boyfriend. And yet he shows surprisingly little interest in clearing his name. Sean has no real character motivation but the show keeps trying to convince us that he’s the lead character.

One thing is definitely clear: Sean is not the main character. That’s either the President or Sophia at this point. And their conflict is the current driving force of this series. I’m interested to see if Sophia goes into full villain mode now or if she’ll retain her relative shades of grey. There’s enough potential that this story could become really interesting.

But it’s not there yet.

Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.