Where last week’s episode was filled with sloppy plotting and groan-inducing moments aplenty, 1.05 sees a return to the form of the pilot — giving us edge-of-our-seat tension and some decent character work. Both Sean and President Martinez have big decisions to make, and watching the cogs turn in their minds provided a nice thematic connection between the disparate strands of story.
In scenes more reminiscent of a Romero horror, the plane passengers start to go full zombie, with Thomas refusing to hand over the antidote to Martinez unless he releases the detainees. Martinez, assumed to be weak by Thomas, manages to stand firm with his counter-threats to kill the detainees unless Thomas meets his demands. It’s a strong turnaround in the story, although perhaps all too familiar for fans of 24. We’re left wondering whether the President really would’ve gone ahead with his threat to gas Sophia’s people, in an act that can only be described as genocide.
Similarly, once Sean’s hacker contact discovers Vicky is in the same police station that Leila is, he threatens Vicky by telling her he’ll release the picture he took of her son in last week’s episode. We learn in flashbacks that Vicky was contracted to kill everyone inside a house, but when she found a crying baby she took it home, going against orders. An assassin with a heart of gold, aww. A little groan-worthy, but let’s run with it. It’s not really clear how Sean would’ve made the picture “go viral” (post it up on Vicky’s Facebook account?), but the threat is enough to turn Vicky against her people and help reunite Sean and Leila. It’s the moment we’ve been waiting to see, and I must admit it came sooner than I thought it would.
There’s a few intriguing backstory hints, as we learn Thomas ditched his fellow refugees back in the 1940s to go and help the human race advance its technology quicker to help them get home, by helping work on The Manhattan Project (the United State’s attempt to develop the first atomic bomb). Thomas seemed to know a lot about Earth’s technology when inspecting an old radio, which adds more to the theory these people are actually from the future, rather than being aliens (or perhaps some combination of the two).
The episode finishes with a more simplistic moment than we’re used to on this show, as Sophia boards an empty subway train on her way to meet up with Thomas. No huge twist, but certainly intriguing. Will Sophia manage to talk Thomas down from his more aggressive stance towards the people of Earth? Or did Thomas bargain for her freedom just so he could kill her?
The episode of course wasn’t perfect, and one of the best laugh out loud moments comes from Vicky informing Carter that their bosses want things to be kept discreet at the police station. It’s a bit late for that, isn’t it? After highway shootouts, gunning down an entire office of FBI agents, knifing a security guard on a cruise ship, and everything else they’ve done so far, discreet isn’t exactly a word that would seem to be in their dictionary.
Definitely a step up this week, but can The Event keep things this tight every week, providing intriguing backstory hints while sticking together the various storylines with thematic glue? The jury is out. B+
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