I spend a lot of time griping about The Event because I know it could be an awesome show with just a few tweaks. Last night, we got a glimpse of how cool the series could be.
Chaos in the Cabinet
How cool was it that Sophia's scheme to kill off the President actually worked? The poison fake sugar that the VP slipped next to the President's coffee caused what seemed to be a completely natural (though unexpected) stroke. President Martinez is sinking deeper into a coma in the hospital, after begging Sterling to prevent VP from ascending to the White House.
Who knows whether the President will stay dead, or his still-possibly-alien wife will whip out a gadget that undoes the damage her cohorts did. Either way, in this episode, we got the feeling that the stakes were high - and that's something this show desperately needed after weeks of angels and watchers and random mobile phone product placement moments.
A terrifying disease
I know epidemics are cliche, but somehow they always bring on the terror. Especially in the hands of a ruthless strategist like Sophia. I loved the opening scenes of the episode, successfully delivering that much-needed X-Files/Fringe feeling, with the autopsy and outbreak of our deadly disease.
My glee was a bit undermined when we learned that the Ebola-like megadisease that Sophia plans to use is actually just the Spanish Flu that killed a bunch of people in 1918 and 1919. First of all, Spanish Flu is just like regular flu - it's much deadlier, but it wouldn't kill you in an instant with gross boils and crap the way this disease did. Second, even before flu vaccines, the Spanish Flu killed only 50 million people. I thought Sophia was aiming to kill at least 2 billion? These days a Spanish Flu outbreak would be terrifying for sure (it's why people were so worried about H1N1 last year, because Spanish was a mutation of that virus). But there's no way it would do the damage Sophia is after.
Sorry - I'm a pandemic geek. My point is that the disease was cool, but I wish they'd just made it some scary mutant mega-SARS or something. My knowledge of reality got in the way of my enjoyment of mass death fantasies.
America begs for its life
I also loved the chilling suggestion in this episode that America will now be Sophia and the aliens' banana republic - we've even got Sophia's puppet government, led by the VP. Even though Sterling and one of the President's other advisers are aware that the VP is totally corrupt, they can't get enough evidence that he's behind the President's stroke. So they have to bide their time, watching the VP take power, wondering who is manipulating him and why.
And Sophia reiterates that she's got no intention of actually working with the VP in a meaningful way, except insofaras he can do her bidding. I really want to know what's coming next, and how the corruption of America will begin. From an alien suburb, no less! Seriously, it's a cool premise and I'm really liking it.
Annoyingly, we still have to see Sawn, Vikkee, and Lala
It was good to see Michael and Leila get some blood on their hands - they murdered the big guard who was keeping Leila from using his product placement mobile device, and had to stash his body while Sophia tries to track them down. So now we've got lots of interesting double agents - Michael is sort of playing both sides, as is the VP. And Sterling is playing two sides as well, feigning loyalty to the VP while scheming to bring him down.
It's almost like a Cold War scenario, with aliens vs. America, and all our spies laid out nicely on the board.
But now that Leila and Michael are being the internal external forces of whatever among the aliens, we are not relieved of having to watch Sean get stupid looks on his face. Now he's just durn perplexed by why Vicky is still hanging out with him on his mission to Siberia. Here is a sample of the dialogue we get between them, more than once.
Sean: Before you were motivated by money and my viral video threats. Why are you here now?
Vicky: You don't understand me, do you?
Sean: Why are you here?
Vicky: You'll never understand me. [meaningful look]
Sean: I really do not understand you. [duh look]
As soon as they shut up and dive into the Russian ship where all the Spanish Flu autopsies happened, things get awesome again. Turns out somebody (I guess Sophia, but maybe another group?) has been doing these hush-hush autopsies and now everybody on board has died of something that looks NOTHING LIKE SPANISH FLU. OK, OK, sorry, I will stop complaining about that.
Dare I say it? I am actually . . . excited about next episode!
We're actually left with some seriously awesome plots unfolding. What is Sophia really doing with this Spanish Flu autopsy thing? What are her plans for the VP, and how will Sterling thwart them? The VP has already said he wants to go public with the alien thing, so are we finally going to see that happen, under these really scary "aliens secretly control us and are about to dose our water with H1N1" scenario? That would be kind of badass, especially if the President actually dies and the stakes are high.
I'm less interested in what's going to happen to Sawn, Lala and Vikkee, but I'm willing to put up with them in small doses. Hopefully Michael and Leila will actually challenge Sophia, but not before she brings over a bunch more aliens. I want to see what the world will be like when the suburbs are swarming with flu-dispensing aliens.