Just when I was really getting excited about alien conspiracy series The Event, this happens. In Monday night's episode, which took a ratings plunge, the story hinged on a random Winnebago careening out of nowhere to move the plot along.
Winnebago-ex-machina is a terrible way to start an episode that had everything going for it: Last week's alien conspiracy was ripening, and we were getting a concrete sense of how many secret weapons the hidden alien group led by Thomas had at its disposal. But then: Boom. It felt like the show creators just couldn't figure out how to get main character Sean out of the clutches of the law, so they just threw in a random accident that conveniently kills everybody who stands in Sean's way (also, somehow Sean survives with nary a scratch).
The rest of the episode had a similar feeling of flailing around cluelessly. President Martinez confronts imprisoned alien leader Sophia about the dead people they found outside the teleported plane. She won't tell him anything, so he asks her imprisoned crew if any of them would like to exchange some information for their freedom. Enter Random Alien Dude In A Toque, who is about to spill his guts in a series of long, unnecessary scenes. When he demands that they release his girlfriend too, turns out that girlfriend is on Sophia's side and she stabs him. Ah, a subplot that leads to nothing. It's like the Winchester Mystery House of subplots on The Event.
And then there's the added extra conspiracy. See, last week it seemed as if there was a government conspiracy to cover up the aliens (connected to the group wanting to kill the president), and there was a conspiracy of aliens to do something we aren't sure about yet. But last night it was revealed that there are actually THREE conspiracies: One to cover up the aliens, one to kill the president and kidnap Sean's girlfriend for some reason, and one that's the unknown alien thing run by Thomas with help from embedded alien agent Lee who is pretending to be part of conspiracy one but is really part of conspiracy three.
Here is a sample of the dialogue that occurred in my living room as conspiracy two sent armed thugs to to kidnap Sean from the FBI office, even though conspiracy one (led by Intelligence Director Sterling) had just requested that Sean go to Washington:
Charlie Jane: What? Now there is another conspiracy? These guys aren't from Washington, they're from the conspiracy to kill the president.
Annalee: [sound of bong hit] Wait, whaaat? No, these guys are aliens. They're from Thomas' alien group.
Charlie Jane: They aren't aliens! Look, they're just regular guys. They're part of the cover up.
Annalee: But no! The government is already trying to cover up the aliens! Sterling is always talking about covering it up. There are only two conspiracies. Cover up and aliens.
Shooting on screen as conspiracy two reveals that it is not from Sterling, nor of alien origin.
Charlie Jane: See? They are trying to kidnap Sean, but they're not from Sterling. They're from the group that wanted to kill the president. Sterling isn't trying to kill the president. And the aliens prevented the president from dying, so they can't be involved either.
Annalee: A third conspiracy? What the fuck? [sound of bong hit] I can't handle the truth!
I suspect that conversations like this one were taking place all across the country on Monday night. I was so annoyed by the whole extra conspiracy thing that when conspiracy two woman started punching the still-inexplicably-valuable Sean's girlfriend character in the face, I didn't even care. OK, so she's still kidnapped. And Sean has escaped from conspiracy two with the FBI agent who now believes his story.
And meanwhile, all those dead people from the teleported plane have come back to life. Awesome! So Thomas and the alien gang aren't evil after all. They're just practical jokers. Maybe that means we really do only have two conspiracies and one practical joke. Still doesn't make sense, but at least it would fit with in the regulations of how many conspiracies you're allowed to introduce in a show per season.
Sadly, though this show has terrific actors and a cool premise, I think it's circling the drain.