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Review #2512: The Event 1.20: “One Will Live, One Will Die”

Posted on the 11 May 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by David Schulner
Directed by Alex Zakrzewski

The principal idea behind an action adventure suspense series is, I think, to stay ahead of the audience in terms of what’s happening with the plot. Give them some reason to follow along. I found myself in the position of guessing what was going to happen throughout this episode. It’s the kind of thing most viewers would do with any show. It makes watching television an interactive experience. The problem here was that, more often than not, I guessed correctly on exactly what would happen during a given moment in this episode of “The Event”. I can no longer project my hatred of the series at any time like I did in the previous episode because it’s so predictable. This is not a good thing when a show survives on suspense. On the other hand, it’s not all surprising given that they have mishandled so many other things about the show. “The Event” has settled into such a dull rhythm that the one thing that shocked me was that it took until the near end of the episode to get to the kill that is listed in the episode title.

Review #2512: The Event 1.20: “One Will Live, One Will Die”

The logic of the main characters have to be questioned here once again. Sophia orders Alex (who is sporting a wildly over-the-top Russian accent, by the way) to conduct a “test run” of the viral flu deployment on a random crowded shopping mall. It seems like an actual threat given the circumstances. The purpose is initially sound. The aliens don’t have enough data on the effectiveness of the virus because it was released in a contained area. So they test it in an open area like a mall. Only, it gets foiled by Sean and Vicky.

I predicted that Sean would have to sever the connection between the airflow system and the deployment mechanism. He does so by shooting it, though it took him some time and a bit of panic in order to finally do so. But wait! It’s a bait-and-switch to get Sean and Vicky off of Alex’s tail. She actually tests it on a local bus. I found that odd because it replicates the exact conditions of when the virus was first released: tight quarters, lots of human beings being killed quickly. Why couldn’t Alex just release the virus at the mall? It is also, by the way, the second time in consecutive episodes that the characters do one thing, then the writers do a terrible misdirection ploy. It’s not smart writing, but rather appears incredibly lazy.

I fully agree with a fellow critic who surmised that Jarvis never wanted to be President. He just isn’t up to the task. He’s the classic case of wanting the job, striving to get the job, but never wanting to actually do the job. I saw all of Jarvis and Sophia’s interactions in this episode as a poor replacement for all of the Thomas and Sophia interactions from earlier in the series. Sophia berates Jarvis like a child when he can’t seem to locate Simon and Sterling. Jarvis does have a valid question as to why the aliens would create an antidote when it was Sophia’s express purpose to kill President Martinez. The aliens and Jarvis are just that dumb.

The mission to capture Sterling and Simon, then later the air strike to try and kill them in a warehouse, followed by him being duped by Christina is further proof of how in-over-his-head Jarvis really is. The show has seemingly forgotten what happened in the fall portion of the season, when Simon and Sophia managed to survive a building collapse. Of course there is a tunnel system that provides a convenient escape route. Of course they are going to find a way to get the antidote to Martinez. It’s all so rote and neatly arranged that no sense of suspense is even present in any of this. Martinez will wake up and he will seize back control of the Presidency. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, although I’m sure Sophia won’t be able to bully him the way she has bullied Jarvis so far.

Perhaps I shouldn’t blame Sophia so much. She does have a lot on her plate. Wanting to commit genocide, controlling the Acting President of the United States, paralyzing the government, worrying that her people (who strangely go unmentioned for the third consecutive episode) will reach Earth in time.

What I can’t understand is what she is thinking logically here. Her scientists say that the flu virus kills humans too fast and somehow has no effect on the aliens. What is the downside to killing humans “too fast”? If she wants to commit genocide, speed is one thing they should want on their side, lest someone figure out what they’re doing and mounting a resistance. What would be the purpose of testing the flu on Leila, who happens to conveniently be a hybrid? She is the one to die, if we are to take the episode’s title literally. What would Sophia have learned or gained from Leila’s death? So very odd, this whole plot is.

We’re close to the end of this show and I want to say that a showdown of some kind is imminent. What that is has suddenly become unclear. Genocide could happen, or President Martinez and Sean Walker could stop it. Those are, frankly, terrible choices. All of the plot threads are there, but all of it feels like there’s a resolution that’s far out of reach. I can’t invest in anything this show offers if the writers and showrunners don’t do the same. Everything seems to either be so predictable that it’s devoid of suspense or full of huge logic holes that can’t be reconciled in the limited time the series has. All that’s left is to play out the string and maybe wonder where it went so completely off the rails.

Grade: 4/10

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