That’s the main thing that seems to have happened here. This should have been a two-hour pilot episode, and the second half is pretty good.
There was a lot about the first episode I didn’t like, but most of it was kind of picky. Forgivable if they keep the story moving along. And it wasn’t at all clear that they were going to do that at first.
You can read all about the picky stuff I didn’t like right here. And you should know that there are going to be spoilers ahead, so if knowing that I like the second episode is enough to get you to go watch it, then go do that and come back.
Okay. So one of the first things they show us is what happens to the plane – I like that. I was really afraid I was supposed to sit around for two or three years waiting on the plane to show up again.
The crash again smacks of LOST – just about anybody ought to be able to admit that LOST owns plane crashes on television for a while, and for a moment or two, it threatens to get too comfortable with it. There’s a fire in the plane, an evacuation, some heroics, etc.
And I was thinking, okay they’re in some parallel dimension or something and they’ll have to survive here – again, too much like LOST – and ended up genuinely surprised by who turned out to have been flying the plane and why.
So I got some answers and they were surprising – a good sign.
More good news: head of the CIA tells the President that the Alaskan prisoners are aliens.
Right when aliens show up, I develop superpowers when it comes to lightening up about other things. And indeed, there are still some distractingly bad, cliche’ lines coming out of the President still – “I want the truth!” And the weirdly long swimming pool scene which I just failed to find cute or charming. And stereotypically long trips to have face-to-face conversations which could have easily happened over the phone.
Not nearly so much of all that, however, and a lot of improvement as well. For example, those one-sided conversations they were having last week changed into regular conversations. Instead of saying vague, general things about a mysterious Event, the exchanges were meaningful and informative – the way they ought to be if they warranted a place in the script.
In fact, my favorite question of the night came out of the President’s mouth – “Why are we holding them?”
Almost too good a question. I kind of have a hard time believing that it would take so long for someone to ask that question. Anyway, it was a non-frustrating exchange. The show has an X-Files feel to it, and so they’re going to want to refrain from relying on mysterious conversations with mysterious strangers in mysterious parking garages. They’re going to want to refrain from cliche’ and aimless teasing. And right now, they’re refraining from it just fine.
I think the problem really was the pilot was meant to be two hours long, and so they kind of tried to stretch it out. This second episode really balances it out.
Some further evidence of a compelling season:
The creepy swinger couple was exactly one half a red herring. I assumed they were both behind the kidnapping, then got a little annoyed when the male half of the creepy swinger couple got killed, clearly knowing nothing about it. I thought, that was too weird and unbelievable to be there as a throwaway. Then on the second viewing I (think) I picked up that the girl was a part of the kidnapping, her dude just didn’t know it. That’s clever and I like clever.
The fate of the other passengers including the pilot – that’s hard ball. I am weirdly impressed that they went that dark, especially since it makes sense. That’s how the super bad guys would handle that situation, that’s how they are. Some kinds of shows would find a way to let everyone go, maybe the old memory erase pill or something. I’m impressed by villains who do horrible things when it makes horrible sense, not just for the sake of horrible. It’s somehow more realistic and therefore scarier.
Also the brief scene where the agent gets blood drawn using the Waterbeds and Stuff-type supply of human blood under the skin of his arm in a fake vein – that was kind of inspired. They didn’t have to think it through that much and a lot of shows wouldn’t have.
The nurse in the hospital who is told Sean is a murder suspect, insteading of falling in love with him and helping him, turns him in the very first moment she gets – he’s about twenty steps away from her.
Similarly, he does not elude the federal marshalls, and is instead apprehended. A bit of a happy coincidence that they then have to drive through the desert exactly where Sean recognizes himself as having crashed, but I’ll take it.
There are human-form aliens walking among us, a government conspiracy to cover it up, and some kind of teleportation technology at work. An X-Files kind of show that feels more like 24 when you’re watching it. As long as they understand that I don’t expect to finish the story on my extra special own with my imagination and a stack of books, then this show and I might get along just fine.
Official prediction: The survivors are not aliens. They are time travelers. The alien story is the watered-down version designed to give out to the President if they ever had to. The truth is they are time travelers – superevolved humans from our own future. You heard it here first.
Earlier: The Event Shows Promise And Cause For Alarm
And: The Event: First Impressions
And: Time Travelers Among Us