Not what it actually is. That doesn’t really matter to me right now, since the plot is moving along at a brisk pace. The writers have solved one of the biggest complaints in complicated serials. Viewers can’t claim frustration for not getting answers or for plots dragging on. Each episode certainly leaves things hanging, but it’s a reasonable amount of suspense. They’ve struck a very good balance in that aspect of storytelling.
The rest, though, continues to be uncompelling. What else is there besides a little intrigue and a little action? Where is the greater meaning or theme? That’s what The Event is most lacking. There’s no sense that any development happening means something outside of this world the writers have created.
That’s what Lost did so well. Every episode questioned some larger issue. The show had a purpose beyond getting off the island. Look at the finale. Some people (Kate, Sawyer, Richard, etc) actually did escape, but it was an afterthought. The real story was how their characters developed and grew over the course of their adventure. And each individual episode showed those struggles, both in flashbacks and current action.
I don’t see that happening in The Event. That’s the piece that’s missing from so many serials like this. It’s not just about character development. It’s about a driving force, something pushing those characters besides the action. For a while, it seemed like tonight’s episode would start to tap into that. The flashbacks focused mostly on Sean and Leila, when he first met her parents. There was no connection to the conspiracy. It was just an opportunity to get to know these characters and perhaps apply it to what’s happening now. And the writers dropped the ball. There was no parallel between the flashback and the current problem. It just seemed like an awkward way to tell us more about their relationship. And then they mixed it with a random flashback on the president’s dinner with Sophia.
Every character is exactly what you’d expect that character to be. President Martinez is a well-intentioned leader who wants answers, but everyone around him is keeping him in the dark. His advisers are all shady and conspiratory. The FBI agent is by-the-books but still has a good feeling about Sean being right. The bad guys are one step ahead all the time. If this show were really executing well, I’d be delving into the individuals right now, not the standard character descriptions. But what do we know about any of their motivations, dilemmas, concerns, feelings? They’re simply all pieces on a chess board.
So right now, it’s basically just FlashForward. And I actually found the characters there to be much more interesting. And, there was a greater theme, albeit one they hammered us over the head with. Can we change the future? Do we have the power to make our own decisions or is everything predetermined? Are we destined to repeat mistakes? Every week I watch The Event, I start to like FlashForward more (though there are just as many gaps in logic and plot holes…but I’ll save that usual rant for another day).
The drama isn’t even that exciting to me, but that might be because I’ve seen it all so many times. After 8 seasons of 24, I’d be shocked if there was any twist that would really surprise me. The ending this week was a bit unforeseen, but again, not completely unoriginal. That’s why an original storyline behind the action is so important. Without it, I just can’t see myself sticking with this show much longer.