Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: The Event "A Message Back"

Non Spoiler Review:
Hmm...What can we expect? Martinez and Sterling standing around the war room watching stuff on the big tellie. Dempsey being creepy. Thomas being vague. Sophia being pensive. Sean and Vicky dressing up in posh outfits and wigs. And the plot of the week—Thomas receives an answer to his space telegram...and takes the whole hour to tell anyone.

This barely warrants comment at all. The Event grows increasingly more tedious to sit through. It's ironic when one considers the writing brushes off any need to explain details in order to forward the plot—breaking easily into a presidential fund raiser, managing to coordinate hundreds of people to meet from around the world in the course of a day, messages crossing light years within weeks, etc.—yet the story still advances at a snail's pace.

"I never got to go to fancy dress parties with my ex, Leila."
Spoilers Now!
Alarms go off at a radio telescope as a message comes through, and the geeky scientist is pretty excited until his partner shoots him in the head. He's a sleeper, who calls Thomas to tell him what the message says. Thomas is upset by it, so orders him to copy it and wipe the data clean. Something terrible has happened back home.

Dempsey is hanging out at the park creeping little kids he can recognize as special, so he tells the new creepy doctor character to gather up one particular girl so he can keep using his de-aging juice.

Sean uses his computer powers to secure Vicky's help—he threatens her with a virus (computer virus, that is) he has in place to put her daughter and mother's identities on the Internet if he doesn't enter a code every two hours. So she confesses she worked for Dempsey, but she already tried to take him down and he's since vanished. He and VP Ray worked together on the president's assassination attempt, so Sean has a bright idea to go talk to him.

Speaking of Ray, he shows up to applause at the president's war room meeting (not from Martinez and Sterling, who just give him the stink eye). Martinez is prepared to bring in the marines to get Sophia, which violates something called the constitution, or some crazy thing, but he doesn't care. He's out to prove he's not going to be pushed around by no aliens.

Sophia is angry for Thomas playing her as a fool, but her son phones and tells her they have a response to the message that changes everything. They can't be divided any longer. Of course, he'll only explain in person. He's assembling all their people to tell them, and he hopes she'll come. It'll be catered.

Ray wants to put the past behind them, but Martinez prefers he stay out of sight. Ray says if he tries to stop him he'll expose everything, which leads to Martinez ruffling his lapels. Sterling interrupts them with news that Sophia's location has been tracked and the marines are on their way.

Ray's attending a party fundraiser in Washington that night and Vicky suggests Sean hack the guest list. They find a pleasant young couple who already have an invite and tie them up, knock them out and steal their identities. Simple.

After Sophia and Buchanan opt to go to the meeting, the marines surround the house. But Sterling advises that 200 other people just got a text like Sophia (hopefully it wasn't for lower long distance rates), so they watch them leave and Martinez guesses they're all heading to a big alien meeting. He has her followed to find them all in one spot.

Vicky and Sean get into the party (via technology and plot devices) and meet Ray. Even in a horrible blond wig, he recognizes Vicky, who threatens he better cooperate or he's a dead man (she snuck in a gun, too). They go somewhere private to talk and Sean tells him he's going to help him take down Dempsey and just wants the proof to put him away. But Dempsey's threatening his family, Ray says and he has no proof. Sean decides to get rough and advises he has nothing to lose, so maybe he'll kill him. Ray admits Dempsey left for France. The secret service start banging on the door (the real guests woke up and called the police) so Vicky and Sean escape through the window.

The aliens, including Sophia meet at an abandoned cathedral. Carlos has shown up too, and somehow Leila has tagged along and sneaks around in the background. Sophia meets Thomas and wants to speak privately first, but he won't have any more secrets. Martinez and his war room detect over 200 heat signatures inside. Sterling says not only Sophia is inside, but Thomas! Apparently not everyone is there, as Lee is nowhere to be found. Must have had the day off.

Thomas announces that the message has been answered. Their calculations were wrong and their sun is starting to go supernova, which is much sooner than they anticipated. They have two weeks before lethal gamma rays reach their solar system (?) and the planet will be uninhabitable in less than a year. The only choice is to bring everyone to Earth and make it their home.

One of the guards outside notices the troops assembling and warns Thomas, so he prepares to make his escape. The marines prepare to storm the cathedral while Sophia watches indecisively.

Yawn. Here's what I learned—The entire secret service must be fired. All the detainees around the planet can apparently rendezvous at the same place in a day. Thomas is a drama queen. Martinez doesn't care about the constitution. Carlos is a horrible babysitter. Hal Holbrook is too creepy to be on primetime. Space messages can travel faster than light. Supernova gamma rays take weeks their solar system. Next week I'm guessing we'll get a full hour of the marines laying siege to the cathedral, and someone will make a big deal about revealing information we already know.


  1. So, the random creeper in the cathedral was a previously introduced character? I tuned in for the first time this week, and I wasn't sure if this character was known to the audience.

  2. Yup. That's Leila...Sean's girlfriend. They were on the run for quite awhile until she found out she was an alien.


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