‘The Event’ Series Finale & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by

the event finale leila Sarah Roemer The Event Series Finale & Discussion

When NBC premiered The Event last fall, both producers and audiences had high hopes that the next Lost had graced the small screen. But month after month, the viewership fled and never returned, leading to The Event‘s cancellation last week.

Does the season finale – now the series finale – answer the question that viewers have been asking since the premiere?

It goes without saying that this review will contain spoilers for The Event finale as well as earlier episodes – read on at your own risk!

In last week’s episode, “The Beginning of the End”, President Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood) began to recover from his poisoning with the help of first lady Christina (Lisa Vidol.) He returned to the White House to re-take the Oval Office from his assailant, Vice President, conspirator and political rival Raymond Jarvis (Bill Smitrovich). Meanwhile, Leila (Sarah Roemer) had been infected with the virus that Sophia (Laura Innes) is planning to spread throughout the world. Then, a mysterious blue light appears above the Earth.

There are three plots running through the season series finale, “Arrival.” First and foremost, Sophia and her team of extra-terrestrials try to deploy the virus at critical locations around Washington D.C., spreading it in the hopes of euthanizing the entire human population. President Martinez must win back his position by convincing his cabinet to reinstate him, so that he can stop Sophia and contain a series of earthquakes spreading across the planet. Last and definitely least, Sean (Jason Ritter) desperately worries about his half-alien girlfriend Leila, who is still fighting off the infection.

the event finale oval office The Event Series Finale & Discussion

It’s not hard to see why The Event‘s viewership dropped like a stone after the initial revelation of the aliens, the catalyst for all the conflict and drama throughout the series. While the story itself is a fresh take on invasion plots like the various incarnations of V and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, there’s very little to indicate that the show you’re watching is science fiction. Take away a few shots of the space anomaly and about thirty seconds of dialogue, and this could be a rather tame episode of 24.

There’s nothing wrong with subtle sci-fi, but broadcast viewers probably wanted something either more benign or more overt; aside from a few “wow” moments spread throughout a half-dozen episodes in the first season, there’s very little here that excites. However, there is a huge reveal at the end of the finale, which (frustratingly) opens an ambitious and unapologetic cosmic story arc. It’s a shame that this will never be explored.

One of the largest complaints levied against the opening episodes of The Event was the reliance on disjointed flashback scenes. Since its mid-season return, the series has done away with these gimmicky and exposition-heavy sequences, and is better for it. The main thread of Sean, Martinez and company stopping Sophia’s viral teams works well enough – loading the episode with tension and cat-and-mouse chases. The looming specter of the spatial anomaly makes you wonder what would come next if Sophia successfully wipes out the humans.

Likewise, the political scheming in the White House as Martinez and Jarvis jockey for the most powerful political office on the planet is compelling. It’s not quite at The West Wing‘s level of political drama, but it’s pretty good for a series on the narrative level of The Event. Unfortunately, the reveal that closes the conflict (as well as Leila’s cliched revelation) falls flat. We’ve seen these tricks before, and mixing them in with “aliens” that are indistinguishable from humans doesn’t make them any easier to swallow.

the event finale sean jason ritter The Event Series Finale & Discussion

In fact, The Event has suffered from a narrative malaise ever since its opening episodes. Sophia is fascinating as a character ruthlessly dedicated to her cause, and Martinez is a believably upstanding Commander in Chief, but the rest of the characters (human, visitor and hybrid alike) are all just sort of… there. It’s clear that the producers want the viewers to care about Sean and Leila, but with mediocre performances and the fate of two planets at stake, it’s hard to give them the same emotional investment as the more powerful players. Veep Jarvis seems menacing and heavy-handed without any real reason to be — i.e. you know he’s a bad guy because he’s doing bad things.

But the admirably complex and consistent storyline that has carried The Event for the past year does not falter at the last hurdle. Viewers will finally get a (very) small peek at just what the titular Event is, and the big finish will leave die-hard fans wanting more. It really is too bad that the cliffhanger twist at the season’s conclusion won’t be explored – it’s easily the most interesting thing that’s happened in the series so far. It almost makes me wish that NBC would move The Event to sister station Syfy, just to find out what happens next . The show could easily continue with a cable budget and viewership.

With The Event concluded, another science fiction series bites the dust before it gets a chance to become really compelling. While the action is good in the finale, the performances and plot won’t surprise anyone. It’s a shame that the series ends on such an interesting note, considering that we’ll never know what develops next.

the event finale earth portal The Event Series Finale & Discussion

An editorial note to screenwriters and producers pitching new shows: television is ruthless, and it’s only becoming more-so as broadcast and cable must battle video games and the web for the attention of viewers.

When you make a new series, be sure and end the first season in such a way that it satisfies your fans. I’m not saying don’t set up for a bigger story – that’s one of the core strengths of an episodic medium. But treat each new block of episodes like it might be your last – because as recent years have taught us, it very well could be, even with something as well-funded and heavily promoted as The Event.


Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider

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  1. The finale sucked balls!!!! I’m glad the show is over this episode was complete crap.

  2. I’m gonna miss this show.

  3. It appears as if the Sophia aliens brought their planet with them and that they plan to destroy earth with a series of major earthquakes and substitute their own planet in earth’s orbit. Anyway, that’s howI read the finale.

    • Steve…interesting interpretation…

  4. Seriously. I’m fuc@ing PI$$ED!!!!!! That Series Finale was amazing. Seriously hope it gets picked up from someone!

  5. Picked up? Not a chance. They’ll replace it with another reality/cooking/wrestling program. Network Television – feeding the American dummy since the first reality show. Networks go on numbers only. Most Americans care more about Dancing with the Stars than they do who’s in their political offices. Can’t blame the networks…they only react to ratings. Shows like Detroit 1-8-7 and Chicago Code get the axe while mindless stuff floods the airwaves. If SYFY canceled Stargate Universe, they sure won’t pick up Event.

    • Actually it was replacede by NBC’s new drama The Playboy Club.

      • *replaced

  6. The last few episodes were getting ridiculous. No surprise that they cancelled it. Just surprised it took them so long.

    • well, for me those last few episodes were the best. action :D

  7. NBC canceled the show but the producers, creators and actors told us that they are finding a way to continue the show. They maybe do it with Netflix!

    TvSeriesFInale.com Article:

    Word came down today that NBC was cancelling The Event after one season. The serial drama drew positive numbers at the beginning but they have been in decline for much of the season.

    The show may not be dead just yet though. Deadline reports that there are talks underway to continue the series elsewhere. Executive producer Steve Stark declined to comment but word is that Netflix may be interested in picking up the show. Netflix had no comment. There’s also supposedly been interest from cable and digital outlets.

    Stark noted that they are investigating different options with the full support of Universal Media Studios, the show’s producer. He said, “NBC has been an amazing partner, it launched the show beautifully.”

    Series creator Nick Wauters added, “We have a dedicated fan base, and we promised them we will deliver one way or another and will continue to tell our stories.”

    Actor Ian Anthony Dale, Simon Lee on The Event, tweeted, “To our amazing fans, our time on NBC may be over, but we are working hard to find a new home that shares our collective enthusiasm.”

    • I hope you can find a new home …I love the show, the characters and would love to see it continue… Best of Luck…and come back…!!!

      A Fan

    • Man I hope they find another way to continue. This show started weak but it has really come on strong. I have to admit though, Ritter and the pregnant half-alien are the weak links in the show. I wouldn’t mind if somehow they got killed off or something.

  8. I am tired of becoming a fan of these shows, only to have them cancelled after the plot starts to develop. Flash Forward was the same…it had huge potential if explored further. I realize things weren’t perfect in FF or The Event, but come on…most the reality stuff that has survived is crap. I guess the numbers don’t lie, the people have spoken.

  9. @ Michael……I hardly ever say this but, I agree with virtually everything you said. You wrote down my feelings nearly point for point. ;)

    I only halfheartedly watched the last episode but came over to the TV when the President was outing the VP as a collaborator. I then saw the very last scene and was like..holy HELL! NOOOOO!

    If they could have kept up that level of sci-fi-ness through the entire show I would have been a lot more interested overall.

    My only real question is……..if the big threat was their star going super nova, isn’t that threat now gone? Can’t they just live on their planet in peace?

    • With 2 planets in each others orbit? I don’t think so. I would think that the writers were going to have the aliens come to earth and then remove their dying planet.

  10. Myself and my friends loved the show and are irritated that it was cancelled without a conclusion. I get so tired of investing my time in new shows that are cancelled without one. I think it is the network’s obligation to do so. Someone should pick this up for at least one more season like they did Jericho and give it proper ending!

  11. The Event was not the best show ever but it’s fun to have on TV shows that are not reality shows or crime drama (which I like but still).

  12. The weaknes was that it was like a cross between 24, The West and V. Except that the aliens arent really aliens they were just returning home bring their new planet with them (though part of the southern part seemed to be on fire – wonder if most of them didnt survive the trip?). Not sure what to make of the claim by asian alien guy they originally left because they were going to evolve into a form what would have wiped out other life on Earth. Also not sure if having 2 planets right next to each other wouldnt end up tearing both of them apart. Unless NBC can put Friday Night Lights like deal in place to keep the series going we will never know. Doing a Netflix/Syfy deal might work if they can retain most of its remaining viewers, reduce the cast size and cut costs. Had The Event been show in 1 continuos run like “24″ or “LOST” it might have had a better chance.

    FRINGE survives largely due to its low cost (only 3 or 4 main cast members and moving production to Canada where costs were cheaper). Future sci-fi-ish show producers can learn much from FRINGE. Keep those costs LOW. And if it takes off, the budget can rise. Dont start off with a massive budget.

  13. Re: the Event being picked up by another channel. I heard the same last year about Flashforward being picked by Syfy but this never happened. There sure must be enough audience that would watch these shows on cable.

  14. I’m really disappointed. After sticking with the first episodes in which I felt the producers treated viewers a little like morons…stretching out the plot with the flashbacks…I was left with few answers. After last night’s episode and wondering what the next episode would bring, I now discover that it was the finale and we are left up in the air, with no answers about the scroll or much else. I really thought that maybe Sofia’s people were earthlings from the future who were coming back to maybe “do it right this time” and save the planet. At this point, I probably wouldn’t watch it if the show did get picked up by another network. At least we still have Fringe!!! which is so much better anyway.

  15. I thought the final was good, love the ending.I was expecting them to bring through a couple of thousand vessels or there people to appear all over the globe but them bringing there entire planet through was just plain awesome.

    Through I will say with some editing, a couple of extra shot showing them opening up the canisters, they could have wrap this show up easily within the episode.

    I can understand why some people did not like this show, unlike the case with Defying gravity or Outcasts. But like the other two, this show just plains needs a second season, the story look like it about to expand to a whole new level, with possible a full scale planetary wide war.

    We need a second season.Hopefully someone will rescue this show and allow the writers to tell there story.

  16. I liked this show because it was an action show with elements of Sci fi mixed in. Too many people wanted deep soap opera character study of each individual. The show did enough to entice, but surrounded each episode with action. Action with some mystery was entertaining.


  18. I really enjoyed the finale. There was action and drama which I liked. The planet coming through the wormhole was definately a surprise to me. Like someone else said, I totally expected a bunch of huge space ships to come through, but the big surprise was the President’s wife calling the planet home. If she is an alien then why did she save the President and if she did it because she loved him and didn’t want to destroy the human race, then why not tell him what was going on in the beginning.

    I did miss a few epsiodes after the mid season break so maybe the answers were given there but up until that moment, I ddin’t know she was an alien. Maybe I misunderstood the whole thing. lol

  19. I hope this show finds a way to survive. The storyline, though cluttered through the first season, ended with such great potential for a long term and compelling future.

  20. After the spate of good show cancellations across most networks and cable channels, I just plan to simply stop watching them on TV. As much as I like my evening rituals, I won’t invest my time any longer…almost 5 minutes each commercial break on inane ads, switching nights to accommodate some stupid special…no, I’ll watch them online at fastpasstv or other sites. The beauty of doing so is that most popular tv shows are up and running an hour after they air on PST.

    There’s just so much abuse I am willing to take in order to be entertained.

  21. I would even settle for a book about what happens next.

    (I still haven’t gotten over the cliffhanger ending of “Now and Again”.)

  22. This comment here – “But the admirably complex and consistent storyline that has carried The Event for the past year does not falter at the last hurdle. Viewers will finally get a (very) small peek at just what the titular Event is, and the big finish will leave die-hard fans wanting more. It really is too bad that the cliffhanger twist at the season’s conclusion won’t be explored – it’s easily the most interesting thing that’s happened in the series so far. It almost makes me wish that NBC would move The Event to sister station Syfy, just to find out what happens next . The show could easily continue with a cable budget and viewership.”

    My sentiments exactly….they ended the series so strong that I now we need more….and for the record…I absolutely loved the show. But maybe that’s just me! :)

    • It isn’t just you! I love the show too! Michael Crider was so critical, he Pi$$ed me off! Amazing show!

      • This is why I hate watching shows on tv. They suck you in and cancel the show. The event was good and hope someone will pick it up!

  23. Let’s see, they look human, they act human, they can interbreed with humans meaning they have the same number of chromosomes and identical DNA. Wouldn’t that make them human as well? As far as the super-flu virus is concerned, if they are as structurally identical as they are presented wouldn’t they be at the same risk as the rest of us to get the terminal drippy nose?
    Moving an entire planet, with moon, would probably require more energy than the overgrown Evereadys that they stole. And how about the array they built “somewhere in Tibet”, do you think that the Chinese wouldn’t notice? According to people who know such things, there are about 250 spy satellites in orbit and none of them noticed?
    I love sci-fi and have been reading it for over 50 years but this is just bad writing. I know you are supposed to suspend your disbelief but this turkey wants you to tie it up, put a gag in it’s mouth and throw it off a bridge.
    Enough of this crap, we need another Firefly.

    • They appear to have a way to hide objects from satelite detection, they hid they missile silo from US detection.

      It could be that they fooled the Chinese into providing them with protection and land to built there portal in return for some technology or something else, just like they trick Jarvis into letting them fly the Spanish flu virus into America amongst other stuff. An the fact the Chinese refuse to attack it, make me suspect they knew all about it all along or at least someone with in the Chinese government did.

      We knew sometime ago that they had substantial difference when it come down to there DNA. What ever those differences are they provide protection against the Spanish flu but still enable them to breed with us Humans, I do not fine that difficult accept as it now been revealed that may have evolve on this planet in the first place.

      An we do not know how the array is powered. What if the Uranium/plutonium was use just to get it jump started and then it draws power from some other source.

    • Actually, the aliens in The Event were shown in an earlier episode via a computer screen vid to have a much more complex DNA which would mean more chromosones. You must have missed that episode since they went at length about this, and their immunity. Plus, they talked about their ability to live much longer without aging. And again it was bought up in the finale.

      The power to move a planet seems unreal but then again who’s to say that a portal to bend space could not be done in the future using the energy of the “galaxy” in what Dr Kaku and scientists call a class 3 civilization. You could argue Star Trek has tech that is impossible like warp speed travel, and transporters but who cares. In a million years what we know now will seem trivial.

      • If a wormhole was used to transport a planet, how would the magnetic fields be syncronised so that it wouldn’t destroy the solar system it entered?

        How would the planet being transported support life or gravity?

        Seems like a kinda cartoony idea to me.

        • Tene Base…the Sun has a mass 330,000 times greater than
          Earth. My guess is that the alien planet’s gravity would be more affected by the Sun than the Earth. Since 9 planet orbits are already being controlled by the sun’s mass, there shouldn’t be any problem with a 10th. We can already see solar systems in our galaxy with 10 or more planets. It’s anyones guess how gravity would affect Earth. But they did show earthquakes which is likely a good start. Just my opinion.

  24. That’s it nbc is going to just pull the plug like that. They need to really rethink this one out. You just can’t leave the fans hanging like that. They need to sale the show to another network. They have all these dumb ass reality shows and a few dumb ass comedies on nbc that a bunch of kids watch. What’s next are u going to get rid of Sunday night football and replace it with some cheesy ass game show. They didn’t even give the series a chance. Well that will be the last time I try to watch something new on nbc, get us all into the event and then cancel and blame it on the ratings that’s straight up BS. Thanks nbc.

  25. That’s it nbc is going to just pull the plug like that. They need to really rethink this one out. You just can’t leave the fans hanging like that. They need to sale the show to another network. They have all these dumb ass reality shows and a few dumb ass comedies on nbc that a bunch of kids watch. What’s next are u going to get rid of Sunday night football and replace it with some cheesy ass game show. They didn’t even give the series a chance. Well that will be the last time I try to watch something new on nbc, get us all into the event and then cancel and blame it on the ratings that’s straight up Bull Sh@t. Thanks nbc.

  26. I LOVED this show! they shouldnt just leave it like that. it was so compelling. its a shame that the final two episodes were so rushed as they were. so much was skipped. i think the writers did the best they could with the final two show deadline. theres a reason so much wasnt answered…nbc didnt give them a chance. even if they gave one more season it could have at least given some time to answer all the questions and leave fans satisfied and still respecting nbc…cbs here i come.

  27. Is Michael Crider not a true Sci-Fi fan?! The Event had problems, but was still a very good show and I liked the early flashbacks just fine. I just thought they had told all they needed to about the characters’ pasts. I guess that’s because I was enjoying the series rather than trying to pick it apart! I myself could never get into LOST because I sort of figured that they were all dead and just didn’t realize it. *Big surprise* I really enjoyed the Event and I wish it wasn’t over.

  28. A few random comments:

    1. This show always reminded me of 24. There was the same sense that everything was plot driven, that there needed to be so many twists, and so many action sequences each episode, and that the characters were only there as pieces on a game board. Their motivations for doing things were never fleshed out beyond basic stereotypes, because they were only there to advance the story. They needed to be able to do whatever the story required, even if it didn’t make perfect sense. This wasn’t really a bad thing though, since many of the interesting plot twists depended on it. In a perfect world, the writers might have been able to create more compelling, self consistent characters to complement the action, but it would have been difficult to flesh them out while maintaining the overall pace they were shooting for.

    2. Networks have always had a problem with innovative shows, especially Sci-Fi or “Genre” shows. For every one like Lost or X-Files that succeeds, there are countless others like Firefly, Day Break, FlashForward, Dollhouse, Terminator, V, etc. that are never given a chance to find their audience. Others, like Heroes struggle to keep their audience after the initial novelty wears off. Even Star Trek had a hard time when it first aired. Contrast this with SciFi’s Battlestar Galactica, or the first 2 Stargate series, or HBO’s Game of Thrones, which was renewed for a second season 2 DAYS after the first episode aired. (I won’t talk about what happened when SciFi became SyFy because I think the network that owns them has started making the same kind of dumb bean-counter driven decisions there now.)

    3. Part of the reason the networks are so bad is that they are stuck catering to the masses. This results in lowest common denominator programming, geared toward people that don’t know the difference between caviar and crap. This not only gives us tons of cheap reality and game shows, but forces writers to dumb-down promising ideas until they are just like everything else on TV. Cable channels, in addition to a different cash-flow model, cater to a more selective audience, that is willing and able to pay for better programming. Most of the shows I’ve really enjoyed lately have been on cable: Deadwood, The Sopranos, Rome, Boardwalk Empire, Justified, Burn Notice, Dexter… the list goes on. If I was trying to produce a new Sci-Fi series, or anything remotely intelligent, I’d skip trying to pitch it to the networks and go straight to cable from the start.

    • That sounds insanely logical to me.

    • Enjoyed reading your comment, especially your 2nd point. Fringe almost became one of the shows you mentioned.

    • All this would be fixed if we could go back to the early cable days when you paid for the channels you wanted.
      All the shows are “bundled” now so the networks do have to kiss up to the masses. That sucks like nothing else.

  29. this show sucked. I only watched it for the ‘watercooler effect’ of being on-schedule with my mates, the depth of character and plot was utterly lacking.

    I don’t know who picked up the bill on this one but they sure as hell didn’t make much of it. Even the geeky Warehouse 13 was better than this.