‘The Event’ Series Finale & Discussion

Published 3 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.

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  1. “Even the geeky Warehouse 13 was better than this.”

    You mean “is” better than this. SYFY picked it up and it starts airing on Monday nights in July. Micah is gone though…new “partner” for Pete. Looking forward to seeing how the chemistry changes.

    • I thought the end of the last season of W13 got a bit too crowded with so many leading women and mini plot arcs it seemed like they were throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what stuck. Good fun show overall though in my opinion.

  2. You can’t expect a nation that has been dumbed down to have any interest in a show as thought provoking as The Event. I was pleasantly surprised when the show grabbed a primetime slot, even as far as to say that I thought the nation was finally awakening. Most people who the mental capacity to appreciate a show like The Event don’t watch TV for the simple fact that 90% of the programming is below the sixth grade level. I hope NBC regrets its decision.

    • Ah… the old “this show failed because people are too dumb to get it (except for those of us who like it)” argument.

      8)

      Vic

      • I 100% agree!!!!

      • Yet you assume yourself intelligent?

    • I agree, I am super bummed about their decision!

  3. This is a great series, very thought provoking. We have to wait until Monday to see the final episode in Britain. I can’t believe that NBC has cancelled this show, so many of us here are ‘hooked’ and will be gutted at this decision. The story line has clearly been written to make way for series 2 – the final episode only answers some of the questions, and asks many more(I’ve read the reviews).

    The whole story has yet to be told, and because of this I believe The Event will achieve cult status, this hopefuly will pave the way for a series 2 eventually. I hope that this is not the end for The Event, that would be crazy.

  4. What a shame NBC is cancelling this. I think the first season moved too slowly and too many people quit watching because of it. The 2nd season was just about right and I loved the finale. Maybe they’ll reconsider?

  5. Firstly, to compare The Event to Warehouse 13 is ridiculous. I have tried to watch Warehouse 13 (out of desperation)and just can’t bear it. The show is for little kids!
    The Event on the other hand is compelling thought provoking drama. I am thinking about avoiding future series as I am sick of being let down by cancellations or worse still… poor endings. I will definitely never sink to the level of Reality TV or soapies. Might just stick to movies.

  6. I’m a life-long aficionado of intelligent, thought-provoking sci-fi – in books, on TV, and in films. So I’ve been hugely enjoying ‘The Event’ since ep01, and was thrilled by the big reveal in the finale. But what a crashing betrayal from the overpaid bean-counting philistines at NBC HQ – as others have said above, its unfortunately true that in a dumbed down nation that soaks up lowest common denominator “reality TV”/game show/soap opera bilge like a sponge, then intelligent, thought-provoking sci-fi is becoming a marginalised niche market, more’s the pity.

    The only glimmer of hope about ‘The Event’ I’ve seen is this:

    Talks are underway with at least one distribution partner to take over the serialized drama. The Event executive producer Steve Stark wouldn’t comment, but I hear new original programming player Netflix’s name tossed around. Word is that there has been interest from several cable and digital entities. Stark said that they are exploring the opportunities with the “full support” of the studio, UMS. “NBC has been an amazing partner, it launched the show beautifully,” he said. Added creator Nick Wauters: “We have a dedicated fan base, and we promised them we will deliver one way or another and will continue to tell our stories.”
    » source – http://www.deadline.com/2011/05/nbc-cancels-the-event-too/

    As FargleBargle argues so cogently above, it may well be that the best future for innovative and intelligent creativity lies with cable and IPTV entities – so let’s hope Steve, Nick, and the rest of ‘The Event’ team can discover a bright future there for the continuation of their epic tale.

  7. Thanks Tim, I am pleased to hear that it isnt totally game over for The Event. There are so many avenues the show could take from the finale that one would think it wouldnt make sense to scap the project. But then again it seemed that the odvious decision would be to just put it on The SciFi channel.

    • Only problem I see is the annoying fact of physics and 2 large planets being next to each other..

      • I thought the same thing, the gravitational effects would cause a lot of problems such as tidal waves and such but hey it is entertainment. I constantly pick on movies for the impossible stunts that can only be accomplished in un-reality yet that’s part of the fun yelling at the TV!

        • To be fair, we don’t know whether they would have gone into the effects of a new planet arriving in our solar system in the series. We just sure the arrival of the planet into orbit. The first episode of season 2 may have shown those effects.

  8. Let this, flashforward, and V be a warning to future sci-fi shows. Yes, the human element is important and provides the heart of the story, but we don’t need to wallow in our characters for one or two seasons to save money. Stop waiting until you’re canceled to get to the meat of the story.

  9. Let me thank you for at least one serious and emotionless analysis, that hits the target.
    What you said “opens an ambitious and unapologetic cosmic story arc. It’s a shame that this will never be explored” are exactly my thoughts on several forums. When I watched the final scene and read then about cancellation I thought, that this incredible idea would be not only wasted for ‘The Event’ but also for any other SF show in the future, as everybody would call it a plagiarization.
    I could imagine at least two spin-offs and endless lines of stories passing by, evolving from this simple idea only. A new neighbour planet, devastated, with unbelievable technical powerful inhabitants (how many died during the transport ?), mybe our ancients, the mysterious ‘Event’ coming closer, how intend they to get ‘more room’, what if Sofia’s decision to eradicate earth’s population in’t that welcome on their planet, etc,etc,etc….That could be 8 seasons filled with mystery, conflict, many interesting characters, space action – what ever you want.
    Never seen such a potential wasted.

    • Ive just seen the final episode here in India.

      There are so many angles to take this in season 2…only if.
      Current story seems to be moving towards -Planet X & the doomsday prophecy….what a novel idea to bring planet X out of nowhere.Hope someone takes up the show

  10. As with many shows that can lose viewers who don’t start watching in the beginning episodes, this is just another example. It is virtually impossible to increase the rating of a show like this, as new viewers will be lost. Within 5 minutes they will flip to another channel to a more “episode-based” program where it’s easier to follow.

    We also have to remember as more viewers use DVR and TIVO, the more the ratings are skewed. Also, the time slot of this particular program may not be ideal for many viewers, in turn affecting the ratings.

    NBC needs to take a better look at the audience of these new shows to come up with better decisions on continuing or canceling.

  11. One curious thing about the series, and one outrageous thing.

    Curious: The old guy apparently took extract from hybrids to try to reverse his aging process. Later we find that he’s some kind of guardian, coming from a long line of protectors. Why would a protector be taking the lifeblood of children he’s trying to keep at bay?

    Outrageous: “The event” never takes place all year. Finally it is explained as this abstract term that “could” or “might” or “did” happen millenia ago. You’ve gotta be skritting me. How about a planet coming beside earth–is that not an event worth being THE-ized? Geesh. I haven’t had such a high WTF factor since “What about the numbers?” was given a 10 second off the cuff explanation on Lost.

  12. It seems The Event has finally played its hand.

    I’ve been thinking about it, and for some reason I’ve been attached to this show from the beginning, even though on the whole I didn’t really like it that much. I think it was those commercials last summer saying “What is the event?” Then, when we found out Sophia and the others were aliens, I’d say that was another part of it that got me hooked.

    And even so, while I did like certain things about the show, I’ve also been pretty disappointed. Not much character development, for instance. I like Blake, and Martinez, and Sophia. But why Sean and Leila? That’s something a lot of people have been asking, I’ve noticed.

    Like, in the finale when Leila told Sean that she’s pregnant. I mean, this show is trying. It really is, it’s clear. But somehow it just keeps falling short. The truth is, I barely care about Sean and Leila at all, still. Their story? It just seems mostly peripheral to the rest of the plot, you know? To me, it looks very much like it was just thrown into the show so that it would appeal to “everyman.” You get a fairly normal guy and his fairly normal girlfriend who are caught up in things, and while they do eventually play an important role, are they really all that important? Do they really need to be in the story?

    I’m not at all surprised that NBC decided to cancel The Event–because it’s just not that good.

    I also wouldn’t be too surprised if someone else renews it–because it has potential to be good.

    I think that when it comes down to it though, if the series is going to get saved, it’s actually going to have to be through Sean Walker. I don’t see it as likely. It’s so interesting thinking about this sort of thing. Actually, I think he’s really a lot like Jim in The Office. For anyone watching The Office, who do you think is going to be the new manager now Michael is gone? Well, network deals and salaries and complications and politics being what they are, who really knows? But if you ask me, it ought to be Jim. And similarly, I think that if The Event is going to have much of a chance on another network or Netflix or whatever, it’s going to have to be through Sean. He’s the everyman, and most people can relate to him just like they can to Jim. The Event’s creators have given Sean so much airtime. But why have they, really? Is it because they wanted to?

    You see, if I had to guess, I would actually say that the creators of The Event probably didn’t even want Sean as a character. They just accepted him begrudgingly because the studio insisted that the show needed someone caught up in the midst of it all that the audience could relate to–an anchor of normality in a sea of chaos for viewers to try to fixate upon. Or something along that line, at least.

    Unfortunately, I think that anchor has been holding the whole ship back, and if it goes down, it’s going to be due to that anchor–Sean.

    The show has so much potential. Maybe some of the haters are starting to see that, now that the finale has come out. It could really go somewhere, if it can get its ducks in a row. It has several problems–I think in my second post about The Event I pointed out the foundation to the series being a major area that needs improvement–character development being one of the big trouble spots. And I think Sean is a big part of that. But no. I think the creators don’t like Sean. I think he’s had lots of screentime to placate the network, quite possibly. But instead of treating Sean like an annoyance, I think The Event would be better off treating Sean as very possibly the answer to its problems.

    Potential, you know. As a character, I think Sean is actually the embodiment of the show, because like The Event, he has a lot of potential, and so does the show. The show could do just about anything with him. He’s pretty close to carte blanche, a blank sheet. Make him interesting . . . give him a real tale, some unexpected things to unravel. He’s been like the odd man out. Give him a place. And what place exactly? Well . . . that’s up to the creators to figure out.

    But as it is now, I think he’s going to just remain an anchor unless they can figure out how to address him. Right now, I just have almost no feeling for him or Leila. If they both died or were dropped from the series, would it really matter? It’s a lot like Neo and Trinity from The Matrix. If you cared about them, it was really only because you were “supposed” to do, because they were the stars. How much could you really care about them as characters, considering how little development they received? Not much, I think.

    So, maybe some Cyrus out there will see the finale and decide that The Event really does have some potential, and rescue it so it can go for a while longer.

    Or not.

    There’s always the possibility, I think, that the show has gone on exactly as long as the creators, or whoever has been pushing it, really wanted it to. Perhaps they’ve already done and said and shown everything with the show that they wanted to. Maybe the fact is it really has reached all the potential that was planned for it. I mean, just think about that finale, with that planet appearing seemingly out of thin air, suddenly looming in the Earth’s skies for all humanity to see. Have we ever seen that in a show before? Wasn’t there someone once who said something about that, how even with all the disaster movies and sci fi movies and everything we’ve seen out there, we’ve still never seen another planet appear in earth’s skies like that. I think it’s a first, at least. But, what would be the point in showing something like that? What would be the point?

    • @Iconian:

      IMO Sean and Leila were probably always intended to develop into major players on the show. Besides having first billing in the credits, their importance to the story line kept getting stronger throughout the series. The old guy (Dempsey) was the last of a long line of guardians. The big board he used to track and predict everyone’s actions kept telling him something about Sean. For an ordinary guy, Sean had an uncanny ability to get around all the obstacles that were put in his path. Whatever Dempsey learned, he thought it was important enough to blow his own brains out, to help convince Sean to join his cause. And if he WAS the last of the guardians, would he just leave the Earth with nobody to protect it, or did he finally realize that Sean was his replacement? He left him the ancient scroll that supposedly contained all the answers, and even Simon seemed to think he’d eventually be able to decipher it.

      Sean is like an ordinary guy who gradually discovers he’s descended from royalty, or has super powers. Season 1 was the first part of his transformation. Unfortunately, we’ll probably never see the final outcome, but I’m betting that Leila and the baby would have factored into it, and that the 3 of them would have a lot to do with the mysterious EVENT. The alien planet appearing was never intended to be the end of the story, but was just the beginning of the REAL story – like finding the hatch on Lost. Now just imagine how much we’d have missed if they’d canceled Lost at that point.

      • I think you nailed it, Sean was probably the new guardian. usually people like to see the underdog succeed. but the way some people talk about the show makes me think they believe it’s reality. come on people it’s entertainment, relax a little and eat the popcorn!

  13. Another perfect character analogy for Sean would be Luke Skywalker. I can just imagine Dempsey showing up in spirit form later and saying “Use the force Sean” to help him decipher the scroll. Or not.

  14. We can only speculate now but one reason for the old guy taking blood samples of kid who were hybrids maybe because the scrolls prophesied the attempt to unleash an alien virus and the plan may have been to create a vaccine. Just a thought.

  15. The Event was the best show on TV recently. Despite flaws, it was getting better. If you like scifi, if you like The X-Files, if you like political thriller techno-novels, there was some of all of that in The Event. I even altered my work schedule to be sure I was always available to watch it faithfully, and when our family dropped cable entirely in the last few weeks to msave money, and switched to Netflix by mail and streaming/Roku, I always watched The Event on the NBC website. (Incidently, Netflix is great: super service and a great catalogue of titles unequaled anywhere; I urge everyone to sign up for it!!). I sincerely hope someone will pick this series up and continue it…alot of potential there! And that they will put it on their websites as NBC did! And if this series ever comes out on DVD, I will buy it for sure!!

  16. This show was awesome from the beginning to the end. I disagree with this review. It grabbed my attention on the first show and I couldn’t wait every week to see it. I am so sorry it was cancelled.

  17. I’m not going to say much since it’s already been said, other than I would like to see the show brought back or on another station. I enjoyed the suspense week to week and feel there are a LOT of other shows that are MUCH worse and could be canceled before this one. But who am I, just a viewer.

  18. I just watched the full set of episodes on DVD within a week. I agree that the back and forth was excessive, and there were parts that dragged in the middle. For the DVD’s they should have edited it down to a director’s cut with fewer episodes and no overlap, plus making the plot move a bit faster in the middle. As for the ending, the sudden appearance of the planet in orbit was not expected. Without a sequel, we would have to assume that (1) most of the aliens arrived intact with superior technology and conquer Earth without their event that transcends them, or (2) few arrive and the Earth helps survivors, but reaps new resources in the new planet, much like the discovery of the Americas, or (3) the aliens’ event occurs wherein they transcend, perhaps leaving us behind or taking us with them. Maybe not having a sequel leaving the aired ending a classic, and letting us just imagine what might happen?

  19. my friends and I still have hope for the season 3 many people are waiting for this moment, would be good in some way or another negotiate.
    Please try again to release the season 3 the event. do not give up hope that the event return back soon.

  20. maaaaaan, that sucks. just finished watching the entire series on Amazon Prime. I enjoyed it while it lasted, so can’t call it a complete waste of time, but to end a story like that with no continuation? what a rip-off. truly disappointing, and, cliche and predictability aside, I still liked it.

  21. OK the first 5 – 6 shows were quiet slow but after that it started to gather pace, and well what can I say about the end, what a shame I was really hoping that they would of carried this show on, but done what no other show has done and make the alien smack out butts, but we give a good fight but never the less loose. The planet being so close would cause havoc with many things on earth, why oh why can’t some story writers actually come up with a good story, the bad guys have the best weapons and yet loose, COME ON you have the bestr weapons you win, that’s how it works on earth. Check any war…..!.

  22. I had an affair with Sophia Maguire (AKA Laura Innes). Nobody can stop me or my agenda!

  23. I slept with Secret Service #1 (1 episode, 2011)(AKA Wade Harlan). He will not call me back for some reason. Brian told me I need to be patient.

    James Jordan Cherry Hill NJ

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  28. The Event is the end of the world. If a planet that large appeared that close to Earth, the gravitational stress would tear the planet apart, not just cause a few earthquakes. Let’s not forget the Moon that would either be destroyed or collide with one of the planets.

  29. Nooooo! I liked the show the plot just pulled me in and just as it was going to reach a confrontational climax it was canceled I have so many unanswered questions. ….