‘The Event’: Wait, how’d that go again?
The flashback structure of Lost had its problems, chief among them that sometimes there wouldn’t seem to be much point (coughKATEcough). But at its core, it was a clever way of illustrating some personality defect or long-simmering anxiety within the character.
While watching the second episode, I was constantly reminded of the Dr. McNinja story (that comes after one that laid down a lot of groundwork that didn’t make much impression on its own), and is appropriately titled, “I Told You That Story So I Could Tell You This One.”
Show: OK, so yeah, so the guy piloting the suicide plane, Jason Ritter’s trying to stop him –
Audience: Wait, why’s that?
Show: OH! Oh right, uhhh [FLASHBACK: A WEEK AGO] It’s his girlfriend’s dad.
Audience: OK. Go on.
Show: …And so Jason’s running and running through the desert, just hauling ass to get away from the helicopters -
Audience: Hold up, I thought he was an everyman. A guy like me. Now, I’m a guy like me, and I can’t outrun a goddamn helicopter.
Show: Right, yeah, uh…[FLASHBACK: SEVEN YEARS AGO!] He swims a lot, so he’s in shape. ANYWAY! So there’s these mysterious prisoners…
Audience: And they’re…they’re aliens, right?
Show: Look, I’m trying to tell a story here!
Audience: Right, but really our only options here are they’re aliens that look like humans, in which case this feels a bit V-ish, or they’re like future-humans, which is a pretty serious bite off of The 4400. So…
Show: Ugh, FINE! Here. [FLASHBACK: A YEAR AGO!] “They’re aliens, Mr. President.” OKAY? CAN I CONTINUE?
Audience: It’s your story ,dude.
This is why, as Braak pointed out on The Twitters, it feels like the show takes for-fucking-ever to get a move on.
And then it has to go and point out how labyrinthine its plot is, by having Jason Ritter explain the complicated conspiracy that kidnapped his girlfriend, framed him for murder (even though, to complicate their own plans further for no good reason, also made it look like he was never on that cruise in the first place) and put him on a teleporting plane with his blackmailed almost-father-in-law to a cop.
Um, show? I don’t think you want to point out the obvious ridiculousness quite so blatantly to the audience when you’re only two episodes in.
So yes, final verdict on the show: It’s slow, it’s badly told, and the only mystery I am interested in is how exactly does Jason Ritter keep that stubble goatee? Is there a continuity editor just pulling out her hair every time it looks like it’s grown out a little?
Hopefully they give me a pace-halting flashback to explain that time in freshman year of college he tried it out and someone told him he looked distinguished with it. That’s an important part of the story!