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The Event Premiere Recap: Missing Persons and Planes

After months of teasing promos, The Event, NBC’s hopeful event-series entry for the fall, was unveiled last night. And as expected, for every piece of information the pilot revealed, there were three tantalizing tidbits left unanswered. Adding to the show’s sense of being a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, the producers introduced a jumbled timeline in which confusing events we were watching in the present were (sometimes) explained by flashbacks to the past, which sometimes required further flashbacks of their own.

So, after one episode, what do we know, what do we not know, and what do we really want to know?

What We Know: Sean Walker (played by Jason Ritter) takes his girlfriend Leila (Sarah Roemer) on a cruise for a romantic getaway. But his plan to surprise her by proposing goes awry when they befriend a fun-loving couple, Vicky and Greg, after Sean rescues Vicky from drowning while docked on a tropical island. Hung-over after a night of drinking, Leila stays in her cabin while Sean and Vicky go snorkeling. When he gets back to the room, not only does his key not work, but Leila is missing and their names are erased from the ship’s records. Even her cell phone is no longer in service.

What We Don’t Know: Who’s behind Leila’s kidnapping? Do Greg and Vicky have anything to do with it?

What We Really Want to Know: If you've planned a romantic vacation for proposing to your super-hot girlfriend, are you really going to let two beach bums ruin your good time by allowing them to hang with you?


What We Know: After realizing that Leila has been kidnapped, Sean hops a plane that, once it takes off, he hijacks at gunpoint. His reason? Leila’s father, Michael (Scott Patterson), is the pilot, and Sean somehow knows that Michael is planning to fly the plane directly into the president’s home in Florida. But despite his best efforts, Sean can’t stop Michael. Luckily, at the moment of impact, the plane instead disappears into a wormhole of some kind.

What We Don’t Know: Where did the plane go? How did Sean know that Michael was flying this plane? And how did Sean know that Michael was planning on crashing it?

What We Really Want to Know: How did Sean get a gun onto an airplane? And why do new serialized dramas start off with planes-in-crisis plots when they know they’re just going to invite Lost comparisons?


What We Know: There is a group of prisoners in a base in Alaska led by Sophia (Laura Innes) that the CIA doesn’t want President Martinez (Blair Underwood) finding out about. But once he does, he instructs his national security adviser, Blake Sterling (Zeljko Ivanek), to take him to the facility. Later, Martinez meets with Sophia and prepares to announce the prisoners' release at the press conference at his home in Florida, which is when the plane containing Sean and Michael suddenly starts bearing down on them. Once the plane vanishes, Sophia admits, “I haven’t told you everything,” the episode’s final line and its title, a sly reference to the cat-and-mouse game the entire show has been playing with the audience.

What We Don’t Know: Who are these prisoners? Do they have some sort of superpowers? Are they aliens? Why have they been locked away? Are they behind the missing plane? And is Sterling a slimy no-goodnik secretly pushing his own agenda?

What We Really Want to Know: Seriously, are the prisoners aliens? Because that just seems too easy. And for how long will The Event continue to explore forced Guantanamo Bay parallels?


What We Know: While Sean and Leila are on their vacation, Michael, his wife, and their 7-year-old daughter relax at home. But armed men capture the girl and appear to shoot the wife. Immediately after, we see Michael (in his pilot’s uniform) board the plane, telling his confused co-pilot that there’s been a schedule change and now he’s going to be handling this particular flight. Later, as Sean is trying to reason with Michael on the cockpit phone, he tells the older man that he loves Leila too but that she would never want Michael to do what he’s about to do. Michael doesn’t seem to be listening, almost as if he’s in a trance.

What We Don’t Know: Are Michael’s wife and daughter indeed dead? Did the home invaders put him up to hijacking the plane?

What We Really Want to Know: If Michael was actually planning on crashing the plane to free his daughter, what assurances did he have that the kidnappers would release her once he killed himself?


What We Know: A man named Simon Lee (Ian Anthony Dale) meets with Sophia at the Alaska prison, where they speak about the Event. Later, he is racing in his car after Michael’s airplane, desperately phoning air-traffic control to halt its takeoff. When air-traffic control asks who he is, Simon doesn’t tell them. And after the plane does get away, he calls someone else to say that he couldn’t stop the flight in time.

What We Don’t Know: Who does Simon work for? Does he know anything about Leila’s kidnapping? Did he know about the attack on President Martinez? And if so, how?

What We Really Want to Know: The first episode of The Event overdid the nerve-jangling intensity, which is somewhat understandable as they want to hook audiences from the beginning. But, really, do we need to have Simon darting frantically through a sea of oncoming cars while yelling Jack Bauer–style into his cell phone at air-traffic controllers?

Photo: Patrick Ecclesine/NBC