The Event Episodes

2010, TV Show

The Event Episode: "A Matter of Life and Death"

Season 1, Episode 4
Episode Synopsis: The White House's only hope for stopping a biological threat rests on breaking Sophia during interrogation; Vicky and Carter await instructions on what to do with their hostage; Collier stumbles across Vicky's secret during her search for Leila; a White House-connected businessman (Hal Holbrook) with knowledge of classified intelligence emerges from the shadows.
Original Air Date: Oct 11, 2010
Guest Cast D.B. Sweeney: Carter Heather McComb: Collier
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Season 1, Episode 4
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Length: 40:48
Aired: 10/11/2010
Also available on iTunes, Xfinity, Amazon Prime and VUDU
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The Event Episode Recap: "A Matter of Life and Death" Season 1, Episode 4

On Monday's episode of The Event, Sean and Collier learned more about Vicky's complicated identity. Leila escaped, but she's not safe yet. The White House's interrogation of Sophia was made more urgent when a biological threat to the confused, agitated — and recently reanimated — passengers of Avian 514 surfaced. It also became clear that Carter and Vicky have a boss, who is quite possibly played by Hal Holbrook. Menacing!


After the fracas at the FBI field office, Sean and Collier escape in one of the bad guy's SUVs, but the last man standing is on their tail. Through some quick maneuvering, Collier is able to shoot the guy in the shoulder and he runs off the road. They decide then and there to track down Leila together, using Vicky as their first lead.

Sean hacks into the FBI's computer system and discovers that Vicky, using one of her aliases, paid rent and bought groceries recently in Lubbock, Texas. I love that Sean's computer-hacking prowess is destined to be the narrative cheat the writers will use over and over again on this show. "By hacking into [Nefarious Organizations]'s database, I was able to determine [The Plot Device We Need to Move to the Next Step]," he'll say. Genius!

They make their way to the house, where they meet an older woman who claims not to know Vicky. Collier questions her while Sean snoops around the house, where he finds a boy named Adam, who he verifies is Vicky's son. This discovery is enough to get Vicky's mother to give up her daughter's emergency-contact number, which they determine is a Colorado area code, so off they go ... to where exactly? Hopefully, not Colorado. (Hello? Have they never heard of porting?)


Leila spontaneously invites Sean to join her family for Thanksgiving, but since he doesn't have a plane ticket, they drive for 16 hours to get there. We see a charming dinner at the Buchanan house that is only momentarily upset by Mitch's persistent questioning of his daughter's new boyfriend. Ultimately, Sean reveals that he is estranged from both of his parents. So actors, actresses, call your agents: Sean Walker is going to need some treacherous 'rents in upcoming episodes. I'm casting my votes now for Stephen Collins and Lena Olin. Let's hear your suggestions in the comments section.

Of all the flashbacks with which the show has presented us, these snippets of the early days of Sean and Leila's courtship are perhaps the least interesting. It's nice to see how much they love each other, but so far the information hasn't fed the overarching mystery of the show as much as I'd like.


While the president and first lady discuss the strange series of events of the last day, their son David gets a call on a cell phone placed in his backpack. It's Thomas. He claims responsibility for jettisoning the plane and demands that the president release Sophia and the other detainees or else next time people will die. Something tells me he isn't operating under Sophia's orders.

The president is furious that someone got close enough to David to slip the phone in his bag. His only option is to speak to Sophia. Surprisingly, she tells him that it was Thomas, who made the phone call. She also says that he's intelligent and charismatic, but that he's less patient than she is. She warns that, for the safety of the American people, the president needs to do what he says.


The last thing the now reanimated passengers of Avian 514 remember is taking off from the airport in Miami. They're all confused and agitated. MRIs that were taken as standard procedure for autopsies reveal that while they had no pulse, no breathing and no brain activity, there actually was some mitochondrial activity that presumably kept them in stasis until they woke up.

Sterling questions Mitch about his plan to kill the president and the people who hired him for the job. All he knows is that there was a girl named Vicky, and that Leila knows her. Sterling appears to believe him. Meanwhile, the vice president looks on dubiously, as he's not nuts about the idea of Sterling, aka Mr. Let's Torture It Out of 'Em, doing the questioning.

But Sterling is the least of their troubles. A few hours later, just after Sophia tells the president to accede to Thomas' demands, all the passengers start hemorrhaging simultaneously, as signified by some really gross bloody noses.


The president and first lady attend a dignified meet-and-greet with Sophia, who is a vegan. The Martinezes explain that they were set up by their mothers, who met when they escaped from Cuba together. Sophia uses their immigration success story as an allegory to ask the president to afford the same liberties to her people. It's not subtle, but there is a certain logic to underlining this concept for the audience.


Carter, the big-bad boss who I just now realize is D.B. Sweeney a long, long way from The Cutting Edge, tells Leila that she isn't going to be hurt. Then he and Vicky lock her in the basement and upstairs in the poorly insulated house, discuss how she'll be dead in two hours, just as soon as they can track down Sean. Vicky also berates Carter for drinking too much, which we saw evidence of when he accidentally broke a beer bottle in the basement.

Leila locates a shard of glass from Carter's shattered bottle and starts to cut off the ropes that bind her. But maybe it's too late. Vicky has received a go from — who exactly? — to kill Leila. Just as she's about to pull the trigger, Leila gets the jump on her, steals her gun and shoots her.

She escapes from the house and makes her way to the street where she waves down a police cruiser. She's taken her into the station where the cops discuss what to do with her. They let her call Sean. She says she's in Snyder, Texas, and she's afraid because the police aren't buying her story. Unfortunately, Sean's cell-phone battery has died so he never receives the call.

The cops offer her some water, and when they duck out to the vending machines, we see that Carter and Vicky are there, and that Leila's entire breakout was staged: the broken glass, blanks in the gun, the cop who just happened to be driving by (they killed the real ones). Carter and Vicky have bigger fish to fry than Leila, so they've set the trap and are now banking on Sean getting that voicemail message and showing up.

Vicky calls her boss, who gives her the order to kill Sean when he arrives. Interestingly, this episode was listed as guest star Hal Holbrook's first in his multi-episode stint on the show. I don't recall seeing him anywhere else during this hour — could that have been him on the other end of the call?

What did you think of "A Matter of Life and Death"? I have to admit that I'm starting to care more about the characters and that it's encouraging that the disparate plot strands are starting to coalesce in interesting ways. But is it compelling enough to keep viewers sticking around?

Watch full episodes of The Event in our Online Video Guide or with our DVR and follow on Twitter for more breaking news and scoop.

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On Monday's episode of The Event, Sean and Collier learned more about Vicky's complicated identity. Leila escaped, but she's not safe yet. The White House's interrogation of Sophia was made more urgent when a biological threat to the confused, agitated — and recently reanimated — passengers of Avian 514 surfaced. It also became clear that Carter and Vicky have a boss, who is quite possibly played by Hal Holbrook. Menacing!

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Premiered: September 20, 2010, on NBC
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (905 ratings)
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Premise: An ordinary man's probe into his girlfriend's disappearance leads him to uncover a conspiracy of untold dimensions, inadvertently affecting the newly elected U.S. president, the leader of a group of mysterious detainees and the detainee leader's father.



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