No, you are not missing anything obvious.
Connecting sources directly to life events having their own fields in the WikiTree database would mean creating source fields corresponding to the life event fields (wouldn't it?) And the addition of new fields in the database isn't going to happen anytime soon, if ever.
I use the inline references all the time - repeating the life events in the bio text but in a more narrative form. I like the prominence of the narrative part on WikiTree profile pages.
Some people use the inline refs as a timeline - usually including more than birth/marriage/death. This is a model I rarely use, but it is clearly an accepted model.