Tag Archives: Revolution

revolution recapping: soul train

Previously on Revolution: Plague Dogs

I’m not sure if there has ever been a dystopian, pseudo-post-apocalyptic television program that was as laugh-out-loud funny as Revolution is. The laughs probably aren’t always (or ever) intentional, but if you’re a fan of Acting Facial Expressions 101 and sudden and inexplicable plot twists, you’ll have a good time.

And if you’re a sappy, science-fiction dreamer who doesn’t know how to let a corny show go, then stay away.

Plot

Well, in this episode Charlie and company finally catch up to her captured brother Danny – only to lose him again. This all goes down in a little town energized by the presence of a big train. There are some confrontations: Charlie and Neville meet face-to-face for the first time, Miles and Neville fight, and not-Nate heroically defies Neville’s orders to help Charlie escape.

Got all that? Don’t worry; even if you skipped this entire episode, nothing much actually progressed. The biggest progression probably falls in the arena of “character development.” Nora realizes the fun of exploding things isn’t worth it if it costs human lives. Pre-blackout Neville realizes it’s okay to hit humans (not just punching bags) when your family’s life is at stake. Charlie realizes frowning, whining, and complaining 24/7 have been getting her nowhere, so she decides to toughen up and (presumably) get more interesting.

And in the end, two actual story developments popped up. Remember not-Nate? His name is Jason, and he’s actually Neville’s son! Also, Monroe gets Rachel to confess that there are 12 secret necklaces that will help turn the power back on. A hunt for an unwieldy number of objects that will probably take the whole season, if not longer? Sounds like J. J. Abrams! (Or Harry Potter – hello, horcruxes.)

Talking Points

Griping

Just call me, Charlie, right? So, yes, I’m having trouble keeping the negativity out of my analysis of this show – I can admit that. You know what I think it is? This show is so close to approaching greatness (and by close I mean . . . in the neighborhood. Or at least in the same state).  In my not-very-humble opinion, I think television needs more programs that push the boundaries of what we think is drama, what we crave as human interaction, and what we consider as a philosophical approach to the moral dilemmas we face every day. Is Revolution doing any of those things? No, not really, but it has the premise and the back story to achieve something close – burdened down, of course, by the character development and the plot progression of a slow-moving train to hell. I don’t know. After five episodes, I guess it’s still a draw.

Can You Handle It?

There’s an amazingly brilliant article from Market Watch writer David. B Wilkerson about problems Revolution and NBC may be forced to face in the coming weeks. Wilkerson writes, “Revolution is the kind of series that demands that its audience pay a lot of attention and think hard about each episode, as the ABC program Lost did so well . . . That sort of program may be too much for viewers who lead stressful daily lives.”

Oh, man. This world we live in. On this quote alone, I have reason to keep watching.

Revolution takes a break next week, but it’ll return Monday, October 29.

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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revolution recapping: plague dogs

Previously on Revolution: No Quarter

There are only two ways to watch Revolution: with other people as you laugh and cackle at the bizarre dialogue, “retro violence”, and sea of scowling faces; or alone, like me, drowning your gripes and surprising outbursts of emotion in a bowl of melting ice cream.

Last night’s episode was weird, okay? I don’t know if I’d go as far to say it was good, but it successfully achieved . . . something.

Plot

Charlie, Miles and Nora reunite with Maggie and Aaron. We find out that Uncle Miles is planning on leaving Charlie (just like everyone else in her life . . .) and that after the blackout Maggie tried really, really hard to get back to orphaned England and her jolly good kids (or maybe it was the other way around).

A crazy person with a hastily sketched out personality – that largely revolves around his aforementioned craziness – sets his (plague?) dogs on our semi-likeable band of heroes, severs an artery in Maggie’s leg, and kidnaps Charlie. Miles and not-Nate (oh yeah, he’s back) save the day by killing the crazy person. They release Charlie before returning to the rest of the group in time to be with Maggie as she dies.

Meanwhile, through a tornado-assisted miracle, Danny escapes the clutches of the Monroe militia. Then, through an idiotically misguided act of kindness, Danny is recaptured.

Talking Points

Snoozing

I was kind of bored for awhile. Rabid dogs, crazy guy, attractive people fighting and scowling — how could this be boring? I don’t know . . .  Maybe because we keep delving into poorly realized character development. Like Charlie and her abandonment issues. Or Nora and her feelings or non-feelings for her former flame Miles.  Maybe I like The Walking Dead so much because zombies appear and bite someone’s throat out whenever the awkward character dynamics threaten to get out of hand.

Plot progression

Where did we go in this episode? Absolutely nowhere (except that we’re down one blond British lady). So Miles isn’t going to leave Charlie. Big whoop, I didn’t even realize that was a possibility till the first five minutes of this episode. Danny has neither risen nor fallen in my estimations – he did exactly what I expected of him (which led him absolutely nowhere as usual). Gah, let’s go somewhere, guys! We have the whole planet to explore, infinite relationships and moral intricacies to create and examine! And instead we’re still tripping around the backwater edges of some eastern state waiting for crazy people and their dogs to capture us.

And yet . . .

Here’s the weird thing: the last twenty minutes kind of worked for me. I know it was burdened with the same clunky plotting and silly exchanges – and maybe the late hour was enough to mellow my overly critical brain to a pile of mush – but things started clicking. I mean, come on: Maggie giving up on finding her children and resorting to suicide? That was pretty sad. Not-Nate heroically joining Miles to rescue Charlie? That was sort of romantic (even though I wish their relationship was built on more than a random water meeting). Rachel leaving her children to turn herself in to her husband’s brother? Hmm that’s kind of intriguing. Touché, Revolution. I guess I’ll be back next week.

She won’t be.

News

Hey 18-49 year olds, what are you watching on Monday nights? According to the completely reliable Nielson ratings, you’re watching Revolution! Up against Hawaii 5-0 and Castle, my little pseudo-post-apocalyptic mutt is actually dominating. Take that, crime.

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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revolution recapping: no quarter

Previously on Revolution: Chained Heat

I increasingly feel like Revolution is focusing on the wrong part of a very intriguing story. It’s analogous, in my brain, to a show featuring the mildly thrilling adventures of Samwise Gamgee’s teenage kids instead of . . . well, you know. I get that flashbacks should be compelling, but when the flashbacks themselves begin to eclipse the entire show, I think we might have a problem.

Plot

Nora introduces Miles and an eternally bland Charlie to the resistance – a ragtag group lead by a morally confusing priest. The militia finds them, but Nora’s sniper rifle from the previous episode gives the resistance a slight advantage. Somehow Jeremy, the leader of this batch of Monroe’s men, gets captured and reveals a “shocking” secret: Miles helped start the Monroe Republic. Miles turns himself in to Jeremy and the militia, but Nora explodes a bridge and Charlie shoots a bag from 10,000 meters away (or something like that) to help him escape.

Meanwhile, Maggie and Aaron arrive at Grace’s house too late. The house is empty, but both of their spidey senses tell them that something “very bad” happened there. Aaron complains about being a billionaire and then losing all his money when the world lost electricity. Suddenly, Ben’s necklace turns on, and Grace’s house has electricity for about ten seconds.

In flashbacks, we follow Miles and Bass (aka soon-to-be-super-evil Sebastian Monroe) in the weeks and months immediately following the blackout. The two military buds are on their way to Chicago to reunite with Miles’ brother Ben. Through their eyes, we see the lawlessness and utter deprivation of humanity that reigns in the wake of the blackout. When they come across two men beating up Jeremy for his money, Miles surprises Bass by coldly killing both of the attackers.

Talking Points

Utilitarianism

So I like my science-fiction heavy with moral dilemmas and conundrums. Revolution has been teasing me with slight nibbles of such wonders – amongst a larger batch of nonsense. However, I was pleasantly surprised when Flashback Miles killed both of Jeremy’s assailants. It demonstrates a dangerous streak of utilitarianism that I heartily appreciate. Maximizing the good doesn’t always mean maximizing life, as the John Stuart Mill that lives in my head would say (I’m allowed to wax poetic about philosophy every now and then, okay?) Now all we need is a stark Kantian advocate. I was rooting for the priest, but he’s kind of weird. I don’t understand his religious or moral stance on forgiveness, especially considering Miles is technically a criminal against neither God nor country.

Yo-yoing

I honestly can’t decide how I feel about this show. It’s clearly ridiculous, but at the same time, it’s gradually pushing the boundaries of conventional action shows and presenting an increasingly complex story. I’m imagining there’s this one guy in the writer’s room who has this phenomenal idea in his head, but everyone around him keeps making little changes and adjustments. Just let him work! I need this show to reach its full potential – at least until The Walking Dead returns in two weeks and I can get my fill of excellent post-apocalypse fair.

Character Development 101

At its worst moments, Revolution at least makes me laugh. The character development is halting, and almost every scene of exposition is hilariously painful. Poor Nora and Charlie might actually be played by competent actresses, but the lines these girls are forced to utter (to presumably reveal more about their complex characters) are just silly. At least, they get a leg up in the wardrobe, hair and makeup, and butt-kicking department.

News

NBC has picked up Revolution for a full season!

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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revolution recapping: series premiere

Talk about a mixed bag. Revolution rumbled onto my television set late Monday night and left me with a big pile of questions, annoyances, and a middling stack of tepid interest. I want to like it, okay? I’m also prepared to see it canceled quicker than quirky stewardesses prancing around in the friendly skies. We’ll see NBC, we’ll see.

The Premise

All the electricity is out, and it’s been like that for about 15 years. The government has been replaced by a big scary militia. People walk around with crossbows and swords and gaze longingly at postcards showing the electric yesteryear. It’s like the zombie apocalypse – except without zombies. Or like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road – except people smile every once in awhile and don’t mind wearing shades other than gray.

The Characters

  • Dad Ben knows something, but he’s not sharing it with viewers at home. Oh, and he dies about nine minutes into the episode. Of course.
  • Mom Rachel has major sci-fi cred. She had big parts in both Lost and V, but she sort of seems to be dead already as well.
  • Their daughter Charlie hardly smiles, knows how to identify an asthma attack (“You are having an asthma attack!!), and wields a bow like the long lost love child of Legolas and Katniss.
  • Danny, Charlie’s younger brother, has one distinguishing feature: he has asthma (“It is his asthma!!”).
  • Miles is Ben’s brother. His coolness is sort of forced on viewers, but it more or less works. Watch as he drinks all the whiskey! Watch as he kills all the men!
  • Someone not named Nate is a militia man. He’s Charlie’s complicated love interest.
  • Maggie is Ben’s British girlfriend.
  • Aaron is comic relief.
  • Sebastian is Dean’s former (?) friend. He’s also the big bad villain on the show (spoiler alert).

Where Are We Now?

The quality quad of Charlie, Aaron, Maggie, and Miles are off to rescue Danny from the militia men who killed Ben. Not-Nate has reunited with his militia brethren, but he seems to be harboring complicated feelings for Charlie because she’s the only pretty girl he’s seen since all the lights went out – or some other equally romantic reason. Sebastian, head honcho of the evil militia, is hanging out at his evil villain compound (a green lawn with some crisp white tents).

The “Wow” Factor

So I like a lot of things about this show. I’m always down for a high concept science-fiction tale, and this pretty much fits the bill. Complex characters bouncing around in complex settings boosted by an injection of post-apocalyptic shenanigans, tyrannical militias, and sword play is where I live (in my mind). I appreciate strong female characters, and I assume Charlie is supposed to be that based on her decidedly un-girly moniker. I’m also a sucker for anti-heroes that are a little rough around the edges – which I assume the Miles character is aiming for. Add a little intrigue about the fall of electricity and the people who may or may not be able to restore it? Sure, why not?

The “Ick” Factor

On the other hand, this episode felt like a recipe for cookies made out of only chocolate chips and flour. Yeah, the big ingredients were there, but everything else apparently got thrown out the window. Where are my multi-dimensional characters? Danny could literally have been played by a llama if you could teach a llama to have an asthma attack (a very serious and proper use of the word literally). Where is the interesting exposition? I have no idea why Revolution’s America is so empty. Zombie apocalypses conveniently deal with that problem by eating everyone, but without that gross luxury, I don’t understand how the entire country emptied to the point that Charlie has to ask if “there are other towns like ours.” Like other towns with people in them or other towns with beautiful, air-brushed people who have no personality? Because I’m doubtful about the latter.

Prognosis

So far, so good. Over ten million people reportedly tuned in. Let’s hope Revolution can keep up the ratings (and fix a few character and story problems while they’re at it).

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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