REVOLUTION Episode 8 review: ‘Ties That Bind’

Kim Raver as Julia and Giancarlo Esposito as Major Tom Neville in Revolution.  Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC

REVOLUTIONTies That Bind
Season 1 Episode 8
Creator: Eric Kripke
Writers: David Rambo & Melissa Glenn
Director: Guy Bee

“Well, let’s be honest. You’re a sociopath.”

Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and company continue their trek to Philadelphia to find and rescue her brother Danny. On the way they run into another old acquaintance from Miles’s Militia days, Sgt. Will Strausser (David Meunier).

Strausser is one real baddie. We see him gleefully stabbing a subordinate in the gut for failing an assignment, and even Miles (Billy Burke) professes to have real fear of this fellow.

Nora (Daniella Alonso) gets to blow up stuff in a bid to rescue her sister Mia (Alyssa Diaz), and Major Neville’s son Jason/Nate (JD Pardo) is sentenced to a “diplomatic mission to California” as punishment for bribing someone to get info on Strausser, and supposedly Charlie’s, whereabouts.

“I’m thrifty. I like to save up for a rainy day.”

It looks like Mrs. Neville (Kim Raver) will turn out to be a great Lady Macbeth after all, as I predicted she might. She rats out General Monroe’s senior aides’ turned-rebel kid in exchange for keeping her son Jason from being sent away.

Her actions will, of course, probably prove tricky when her own son eventually jumps ship and joins the rebels in some future episode. But she presently seems dedicated to her husband, if not her own son, and looks to be grooming Neville for a far bigger role as leader. I also sense that should she decide either family member is a liability she would simply adjust her actions and her goals to save her own skin.

Elizabeth Mitchell as Rachel Matheson is presented with one of the power amulets in Revolution Episode 8 “Ties That Bind.” Credit: NBC

“I did this for you.”

Unfortunately for our gang, Mia has secretly turned bounty hunter for the Militia since she and Nora last saw each other, and talks her sister into quitting the “Save Danny” campaign and instead travel with her to Texas with promises of meeting up with their long-lost father.

In reality, the story about dear old dad is a lie, and Mia steals the power amulet from Aaron and turns it and the group’s location over to evil Sgt. Strassuer. Luckily, the gang pulls a Butch and Sundance leap into a nearby river in an effort to elude Strausser and his soldiers. It works.

Grace (Maria Howell) makes another brief appearance at the end of “Ties That Bind.” Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC

Things that didn’t work in this episode:

  • The “previously on” clip intro seemed looong and felt like padding for a possibly short run time.
  • Yet another psycho baddie got added to the mix on the dark side. This new world is just littered with them, it seems.

Things that did work in this episode:

  • Some nice explosions early on, always a favorite event of mine.
  • I liked Mia’s traitorous behavior, because it was nice to see that not everyone can be only good or bad in “Revolution.” That said, this show could use a lot more shades of gray between the stark good or bad personalities of its lead characters.
  • Charlie DID NOT CRY in this episode! A first! Points off because Nora did, though.

My take: Initially I was concerned this was going to be just another baddie-of-the-week show, but the evil Strausser looks to be sticking around. Since he has been labeled a “sociopath” by Miles, I guess it will be okay when Strausser gets killed in cold blood later on down the road. Because, you know, he’s BAD.

Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie Matheson in Revolution Episode 8 “Ties That Bind.” Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC

My only burning question this time around is where are all the good law enforcement people? Somewhere out in those other far-distant territories that we’ve yet to visit? You see, I come from a military family and I know a few law enforcement folks in real life, so I find it pretty unrealistic that every Militia member we have met thus far in Revolution just has to be a dyed-in-the wool baddie.

Certainly some of these folks joined the Militia to try to help preserve order and aid civilians in this power-less age, yet all we ever see is a lot of cliché bad guys. Maybe that briefly mentioned California Territory is really a far better place in which to live after all.

I realize that Revolution is just supposed to be mindless entertainment for the masses, but just sometimes I hope for a new sci-fi show that truly has something worthwhile to say in its 43 minutes between commercials, for characters that have depth and heart and real motivations and more than one emotional response instead of cardboard cutouts. I don’t know, perhaps I am asking too much of television these days?

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