Via flashback, we finally get a few more details about the once-upon-a-time friendship of Miles Matheson (Billy Burke) and Sebastian Monroe (David Lyons), and are shown solid evidence that it was Miles who first began using draconian measures against miscreants during the two pals’ cross-country journey in the weeks following the big blackout.
We’ve been fed so little information about Monroe up to this point that it was refreshing to see anything new about his character. I hope we see more of him in the next few episodes.
The burning question soon becomes who was really the monster back then: Miles, or the friend he so obviously influenced to use violence as a solution for all problems?
Miles himself certainly feels responsible for the development of now-General Monroe as an evil dictator of sorts in this power-less world, if we are to judge by the fact that he kept his previous involvement with Monroe a secret from his niece Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and the gang.
“This is so dramatic. You guys remember One Life to Live?”
When one of Monroe’s captains Jeremy (the wonderful Mark Pellegrino) lays siege to the rebel hideout where Miles and Charlie and the group are hiding, it forces Miles to reveal that old friendship and admit that he was once a prominent general in the Monroe Militia – the very enemy against which the rebels are fighting. I wonder what other skeletons are hiding in Miles’ secret past closet?
Meanwhile, it looks like Charlie’s brother Danny (Graham Rogers) is making no friends on his forced march to Monroe’s camp. The best pal of the man Danny killed in the pilot episode comes looking for some painful payback. A few beatings later, the seemingly passive Danny turns the tables on his attacker and shows some unsuspected backbone.
Finally, ONE book is shown.
It’s quite interesting to note that Captain Tom (Giancarlo Esposito) has been watching Danny’s dilemma silently from afar the whole time, as if it was all some sort of teaching lesson for the boy. Neville also gets points for being the only one seen reading a book in this series thus far, although his taste in literature (Lee Iacocca’s autobiography) may be considered questionable.
“That’s insane. Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.”
Elsewhere, Aaron (Zak Orth) and Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips) arrive at Grace’s (Maria Howell) house, only to find her gone, but former Google exec Aaron is thrilled to discover a cache of electronic components, suggesting that the mysterious Grace had somehow built her own computer.
The USB power amulet that Aaron has been carrying suddenly flickers on, allowing him to hear a Marvin Gaye song playing on an old CD player and Maggie to see her the image of her kids on her long dead iPhone, if only for a few precious moments. Neither can understand how this amazing fleeting power surge was possible.
Shouldn’t the Amish be in charge by now?
There’s still lots of important stuff missing in Revolution. So far the show has said very little about why society and government broke apart so quickly after the power went off.
Asking audiences to accept this reality without providing any explanation leaves far too many unanswered questions. It’s one thing to isolate your characters on a mysterious island and waive the rules of reality, it’s another to place your characters in genuine locations in a real world that your audience is totally familiar with and not expect grumbles when situations don’t make sense.
And what about the rest of the country? Doesn’t anyone own a bicycle, a boat or even a hot-air balloon? Oddly, pre-electricity technology has seldom even been mentioned beyond weaponry.
So where are all of the books, maps, telescopes, pocket watches, carrier pigeons, engineers, science teachers, and librarians, et al? Are we to believe that no one has re-invented the Pony Express? For that matter, with no way to manufacture birth control, shouldn’t there be more children running around?
Everyone seems so clean and their clothes are so undamaged and tidy. It strikes me as odd that no one seems to have any scars. Tattoos, yes, but no scars. When these weird little nonsensical details pop up I think it jars the audience out of the story and hurts the show’s overall believability.
Things that didn’t work in this episode:
- Miles’ idea to dig a tunnel out of the rebel hideout – this is the best strategy that the former Marine can come up with? Really?
- Charlie’s permanently pained expression is still uber-annoying. She needs to grow up and be less whiny and weepy before anyone will ever take her seriously (including the audience). If you take a quick glance around the web, you’ll see that Charlie seems to be the least liked character on the show! Something surely needs to be done about that.
- Both Charlie and Danny really look far too old to be so clueless about life.
Things that did work in this episode:
- The new flashbacks supplied some desperately needed back-story. We need to see more of them, they help balance out the inconsistencies in the series.
- The pop culture callouts were amusing, like Miles using the names Stu Redman and Frannie from the The Stand as aliases and the Shawshank Redemption mention (although the latter was wasted on a joke re: the pathetic tunneling attempt).
- Something got blown up! That’s always a plus in my book.
My take: I’ll keep watching Revolution in the hope that the storyline will get more complex and therefore more interesting. Right now the “really long walk” scenario is a bit yawn inducing. Perhaps we need more explosions?