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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

'Revolution' Season 1, Episode 2

I am telling you I was ROBBED of that Emmy!!
  • NBC
  • I am telling you I was ROBBED of that Emmy!!

Perhaps the biggest problem with "Revolution" is not the wooden acting and dialogue or the chaotic nature of the storytelling, or even the fact that in its second week it has already established a repetitive narrative formula (Miles wants to leave the group, Charlie gives him Sad Eyes and does something naive / sentimental / impulsive, the group is in trouble, Miles saves the day and reluctantly re-joins the group, repeat) — its worst sin may be that it's just kind of boring.

Thank the TV gods for Giancarlo Esposito, whose militia man Neville remains the reason to keep up with the show. The Mystery of the power is still interesting, but there's not much time given to it (there may be more next week), and the most intriguing parts are glossed over in favor of rather boring action sequences (does anyone think for a moment that Our Heroes are in any real danger?). As was mentioned last week, the best part of the show was completely skipped over — the fifteen years between the Blackout and current day. The flashbacks Charlie had to the time after the Blackout were actually engaging, showing how people dealt with the world falling apart, how some would kill a child just to eat. The mechanics of this world are vastly more interesting than the woods-wandering occurring in the present day, because we don't have almost any context for the latter.

Surely, as the series moves on, how Monroe started his militia and rose to power from a womanizing drunk to a weirdly non-imposing tribal leader as well as more information on the patriot resistance movement and Charlie's family's struggles leaving the city will come to light. But do we have the patience to get there? For more on "Revolution's" highs and lows, hit the jump.

There are bright spots, such as Neville, whose story this week seemed to indicate that perhaps Danny would see the complicated nature of the militia and Neville's inherent compassion and might develop a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, turning to their side. It could still happen, but Danny's final words to Neville last night indicate he's certainly not there yet. The opposite could happen, too — Neville could end up doing something to help Danny escape, which seems unlikely at the moment, but as the most nuanced and interesting character so far I'm pinning all of my hopes onto him to do something worth watching.

Elsewhere we met a new character: Nora. If you had trouble picking out who she might be among the chain gang, look past all of the bent, bleeding and broken shaggy-haired prisoners and notice the stunning woman with an ample bosom stuffed into a tight-fitted tank top breaking barely a sweat. Nora! So good to see you! Thankfully she's also a trained swordsman and a bomb-maker — that will come in handy.

To have already split up the main group by the second episode seems tenuous, as we have barely gotten to see anyone interact, and they certainly haven't formed any bonds. Still, if I had to choose a group to follow I would go with Aaron and Maggie, since they both have useful skills and generally have better dialogue (Maggie's lecture about the perils of digitization aside), and I don't think either of them would kill me (Neville) or bring people around who might (Charlie and Miles).

The big twist that everyone saw coming was the fact that of course Charlie and Danny's mother Rachel is still alive. Why she left her children and made her family think she was dead we don't know, but she's not in a position of much power because Monroe very easily threatens her. Monroe is a strange villain because there's nothing about him that seems leader-like or frightening. He is reminiscent of Mance Rayder from the Game of Thrones series, who is described as not necessarily being the most imposing figure, but he had magnetic charisma ... although Monroe doesn't have that either. Yet.

Are we willing to give this time to develop? The elements are there, they just aren't coming together well. A similar thing happened with "Grimm" last year. The first few episodes were likable enough, but there wasn't much there to make it "must-see" television. Somehow though, quietly in its Friday-night slot, it was given the time to morph into a much more interesting show, focusing more on the mythology aspects than its weak crime procedural structure. Because of the pressure of its hype, I'm not sure "Revolution" will be given the time it needs to turn in to something better. Even if it does, if anyone will still be around to watch it happen.

Still, I'll give it one more week.

Musings and Miscellanea:

— "Randall is here!!" Whatever that means.

— Next week Jacob from "Lost" shows up as on of the patriot rebels. I'm mildly intrigued.

— I want to know when and how everyone learned sword-fighting so well. And seriously, where did all of those swords even come from?

— So it seems like gold has remained an important currency, even though people are mostly bartering (not that we've seen almost any of that at this point).

— "Good, they're having a sale on heroin!" - Aaron

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