Revolution, Ep 1.04: “The Plague Dogs” is a thrilling episode despite little story progression

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Revolution, Season 1, Episode 4: “The Plague Dogs”
Written by Anne Cofell Saunders
Directed by Felix Alcala
Airs Mondays at 10 pm (ET) on NBC

Lawless anarchy in the world that Revolution has established is to be expected, and the show hasn’t hesitated on that front, as every episode has seen at least one death. Most of the violence, however, has been perpetrated either by the militia or by the resistance fighters, and while that is understandable, with all semblance of a society gone, the idea that there’d be fringe groups or individuals operating under their own rules isn’t difficult to believe. Nor is it difficult to imagine that the sudden loss of power and the associated anarchy would drive some people mad. While the last episode provided some glimpses of the anarchy as an indication of how Monroe’s militia began, this episode takes a look at the emotional and mental toll it took, giving us a deeper picture of the show’s environment.

It is interesting to see the parallels among Captain Neville’s words to Danny as they are trapped and the park resident’s actions and story as he relays it to Charlie. While the central riddle of the show still remains the loss of power, the question of what happened during the hazy period between the blackout and modern day is shaping up to be a compelling mystery on its own. Hopefully the show goes deeper in its exploration of what happened to people in society in the years after the blackout, not only from the perspective of the Matheson brothers, but also from the perspective of other survivors and the militia members. There are hints at the story of Captain Neville in this episode, and Jeremy’s story last episode, which indicate that this is an avenue the show is willing to go down. Hopefully it will also take the opportunity to bring in fringe members who haven’t been driven mad by isolation or wanton violence as well, if for no other reason than to see how they react to unexpectedly finding themselves amongst a fight that they would rather not be involved in.

As was pointed out previously, the death toll has been steadily rising with each episode, and one positive of the show is that it hasn’t been hesitant, even this early in its run, to kill off seemingly important characters. With the two most knowledgeable people, Ben Matheson and Grace, meeting their demise shortly after their importance was revealed, the idea that nobody is really safe is one that the show continues to push forward, and it is no different this week with Maggie’s death. While she has been somewhat passive following her actions in the plane during the pilot, her character has been built up along the way into someone the audience cares about, which makes her death all the more shocking and further proves the fragility of life on this show. While her death could have been handled better, with her flashback coming in an earlier episode rather than the one in which she dies, it is nonetheless touching to see her go and how she affected the others, particularly Aaron and Charlie.

This is the first episode that doesn’t see any major plotline progressions. Any forward movement of the story comes only in the last minute, with the details of Rachel’s capture by the militia coming to light. However, this is not necessarily a negative point; it’s understandable that in a 22 episode season, not every one will be integral to the running storylines, and since this is still early in the show’s run, the decision to slow things down for an episode is not a concern, or an indication of how the season will go. On the other hand, the character building that this episode engages in, particularly with Captain Neville, will invariably add another layer of involvement when the main plots do begin to move forward.

Overall, this is a thrilling, poignant episode. While Maggie’s death is somewhat foreseeable based on the emphasis given to her flashback, it is nonetheless a touching sendoff to the character, who leaves an impression despite her brief time on the show. The rejoining of Nate with the main crew is an interesting development, as his allegiance continues to be unclear, as well as his motivations. It would be nice if future episodes explored further factions of Monroe’s militia, or even had members from different groups interact with each other to give the audience a look at their dynamic. With Maggie’s death, it will also be interesting to see if Nora gets an increased role in the group and how Aaron copes with the loss of the one person he has been traveling with over the past two weeks. Despite the lack of forward movement plot-wise, there are still enough questions and interesting points the show has dangled in merely four episodes to make tuning in next week a worthwhile endeavour.

Deepayan Sengupta

1 Comment
  1. Tony says

    This show is not that great esp. if they’re trying to capture the thrill of the show “Lost”. Why an Obama look-a-like? The show drags on – people would be more resourceful than this portrays. Almost all people dead, except for a few militia and freedom fighters? What are the freedom fighters fighting for? These post “apocalyptic” scenarios always feature people reduced to barbarians. It’s a lot like the movie “The Postman” except that one had a “happy ending”! Will the return of power bring back normalcy?? “The Road” was truly the worst case end of humanity, but this one is poorly done.

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