So much for our heroes getting stranded miles away from the scene of a genocide then. Despite our belief that Miles and the gang were far away from the room where Truman is about to pour mustard gas onto unwitting Willoughby residents and the Texas president, the crew uses its cunning (and a steam train, presumably) to make it back and derail Truman’s plan. This gives us one of the best one-two punches of the finale: Miles throwing down the very last spit of swordplay we’ll get from this series, and one more classic, resigned Milesism: “Run, you idiots,” he implores to the masses gathered to hear from the Texas and U.S. presidents, while firing a rifle in the air.
The penultimate episode of this series features not one, but two train thefts. The first is an all-action set piece; the second, an old fashioned stick up. Yet all of the effort put forth by both sets of thieves into capturing the vehicles is for naught, as the big twist shows that the Patriots used the train as a diversion, with the actual mustard gas hovering above a meeting of the Texas and U.S. presidents.
In the fiery furnace of the apocalypse, uneasy alliances are forged and shattered in an instant. Miles — wary over Monroe’s plan to steal the Patriots’ mustard gas (a relic of early 20th century warfare) and use it against them, potentially killing innocents in Willoughby — turns down Monroe’s offer to stand by his side. Instead, Miles captures the mustard gas, and uses it to get a double agent to keep close eyes on the power structure in the local Patriots chapter.
Charlie deals with the emotional aftermath of Jason’s death as an encounter has her re-assessing her attitude towards life, while Aaron sees another side of the nanobots in a compelling episode.
It was never going to end well when Jason reteamed with the Matheson/Monroe alliance (which we’ll just call the Alliance from now on). He stepped out of the darkness and into their camp with crucial intelligence on the Austin meeting point for the Patriots’ cadets. It took some convincing, but eventually the Alliance brought him into the fold to stop whatever it is the Patriots are up to in Austin, albeit with his hands bound.
The art of war is playing on everyone’s minds this week as some of our heroes (and anti-heroes) try to refine and figure out just what the hell it is they’re actually fighting for — in case there’s any doubt, it’s right there in the episode’s title. Miles and Gene are on a mission to recruit the townspeople of Willoughby in an uprising against the oppressive patriots when Gene questions what Miles is fighting for. He is battling for Rachel and Charlie, just as Rachel is fighting for her daughter. Miles once tried to fight to make things better, before that idea turned into the oppressive Monroe Republic. It’s not an ideological fight for them this time; they’re in it to survive. That and protecting one’s family are fundamental human traits, but even though family is at the heart of the show, two such prominent characters require much more of a narrative drive for them to remain interesting.
Children are the key to the future, so it makes complete sense for the Patriots to get every teen in the land through their boot camps and brainwash them into fighting for the United States. It’s both a form of population control and a way to bolster the ranks.
It doesn’t take too long for Aaron to clack together his ruby slippers and remind himself that there’s no place like home, even though that familiar landscape is a desolate, sprawling hellscape where there’s exactly zero chance of a cold beer.
The nanites easily could have trapped Aaron in this alternate reality for multiple episodes. Instead, he is back to reality before the closing credits. What existed in the electrified world of his mind was false and he could not accept that, despite the promise of a more comfortable life. It’s a shame, though, that the episode’s two major twists — that the world of Pittman Digital existed only in his mind and the nanites tricked him into believing he was back in the post-blackout world so he’d reveal the code — were easier to see coming than a tornado twisting across the Kansas tundra.
Can we all just take a moment to consider New Vegas as the absolute finest location in Revolution? The meta pop culture jokes are fantastic. The tiny little seeds of David Schwimmer reduced to performing as a cabaret act or Justin Timberlake squaring off against Joey Fatone in a deathmatch are exactly what the show needs more of to really establish its place in a greater context and carve out some glorious black humour at the same time.
Revolution, Season 2, Episode 13: “Happy Endings” Written by David Rambo & Trey Callaway Directed by Ernest Dickerson Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on NBC After previous hints of a religious undertone to the creation of the nanites, the show goes full-bore into the topic this week. Aaron and Priscilla hit the next stop on their world tour …
Revolution, Season 2, Episode 12: “Captain Trips” Written by Paul Grellong & Jim Barnes Directed by Steve Boyum Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on NBC After weeks and weeks of rampant plotting, Revolution takes its foot off the gas and finally gives us all a breather. “Captain Trip” is a marked change in pace from what we’re used to …
Revolution’s been barreling along at such a high pace of late, the flaws are more pronounced than ever. The river of captures and rescues of our cast reaches its absolute zenith here; Monroe is rescued twice from the same predicament by Miles and then Rachel, and Gene also finds himself in captivity twice. We have reached peak rescue mission. It is over. Please stop this, Revolution.
Revolution, Season 2, Episode 10: “Three Amigos” Written by David Rambo & Anne Cofell Saunders Directed by Charles Beeson Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on NBC With a finger firmly poised on the reset button, “Three Amigos” rolls into town almost like it had never been away. It keeps up the frequently relentless pace of the season to …
One of the golden rules in TV is that you can never really be sure someone’s dead if you’ve only heard about their demise. In Revolution, even that trope isn’t always surefire, since we’ve seen Aaron come back from the dead and Monroe reemerge from a buried casket after a heavy dose of drugs made him appear dead.
Another episode of Revolution, another set of key characters in captivity. Both Aaron and Gene find themselves guests of Dr. Horn and the Patriots (Gene is also subdued by his own family, and we’ll get to that). The act of placing its characters unwillingly under the care of enemies is a well the show draws from time and time again. While it can work effectively as a tension-building device, having our main crew fall into Patriot (or Militia, or another enemy) shackles time and time again contributes to the law of diminishing returns, especially when the more handy members of the gang bust out of their predicaments within minutes.
Revolution has never met a plot point it couldn’t wait to plunge into. After bubbling under the surface for a couple of episodes, Aaron’s pyrokinesis (or rather, his seemingly telepathic connection with the nanobots) is the prime focus. Gene, who we learned last week has been working with the Patriots, is outed to his family as a traitor. Both of these narrative turns could have spooled out over six to seven episodes before making a real impact. Instead, the show rushes right into them.
It was all looking so simple: Frame the Patriots for the Texan official’s death and Texas would take up arms against the U.S. Government. Monroe and Miles used their expertise to frame the Patriots and it all seemed so straightforward. Too easy, in fact. So when we find out the Patriots and Texans have joined forces it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
Revolution, Season 2, Episode 5: “One Riot, One Ranger” Written by David Rambo and Ben Edlund Directed by Frederick E. O. Toye Airs Wednesdays at 8 pm (ET) on NBC We’re right back on track after a horrid encounter last week. No overt threats of rape this time out, just a solid episode that sets the stage for …
Revolution, Season 2, Episode 4: “Patriot Games” Written by Anne Cofell Saunders and Paul Grellong Directed by Charles Beeson Airs Wednesdays at 8 pm (ET) on NBC The problems with “Patriot Games” start right at the teaser. Charlie is grabbing a drink alone in a bar. She’s just about to leave when a gang of burly …
Let’s get the main negative out of the way. Miles is a warrior. A tremendous one. Yet there is absolutely no chance he is good enough to fend off several opponents with his weak hand, all the while checking on a wounded Rachel every three seconds. Even in a show where Magic Science reigns supreme, it’s a dazzling ask of the audience to believe Miles is that good of a combatant. Elsewhere, the trope of using a captive loved one as a bargaining chip remains an easy crutch for the producers to squirm out of a tight plot point.
This is an episode of two distinct halves, one where we’re largely spinning wheels and another where the action ramps up and we delve into horror movie territory. The chess pieces are starting to move into place for the season’s large arc and yet we seem a long way from getting the band back together.
Revolution begins its second season in far more promising fashion than it ended its first. As the power ticked back on, the show’s central conceit seemed to evaporate. Thankfully, if we can take Aaron’s word for it, the power is now off for good, and the show is all the stronger for it. This was a completely necessary reset for the show: the Monroe Republic is no more, there’s no grand desire among the core group to restore power, and everyone’s getting back to pre-Surge reality without helicopters and armored cars causing carnage. Monroe’s a bare-knuckle boxer, Charlie seems to be finding herself, the Nevilles are searching for Julia, and everyone else is camped up in a remote Texas stronghold. It’s almost as if the first season never happened, other than the relationships forged between the cast. We hear nothing of the late Danny, for instance.
Revolution, Ep. 1.20: “The Dark Tower” stumbles in places, but delivers a mostly exciting finish to the season
Revolution, Season 1, Episode 20: “The Dark Tower” Written by Eric Kripke and Paul Grellong Directed by Charles Beeson Airs Mondays at 10 pm (ET) on NBC With the second half of Revolution’s first season focusing on The Tower that could turn on the power for the world at large, the leadup to this week’s …