I went into this week's episode of Revolution, the NBC drama about the postapocalyptic, electricity-free world, with much apprehension. Last week's premiere left a bad taste and it was decided that if this week was as crappy, we would suspend our coverage of the show. Hmm...
This week's Revolution opens back in the time immediately following the world's blackout, but rather than giving us an insight into the series' stratagem of "why" the planet went off the grid, we are given exposition of why sister Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) feels so compelled to rescue her brother Danny (Graham Rogers). It's because her deceased (maybe) mother made her promise to never let him go, not because he's her brother and that's just what you do for the last remaining member of your immediate family.
Back to the future, a bounty hunter is trailing Danny's motley crew rescue squad. Uncle Miles (Billy Burke), the man who knows his way around a sword, has a nice price on his head. This guy is up to something, they just aren't saying what yet. The bounty hunter is no match for Miles' rapier-wielding skills. Foolish Charlie insists that Miles spare the guy and just lock him up real tight, which allows the bounty hunter the opportunity to inevitably break free and Miles to utter some craggy old man remarks. Win win.
The team makes their way into a town in which Miles is looking for an old pal named Nora, but instead he is discovered, again, by the same bounty hunter and, again, the bounty hunter is no match for his sword skills. Didn't we just see this?
Meanwhile, Danny is still a captive of the Monroe Militia being led by Captain Neville (Giancarlo Esposito). He is a real bastard that one. When the militia comes across a hunted dear hanging upside down, obviously shot, they accost the deer's killer. Apparently in this militia ruled land, no one is allowed to have any weapon that fires bullet; deadly crossbows are cool though. After the militia raid the offensive deer killer's house, they come out with an American flag that they are told to burn. This militia hates America.
We are given a glimpse into the crazed brain of militia leader Sebastian Monroe (David Lyons) in one of the most played out of scenes that ever there was. A prisoner is being abused by one of Monroe's men. "We don't ruthlessly torture," Monroe says eerily. No, you stab them in the chest like a Looney Tune. No one saw that one coming.
Miles decides that if he is to get anything done, he's going to have to do it alone. He tells Charlie, Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips) and Aaron (Zak Orth) to meet him in some po-dunk town in two weeks. How the hell will they know how to get there from where they are in the forest without GPS? And furthermore do people even understand time orientation without electricity? They seemed to have forgotten everything else.
Charlie isn't having it and she takes off after Miles in the middle of the night, sending Maggie into a frenzy. Maggie has lost her own children and thinking about losing a sort of step child is devastating. She also reveals that she carries around a dead iPhone (hello, product placement) in the hopes that she will be able to see pictures of her kids again one day. Hopefully if the power ever comes back on, Instagram will as well.
This is exactly the right cue for Aaron to pull out the medallion that Ben gave to him right before he was killed. Aaron ponders aloud that perhaps this goth necklace is the thing that will get the power back on. Why he has come up with that idea, not knowing that the necklace holds a USB or having any previous knowledge about the relic, is beyond me. But I am starting to think that this whole show is beyond me and/or hope.
In discussing the possibility that the necklace has something to do with getting the power back on, Aaron makes a quick off-handed remark that "you would think that we could get the power going by this point (15 years later), but we just can't." So this is the explanation? The world has just been having a collective brain fart?
Charlie catches up to her uncle, after having a brief encounter with her militia suitor, Nate (J.D. Pardo), and they go to find this illustrious Nora. She is a slave. Oh yeah, the militia are also enslaving people to build pyramids or something old-school Egypt style. Miles and Charlie rescue Nora, whom they need because she is "good at blowing stuff up." Nora agrees to help the two as long as they help her go back to the prison camp for a rifle she left behind. She needs it because she is part of the rebel alliance, a band of crazed patriots hell bent on getting America back. No Tea Party remarks, please.
After a scuffle that results in Charlie killing two militia members, the prisoners are free, the rifle is got and the team can continue on their way to find Danny. Before that happens, we are taken back to that woman from the last episode who has been hiding electricity and the Internet in her attic. She is Grace (Maria Howell) and she is being stalked by both Maggie and Aaron (Ben mentioned her name to Aaron before dying) as well as the bad guys who don't want the power to come back on. Grace, bad guy (Randall?) and now Aaron hold the same pendent and it appears to glow!
Right when you thought this episode couldn't get any more predictable, it is revealed that Charlie's mother Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell), is alive and well under the iron rule of Monroe himself. He wants whatever knowledge Rachel is hiding in her pretty little head about the power, the blackout and what the hell the numbers mean! Sorry, wrong show.
This episode is undoubtedly an improvement upon the pilot, but the same issues apply. Revolution cannot seem to get its foot out of the cliché mud. Most of the writing is at best eye-rollable and at worst laugh out loud. How can a room of professional writers not remember the 100 other movies/television shows in which most of Revolution's dialogue is coming from?
I understand that figuring out why the power went off and how to get it back on is the purpose of this show, but the complete brush-off of how human beings in the 21st century have totally lost the ability to re-create any form of power -- wind, coal, steam engines, for God's sake -- is unnerving.
They had me at postapocalyptic world and lost me at episode two.