Is Revolution a) a show full of potential still trying to find its footing or b) a boring show that will disappointingly never live up to its cool premise? More than half a season in now, it’s still sort of hard to tell. Allusions to a world outside the Monroe Republic made at PaleyFest and in the first new 2013 episode suggested a show that was about to expand in scope, really explore the many ways people live without power. But if our trip to Atlanta last night is any indication? Minus a few visual keys and some stray lines of dialogue — we’re still getting more of the same. And that’s a real bummer for a show with this much talent involved.
Okay, okay — “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” wasn’t bad, per se. There was sword fighting, as you might expect, and Elizabeth Mitchell got to do some decent acting as she wrestled with thoughts of her son’s death. But in failing once again to really explore the effects of the Blackout and instead zeroing in on reunions with characters we probably/definitely won’t see again, Revolution demonstrated that it’s maybe got less on its mind than producers have time and again suggested.
Miles and Charlie (and Nora, but come on) made their way…however many miles, in the span of however long, to ATLANTA — home of steam engines, and a rumored trading partner to Europe. Some people in crowd scenes were even wearing suits. Fancy! But the gang wasn’t there to sip mint juleps — they traveled as far as they did to disarm a rumored nuclear bomb, one of Monroe’s plays to win the feuding (former) United States with advanced weaponry. And it would have been so easy, too, if it weren’t for the return of someone from Miles’ past.
…Oh shoot, I realize I wrote that like he’s someone we’d seen before and were invested in. LOL no way! In scattered flashbacks we met Alec, one of Miles’ top guys in the Monroe Militia. He was a keen soldier who clearly thought the world of Miles, his mentor. But then — betrayal. After some bungled military operation left the Texas faction POed, Miles basically sold him out. “This is about the job,” said Miles. “I hate you, dad!” cried Alec, traded off to Texas. So when they met x number of years later in Atlanta, with the latter on nuclear bomb duty — well, it didn’t go great. Or let me clarify that to say it didn’t go great for Alec, who Miles eventually (regrettably) put down. Miles seemed upset, perhaps, to have lost this Militia member who was once like a son to him. But on the other hand, nuclear annihilation averted? And Atlanta’s “President,” who clearly had some sort of romantic past with Miles, took the thwarted attack as a sign to prepare her territory for war with Monroe. With no other Han Solo-ish characters in sight, she asked Miles if he’d be like to be general.
At some unspecified location far, far away Rachel and Aaron found an old doctor friend of Rachel’s, Jane — someone who could theoretically get power up and running again at the mysterious Tower. One problem: the same Blackout that sent “nannites” screaming into the atmosphere also somehow controls the terminal cancer afflicting Jane’s girlfriend. Turn on the power…and turn off this human being, permanently. Luckily that human being turned out to be the most altruistic person in the world. After overhearing Rachel and Jane’s argument about heading for the Tower, girlfriend told Jane she’d kill herself if the doctor didn’t help Rachel find and understand the Tower. So despite some teeth-gnashing and name-calling, everything worked out.
I don’t mean to rag on this show. It’s clearly trying, and hey — any one of the last four episodes was better than all ten of the fall’s entries, minus the pilot. But when you consider how potentially rich a story tapestry Revolution could unfold and explore, the number of different perspectives and experiences they could include in any given 42 minutes…you just want to take these characters by the lapels and shake them until something new and unexpected happens. You can be so much better!
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