Speaking at PaleyFest 2013 a few weeks ago, Revolution co-creator and show runner Eric Kripke seemed very aware of the sluggish pace with which his show moved through its first ten episodes. “We see that fall run as…almost a prologue to a much larger story. Trust me, I was feeling a degree of impatience myself!” He went on to discuss what we’re going to see this spring — namely the other militias that have sprung up post-Blackout — promising it would all be happening with great speed.
So there are worse ways you could kick off your second run of episodes than with a barrage of machine gun fire and the death of a character no one cared about!
Really, “The Stand” lived up to Kripke’s proclamations. And if it’s not so bold to suggest, reset the game board for what will hopefully be an exciting and story-rich Spring. It’s cold to suggest that all a show needed to do to get back on our good graces was kill a poor teenager, but jettisoning Danny — the recovery of whom drove the plot of TEN FULL EPISODES — is the best thing Revolution could do at this point to move forward, and maybe generate some shading for its female lead. Charlie? She’s great with a crossbow, and a decent foil for her uncle, Han Solo/Miles Matheson. But independent of those things she’s a boring character, who was made all the more so by her constant calls to “FIND DANNY.” He was found; now’s he dead. And we can all move on with our lives, maybe more interestingly than before!
While I’m sure it’s costing producers a pretty penny, the introduction of helicopters offered some much-needed action as well as selling the near-insurmountable threat the Rebels (just call yourselves the Rebel Alliance guys, it’s totally fine) face in trying to take down Monroe. They straight-up fired missiles at Miles & Co.! It was awesome! The biggest tactical error this show made last fall was in assuming we were so invested in the characters, we could deal with long action-less stretches between benchmark episodes. You can give us thin characters — that’s fine. But you can’t be boring while you’re doing it. Firefights go a long way to remedy this kind of imbalance.
We picked up right where we left off last fall — fleeing from the prison camp where Rachel and Danny were being held, tailed by newly powered-up helicopters. “We need to get as far away from Philly as we can get!” screamed Miles (but more accurately everyone, all the time) as they dodged missiles, a militia checkpoint, and passionate Nora kisses en route to the nearest rebel camp in, you guessed it, Annapolis, Maryland. How fast are these guys walking? Is that some sort of post-Blackout evolutionary adaptation?
Then: TWO ROADS DIVERGED. Having just reunited with her children after 15 long years, Rachel of course needed to get away from them as quickly as possible, and enlisted Miles to join her in a gun run to her buddy John’s house. “I’m so proud of you guys!” she cooed to Charlie and Danny right before leaving, the oldest trick in the absentee parent book.
More great parenting soon followed when we caught up with Jason and Neville, staking out the rebel base. Their orders from Monroe: kill everyone they find. “There are too many people in there!” Jason cried, thinking of his girlfriend from camp, Charlie. Neville offered the kind of response any dad would, “bitch has you soft as a kitten,” before slapping his son across the face. Like a dad. THAT’S IT — Jason tackled Neville. Neville tackled him back. Jason got in one solid punch. Then Neville pretty much took his son to the friggin’ cleaners. “Don’t ever come home again.” Honestly that is perfectly okay with me, dad! I think you have some stuff to work through!
Rachel’s friend John, like her a Keeper of the Power Necklaces, offered Rachel and Miles a tour of his weapons workshop. Rocket launchers. Submachine guns. A “sonic cannon,” which fires noise. “I’ve got a lot of free time on my hands” John told us, deflecting criticism before we could dish it out. Then: betrayal. “Randall got to me.” Before Miles could say something Han Solo-ish John had already knocked him and Rachel out with the sonic cannon. (Raise your hand if you saw that coming. Congratulations! You have seen television before.)
Meanwhile, alerted to an impending Monroe airstrike by the now fatherless Jason, Charlie, Danny, Nora, Zak Orth (whose name I’ve forgotten. Preston?), and the rest of the rebels gathered to make their stand. And sure enough, not one but two heavily-armed helicopters showed up to take care of business. Could this be it for the nascent Rebel Alliance?
NO! screamed Miles as he and his horse-drawn pile of insane weaponry came to the rescue. You guys need a rocket launcher? Now you’ve got a rocket launcher! Consistent, desensitizing violence filled the screen for a few minutes before Miles took aim with his new toy at one of the choppers. But not before the other one fired on him, knocking Miles out. Danny grabbed the rocket launcher instead. Fired away. And BLEW THE BIRD OUT OF THE FRIGGIN’ SKY. Without the power amplifier contained on the just-exploded chopper, the other one immediately went down.
That is, before it fired about a thousand bullets into Danny’s chest, making sure we understood there is absolutely no way in which this kid was alive.
Again — great, necessary move for the show. Less so for characters Charlie and Rachel (you know, his family) who grieved like no one was watching. But hey — plan of vengeance SOLIDIFIED. And no need for me to make a single joke about the returned power finally allowing Danny to get a buzz cut. Except that one, sorry.
QUICK POST-DRAMA BUSINESS: That “Randall” character everyone had been talking about showed up to Monroe’s offices, asking if he could do anything to help stem the rebel tide. And Rachel, inspecting her son’s body, cut deep into his pelvis to pull out…some sort of blinking device. As long as it doesn’t take us nine episodes to start talking about what it is? We are all good.
RIP Danny. RIP Revolution 1.0!
[Photo Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC]
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