After reviewing the Season 2 premiere of Revolution
last week, I had a realization that changed my fundamental approach to the show. You see, I'd been watching it since the beginning, which because of the split season made this really feel like the start of Season 3.
But never before had I written about it, so looking at the plot and characters through a critic's lens was a big adjustment.
And I got it wrong.
I wrote, "So we find ourselves back for the beginning of the second season of NBC's awesome-premised Revolution, hoping for a teensy bit more character development," because I desperately needed to figure out what singularity makes Revolution not quite live up to what it could be. And that was my problem.
The characters are just fine. But I have always compared it to the ideal of the potential that exists for such a premise, instead of simply accepting it for what it is.
Maybe it's the nerd in me, but in my mind, the idea of rebuilding society after a catastrophic event is interesting enough on its own without a culture of extreme violence and government conspiracies and magic fireflies. I have always thought that the time period immediately following such a cataclysmic event as a worldwide blackout that doesn't end could be a very enjoyable hour of television.
I'm not even 100 percent sold that such an incident would so quickly bring about the downfall of society and leave us in a post-apocalyptic every-man-for-himself free for all where the man with the most muskets is king, but that's what TV is all about.
And to be fair, the launch did coincide with The Hunger Games craze, so why not capitalize by making Charlie Katniss-Lite? A crossbow and bow and arrow are close enough.
I had the same issue with FOX's Terra Nova a year or so ago, which I thought was an incredible idea that devolved into cryptic messages scribbled on waterfall rocks and battles waged between the government of the future and the population now living in the prehistoric past.
Why couldn't the series just be about colonizing the world in the age of dinosaurs? Why did it need to have Lost-esk twists? Sure, there would be rebels and probably some fighting, but there is plenty of opportunity for drama without all the murder and mayhem.
Again, maybe these are things other people just aren't interested in watching. But it's not fair for me to hold Revolution to some non-existent extreme that it will never be. The world of Revolution is dangerous. The world of Revolution is violent. The world of Revolution is deadly. And similarly to how the characters who might hope for a return to a peaceful society have to accept their reality, so must I. At worst, it will make Revolution a whole lot easier to enjoy.
Aaron and a Best Picture Rip Off
And so, "There Will Be Blood" (OF COURSE that's what it's called) picks up where the premiere left off, with Aaron the Beard's slashing death and surprising resurrection. Apparently he was out for 2 1/2 hours, or 14 seconds in TV time, which of course is impossible without suffering some form of brain damage. So he makes a zombie joke, wonders why the microscopic robots chose to save him, sees a dead rat, hears a gunshot and has a vision of Ben lying in a pool of blood.
His girlfriend assumes it's all a message from God, so he breaks the news to her about what really caused the Blackout and the 6-month-old Surge. In a flashback, we learn that Aaron was just a second away from stopping the nukes before they blew up Atlanta and Philly, but then the system crashed and the bombs landed.
Gus Fring burst in and had just enough time to see the carnage on the monitors before the Tower went dark, the computers exploded and the gang escaped in the blackness. But if you consider that Aaron died and was resurrected, is having visions, has a huge beard and, the kicker, is now using a cane, I'm starting to think he may end up being the savior.
Charlie and Monroe Take a Dip
Meanwhile, Charlie is still hunting Monroe, who has been captured by a good-looking bounty hunter working for the newly resurfaced US government. She knocks out Patchy McCyclops before said bounty hunter shoots her with some buckshot and ties her up with Monroe in a drained pool.
After he cleans up her wounds, she offers a dire warning that Monroe will escape and kill him, followed by an icy exchange between Charlie and Monroe. He commands her respect, while she counters with the fact that he's isn't in charge of anyone now and is so pathetic that she'll be happy to finish him off if he can't do it himself. But really, this scene is all about HD closeups, taut lips and extremely blue eyes. They're both so dreamy for a couple people covered in bloody scabs and bruises.
Anyway, the bounty hunter lets Charlie go and attempts to move Monroe, who uses a piece of porcelain pool tile to break free and make a run for it. After snapping Patchy's neck and issuing a grade A beatdown to the bounty hunter, Charlie intervenes and attacks Monroe with a piece of tubing. He laughs at her womanly attempts at violence before socking her in the stomach and making his escape in the carriage that had previously held him captive.
This leaves Charlie and the bounty hunter free to pursue both Monroe and a romance.
Major Tom Versus the USA
Tom and Jason Neville remain in the Georgia refugee camp, where the president's emissary is drumming up support for the good 'ol stars and stripes. Convinced that she is partly responsible for bombs that killed his wife, Tom has vowed to end her and the administration.
But instead of simply letting his murder plot play out, he goes all Jack Ruby on Jason's friend's Lee Harvey Oswald, gaining his target's trust and offering to join her security detail. He's going to get to the bottom of exactly what America wants before he starts offing important people. As is the smart way to do so while ensuring your own survival.
Rachel on a Mission
Back in town with Dr. Dad, the now un-crazy Rachel Matheson has decided she must put together a rescue mission for Miles, who was abducted along with the sheriff by the bandits hell bent on taking the village for whatever reason.
The residents band together and move to a shelter in preparation, but the good Reverend Eric Camden manages to scrape together a few men to launch the rescue attempt, which is going fine until the group stomps upon a crunchy field of dead rats. More to come on that, for sure.
Creeps and Weirdos
Miles and the sheriff have been kidnapped and by Titus, a former headmaster/pedophile with a child porn fetish and a love for a disturbing kind of freedom ("My boys are free to do whatever they like"). Either way, the creepiness allows for some sarcastic one-liners before Titus smashes Miles' hand with a hammer for attempting to escape and murdering two men with a hatchet.
He tests both captives' blood and shoots the sheriff (but he didn't shoot the deputy), which I guess is what happens to you when you idolize Chuck Norris.
Titus sends the dead body back to town on a horse with no name, then leads Miles through the creepy red door from which one does not return. On the other side is a woman nearly drained of her blood, and Miles is apparently next on the letting block.
Oh, and apparently Titus is also in cahoots with the US government, with one of his cronies writing a note in a strange language and sealing it with some hot wax and a stamp of the one-eyed pyramid on the back of a dollar bill. Kinky. And two cyclops references in the same recap! Who would've thought...
A Snappy Start
All in all, Revolution is doing what Revolution does, although they're doing it with a plethora of witty dialogue and cultural references. After David Schwimmer last week, we were treated to the tale of The Ghostbusters ("It all started inside an old firehouse in New York City"), Walker Texas Ranger and Meet the Press. I'd still prefer the generation gap to be about more than just TV shows and movies that don't exist anymore, but I've already established that I'm not going to "what-if" the show anymore.
So let's just all sit back and enjoy the violent ride, cause some peoples is gonna die. Probably no one terribly important though.
You can watch Revolution every Wednesday at 8 pm on NBC.