'Revolution' Recap: Escaping the Mind ... and Reality
'Revolution' Recap: Escaping the Mind ... and Reality
Bill King
Bill King
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." - Cobb, Inception

The latest episode of Revolution, "Dreamcatcher," was the first in this season, and possibly in the series as a whole that wasn't on the level. It wasn't "what you see is what you get", and the result was the most clever, funny, and overall entertaining installment of Season 2 thus far.

It was The Matrix meets Inception meets Vanilla Sky and every other self-aware computer apocalypse all rolled into one, with so many pitfalls for failure they outnumber the movies referenced. But it just worked. The end result was negligible, but for one hour at least, all was right in the non-electrified world of the future. It just wasn't alright in Aaron Pittman's mind.

Recognizing the Lucid Dream

After trying to upload a virus to the code of the already-dying nanotech, Aaron wakes up today, March 5, 2014, in his luxury Minnesota high-rise apartment. He has a hot wife in a sexy purple number, a powerful job at Pittman Digital, and all the courtside Timberwolves tickets his heart desires. Plus there's cold beer (complete with expensive in-show Bud Light advertisement). What more could anyone want? But something just isn't right. 

The second he gets to work, two tech geeks pull him aside and tell him they need help fixing a code, and he starts to remember what thing are like in the real world. A kiss from Priscilla convinces him that what he's feeling is real and that a world without electricity is insanity. However, he just can't shake the feeling. Still, he decides this place is great, and he wants to stay. 

You'd think the fact that Priscilla wears lingerie every night, eats only one waffle for breakfast, and falls asleep watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force would be enough to make Aaron realize he's in a fantasy land, but it takes Charlie busting into his office at work and murdering the two tech geeks for him to open his eyes to the lack of reality.

Finding Your Friends

Charlie, or "belly shirt girl" as he remembers her, explains that this is all a virtual reality program and she is part of his subconscious trying to fight the nano. He has to find the people he knows in this realm and convince them to help him. Dr. Horn appears with some Patriots and shoots Charlie in the head. 

Aaron runs past a bus ad for Tom Neville Insurance and then bumps into Miles' old girlfriend who died in the season finale last year, then hops a cab to Chicago to find Rachel, who he ambushes in a parking garage. She tases him before he conjures a gun and orders her to take him to Miles, and they flee in her car just as Horn and the Pats arrive. 

During the car ride, Aaron tells Rachel things only Rachel would know in an effort to prove that they're friends, and he tosses the gun out  the window. They find Miles in a motel room, drinking and calling insurance commercial Tom a dick. He asks if Rachel whether she is coming crawling back and tells Beardy McGee to leave so they can chat. Aaron offers him $1,000 for 10 minutes. Then Monroe arrives with a pizza.

Remembering How to Fight

Aaron wants Miles to quit the crazy drunk guy routine and go all Berserker and kill guys with a sword. He tells Monroe that he once commanded an entire army and had an unhealthy obsession with Civil War uniforms. The hilarity of the dream world is that everyone gets to play up their stereotypes while actually performing out of character. 

Then, as Horn arrives and the Pats carry out Aaron kicking and screaming, Miles and Monroe suddenly have swords (Rachel only gets a bottle to break over someone's head) and proceed to slaughter all the guards. They also remember everything now, with Monroe calling Aaron "Staypuft," because Aaron has put all the memories inside their fake heads.

Maybe it's just because I'm a nerd, but that's one thing that always amazes me about dreams. The only time I talk in my sleep is when I'm lying next to someone and dreaming that I'm having a conversation with them, then I answer out loud. What gets me is that while I am aware I'm making up everything I say, I never think about the fact that my brain is also conjuring everything that the other person is saying to me. In the dream world, that person is just talking. But in reality, I am writing the dialogue for both of us. And that always freaks me out, because it feels like a generic real conversation my girlfriend and I could be having any random day. Anyway.

A Leap of Faith

Miles hot wires a car, and they all try to figure out what Aaron needs to wake up from the dream. Fear? Death? Embarrassment? Nope, it's always falling that works for him. So he needs to jump off a building. His building. 

Nano-Priscilla's last-ditch effort involves an offer to stay in this world, in this life, with her forever. All he has to do is fix the code, and this can be his reality. But it's not real, so he falls off the roof and wakes up strapped to a gurney surrounded by Dr. Horn and a bunch of torture gear.

We tried this the nice way, now fix the code or else. But Aaron stands up to him, calling him a "reject Skynet piece of crap" and says the nano is just a machine that has no control over his mind. He thinks away his restraints and removes the knives from Horn's hand. He tells the nanites to leave him alone, orders himself to wake up, opens his eyes back in Lubbock and exclaims a weak little "yaay."

Back to Willoughby

Aaron wakes up Priscilla, threatens to cut Peter's throat, and heads back to Willoughby to "go home." Along the way, they see dying fireflies along the roadway and lights starting to sputter back on. They reunite with Miles and Rachel, who tell them intermittent spurts of power have prompted people to start hoarding electronics. 

As they watch, the skies open up with a lightning storm that starts killing everyone. They rush inside a computer store, where Rachel is struck and Miles begs for her to be saved. Aaron immediately caves and opens a flickering laptop, where he fixes the code and cures the nanites. 

I was feeling surprised that Aaron would go back on everything he'd just worked for when Priscilla, Miles and Rachel all disappear and Horn thanks him for saving their little mechanical lives. It was another illusion in his head, but now Aaron is free to go and will be left alone, because the nanotech is moving on to "other things." 

He wakes up next to Priscilla, with a now-conscious Peter grinning from ear to ear saying everything is going to be okay. They trudge up the road out of Lubbock, heading back to Willoughby, for real this time.

The Aftermath

My main complaint all season long has been a lack of direction and the fact that Revolution tosses us mini-storylines that take a few episodes to resolve and leave us right back where we started. This is a definitive example of that. 

I mean, what difference did all this make? If we completely remove the plot point of the nanites dying and Aaron saving them, where would we be? The only thing it really accomplished was to get Aaron away for awhile and introduce the characters of Priscilla and Peter. This was an arc that spanned more than a couple episodes, basically for no reason.

However, I didn't care. This episode was cool and interesting and a pretty accurate representation of how dreams work, those mysterious little devils that can be so vivid you wake up having to convince yourself the events didn't actually happen. I actually once thought I killed someone a decade ago for like an hour, then I realized that if that were true, I probably would have thought about it at least once between then and now. Then, just as soon as you "lived" it, it's gone, nary a vague detail to be recalled. 

I was actually hoping that Aaron would wake up in the real world and it would be like six months after he feel asleep. All the Willoughby nonsense would be taken care of, and they could catch us up in about 15 minutes before sending the series in a whole new direction.

Unfortunately, though, you eventually have return to reality. I'm hoping Revolution rolls with the momentum of this quality episode and avoids that next week.

You can watch Revolution every Wednesday at 8pm on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)