Congratulations to Revolution for its full season pick up. I guess this means I won’t be reviewing Hannibal. And condolences to Community fans for the announcement that the show’s return date is still undetermined. Because it’s not like the network is losing its two biggest comedies this season and it would behoove them to maintain some goodwill among viewers.
But onto tonight’s episode of Revolution entitled “The Plague Dogs.” The promo people promised that one … of … these … people … will … die, and it’s Maggie. (Now the above picture makes sense.) An obvious choice made even more obvious at the start of the episode by placing her at the forefront of the flashbacks tonight. (Rule of Thumb: If a side character’s past become the center of attention, odds are, they’re going to die.) Her death, which comes after being stabbed by some lone madman chasing our heroes with a bunch of hell hounds, is well-done but lacks a lot of the impact it could have had. We’re only four episodes into this show, and her major connection to the crew was as Charlie’s surrogate mother back on the commune. Because the two were apart for most of the series thus far, and Charlie is constantly in a huff, we never got a chance to see their relationship or closeness. Without us experiencing that bond, Maggie’s death and its impact on Charlie doesn’t hit as well as it should.
However, I will give the show credit regarding the death on some levels. It didn’t feel like a ploy. There are a lot of shows where death seems like a substitute for something substantial. A cheap, quick, and easy way to get some buzz. Maggie’s death seemed more like a natural offshoot of the environment they’re in. Maggie didn’t die as part of some grand and noble sacrifice, nor was the episode focused around her passing. People die in Revolution-world, and the others are left to continue.
The rest of the episode is typical Revolution fare. A good, but not great, hour of television that one gets the feeling is wisely downplaying its abilities rather than trying, and failing, to live up to its potential. Despite having mostly thinly drawn characters, there’s a human element that makes Revolution succeed. By keeping the focus on the people and divulging information slowly rather than putting all of its attention on not revealing the central mystery or wowing us with the end-of-the-episode twist, Revolution is avoiding many of the pitfalls of its spiritual predecessors.
Aside from the stuff with our main group, the B-plot involved Neville and Danny. A storm is coming so Neville’s platoon decides to hole up for the night in a barn. Danny tries to escape, Neville follows him and gets trapped under rubble. Because of Danny’s father’s teachings of mercy, which Neville admits makes the departed Matheson a “better man than I,” Danny saves him only to get recaptured by Neville because “You’re important kid, more important than you even know.” It’s a well-played segment, primarily because of Esposito, that makes you want to have an episode concentrating on the militia rather than the heroes.
We also briefly spend time at Camp Monroe where Dear Leader tells Rachel that her son is coming soon, and he’ll be tortured if someone doesn’t talk. In flashback news, we learn that Miles summoned Rachael away from her family all those years ago.
Next week we finally get answers about steam engines. And Miles and Neville fight! On a moving train!
• My DVR cut off the first minute of the show so I wasn’t entirely sure why everyone felt that they were only 24 hours from rescuing Danny.
• I don’t get why Charlie was so confused about why everyone they meet is scared of or hates Miles. She learned last week that he was responsible for the militia that has brought hell to the entire land.
• Several plot elements from last week that weren’t brought up: Mark Pellegrino, the rebels, and the magical amulet providing electricity. I thought the amulet was going to trigger at the end when Maggie was grasping onto her iPhone as she died, and I thought I heard the amulet powering up sound effect right before she went into her final flashback. But unless it was brief, I didn’t see anything.
• Unlike in Kripke’s other series, we see the hell hounds tonight. Like in his other series, they still mean a character’s going to die.