I’m sure I’ve said this in other Revolution recaps, but there are a lot of interesting concepts operating within the show’s borders. Unfortunately, it rarely makes proper use out of any of them. As the season progresses, it’s hard to not be increasingly disappointed by the potential it has squandered in favor of frustrating redundancy.
Take Monroe for example. This episode begins with him launching drone strikes against the rebels, and the people at the controls seem morally conflicted about what they’re doing, but they do it anyway. So the question becomes why do they follow Monroe? New second-in-command Jeremy Baker makes it clear that Monroe has become isolated and weird to the point where people are beginning to notice. Anytime we see him in the field, it’s obvious that he’s insane (well, he seems more depressed than insane, but that’s on actor David Lyons). While I can accept that some people want to follow him because they’re bloodthirsty maniacs, I find it difficult to believe that the militia consists primarily of such lunatics.
How is Monroe commanding their loyalty? Are the people in his upper echelon getting the electric amulets of which there are apparently thousands now? Is he giving electricity to those people near his camp thus making him come across as their leader and savior? These are questions the show should be answering, but it doesn’t. Instead, it prefers to show planes and helicopters, because they make stuff explode and are loud and stuff.
The control Monroe has over his people actually becomes significant in “The Longest Day.” His new second-in-command Jeremy Baker (Mark Pellegrino) plays the voice of reason by saying that that even though Monroe’ll probably take over the continent, “he’ll do it alone and be paranoid of everyone and everything around him.” He tells him that he needs to leave his ivory tower and join his soldiers for a celebratory drink. Unfortunately, when they leave, they’re attacked by a Georgian assassin who turns out to be acting alone. However, Monroe’s paranoia gets the better of him. He believes Baker set up the entire thing and kills him. That’s right. They kill Jeremy Baker, one of the few interesting characters on the show and the only one who’s even mildly amusing. Burke and Esposito are good, but Pellegrino actually seemed like he was enjoying himself. His absence is going to be felt.
In the rebel camp, as I mentioned above, there are drone strikes. Which means explosions, and gunfire, and more gunfire, and more explosions. As action sequences go, it is decently done, but that seems to be all this show is- characters crouching behind things and having automatic weapon battles while stuff explodes in the background. There is no sense of suspense or danger because it happens in every frelling episode. Charlie’s buried under rubble! Who cares? We know she’s going to survive. Even Nora being kidnapped at the end and taken to Monroe (who will most assuredly torture her, or worse) seems more like a rote cliffhanger than a genuine moment of fear for her safety.
While we’re pretty much assured that the heroes (and even the villains) are going to survive in shows like this, Revolution somehow lacks the gravity to make it work. I don’t know if it’s because the scenes surrounding the action sequences aren’t strong enough or because the characters are very lame, but when I see bullets start flying, I am seriously tempted to fast forward.
Elsewhere in Revolution, Aaron and Rachel are still making their way towards The Tower. Still suffering from her broken leg with the bone sticking through the skin, Rachel gives her companion some nanite thingy that he puts into the wound. It fixes the fracture almost immediately. I thought it was stupid, but I was willing to accept the nanites curing cancer or whatever. But to fix a broken leg in a matter of seconds means that whenever the writers are backed into a corner, they’ll turn to the deux ex nanites and give them some new magical property because, why not? Also, if they turn the power back on, does that mean her leg will get rebroken?
Revolution was supposed to be about a world without electricity and how people learn to survive when objects, particularly bullets, are scarce. Now we have magical robots, constant gunfire, and drone strikes. I’m used to shows abandoning their original premise somewhere down the line, but never this soon.
• Also in the Rachel subplot, someone finds them and wants to use her technology to save his kid’s life. She refuses, which upsets Aaron. I assume nanite injections are a limited commodity so I can’t blame her for wanting to withhold the technology. Of course, if they were still starving as they were last week and had to debate trading the life-saving technology for food, that would be something worth considering. But not on this show!
• Rachel also tells Aaron this is a quest for revenge against the man who killed her son and not primarily about saving the world. I like that Rachel is being selfish with her motives and expressing less than noble goals. It makes her a more interesting character.
• Madame President is already considering surrendering to Monroe. Guess all that talk about being able to take him in a land war was just a lie. She knew he had electricity and war weapons when she hired Monroe and Neville.
• It was 7 years after the blackout when Miles took Rachel to Monroe. And Miles and Rachael had an affair! I wonder if Charlie is really his daughter!
• I wonder if it raises eyebrows that Monroe has gone through three second-in-commanders in about as many weeks. Hierarchy is important in a military organization.
• We don’t go back to The Tower this week, so we don’t get any more information about The Goofy Monster on the Seventh Floor.
• I guess the Anthrax thing is over with. At this point, I’m more interested in Season 2 less to see what happens to the characters and more to see what plots they haven’t used yet.