After a rather perfunctory pilot last week, Revolution settles in with its second episode. How does the next episode fare?
Let’s bitch it out…If we’re being perfectly honest, Revolution remains more intriguing in theory rather than execution (and even that is being kind). With this see-saw of good vs. bad qualities likely to be a regular feature for the show, let’s introduce the +/-/draw game for future Revolution reviews:
- Giancarlo Esposito: He remains the best part of the show, adding depth and great line delivery to an otherwise rote character
- Monroe (David Lyons): Perhaps it’s simply because he’s mysterious and powerful, but I’m digging this villain, even if he does at times feel like a watered down version of better characters from STARZ’s Spartacus
JulietRachel (Elizabeth Mitchell): Shooting the guy trying to steal the family’s food stash and still being alive (totally called it, btw)? This chick is so Juliet
- The scenery: The locations are engaging (the lush, overgrown wilderness slowly consuming everything is eye-popping)
- Plotting: Revolution plot, have you met Captain Obvious? Clearly, because there’s barely a single interaction that doesn’t feel familiar, dull and predictable. Thus far the show has delivered exactly what you’d expect, which isn’t so much comfort food as snoozy television
- Characters: If everything were familiar, but the characters were amazing, it would be a forgivable sin. Sadly the majority of these people remain as flat and uninteresting as ever. Tracy Spiridakos’ Charlie is slightly better this week, but her “golly aw shucks I can’t kill someone” routine is already played out and Billy Burke deserves a better break-out vehicle than this Han Solo-lite caricature
- Danny (Graham Rogers): The kidnapped farmboy remains a nuisance. Not only is Rogers not a match for Esposito’s intensity, his character flip-flops depending on the scene. One moment he’s crying over the death of one of his captors and then next he’s a petulant, indignant brat who calls Neville a murderer. Does he have a backbone or is he emotionally naive? Pick one and run with it…or kill him with fire
- 8 million storylines: Grace (Maria Howell) is being threatened by a mysterious man as Aaron (Zak Orth) and Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips) begin their search for her while Miles, Charlie and Nora do the chain gang thing, while Charlie also flirts with JD Pardo’s Nate (not his real name). Also Neville is traveling with Danny cross country, Monroe is threatening Rachel and we have flashbacks to the days immediately after the flashback. Can’t some of this be streamlined so that we can get to know these people a bit better? It’s not hard to follow, but it does feel unnecessarily spread out
- Five seconds of C. Thomas Howell: You introduce him as bounty hunter Jimmy, have Miles escape him twice and then never mention him again?! Obviously he’s coming back later, but this is a lacklustre use of a guest star
Draw (aka Jury’s Still Out)
- Nora (Daniella Alonso): The new female character could be an interesting addition to an already overstuffed cast, but so far she falls into the “predictable plotting” category. So far she’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect: fiesty, “will they, won’t they” sexually interested in Miles and tough until it comes time to battle when she ends up needing saving (like girls always do in the minds of Hollywood)
- The rebels: The US flag is now a co-opted symbol of the resistance that (along with guns) is punishable by death. Intriguing that it only takes 15 years to outlaw, but this piece of information helps with the world building and provides a neat little tweak to further distinguish the world of the show from ours. Will it be worth the pay-off? So far it isn’t, but perhaps with time
Lazy Writing of The Week Award
- The chain gang is apparently so easy to escape from that you can just walk away in the middle of the night. Bonus points: they won’t even notice you’re missing in the morning! Makes you wonder how they got anyone to stick around to drag that helicopter through the woods!
At this point I’m prepared to give Revolution another week or two to find itself, but thus far it hasn’t really captured the imagination very well. It’s still more interesting to discuss/consider than to watch and Charlie & Danny remain insufferably dull/boring/naive/idealistic/annoying, etc. When the flashbacks to Ben (Tim Guinee) and Rachel trying to get young Charlie and Danny out of the city 15 years ago is more interesting than anything happening currently, there’s a problem. P.S. Did anyone else get a The Walking Dead vibe from those scenes?
What do you think, Revolution viewers: are you enthralled by this new world or are you still on the fence? Which character are you most interested in spending time with? Were you psyched to see Nora join the main cast? If Danny could die one non-electrical way, what should it be? Sound off below and we’ll see you next week!
Revolution airs Mondays at 10pm EST on NBC