Revolution review – 1×04: ‘The Plague Dogs’

Courtesy of NBC

Earlier this week Revolution got a full season pick-up from NBC (the first drama of the 2012 television season), which means we’ve got a minimum of eighteen more hours to unravel the mysteries of the blackout. Either that or we’re simply going to watch Danny (Graham Rogers) escape and get captured eighteen more times.

Let’s bitch it out…As always, let’s break down the pros, cons and draws of the episode.

+ (Pros)

  • Ben (Tim Guinee) & Maggie’s (Anna Lise Phillips) first meeting: The dialogue is hokey, but the visuals are arresting as she nearly commits suicide only to find redemption, all at the edge of a lake at sunrise (or sunset)
  • Charlie’s (Tracy Spiridakos) tears: She may be the character I most want to see arrowed, but she cries well. Let’s put her in more dangerous/painful situations so that we can see tears instead of bad acting
  • Cliffhangers: The preceding 41 minutes may often sometimes feel underwhelming, but Revolution is doing well with its game-changing cliffhangers. Tonight’s is pretty good: Miles (Billy Burke) not only knows that Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) is alive, but he’s the one that lured her into Monroe’s (David Lyons) torturous embrace. At this point, the flashbacks to the time shortly after the blackout are far more interesting than anything that’s happening in the present

– (Cons)

  • Time differences: Maggie says goodnight in Seattle to her kids in London (pre-blackout) but the time difference is 7 hours. That means Seattle gets really dark late in the afternoon, or her kids are up super late
  • Miles: Let’s just put a stop to the idle threats to leave in every episode, shall we? Not only is it old, but it makes him sound very much like the “selfish dick” Nora (Daniella Alonso) suggests he is. Hopefully with tonight’s fatality (see below), this tired trope will cease and desist immediately
  • Tetanus: Tagline ‘The silent killer of the daughters of crazy dog-lovers.’ Watch your step, people. You never know when bandits will take all of your supplies, your daughter will step on a rusty nail and watching her die will turn you into a femoral artery severing kidnapper/murderer. The more you know!
  • Killing Maggie: Way to get rid of one of the only worthwhile characters. Sure it raises the stakes on the show, but it also reduces the decent characters by about 25%
  • Episode titles: When you include the words “plague dogs”, you better have Resident Evil-style zombie dogs that salivate at the sight of human flesh. There is no plague in this episode! That’s false advertising, Revolution

Courtesy of NBC

Draw (Jury’s Still Out)

  • Danny and Neville (Giancarlo Esposito): Initially a ‘Con’ due to the number of times Danny nearly escapes only to get recaptured. I wish that the show would give its characters room to breathe as there’s a nice hint of a moral dilemma when the tables are turned after Neville is caught under a fallen beam. But it’s all wrapped up and Danny is back in captivity in the span of a single 90 second scene. That’s very little payoff only to reiterate the status quo
  • Monroe: I’m still interested in learning more about him, but as a character, he’s significantly less complicated now that he’s essentially turned into a molar pulling, child-threatening villain. What’s next: mustache twirling?

Lazy Writing of the Week Award

  • Any speeches made about “family”. For a 10pm show, Revolution sure does have an 8pm Disney feel to it in its uncomplicated “family comes first” approach to narrative. We get it – now show us more about these people (preferably more than 42 minutes before you kill them) so that we can actually appreciate them as three dimensional beings

Best Lines

  • Charlie (echoing what everyone is thinking about Miles): “Everyone we meet wants to catch you, kill you, kill us for knowing you or they’re flat out terrified of you.”
  • Miles (in response, also echoing what everyone is thinking about Charlie): “Dammit Charlie shut up!”
  • Neville (to Danny): “We’re stuck here so you can go on looking at me like you’re sucking on a lemon…”

How are you feeling about the show knowing that its future is guaranteed for the season? Are you tired of Danny’s failed escape attempts? Is Monroe less interesting now that he’s just a torturer? Do you wish that Charlie had died instead of Maggie? And if the world were to end tomorrow, would you be one of the poor suckers to expire from tetanus? Hit the comments and tell us all about it below

Revolution airs Mondays at 10pm EST on NBC

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

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