Revolution review – 1×05: ‘Soul Train’

Courtesy of NBC

Killing off a character is a significant event on a television show, so it’s interesting that NBC’s Revolution went there so early in its first season. The question on my mind going into ‘Soul Train’ (aside from wondering how the popular dance show fits into the dystopian world of Revolution) is how much of an impact the death will have.

Let’s bitch it out…

As always, let’s break down the pros, cons and draws of the episode.

+ (Pros)

  • Geography lessons: A quick peek at the map reveals that the Monroe republic is one of several independent states, including the Georgia Federation to the South, Plains Nation to the East, California Commonwealth (far East) with Wasteland sandwiched in between (Side Note: hilariously the map still ends at the Canada/US border). Small touches like this and the horses pulling a car help to make the show more interesting/memorable
  • Nora’s (Daniella Alonso) logbomb: Neat concept!
  • Miles’ (Billy Burke) look of resignation as Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) is tossed off the train: You just know he’s thinking “Why do I bring this b*tch along?”. The more that they acknowledge how much Charlie sucks, the happier I will be
  • “Nate” (JD Pardo) is Jason, Neville’s son: Feels like I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. So kudos to Revolution for that

- (Cons)

  • Maggie’s (Anna Lise Phillips) death: Killing the doc has about as little impact as the time it takes for the group to bury her.
  • Jason’s escape: A guy with his hands tied behind his back can outjump, outclimb, and outrun a man with a sword. Weak…
  • Charlie’s attack on Neville: You have arrows. G*d you are useless! Also as useless as Danny (Graham Rogers) – who literally cannot fight or escape no matter how hard he tries.

Courtesy of NBC

Draw (Jury’s Still Out)

  • Good guest stars in bland roles: Jeff Fahey guests as Hutch, the lone rebel in Noblesville, who has a surface-level motivation to avenge his dead wife by blowing up the train. That’s it (aside from stabbing Nora). Same goes for Kim Raver as Neville’s wife, who looks pretty and then gets concerned when Neville Hulks out (see below)
  • The train hijack: Much like the  bridge explosion in 1×02 ‘Chained Heat’, this action sequence exists to entertain viewers who need a weekly action fix. It’s not bad, it’s just not good either. It’s completely perfunctory
  • 12 Pendants: Juliet Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) caves when she sees Danny and immediately gives up the electricity pendant to Monroe (David Lyons). A) Way to give in and B) 12?! Ugh – this feels like the search for the videotapes on Fringe. When they assemble the 12 will they unite to form a giant pendant like in Japanese anime or something?

Lazy Writing of the Week Award – TIE

  • Neville’s (Giancarlo Esposito) backstory: A mild mannered man loses his humanity when pushed to the brink by a-holes. Oh gosh, I’ve never seen this story before (*cough Straw Dogs, Last House On The Left cough*).
  • Nora is stabbed, but she’s okay (because – you know – the team doctor died last week). How convenient

Best Lines

  • Danny (to Neville): “Does it make you feel tough, beating up an eighteen year old kid?” If we use Neville’s backstory, Danny should become just like him, so he can look forward to doing the same thing in fifteen years
  • Hutch (stabbing Nora): “I have to do this for my wife!” Oldest excuse in the book. I stab women every other day in line at the store because my wife was killed by rebels. And when they try to grab the last box of crackers. And when they walk slowly
  • Charlie (rah-rahing the team after their spectacular failure at rescuing Danny): “Nora, are you in or are you going to try and kill my brother again?” Zing!

So that’s Revolution‘s fifth episode. Are you sad that Maggie barely got a send off? Can you believe that Danny failed to escape again? Did you like Neville’s backstory or feel it was too cliched? And how much did you wish Charlie was either run over by the train or blown up by the logbomb? Hit the comments 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

5 thoughts on “Revolution review – 1×05: ‘Soul Train’

  1. I would have given up on trying to help Danny a while ago, and I hate how the search for him dragged out to four episodes. I should have figured that Nate (AKA Jason) was Neville’s son as well, because he was too willing to go along with them on their journey when he really did not need them at all.

  2. This episode was a bit better than first few. We finally saw the train. It was logical steam machines would work because they are mechanical, not electrical. We have to see more bikes, more horses, stagecoaches, pony express, balloons, zeppelins… All that existed before electricity.
    Didn’t miss Maggie. She wasn’t interesting at all. Except the poison in a bottle and iphone with pics.
    Danny is worst part of the show. It would be better to kill him so Charlie would go for revenge. Charlie is finally becoming tough, that would make her tougher.
    They have to give Elizabeth Mitchell more space.

  3. Nate being Neville’s son took me by surprise too, which was kind of a shocker in itself. The Neville backstory reminds me of Locke on Lost. Ordinary guy who just keeps getting stepped on. Which makes sense since Neville is probably the most interesting character on the show. The weekly character flashbacks in general are very reminiscent of Lost, but without the sense of really caring…
    I wasn’t that into the Maggie character, so the lack of send off didn’t really bother me much. I think that’s the downside of the whole show, though. I have no emotional attachment to any of the characters.
    However, the thing that bugs me the MOST (and I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned!) is why did Monroe wait so long to kidnap Ben, Danny or Charlie to get whatshername to talk? He’s had her cooped up in that room for almost 15 years and made zero progress on getting any info out of her. That is the ULTIMATE lazy writing.

    • That’s a very good point. Hopefully we’ll find an answer to that when we get more of the revealing flashbacks (aka my favourite part of the show)

      Perhaps Monroe spent the time trying to get Rebeca to sleep with him and only recently switched to focusing on the power? They have some pretty decent chemistry!

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