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'Revolution' Review: 'There Will Be Blood'

Andrea Towers Andrea Towers
October 3rd, 2013 8:50am EDT

Revolution

Revolution continues its revamped second season by picking up where we left off last week, with Aaron waking up after being mysteriously revived. It seems like this is going to be one of the bigger ongoing plot lines, and as much as some people might think it’s a bit “hokey” I actually find it interesting – we’re not only giving Zak Orth a storyline with potential, it’s also one that’s big enough to involve other characters (case in point, we see a bit more of Rachel’s uneasiness and guilt as Aaron tries to reconcile his resurrection.) While Aaron believes that his revival is due to the nanotech, I have a hunch that it’s not that easy – and if it is, there will most likely be consequences for being brought back from the dead, some of what might have already been seen as Aaron seems to be developing hallucinations and visions that only he is aware of.

Among the (many) things I felt like the show was struggling to find last year was the notion of what it wanted to be. Revolution seemed to be trying to categorize itself as anything from a mystery drama to a mythology piece to a science fiction series, and Aaron’s mystery not only gives it bit more credence in the sci-fi department but also helps push it towards a more defined category. My opinion may be in the minority, but I’m already finding that a focus on a linear, single-minded story (with just a few offshoots) is helping the show improve greatly. I remember feeling that by episode three of last season the show had already lost its groove, and this time around there seems to be a definite through line between all the stories and the characters – one that I hope will stay consistent as the season progresses.

I love that we’ve started to give Giancarlo Esposito more to play with, and watching him cunningly maneuver the chess pieces to get himself back into the role of power makes me wish we had gotten more backstory than we did of his initial rise to Militia fame. It was a nice plot twist to make us believe that Neville was going to shoot Justine Allenford (Nicole Ari Parker) only to set up a poor civilian instead and use the trick to his advantage. What we’ve come to know from Neville after the first season is that he’s a family man, and he’s a determined man, and once he sets his sights on something that he wants, there’s little that he’ll do to get it. I can’t wait to see how his story plays out, and furthermore, if the Allenford gets suspicious at any point. I can’t imagine these government folk are going to walk into any camp and expect people to cater to them after the being governed by the Militia for so long.

Elsewhere, Miles is being held captive by Titus Andover (Matt Ross), leader of the War Clan that’s been terrorizing the Texas area where Rachel and Gene are. There’s the mysterious red door, which everyone in captivity is terrified of since you apparently don’t come out if you come in. At the very end of the episode, we do get a glimpse of what’s inside, courtesy of Miles who has attempted to escape enough to piss off his captors. While it appears to be a strange torture chamber of sorts, I can’t imagine that Miles will be gravely hurt – yet it seems as though this storyline will play into the Rachel/Miles relationship we hinted at seeing more of last week. Most of Rachel’s fierce determination has become focused on saving Miles despite her father not being on board with the idea, and it makes me wonder if, as a character, Rachel is heading towards some sort of redemption arc. With Charlie gone, Aaron resurrected, Miles captured, and her hometown under attack, my gut instinct is that she needs an agenda that makes her feel worthwhile. More than that, I have a feeling that she owes Miles something that we’re not yet aware of.

Revolution seems to be teasing out the storylines this season, giving us hints of where we might be headed while also providing us with just enough information to stay curious. In the same sense, the way the show is choosing to show us important sequences of last season is both interesting and intriguing. Letting us fill in the blanks slowly as opposed to giving us everything at once is another “fix” that the first season could have benefited from, and if this was last year, I feel like the entirety of what happened in the Tower would have been crammed into 42 minutes and hastily explained. Two hours into this season, we’re still just barely certain what happened – the premiere gave us almost no back story, and the second episode only fills in the blanks enough to leave us wondering about what else might have occurred. We finally see the group’s reactions to the missile launching – which came about after the system glitched (coincidence?) and Aaron failed to stop the programming (it’s no wonder Rachel has such intense post traumatic stress!) We then see the group getting attacked as they try to escape, only to wake up outside in a field…with no memory of getting out of the Tower and having no idea what happened. The worst of this seems to sit with Rachel, who wakes up almost catatonic – it’s not yet clear whether this is something relating to her emotions or something else entirely, but I will say that it’s an absolute joy to watch Elizabeth Mitchell work with this plotline and get some long overdue screen time.

Dare I say that I am beginning to enjoy the Monroe and Charlie dynamic? It’s a different kind of interaction than we saw with Miles, who more often than not tended to call Charlie out on her immature behavior. Charlie may not be the smartest person in this game (and she’s rightfully told so by different individuals in different situations) but her actions do add a depth that seemed to be lacking in the first season. With the addition of Adam the bounty hunter (Gossip Girl’s Patrick H), it looks like we’re not finished with the fact that everyone wants to more or less lynch the Monroe Militia – as Adam coldly states, “everyone wants to kill Monroe.” Lyons, meanwhile, continues his proven ability to have excellent chemistry no matter who he’s working with…and for someone like Spiridakos, who is still evolving as an actress, it certainly boosts the enjoyment of a scene.

And so it begins: the real test of Revolution, as from here on out I do not have any more screeners and therefore will be forced to base my opinion immediately after an airing as opposed to having some time to dwell. But if the show continues to engage in the way it has so far, impressing me with its improvements on a regular basis, I’d say that we’re off to the pretty good start.

Final Thoughts:

  • The short scene of Aaron telling Ghostbuster stories was not only a nice link to his own visions, but it also mirrored his introduction in the pilot, when we saw him talking about culture with those who had grown up without power.
  • Monroe telling Charlie that for someone who didn’t want to be like her mom, she was certainly similar, was an interesting note that I hope the show continues to work with. I’ve long thought that Charlie, for all her “I will never be like you” anger towards Rachel, was actually exactly like her mother – hot tempered, quick to act, and slow to forgive. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, and if the show intends on reuniting them anytime soon.
  • Along with the US government, I’m going to assume that Titus and his group of bandits are one of the bigger bads of the season – and with everyone wanting to be in power due to the fall of the Monroe Militia, I have to wonder if we’re headed towards some big showdown that will ultimately leave one particular “party” in charge.
  • Aaron’s mystery continues with Rachel and Dr. Porter seeing the fireflies that Aaron saw before he died, and then finding a mess of abandoned bodies not unlike the poor members of the Dharma community who were gassed by Ben in the 80’s (sorry, I’m a forever LOST fan and will pull these parallels into my reviews forever.) Who are they? What happened to them? Are they part of Aaron’s mystery, or related to Titus’ war clan?

What did you think of the episode? Sound off below!

Photo Credits: NBCUniversal, Inc