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'Revolution' Review: 'One Riot, One Ranger'

Andrea Towers Andrea Towers
October 24th, 2013 9:38am EDT

Revolution

I’m not going to bore you with repeated statements about how impressed I am with Revolution’s upgraded performance, but after “One Riot, One Ranger,” I’m now absolutely sure more has happened in the past five episodes than in all of last season’s 22 episodes combined. The action-packed hour not only gave us some interesting intel, but also gave closure to the split group storyline by reuniting all of our main characters for the first time since May (recall that we began the season with everyone already split, hinging on flashbacks to show us exactly what went down that caused Charlie to strike out on her own.) The episode also slid some more pieces into place regarding the upcoming government conflict, introducing Texas Ranger John Fry (Supernatural’s Jim Beaver) as a figure from Miles’ past, and someone who, at one time, he tried to kill. Miles attempts to reason with Fry, thinking that starting a war with the Patriots will be the easiest way to get rid of them – because it’s always a good idea to start a war, right?

We don’t waste time with Charlie and Monroe arriving in Willoughby or having Miles run into Charlie – another thing Revolution has been doing right – and after explaining the Rachel situation, Charlie takes Miles to where Monroe is hiding out so the two can reconnect. It’s not the most cordial of meetings, but given the situation (and how much we know about Miles’ deep seeded hatred for his former best friend), it’s not a blood filled death match, either, which means both parties get points for maturity. In fact, given that Charlie attempted more of a smack down on Monroe than Miles did, and Rachel’s first instinct upon seeing her former friend/captor was to grab a gun, I’d say that the boys’ reunion was pretty tame.

By the end of the episode, the two were teaming up as if they had never left, communicating (in an almost hilarious way) through battles the two had fought together while they were in the Militia. I still believe that there’s a distinct level of mistrust in Monroe that everyone holds – even if he’s on the same page as Miles in wanting to wage a war  – and that’s proved in the final moments, when he abruptly shoots of Fry once the group’s plan to expose the Patriots falls flat. Just lie, Monroe says about the shooting, trying to convince Miles that all he needs to do is to tell everyone the Patriots were responsible.

It’s easy to lie – the Patriots are lying about their real intentions, Aaron is lying to Cynthia about what really happened with her husband as well as the true depth of his abilities, Charlie is lying to Rachel about the real reason she came back. But everything catches up to us in the end, no matter how hard we try to hide it, and I can’t imagine that Miles following through with Monroe’s “easy way out” won’t have consequences. To that end, I’m hoping next week’s episode is more of a cop-out and close call than anything else. It seems that Revolution has finally realized how to exploit its talent, and I’ve been absolutely thrilled to see more of David Lyons, arguably one of the more talented actors of the series. By making him more than a one dimensional, one note bad guy, there’s real potential for character growth and long-term interesting conflict with Rachel, Miles, and Charlie – it would be a shame if the show did away with that, especially after all the build-up and wasted potential of last season.

While the Charlie/Miles/Monroe reunion happened early on, it took us until near the end of the hour until we were able to see the meetings between Charlie, Monroe, Rachel and Aaron. If I had been worried that Charlie had gone soft, based on the feelings she’d been exhibiting after finding out her mother was in danger, those fears disappeared by the time the two had finished reuniting. There’s quite a visible difference between the Charlie that lashed out at her mother mid-season one when they reunited for the first time and the Charlie that stood up to her in this episode, so much so that I sometimes marvel at how likeable Spiridakos has managed to make her character after a season of annoying choices. Not only that, and maybe it’s the breaking off from the group that cemented it, but I also finally find Charlie believable when she threatens people or is asked to cover someone’s back in a gunfight.

Aaron, meanwhile, admits his Carrie-like telekinesis to Miles and Rachel, letting them know that he killed the men who attacked Miles in the last episode. The entire exchange made me feel that Revolution has officially gone into the science fiction realm, which I’m actually okay with – if you’re going to go into crazy territory and not take yourself seriously, at least have fun with it. Unsure about the depths of his powers and worried that he’ll harm Cynthia, he attempts to run away, and the moment affords us a small but interesting flashback into the months after the nuke strike when the group came to Texas. We hadn’t gotten much insight on Cynthia (and it had been a little confusing to have her turn up in the premiere a la Dawn Summers, unmentioned and accepted into the group as if she’d been there forever) but this episode showed us the first meeting between the two when Aaron was hired as a (quite depressing) schoolteacher. Turns out that in addition to being sweet, Cynthia also had a rather annoying husband, Carl, who didn’t like Aaron for any number of reasons. Not to worry – apparently Aaron’s mind powers, which he’d had well before his resurrection without knowing it, were the cause of Carl’s death when he caught him cheating one night and “accidently” set his car on fire. (Forget the war. Why can’t Aaron just kill all the Patriots by getting angry with his mind?)

Neville’s storyline seemed like more of a set up than anything else, as Allenford (Nicole Ari Parker) asked him to accompany her to D.C. The two were jumped not long into their journey by men parading as Patriots, with Allenford getting shot in the process, and Neville very nearly leaves her for dead in pursuit of his own agenda. But Allenford leverages with him by using his Achilles heel, arguing that she knows where they took Jason and that if he patches her up, she’ll take them there. I half wonder if, with Julia out of the way, we’re going for some type of romance with these two – either way, it’s refreshing to see Giancarlo Esposito take on some new challenges, and I’m interested to see where this plotline leads.

Final Thoughts:

  • Oh, how I missed the Monroe/Miles eye sex! Granted, David Lyons has so much chemistry, it doesn’t really matter who he’s speaking to…but there’s definitely something enjoyable about watching him and his former best friend go at it.
  • I had to make sure I wasn’t remembering wrong and that cyanide teeth were, in fact, a real thing, because just the thought made me squirm.
  • Allenford’s mentioning of the “reprogramming center” was probably meant to signal more of a concentration camp type vibe, but instead, it just made me think of the Dharma Initiative. Or maybe that’s because between Rachel’s blue shirt, the dirty jungle look, and the “live together, die alone” mantras, I’m beginning to get a distinct LOST vibe about the show this season as a whole.

What did you think of the episode? Do you think that Monroe will really be executed next week?

Photo Credits: NBCUniversal, Inc


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