Revolution Earns A Reprieve In Its Second Episode With Smart Storytelling And Magic
By Alex Cranz
When last we spoke I was giving Revolution major side eye for the ridiculously stupid teens at the show’s center and the clichéd story beats that ran rampant through the show’s first hour. But things have changed: show creator Eric Kripke talked about how people on the show with electricity are post-modern wizards capable of feats no one else can perform and this second episode premiered and moved away from the major problems of the first.
Both teens are still a little stupid but that stupidity is tempered. Wheezy (okay his name is Danny) is revealed not to be stupid because he’s a teen boy, but because he has incredibly powerful convictions that drive him to do what he believes is morally right even when it results in a poor outcome. He isn’t on hand for a lot of the hour but his final scene with Captain Neville solidifies both men.
Neville is given a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of the audience and in Danny. He confronts a man breaking the laws he’s sworn to uphold and although we as modern Americans may well find these laws abhorrent they’re put in place for reasons it is easy for us to understand. If people can’t have guns then its easy to separate the bad guys from the good and easier still to instill order in chaos. Neville firmly believes this. But Danny sees there’s more to Neville and it isn’t nice. Neville isn’t just a leader of the militia because he believes in protecting order. He’s in the militia because he likes killing and his position gives him license to do so.
While their exchange hasn’t done much to repair Danny’s idiocy in the pilot it does set up the fundamental philosophical battle that’s likely to dominate this season and it cements Neville’s place as a charismatic psychopath–though one not quite as interesting yet as others he played in the last few years.
Elsewhere in a future that knows no weedwacker Danny’s sister Wide-Eye (really her name is Charlie) is travelling with her uncle and continuing to be an ABSOLUTE DIPWAD. I was at first concerned that this was going to be a season long thing but somewhere after the midway point of the episode the writers decided to stop making Charlie look like an idiot so her uncle would look badass in comparison and remembered that she’s the hero and should be badass in her own right. So after her uncle’s most excellent BFF Nora builds her a wrist gun Charlie takes out half a militia and flashes back to her mother–who apparently gave her the badass gene that only passes down to ladies because all the guys on that side of the family are kind of weak-sauce.
Speaking of her mom I will assume you’ve seen the episode because…
SHE’S ALIVE Y’ALL. I mean it makes sense. They cast Elizabeth Mitchell in the role and on tv you don’t cast Mitchell unless you plan to use her. So she, unlike her husband, will not be appearing in flashbacks only. Also she, unlike her husband, is a total BAMF and is being held hostage by old family friend Monroe who has gone mad wielding power and slid so far down the scale of morality that I’d have to invoke Godwin’s Law for a good comparison.
This is the show Eric Kripke’s name and some excellent teasers promised us. Mommy Mitchell’s survivor immediately ups the wattage storywise. It’s no longer the milquetoast adventures of irritating Leia/Luke and her low rent Han Solo uncle with special guests “much interesting characters.” Because between Mitchell’s always impeccable performances and the fact that she’s not written nearly as stupidly as her progeny the stakes have been raised. Charlie isn’t just on an adventure to rescue her brother who might be better off leaving this mortal plane anyways. It about her chance to be reunited with a mother long thought dead.
Also, lest you think I’m just being swayed by Elizabeth Mitchell, that magic storyline Kripke talked about? It’s being unleashed. Maggie and Aaron, after Charlie abandons them because she’s an ass, decide to seek out the only “wizard” we’ve seen thus far, Grace. They’ve got a USB drive just like Grace’s and as we see these devices are more like magical amulets–giving whomever holds them the ability to bring power back to a small portion of the world. That means one person with an amulet could control a helicopter or a bomber or even just a motorcycle. Or, as Grace finds, they could waltz in wielding a savage-looking stun baton.
Magic? Women being as awesome as promised? Billy Burke still having a lot of fun as a crotchety badass? This could be my new Xena.
- Why is it that dictators are always surprised people don’t like them? They don’t like you because you call yourself a president yet offer no checks and balances in your system of governance. Can your enemies really be terrorists if you allow no one to oppose you verbally?
- I do, however, love that Monroe dares call himself a president when he’s named the country after himself and is essentially a warlord. Then he treats the American flag as a symbol of rebellion when he once took an oath to defend it. This guy has gone waaaaay down the rabbit hole and can’t see his way out.
- That was C. Thomas Howell as the dead bounty hunter. He one starred in a movie titled Killer Within with Giancarlo Esposito. Because I know this I was sad that they didn’t share any scenes together.
- That’s Daneilla Alonso as the BAMF gun maker. Besides likely being a permanent addition to the cast of Revolution (though we’re told someone dies in an upcoming episode and it could very well be her) she’s doing many episodes of Rizzoli & Isles.
- Am being swayed by promises of magic and a cool concept? Do you think this show isn’t worth the place on my Hulu queue every Monday?