Revolution, NBC’s latest attempt at appeasing (or is it teasing?) the science fiction crowd, is back on the air; did you miss it? Yeah, me neither. But they promised so much for Revolution’s next 10 episodes, like getting Danny Matheson (Graham Rogers) AND his mother Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) back together with Charlie (Tracy Spiradakos) and their warlock uncle (Billy Burke). We’ll find out why the power was turned off, who was behind it, oh and in the present day, the power gets turned on whenever it’s convenient. Network sci-fi is all about providing the audience with questions and stringing them along for those answers, oh those elusive answers… it worked for Lost, right? Seriously, how many times has that been said in studio meetings since 2004?
“The Stand” picked up right where Revolution left off in November with a newly juiced helicopter about to shred the reunited Matheson family. After 15 years of collecting dust, anyone else find it amazing how fast Bass Monroe (David Lyons) suddenly has a fleet of helicopter pilots? Despite having a rotary gun, and a guy armed with automatic rifle, the air crew was rusty at one thing, hitting moving targets in the open field. But they did manage to incinerate a diner with a missile–two actually–but Miles knew that a giant freezer doubles as an indestructible, explosion-proof bunker. Miles must’ve seen Indiana Jones 4 before the power went out, since jumping into an old refrigerator shields the blast of a nuke–the only reason why anyone would remember that film.
It’s a good thing that Rachel gave Bass the amplifier to increase the range of the amulets, because he turned the entire east coast into present-day Los Angeles, with ghetto birds flying over the skies and destroying every known rebel base the Mathesons were looking at to take refuge. With our heroes on the run, what are viewers going to take away from this episode the most? How about wiping out the reason anyone was watching the first 10 episodes in the first place?
Danny took out two helicopters with a rocket launcher, thus finally giving him one heroic moment, only to take him away seconds later in a spray of enemy fire. I’m not saying it wasn’t the right thing to do. He honestly was one of Revolution’s least interesting characters, and his asthma was more of a eye-rolling crutch than an interesting story device. How many times was he going to put the group in danger because he couldn’t keep up or how long until he ran out of medicine? It marred what was a solid though unspectacular return.
Charlie is still annoying for too many reasons to list, and now we can predict how long until Danny’s male presence is replaced with Nate Walker AKA Jason Neville (J.D. Pardo) who had a fallout with daddy dearest (Giancarlo Esposito) and is trying to worm his way into camp Matheson–odds are another four episodes. But enough of these sniveling, ungrateful and unmotivated kids. I’m waiting for one of the older characters to say, “Back in 2012, we had Google to do everything for us… meddling kids.” Halfway through “The Stand,” viewers could see the real victory from “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” was retrieving Rachel Matheson, not Danny.
Mitchell continues to show that she is the only one worth watching in the series, besides Esposito that is, by offering a range of acting notes, a dozen more than the one we were introduced to. Rachel offered us more intriguing mysteries in this episode than what’s been shown so far, like, what’s with that awkward near-kiss with Miles in the woods? How does she know all of these people who happen to have giant arsenals of weapons ready for them? How is it the only profound thing she can say after Danny dies is something she told him when he a kid? What’s up with being hesitant about the experimental procedure done to save Danny’s life when he was young, and does it have anything to do with that glowing blue implant she surgically extracted from his corpse?
Talk about your random endings. Wouldn’t this leftover rave prop cease to work when the power went out? I assume that people with pacemakers keeled over dead too when the power went out. Unless of course, this is some new technology that was immune to the power outage. That’d be awfully convenient.
Whatever. Rachel is still more interesting than Miles’ relationship with Nora (Daniella Alonso) and his militia ties. She appears to know more about the technology than any other character including the Google guy, Aaron (Zak Orth). She has the inside track to the inner workings of the militia more than Miles. Rachel is a pretty damn important character, which is probably why it was crucial that Mitchell replaced Andrea Roth. And it’s probably why they’re featuring her more in this second half of the season. When you have talent like Mitchell and Esposito, use them. When you don’t, well, you keep certain characters to minimal screen time. Seriously, you can do the math. Sadly not even 48 minutes worth of Elizabeth Mitchell and Giancarlo Esposito could save Revolution.
A death to a major character, a change in chemistry, the power is back on, or at least in some places. Does anyone ever think that when NBC tries to do science fiction that it’s making big changes to get ratings vs. letting the story evolve organically? We didn’t expect they could run the whole first season without incorporating power back into the story, that’s why the story leaped over the really boring 15 years and ended up in the slightly less boring present. So many changes happening in one episode reeks of pressure to get attention and ultimately ratings than it is to truly reward people who invested 10 hours. Otherwise, I don’t think Danny would have been killed the first episode back after a four-month break, leaving viewers saying, ‘WTF?’ Revenge for Ben (Tim Guinee) wasn’t enough, they had to make sure Charlie had even more motivation to take out Bass.
Allow me revise that earlier statement, network sci-fi is all about questions, answers and meaningless deaths. Or is it all about ratings? This show just might survive yet, if The Voice can carry it though another nine weeks, depending on what NBC deems a success. The 2.7 rating it got last night is probably far from the goal. It’s a shame that viewers had to wait four months for a disappointing return, and that’s just one reason why Revolution is still doomed to fail.
What did you think of Revolution’s Mid-Season Premiere “The Stand”? Share your thoughts below.