TV REVIEW: REVOLUTION [SPOILERS]
Revolution – “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”
Season 1, Episode 10
As somebody who jumped on this show’s shortcomings in the early weeks, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see some gradual improvement the last several weeks. So of course after the best episode so far, Revolution’s going to be off the air for the next four months.
After constant diversions, Miles and Charlie finally made it to Philadelphia and saved Danny from Monroe. And rather than tease us anymore, Miles fully and finally rejected his former friend and threw down with Bass in a terrific climactic battle. And while some of the flashbacks were great on deepening their history (especially watching Miles comfort Bass at his family’s graveside), watching them draw the militia symbol on their arms and saying “I’ll kill you” while playing as children both came off as more than a little manipulative and hollow.
The show has evolved a nice rhythm of slowly advancing the main quest (save Danny) with various side missions that get wrapped up in a single episode. The writers did a nice job of making each delay seem at least partially reasonable, but the biggest problem the series has had is the performances of the Matheson children. Danny has yet to be written as a character instead of a plot device.
As Charlie, Tracey Spiridakos‘ emotionless performance repeatedly has proven to be incapable of carrying a scene, let alone an entire episode. She hasn’t been helped by writers that often relied on that old trope of having the teenage character doing something stupid or nonsensical to speed up or slow down the plot as needed. And even if Spiridakos is still just as terrible as ever (she absolutely is), I think producer Eric Kripke and company have found out how to write Charlie and keep her from dragging an episode down.
It reminded me of what the writers of Friday Night Lights did with Tim Riggins. Taylor Kitsch wasn’t the best of actors, but he could pull off the quiet moments and excelled when the character had some enormous weight on his shoulders. So they played to those strengths.
The same is true for Spiridakos. The last few weeks, she stopped with the whining and pointlessly disagreeing with Miles just to be contrary. This was highlighted a few weeks ago in The Children’s Crusade when a group of even whinier and more argumentative kids made Charlie seem cool in comparison. This week it was even more prevalent. Charlie was a mini-Miles, not letting Monroe or his torturer emotionally effect her. She even was ready for them to kill her and Danny rather than let her mother fix the power amplifier.
While the final showdown with Bass was great, from Charlie’s great improvised escape plan to Rachel killing Strausser without needing to be saved by Miles, it was a great final sequence. Even Miles’ admonishment of “Run stupid” to Charlie came off as more a quip to glance over the fact that she wouldn’t leave him rather than complaining about her (as it would have a month ago).
With our heroes now finally all together, I hope that unity keeps things simpler. I especially look forward to more scenes with the show’s better actors, Elizabeth Mitchell and Billy Burke, together. From her terrified question for Charlie, “Did he hurt you?” to the intense look they share before Rachel lays the smack down, there was obviously some interesting history between these two.
The long break might actually help the series later in the year. Besides keeping it with the The Voice as a lead-in, Kripke and the rest of the producers and writers can use the time to continue to grow on the improvement of the last few episodes.