Revolution: Kashmir Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
If you're going to go all in with Led Zeppelin songs, the smart man puts all of his money behind Kashmir. The cadence of the song brings an exaggerated heightening quality to what ever tension is currently being cranked. Erik Kripke doesn't fool around when given the keys to the 'Zep discography, pairing this epic song with perhaps the most pivotal scene in the series so far. When Myles and Bass square off, as has been huckstered to us through previews all week long, not a single frame is unaccounted for. Every moment of Kashmir (the song), is impeccably timed with the motions on screen. As Bass, his back to us, closes and locks the door behind him, then turns to face us with an unreadable expression (gun prominently showing on his hip), Robert Plant's haunting voice tells us "All will be revealed". It's haunting in a way that hammers an electrical note up and down the spine, if only for a brief second, as you take in the full gravity of what's happening.
Viewers knew by this point that they were watching the contents of Myles' hallucination, but that doesn't detract from the weight of moment. Bass closes the distance, pulling his oldest and best friend into an embrace, and breaks with a massive, Cheshire smile. The conversation isn't one which Myles can be dishonest during, which hallucination Bass reminds him of, since it's taking place in his mind. This is why we might have just watched the lunch pin moment of Revolution- we discover that Myles harbors regret over attempting to assassinate his best friend, and over leaving the militia. Even more levelingly serious, if the real Bass where to extend an olive branch inviting him back into the fold, Myles doesn't think he'd turn it down. This is huge! With only a single episode before the winter hiatus, we can't be sure where the chips are going to fall again. It returns some of the anti-hero flavor back to a character that's been fighting with kid gloves on for such a long run. Talk about ramping up to a finale.
And we must, since despite the pivotal scene, this episode suffers as the deep breath before the storm. An unprecedented amount of character development and exposition takes place during this week's hour of Revolution, losing some of the more action orientated viewers. Indeed, I felt the need to give the episode a second viewing, which helped bump it's Mania grade up a notch. Still, some of the logical inconsistencies hurt this episode, even if they were necessary to fuel the character development segments. Most glaringly, the hallucinations being caused by lack of oxygen as our party traverses the old subway system into Philadelphia left this viewing scratching his head. Those tunnels are purposefully designed with open air vents to the surface at even intervals, specifically so that this sort of thing doesn't happen. If we're to believe that every single one of them, even the ones too small for people to fit through, are either closed off or accidentally blocked, there still should be so much air down there that it would takes weeks or months for ten people to exhaust it all. The logical fallacy bursts the bubble of much of the intended tension from these scenes. Truly a shame.
Of the other hallucinations, Aaron's was the most heart wrenching. To have the specter of your wife traveling along in your footsteps, begging you to acknowledge her; to answer her; to love her; and to know that none of those things are possible; that's more than I'd be able to take in a similar situation. Even worse is when the phantom begins to taunt him for his growth. How dare he do for Charlie what he would not for his wife. It highlights the fullness of Aaron's character arc; he truly is evolving as a person faced with these horrific struggles would. None of the other primary characters feel as three dimensional, as flawed, or as realistic as Aaron. Credit is due both to Zak Orth and to the writing team.
Turning our attention to someone that I'm never quite certain I have the measure of, Rachel Matheson is a dangerous adversary. She's withstood years of physical and emotional torture, has genius level intelligence, charisma and acting abilities, and is calculatingly efficient in her brutality. Taking stock of all the Revolution characters, she's the one I'd be least comfortable being in the same room with (Captain Neville is a very close second). She's been building a pendant powered bomb this whole time, rather than a pendant amplifier. Caught and called out on it by her former friend (who's working for Monroe, likely in exchange for his own family's lives), and told she and her son are now not needed and to be killed, she unflinchingly murders Jauffy. What's most unsettling about the scene is that Rachel goes from sobbingly apologizing to the man she's murdering, to dryly, confidently, and dangerously telling Monroe that she's necessary again. That snap of the fingers emotional flip is the sign of an unhinged individual. It's obvious that are no limits to what Rachel will do to protect her son. The frightening factor is the complete lack of hesitation on her part, coupled with the lack of remorse. It's obvious these factors dawn on Neville too; it's all over his face
As we rapidly approach what stands to be an epic midseason conclusion, full to the brim with action, danger, and almost certainly the death of someone, an episode focusing on important character developments is necessary (and welcome). The pay off will be that much greater next week thanks to it. Still, this episode suffers an action lull because of these contributions. Let's file this as a "good, not great" episode, but also as an incredibly important one. Here's one last, possibly insignificant local Philadelphia area connection from last night's episode, which some might find interesting: Kashmir is the walk up song used by Phillies second baseman Chase Utley; played whenever he comes to bat. Perhaps it's not related; but I found it an interesting bit of connective tissue to the region I live in. It's good to see Philadelphia being showcased on a scale normally only afforded to New York and L. A.
See you week 'Luters, for what is sure to be an epic climax.
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Saturday Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a horror co-host of two monthly film series at the world famousColonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA (home of 1958's 'The Blob'): First Friday Fright Nights andColonial Cult Cinema. You can hear him on awesome podcast You've Got Geek or follow him out onTwitter.
Mania Grade: B
Episode: Kashmir (Season 1, Episode 9)
Starring: Daniella Alonso, Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito, Zak Orth
Written By: Jim Barnes
Directed By: Charles Beeson