Revolution: The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia Review (Mania.com)

By:Chuck Francisco
Review Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Source: Mania.com

The ragged Revolution band makes its way to the Georgia Federation this week on NBC, answering a number of questions along the way. Foremost of these: if a Georgia based spin off were made (Think CSI: Miami), what color filter would be used to differentiate them from the Monroe republic? The answer is a resplendent green! Everything's an enhanced shade of forrest green, reminiscent of the world seen through yellow sunglasses. I don't hate it, but the usage is a tad heavy handed. Dialed back a notch or two, the filter would serve well to set the scenes without hammering us over the head with it. 


And wouldn't you know it? With its warm climate for crop growth, and since it isn't funneling all of it's budget into war, The Georgia Federation is a thriving country replete with functioning steam transportation (retrofitted autos, motorcycles, and buses) and a reestablished relationship with England. We learn later in the episode that they have munitions aplenty and many more soldiers than Monroe, which makes it a surprise that they have not subdued their unstable neighbor to the north. Perhaps they see the needed loss of life in such a struggle as unconscionable? Of course this changes when Monroe threatens them with a nuclear bomb in an attempt to command their unconditional surrender. The propaganda leaflets dropped from helicopters was a nice touch of World War II gamesmanship.


The delivery mechanism for the reconstituted weapon of mass devastation is a man named Alec. Recently returned from brutal captivity in Texas, Alec was Miles' protege until he bungled an assassination mission on Texas' leader (and could be ID'd). In a flashback, a colder Miles unflinchingly turns what amounts to his son over to Texas, knowing that he'll be brutalized. In the words of Montgomery Scott "better to kill him know and get it over with". Alec survived and escaped nursing a killer grudge; something so severe that he'd kill thousands of people to sate it. 


Miles is very visibly shaken at both his reemergence and in having to face his past indiscretions. The almost plucky rogue we've been riding along with does nothing to show us the true monster Miles apparently was for nearly fifteen years. He seems doomed to never escape these transgressions, and perhaps it's right that he shouldn't. A number of moments this week hinge around hints of awful things which Miles has done to the women in his life, specifically Rachel Matheson and Kelly Foster (the president of the Georgia Federation). The implication given is that he may have raped them both. Even setting aside the morally abhorrent nature of this, if it's true how can NBC expect the audience to side with Miles at all? Despite her transformation, Charlie is not the primary protagonist (at least not yet). If I've read this right, it's a ballsy move by NBC. If not then they're playing very dirty by insinuating something vile in place of something simply roguish (like "letting these women down" by leaving to flee a deeper romantic relationship). 


Monroe is slipping deep into paranoid madness in the wake of Neville's disappearance. I can only imagine how brutality has been stepped up in the Monroe Republic. With some very slick camera movements and the quiet danger which David Lyons delivers in spades, Monroe shockingly executes Neville's second in command (just in case). We all know it's coming, but the way the scene is constructed still allows us a feeling of shock, perhaps surprise. If he's not careful the foundation of his power will erode away beneath him. 


We've delayed it enough; let's talk about the flesh melting gun in the possession of Jane, a former colleague of Rachel's who knows how to turn the power back on. Of course there's a hitch: the nanites who deprive the world of power are keeping Jane's wife Beth alive. Stage four cancer would ravage her if the nanites didn't somehow eat it away in her. They were keeping Danny alive too, until recently. As science fiction magical as they are, it appears they can't repair bullet wounds (Danny isn't Bloodshot unfortunately). Is the small device that Rachel removed from Danny some sort of programming beacon which places the nanites into a healing mode? In any case Jane possesses a hand weapon which broils the flesh of people and resembles an phaser. At first it seemed like a microwave heat weapon, but the sound effect it gave off as Jane charged it to fire at Rachel makes me thing it somehow incites the nanites into attacking the target. Vicious. 


The final moment of this episode place Miles back at the head of a well equipped fighting force. Given how much of Revolution has focused on a handful of under dogs defying the odds, are we looking at a tonal shift going forward? I don't think so and I hope not. It's been solid going lately; let's hope the show continues to intrigue, despite the suspension of disbelief the show runners are asking of us.


Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famousColonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.


Mania Grade: B
Episode: The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia (Season 1, Episode 14)
Starring: Daniella Alonso, Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito, Zak Orth
Written By: Paul Grellong
Directed By: Nick Copus
Network: NBC
Series: