Revolution: Children of Men Review -

Revolution Review

Mania Grade: B

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  • Episode: Children of Men (Season 1, Episode 19)
  • Starring: Daniella Alonso, Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito, Zak Orth
  • Written By: David Rambo, Jim Barnes
  • Directed By: Frederick E. O. Toye
  • Network: NBC
  • Series:

Revolution: Children of Men Review

I don't want to set the world on fire

By Chuck Francisco     May 28, 2013

Non-Spoiler Review:

This week's episode marks the point of acceleration toward what must be an epic, season concluding cliffhanger. The show runners don't simply speed up slightly, they pin the pedal to the firewall and bury the needle in an action packed bid for your eyeballs. There's a plethora of gun violence and explosions for the adrenaline junky, new advanced technology for the Sci-Fi buff, and finally some blissful answers to a number of mysteries that have been haunting fans all season. For all that it boats there are still a few nagging problems. Some of the gun battles are confusingly shot or edited, there's a technological inconsistency that's glaring, and one character seems wholly inept at an easy task. This was a borderline great episode over all, which is only marginally slowed by some minor concerns. If you've already watched it (or don't care), please revel with me in the full analysis below the spoiler line. 

Full spoilers in the section below:

Thematically and structurally, I know that it would be bad for the show if Rachel succeeds in killing Monroe with her hand grenade. I know this and yet it is ridiculously unsatisfying that she fails, given her close proximity to him. The total lack of fulfillment extends not from his survival, but rather in the complete lack of effort on her part. Rachel is a ruthless and brilliant woman that we're supposed to believe wouldn't roll, lob, or throw the grenade in Monroe's general direction? Later conversation between the two is supposed to cast doubt on Rachel's conviction, but even that makes a strong case for her getting the grenade father from herself and closer to  Monroe. I am nitpicking, I admit it. This is a very strong episode and thus the nagging problems lie under a powerful glowing spotlight.

We discover via flashback that Grace was already concerned about just such a situation as the blackout and crafted the pendants as a fail safe or backup plan. It's good to know that the scientific team as a whole was absolutely frightened of the military usage of their technology. We also learn more about the societal break down in the near aftermath of the blackout, with starving people unable to adapt to life absent the conveniences to which they'd grown accustomed. 

Randall excitedly explains how the control center on level one of the Tower would allow covert surveillance of anyone on the planet, and that some tech on level twelve will allow for remote execution of anyone. Working satellites make sense as the nanites have no way to leave the atmosphere to drain them. On the screens a glimpse can be had of two major European cities; London appeared relatively ok (jiving with Miles' comment from a few episodes ago about Georgia having trade contact with England), while Paris appeared completely overgrown straight out of a Life After People episode.

Most people would be at their worst while bound and captured at the hands of Monroe's men; not Tom Neville. The man thrives as a manipulator extraordinaire. It's almost spellbinding to watch him work the fears and concerns of his captors. His ability to inspire mutiny while tired to a post is impressive, to say the least, and it opens up some compelling possibilities for the second season. Does Monroe survive the season cliffhanger? Neville could easily step in as the brutal dictator in charge of the Monroe Republic, so Bass doesn't necessarily need to survive. I would miss David Lyons a great deal, but Bass is starting to run his course. He can't be much more crazy and he had a minor cathartic moment in finally admitting all of the blood on his hands to Rachael. So Neville could become the new head of the Monroe Republic, with less of a penchant for murdering his most successful officers in paranoid fits. What does that leave Jason with though? He colludes with his father to effect their escape but that could just be an act for their mural survival. Are we in for an epic father versus son struggle? 

So the Tower inhabitants aren't zombies, or children of the corn, or even mind controlled automatons. Instead they're simply the remaining workers from before the blackout and their children. It's certainly a lucky thing that this place was also a VIP bunker (so noted by Rachel), as the amount of food on hand for them to sustain on is probably great. They've locked off level twelve and dwell on level eleven, never leaving to see the surface. Their entire existence is predicated on stopping whatever is on twelve from being accessed. To that end they are armed with with high tech, powerful weapons.

Exactly what kind of powerful weapons would you expect for underground bunker combat? Grenade Launchers! I can't have been the only one confused upon seeing them. They would do as much damage to the structure as to the intruders (and probably injure the wielders too). Though they resemble Milkor MGL grenade launches, these weapons are actually "coil guns" according to Aaron. Similar to the overpowered rail guns of Eraser, though lacking the absurd penetration capability, these firearms eschew gunpowder for some technobabble per Aaron's description. If this is true, why does each shot come with an accompanying cloud of combustible explosion? (easy answer: CGI is expensive!) If it's not true, why write that line of expositive dialogue for Aaron in the first place? 

While we're discussing Aaron, his emotional plea to the Tower survivors was heart wrenching. Turning the power back on returns him to an authoritative societal position certainly, but that clearly matters far less to him then his ability in an electricity driven world to provide for and defend his wife. For a minute there, I truly thought he had won them over, convincing them to do the right thing. As always though, there was more knowledge which Rachel was not sharing. There's a slim chance that flipping "the switch" to restore power could have the adverse effect of "setting the world on fire" (there's no justice in this world if the similarly named Ink Spots tune isn't used in the finale).

So much happened in this week's episode that it's difficult to touch on every single bit. Despite the small complaints, this is a very enjoyable installment in the series. The stage is now set for what I imagine will be a absurdly unfair tease for next season. What do you think it will be?


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 famous  Colonial 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.


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Iridan 5/28/2013 12:01:49 PM

Pretty high praise, but you give it a B?

I thought the discussion between Rachel and Monroe explained why she failed in her attempt.

Seems there is always going to be some logic issues to deal with, but I enjoy the show.

And dude, you really need to proof read these.

makabriel 5/28/2013 12:11:54 PM

 From the previews of next week, it looks like they succeed at turning the power on.. or the "other option" is what happens.  From a strict pseudo-science hand waving point of view, I imagine turning off the nanobots causes them to release their absorbed energy, hence the world "catching on fire".  Looks like Bass survives, either Rachel or Charlie dies due to seeing Miles bawling like a baby... plenty of possibilities.  

I kinda like the mini Gauss guns though


CyanideRush 5/28/2013 12:59:23 PM

 Iridan, I mentioned that though I thought it was good, it still had some problems, which I discussed. Am I being too nitpicky, in your opinion? (totally possible) What did I miss in proofing? Do you mean the 'a' instead of 'an' in the secont to last sentence that I just noticed upon glancing up? Did I miss something else?

Makabriel it's interesting that you mention Charlie or Rachel dying. I don't think the show would work if it's either of them. I think it *could* without Nora, which may be the route they take. 

vagabondster 5/28/2013 3:28:11 PM

 funny, no one mentioned Randall, or if he survived. I see him as a guy who could easily carry on rachel's storyline. He knows just as much as rachel doss about the tower, possibly a bit more. He also wants to get to level 12, but we dont know the reason. If he wants the power back on, why approach bass? So looking forward to the season finale. 

Iridan 5/29/2013 4:28:42 AM

Hey, be as nitpicky as you want. I just felt their discussion of suicide addressed why she failed. It worked for me. If you found it lacking, I can understand that.

"For all that it boats..."

"His ability to inspire mutiny while tired to a post "

I guess I was being a little nitpcky.

CyanideRush 5/29/2013 5:04:09 AM

 No it's fine, Iridan as I completely missed those. Lesson learned not to proof before my second cup of coffee as I miss the little things. 

Vegabondster it's funny that you mention Randall, since the TV guide snippit for the final episode mentions that he and Neville conspire toward greater evil. 

makabriel 5/29/2013 1:54:56 PM

Honestly, Rachel is a redundant character.  I -love- the actress (watched lost as well as that failed body-snatcher show she was in) but her plot has run its course.  There's nothing left of her character that requires continuation.  She failed to kill Bass, she's made it to the Tower and moved Aaron to his plot point.  With Charlie there, there's no reason to have another family member around.  Charlie has a lot more potential currently.

I agree, it -could- be Nora, but I'm hedging my bets to Rachel.

redhairs99 5/30/2013 7:39:00 AM

Maybe I'm being nitpciky here, but if the power went out in 2012, how exactly are the showrunners trying to pin everything on Bush and Cheney?  Okay, we get it, Republicans are evil and the Democrats are all good and would never ever do anything to harm the people of the United States!  Sorry, Hollywood, but that whole line is getting so tired and cliche.  Neither political party is any better or worse than the other.  Both have done really great things and both have done their share of terrible things.

CyanideRush 5/30/2013 8:21:22 AM

 Redhairs: Rachel said it was a bunker Cheney used. I'd speculate that it has way more to do with that then anything else. I could've sworn that I saw a picture of Clinton on one of the walls though too. So perhaps they just put all or most of the recent presidents up and the Bush was simply the most notable one. Maybe we (You, me, Iridan) have all got the nitpicky bug this week. heh. 

Makabriel: You bring up a compelling point about Rachel. I feel like it's similar to my point about Monroe's character running its course. Perhaps both Rachel and Monroe perish, with Charlie coming more into focus nad Neville taking over the Republic?

redhairs99 5/30/2013 8:46:44 AM

Chuck, I think they had a number of Presidential portraits on the walls.  I know I saw Obama in the there, but the big close-up of Bush and the line about Cheney just seemed like Hollywood Political BS, that I've groan tired of over the years.

I agree that I think Monroe and Rachel could be written out in the finale and I'd be fine with it.  Both have run their course.

Still curious what exactly Aaron's role in all this is and why everyone in the tower knows who he is.  Hopefully they answer that question next week.

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