As is always the trouble with origin stories, time must be taken to establish the particulars before the plot can gain solid traction. Now that Revolution has a healthy start, it seems to finally be able to get moving in a solid direction. Enough plot threads have been established for the creative team to build on, and the result is an episode which feels as though it covers more ground, plot wise, than the previous two combined.
The flashback sequences prove to be the most though provoking portions of the episode, yet again. This week we venture back to a period that's six months after the blackout. We accompany Myles and Monroe as they desert their marine base, setting out to make the thousand mile walk to Chicago. The grisly reality of the human survival instinct is laid bare along their trek, and it turns out that it isn't Sebastian who first turns to brutality in punishing lawlessness, it's Myles. The effect on Monroe isn't immediately apparent, though it is clear (with our knowledge of future events) that it will be incredibly important in shaping the man he will become (and the lives of everyone in the Republic by extension).
Meanwhile the Matheson siblings continue to be a study in opposites. Danny, still a prisoner of Captain Neville, is a realist. He's come to grips with his predicament, and searches for any means which will allow his survival. Faced with repeated beatings from a revenge seeking militiaman, Danny dishes out a brutal lesson to his would be torturer, seeming to earn a modicum of respect from Neville in the process. His sister Charlie looks to still be locked into her hopeless idealism. Tempered with even an ounce of realism, this could be believable, but there is none. She continues to make irrational tactical decisions, which are shot down by her wiser companions. She then counters them by breaking into tears. I'm beginning to think that she only has two modes: cry and kill. She alternates between them, occasionally mixing the two. And wouldn't you know it? Crying teenagers are the only weakness of our brilliant, survivalist, war criminal. A young female protagonist can be tough, she can be smart, and she can be compassionate, without being a blubbering mess every other scene.
Fortunately for us, the tactically unsound plan that Charlie cries for this week gives us a chance to really understand the disparity which high tech fire arms provide after the blackout. One sharpshooter, armed with Nora's pilfered sniper rifle and a pouch full of rounds, is able to hold off an entire militia detachment armed with muzzle loaders (even inflicting heavy losses), until the ammo runs dry. It's no wonder the Monroe Republic made civilian firearm possession a hanging offense.
Elsewhere completely, Aaron and Maggie have made their way to Grace's home with hopes of discovering more about their pendant and it's ability to restore power. Grace's house (and computer) are in shambles after her brush with Randall last week, but it doesn't stop Aaron from trying to figure out why exactly she has so many powered devices. They've completely given up hope when their pendant mysteriously activates. It's a short lived fluke, though it gives Maggie just enough time to glimpse her children's photos (located on her iPhone's lock screen). This moment gives pause, calling into sharp relief the idea that if these events actually happened, people who are not within a few hundred miles of their loved ones will likely never live to see them again.
Revolution is picking up steam. A few modifications here and there could transform it into must watch television. As it stands, it's good programming that's interesting enough to continue following.
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.