Full spoilers in the review below!
David Lyons deserves an Emmy.
I've trod this territory before, sounding his praises from these very pages. Lyons takes Monroe from the mundane level of scowling evil dictator to nuanced mad man, tortured but beyond redemption. The man doesn't simply emote, as Monroe we're given subtle facial shifts that relay so much more detail than dialogue could. This week's episode of Revolution is about as Monroe centric as they come. I bet the situation didn't resolve itself at all in the manner he expected though.
Faced with Miles in command of a solid military company, Monroe recognizes the need to kill his old friend before more of his border outposts can be removed from the board. With that in mind, Bass loads up his lackeys for a chopper road trip to his and Miles' home town. Taking the entire town hostage in a bid to force Miles to show is cold, but for a time we doubt he'd actually murder so many people from his own life including Emma (Miles' ex fiancé with whom Bass had an affair). The final shared moment between Emma and Monroe is amazing; I held my breath as two sides of the same man fought each other in his mind. Watch it again; you can actually see the moment evil Bass mortally wounds his better sensibilities on the face of David Lyons.
Emma's reveal that she bore Bass a son is huge. How he takes it in the wake of her death is going to dictate the course of his republic's future. Will this save the better man inside of him? Will he see a child as a weakness to be found and snatched up before it can be used against him? Will Miles beat him to this child (and how would he treat the spawn of his ex fiancé)? There's quite a bit of questionable linage coming out on Revolution this half season.
We visit the Plains Nation for the first time (scenes set within The Tower aside) as Aaron and Rachel cross the Mississippi in exchange for some diamonds. I continue to be confused by Rachel's motivation. Aaron states he has two doctorates from MIT, yet she blows him off like a soccer mom would a Starbucks barista. What if she doesn't survive the journey to The Tower? Doesn't it make the most sense to trust the information to Aaron as backup? She seems so recklessly self absorbed, learning no lessons from this repeatedly punished behavior.
Aaron commands the limelight this week, crossing paths with his long ago abandoned wife, Priscilla. I find it fascinating that Aaron actually expected that she would be willing to take him back despite him running out on her. He seems to have regressed as well from the growth in brutality he was forced to learn in the plantation episode; he still cannot defend his wife with the reasonable application of violence as it's called for. It's also interesting that she settled her new family in Texas, as crazy as Miles insinuated them to be.
I still can't get over how much of a bad ass Charlie is becoming. It's pretty much exactly what the fans asked for and the execution is sound. Did she undergo a reasonable character arc, now that we can look back on fifteen episodes worth of her? She's certainly evolved, but the real question should be: did she change in a believable manner? Despite my loud protestations about her early on, I have to conclude that it works in full context.
A few inconsistencies rear their pimply hides which I've got to address. A good friend of mine commented on the availability of premium hair dye in a post blackout world (for Emma's cherry hair); I don't find that beyond the realm of believability, given we except their designer fitted clothing. Humans have been dying their hair for centuries. Accepting that, I still cannot buy the very overweight in a post blackout world. I'm not referring to Aaron (who appears to have shed a few pounds in recent episodes) but instead the townsperson beat to death by Monroe's men. Where is the surplus of food coming from for this guy to be fifty to one hundred pounds overweight?
Stretching my suspension of disbelief even further is Miles' ability to run after taking a bullet to the leg. My guess is that we are to assume it only grazed him, but a line of dialogue would have gone a long way toward clearing that up. His improvised bullet shield was brilliant, but I'm not sure why he disregarded it.
Very soon after, in the burning building, a gout of flame races across the ceiling above the townsfolk; it's a case of incredibly poor looking CGI, so noticeable that it caused me to do a double take.
How delicious is Tom Neville taking the role of Miles' Georgia Federation liaison? The man is a fearsomely brilliant spark dancing above a lake of gasoline. As tightly coordinated as this week's episode may have been, I have to image next week's Neville vs Miles standoff is going blow the doors off. So all told this was a solid outing from team Revolution.
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.