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- Episode: Sex and Drugs (Season 1, Episode 6)
- Starring: Daniella Alonso, Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito, Zak Orth
- Written By: David Rambo
- Directed By: Steven Boyum
- Network: NBC
Revolution: Sex and Drugs Review
Not Everything is as it Seems
By Chuck Francisco
October 31, 2012
As power grids all along the eastern seaboard buckled like perfectly arranged dominoes, I settled in to watch this week's Revolution; completely uncertain how much I might actually get to see before Hurricane Sandy claimed my electricity like a soul starved wraith. For a while it felt like I was in a World War II bunker under bombardment, our lights flickering momentarily but then always returning. Perhaps my wife secretly holds one of the power pendants, and kept the juice going while keeping me in the dark? I don't care how it happened, I'm glad I was able to catch this episode; it's possibly the best one to this point.
Perhaps I should first address the advertising bait and switch that has denizens of the Internet up in arms. If you recall this episode's preview from the end of episode 5, it very much appears that Miles' drug baron friend, Drexel, is only willing to barter the penicillin Nora needs in exchange for a roll in the hay with Charlie. The editing is such that it even appears as though she's emerging nude from a bath to submit. What we actually got was far more interesting than network TV censored coupling, which would likely end in Charlie tears (she seems like a post colitis crier). Instead it turns out that Drexel wants to send Charlie on a suicide mission, disguised as one of his disgruntled prostitutes, to murder the head of a rival faction. This could be a major turning point on Charlie's personal journey. As Aaron points out, while she has murdered before, those people were militia soldiers, whereas this person may likely be an innocent. He turns out to be correct as the rival group is made up of former police officers, trying to protect people. And Charlie, it seems, was willing to commit murder to save her friends and family (which makes sense) before Miles intervenes to stop her.
I've said this several times before, but it really seems that Charlie is finally coming to terms with the way the world works. She's seemingly hardening up, and is making the necessary tough decisions without reverting into a blubbery mess. I'm optimistic that, after everything she's had to endure, the change is for good this time. We are treated to a Charlie crying montage, but it is quite brief and is used as means of showcasing her personality shifting to match this brutal existence. Her broken idealism is matched in her potential love interest, Nate. There's a war going on inside Captain Neville's son; I don't think it's going to be very long before he goes AWOL to join up with Charlie and company. But his heart is of two worlds, and I doubt he'd be fully comfortable in either.
One of the more interesting aspects of Revolution's format is the weekly flashback focus on the earlier events in the life of one of our characters. This week was our resident computer geek's turn. I can't be the only one surprised that Aaron actually left his wife, since he felt that he couldn't provide for or protect her. All of his mentions of her gave the impression that she hadn't survived long after the blackout, when in reality she could very much still be alive (I've no doubt that we'll see her in a future episode). It appears that Aaron's never been able to take lethal action, even to save himself or his wife. Still, an obvious turning point has been reach and, like the character shift in Charlie, let's hope it sticks. The permanence of significant character change is absolutely critical in successful world building, but it's something the writers have mismanaged somewhat to this point. I think they're getting it though, so hopefully we won't have the kind of out of character motivations that plagued late season four of Battlestar Galactica.
I was drawn to the idea of small, waring factions, striking out from fortified enclaves and enlisting the help of strangers to gain the upper hand, in this episode. It feels flavored by the Fallout series of video games. That series is very popular, thanks largely to it's incredibly well imagined post civilization world, so the addition is certainly welcome in crafting a greater landscape in Revolution.
If you've stayed on the Revolution train, you've been rewarded. As the wrinkles are patched over, the fantastic ideas are free to shine through, unblemished by the many minor flaws which have plagued it in previous episodes. Let's hope it continues on the this set path.
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.