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A Review of Revolution, Episodes 2x21-22, "Memorial Day" and "Independence Day"

Posted on the 24 May 2014 by Virginiamae @SugarRushedBlog

While these episodes had a few shortcomings here and there, overall they were brilliant, captivating, and wonderful in too many other ways for any caveats to bother me. Let's review and discuss!  I'm going to break this down by character.

Miles: As usual, Miles went off without a hitch in both episodes.  Smoothly consistent and thoroughly admirable as a hero, fabulously sarcastic and yet deeply sensitive in his relationships with others, Miles had it all handled.  He stole a train to try and avert a poisonous gas from killing innocents, only to find out that the gas was back in Willoughby at a sketchy political function.  Yet still, despite the complete impossibility of righting the scenario, with the help of the usual gang plus a father-daughter duo with an axe to grind against the Patriots, Miles managed not only to save the townsfolk, but to go on to mastermind the capture and hoodwinking of the President.  

The two most touching scenes that Miles had in the final two episodes were when he told Monroe he was trusting him, and when he talked to Charlie about his relationship with Rachel.  With so little time left in the show's current run (I still really hope it can find a home somewhere else), it was great that the writers managed to fit extremely significant and satisfying scenes like this to give a little love and further growth to important bonds between characters.

Charlie: While wryly taciturn as ever, I'm incredibly grateful that neither of these episodes featured the dreaded "Silent Charlie" following the crowd like a cute, little mute sheep.  No, Charlie was on her own heroic journey as she aided in Miles' train heist, even showing some of her happy, rebellious spirit coming back after weeks of sad turmoil following Jason's death.  Interestingly, a lot of her best material came in the highly significant and intriguing looks she kept exchanging with Monroe.  It's ironic that although I normally hate it when the writers give Charlie nothing to say, in these particular scenes, the silence between Charlie and Monroe was utterly fascinating and telling.  

I can't even fathom how those two manage to fill fleeting moments of eye-locking with such heavy and enticing meaning, but it just kept getting better every time they took a beat to stare at each other after a significant event had occurred.  My personal favorites were after Monroe stopped Neville from killing Charlie in front of the train in "Memorial Day," and after Bass brought the President to Miles, proving that he is redeemable in "Independence Day."  As lovely as it was to get these tiny, precious little tidbits of Charloe goodness, truth be told I consider it a tragic waste that there has been so little follow-through on a pairing that has been rooted for online in vast numbers for months and one which was so exquisitely well prepared for by the beginning episodes of Season 2.  If Revolution does find a new home, I'd expect the writers to stop dragging their feet on the Charloe front.

Monroe: Yay!  I am so exceptionally grateful that Bass made some forward progress as a character actively seeking redemption in these two episodes.  From saving Charlie from Neville to boarding the train back to a treacherous Willoughby about to be gassed, to keeping his word to Miles and bringing the President to follow through on his old friend's plan, Monroe was spectacular.  What could have been more tempting to Bass than to maintain his close relationship with his long-lost son and get one step closer to regaining the Republic?  But still, something about the sheer power of Miles' trust as a concept broke through the last wall of Monroe's selfish, myopically power-seeking behavior.  I also adored that after the ridiculous way he acted in 2x20, we didn't get any sequels of the foolish and blundering Monroe.   Retrospectively, maybe that obnoxious attitude in "Tomorrowland" (also on display in 2x19, "Sh!t Happens") was just the last desperate throes of Monroe's attempts to resist simply embracing the better side of himself. 

But now, we had no more silly regression and plenty of badass maneuvers.  It was cool to see Monroe be treated like a full-fledged member of the gang by Miles, Rachel, et al, and again, those Charloe moments were gorgeous.  He also got to be the one to barge into a Patriots' meeting and announce that their entire organization had essentially been busted and destroyed.  Too effing awesome for words.

Neville, as an unavoidable result of what had happened to him with Jason dying and Julia's fate also seeming sealed, was basically just a madman - a calculating and clever one - on a rampage against the Patriots and anyone else who got in his way.  Weirdly, he sort of teamed up with Connor, through being the only other person unwilling to jump on Miles' bandwagon.  Connor, meanwhile, had a not entirely convincing transition to acting a bit evil and self-serving (this seemed rushed to me and contrasted with the way his character was previously presented) a la the old school version of his father.  Yeah, a convenient twist for the writers, but I have no real problem with it since it yielded the excellent moment of crisis where Bass had to choose between sticking with his son or maintaining Miles' trust.

Rachel - after being somewhat whiny lately - stepped up her game and was pretty great in these last two episodes.  I really loved the way she marched right into Nanocilla's house of crazy and put the smack down on that evil, robotic psycho,  being more proactive in about five minutes worth of being in the same room with the nano than Aaron's been all damn season.  Someone needed to put the nano in its place and get Priscilla back, so good work, Rachel (even though Aaron took some of the credit since Priscilla felt him calling her back to reality...Aaron, you could have been working harder to get this done all along, instead of cowering like a wuss while Nanocilla tortured peeps.  SMH).  That Rachel was also able to move past her knee-jerk hatred of Monroe and acknowledge that he had done well in the last episode was also a nice bit of evolution for her and a welcome release from her repetitive complaining about him (I also couldn't stand Monroe's repetitive complaining about Rachel either, or the stupid insinuations that they once had a thing together...again, I say, no, and ew.  Glad to see none of those themes recurring here).  

So in the end, our band of heroes had defeated the Patriots, but were faced with a new problem as the Nano began to cull new allies from among the more morally and emotionally twisted of the characters (hello, Tom and Ed), all for some mysterious, doubtless quite terrible scheme to take place in Idaho, where the lights were coming back on.  I didn't find this to be a stunningly potent cliffhanger, as it was just kind of okay.  The nano had its strong moments in Season 2 (especially in the episode where they tricked Aaron into thinking he was in a world where the power never went out) but over the last few hours had dwindled into being too crazy and petty for me to take them seriously as the powerful "God-like" entities they supposedly are.  That's what Rachel was saying when she explained to Aaron that Nanocilla had weaknesses and was hardly impervious.  Still, despite the underwhelming ending, enough terrific character work filled "Memorial Day" and "Independence Day" to make them highly entertaining and enjoyable episodes.

What did you think of the last two episodes in Revolution's second season?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

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