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Review #3713: Revolution 1.3: “No Quarter”

Posted on the 04 October 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Monica Owusu-Breen
Directed by Sanford Bookstaver

Three episodes in, and I still think the show is trying to find itself. It’s still in the process of world building so we have to give it time. In the meantime, character development should come to the forefront. I just don’t think it’s happening that much across the entire cast. Episode by episode, one character stands out as a favorite, and while Captain Neville took that title in the first two episodes, “No Quarter” made Miles more than the cynical, disillusioned swordfighter. That was in part due to the curious decision to sideline Captain Neville in his little subplot.

Review #3713: Revolution 1.3: “No Quarter”

I still see no improvement, with few moments being the exception, but the potential remains around the fringes. The lead hero character, Charlie, is still a self-righteous annoyance so it makes me question why the series should focus so intently on her when there are other, better characters to do so. Character development before building the show’s mythology is key going forward if the show is to survive beyond this season.

“No Quarter” is, ostensibly, about filling some of Miles’ backstory. It involves a militia general named Jeremy (guest star Mark Pellegrino, famous from “Lost” and “Supernatural”) who is hunting the rebels that are fighting the Monroe Republic. When we meet some of the rebels in this episode, their exposition tells us that a raid went awry and cost the rebels dearly. One of them was captured and questioned for the whereabouts of the rebel base. I did like much of this sequence, although Jeremy tells this elegant speech to the prisoner about how bullets are now rare in the current post-blackout world and yet, he ends up shooting the prisoner anyway. This little detail irked me because in the next scene, when the militia soldiers find the rebel base, Jeremy’s soldiers are firing bullets as if they were in ready supply.

Like the previous episode with Charlie and her wishy-washy attitude about killing, this show doesn’t seem to want to remain consistent with anything that a character espouses. It does make for a good action scene (I especially like that the rebel sniper keeps mowing down any militia men in the open with one bullet each), but I can’t take much of what any character says with any seriousness. Jeremy also reveals to the rebels and company that Miles was the lead general of the Monroe Republic’s militia. It’s supposed to be this one big reveal in the episode, yet rings hollow to me because we’ve seen in flashbacks that Miles and Monroe are still chummy for months after the blackout. If it weren’t revealed earlier who Monroe actually was, this fact would have been a complete surprise. Miles also seems to regret his time as lead general for the Monroe Republic, training the men to be lethal killing machines and such, and that might explain why he was holed up at the Chicago Grand Hotel in the pilot.

The flashbacks to the immediate post-blackout world didn’t work for me, though. This was mainly because I couldn’t believe how well-fed and clean Miles and Monroe looked for two military men traveling on the road to Chicago. Nevertheless, I hope Jeremy shows up from time to time as the series continues. He has a history with Miles that should be explored in more depth. I would also like to see how he, Miles, and Monroe interact once they inevitably get together in the 2027 post-blackout world.

As for everything else in the episode, it kept dragging my enjoyment of it down. Maggie and Aaron finally reach Grace’s house, only to find it empty. Aaron is ecstatic at the sight of a computer, though. Being a former executive at Google, that seems understandable. He may have felt lost during the times without power and having society being sent centuries back by the blackout. None of that emotion is shown in the episode. Instead, he frets over how the computer doesn’t work and how there isn’t a logical use for the power pendant Ben gave him. When the pendant suddenly comes on and anything electronic in the house turns on, it’s a nice, triumphant moment. Maggie sees the faces of her kids again. The moment is fleeting, though, as everything shuts down after what seems like a minute. This is an effective part of the episode, but it’s the only one for that subplot. The pair needs more to do in order to feel like a solid part of the show’s whole.

I was also very disappointed at the marginalization of Captain Neville. He’s reduced to an observer here with Danny and one of Neville’s soldiers engaged in petty war. The soldier hates Danny for killing his friend, which would have more weight and conviction to it if the death was of a meaningful character. The events referenced here occurred two episodes ago and yet, I can barely remember what the guy Danny killed looked like. There’s no payoff to this subplot. Only that Danny has gained some measure of respect from Captain Neville when he lures the angry soldier into a trap to choke him with a chain. Both Danny and Charlie remain annoyances as characters because they aren’t as compelling as the adult characters. The writers must fix this soon or I will begin to tune out the parts of the show where they appear.

I think there is still a lot to fix about “Revolution”. Implausibilities of living in a world without electrical power are building up with each episode aired. It’s hampering my full enjoyment of the show and is making me think that the writers don’t really care about them or that they think viewers just won’t notice. I would hope the writers have more respect for the audience than that. If that’s really the case, this show is going to be difficult to watch as it goes along.

Score: 6/10

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