Revolution "Kashmir" Review: Total Freak-out, Man!
While several viewers of Revolution hopelessly wait for the show to deliver the episode that turns everything around, there is a growing contingent—if our user reviews on TV.com and the Twitter conversations I've had are to be believed—of people who are waiting for the show to get worse. Nine episodes into the first season, the number of people giving up on Revolution is decreasing because those who have no patience for shows that struggle to find their footing should have already bailed Revolution when Nora got stabbed in the stomach for the second time. If you haven't jumped ship yet, it's because you either genuinely like the show or because you just have to see how far it will sink.
Obviously I'm in the latter group, and Revolution continues to amaze me. "Kashmir" was one of the worst episodes of the season (no small feat), and another waste of time, with bogus science and Charlie screwing everyone over with her incompetence. There were hallucinations AND dream sequences (unrelated), and a desperate move by Rachel against some unimportant character whose life she'd already ruined. In other words, it was exactly what I was looking for.
Things started (as they usually do) with someone getting punched in the face. This week it was Miles, who was being held captive by rebels in the base our heroes were trying to get to last week (so they DID finally get across the river!). We know Miles as the lovable cranky uncle, but in Rebel Country, he's just that no-good leader of the Militia who murdered everyone's families in the name of The Cape. The interrogation was intense. Here was the number-two bad guy in all the land right in the clutches of the Rebels, and he's trying to convince them that he's changed and can help them take down Monroe. It was a sticky situation for Miles, and there seemed to be absolutely no way out but—oh never mind, he just said, "How can you pass this opportunity [to catch Monroe] up?" and the Rebels agreed. They can't trust Miles as far as they can punch him, but he gives them the same type of logic that infomercials use to sell The Clapper and potato peelers, and suddenly he makes sense? Carry on then, Revolution.
Last week, the gang struggled to cross a bridge to get to the other side of a river. This week the challenge was walking through a tunnel—which of course Charlie, the walking disaster, would immediately fuck up because the girl can't put one foot in front of the other without creating a life-or-death situation. Nora and Miles wanted help from the Rebels, and the Rebels obliged with some extra manpower so that some people besides our heroes could die. The tunnel was a critical back door into Monroe's homebase of Philadelphia, and was guarded by two whole men! How would they—oh, a Hunger Games fan took them out with two arrows. Katniss would be proud, random Rebel chick.
After some meaningless walk-and-talks, including a particularly horrible one delivered by Rebel tag-alonger Sergeant Wheatley (guest-star Reed Diamond) on the merits of online gambling, guess who stepped on a landmine and needed some saving? Yes, the answer is Charlie. It's always fucking Charlie. If Charlie wasn't along on this adventure, Miles, Aaron, and Nora would already be clinking champagne glasses and eating lobster in Philadelphia while watching Monroe's severed head get kicked around like a soccer ball by Rebel young'uns. But Charlie stepped on a friggin' landmine. This created a
tense plain scene with high sea-level stakes as the life of the show's star pretty face hung precariously very securely in the balance as Nora worked randomly fiddled with the mine to disarm it. To show that this team's loyalty trumps common sense, Nora, Aaron, and Miles all stood as close as they could to Charlie because if she was blowing up, they were going to blow up, too. I appreciate someone I can count on, but if my BFF is stuck on an explosive device that could go off at any second, I'm wishing him the best of luck and finding a nice safe place to hide from the shower of bloody bits and pieces. I watch where I step, why should I be punished because you don't? You step on the crack, it's YOUR mother's back, not mine.
Their idiotic one-for-all-all-for-one 'tude did yield a great cliched "running from an explosion" shot, but it turned out they would have been better off if they just left Charlie to rot. The ensuing chain-reaction of explosions, while not strong enough to hurt any of them because of the three-foot head start they had, was strong enough to collapse a reinforced underground train tunnel. And that's when the real fun began!
It seems like it was only yesterday (it was) that I wrote about hating hallucinations and dream sequences on television because the reveal that they aren't real is always anti-climactic and because television—especially bad television—can't capture the actual feeling of a dream state or the reluctant admittance and paranoia of a hallucination seeming real. So when I found out that this week's Revolution was going to include the gang totally trippin' out, I put a little extra butter on my popcorn. How would the hallucinations come to be? Would Monroe poison them with some wartime LSD? Would an old Twinkie, divided among the group, scramble their brains into seeing things that weren't there? Would Charlie lick a toad?
As laughable as those scenarios seem, they would have made a lot more sense than what was actually thrown at us and passed off as science. The tunnel collapse resulted in airflow being cut off, and the lack of oxygen caused members of the group to hallucinate. Keep in mind these are about eight people in a cavernous underground subway station for a major metropolitan city. Even if Aaron did some PX90 workout sessions, I don't think there would be any worry about oxygen levels for at least a few weeks, but Revolution assumes that its audience was educated by 12th-century witches and puzzles on Denny's place mats.
The hallucinations came fast. First Miles thought he saw a Militia scout, then Nora imagined she was being eaten by an alligator, then Miles was hugging his bro Monroe, then Aaron saw his wife bitch an earful at him, accusing him of being the yellow wimp he was for abandoning her because of issues with his own insecurity. It's a series of unintentionally hilarious moments because everyone knows they're hallucinating (Aaron laid out exactly what was happening to everyone in simple terms) and more importantly WE know they're hallucinating. We basically watched people freak out after smoking pot for the first time. Nora's panic over the made-up mystery sea creature (GIF'd above) was flat-out embarrassing, Charlie (and the Rebel extras) didn't have any hallucinations, and only Aaron handled the situation appropriately when he continued walking with a crazy look on his face as his ex-wife viciously emasculated him. The only thing of importance we gleaned from these daymares was that Miles hasn't completely ruled out rejoining Monroe, though we can all be sure that's an empty threat to be milked by a future episode.
The group trekked on through the tunnel and came upon a door that WAS LETTING FRESH AIR IN and oh my God did Revolution really just do that? Did it really just ignore the whole basis for these hallucinations for no reason? Did the door have to have holes in it? I can accept that deeper in the tunnels may have been less oxygen-rich, but the way the torches sprang to life indicated that there was some decent airflow in there. Maybe it was just a placebo effect from Aaron's faux-science explanation that gave these idiots hallucinations, I don't know. With the great Hallucination Crisis solved, it was time for one of these Rebels to show off their true intentions and go turncoat on the group. Wheatley used the opportunity to grab Miles and shoot his Rebel friends (but not Nora, Charlie, or Aaron) and barred the door behind him. He was working for Monroe all along! Months ago, everyone thought his plan to infiltrate the Rebel alliance and be stationed at a random Rebel post with the hopes that Miles Matheson would one day randomly walk in to that particular outpost and be captured so Wheatley could escort him back to Philadelphia and into Monroe's arms was crazy, but ha ha guys, shows what you know about military strategy.
In a Freaky Friday role reversal, it was Charlie who saved Miles with a crossbow shot to the chest! But Wheatley got off one bullet that grazed Charlie in the face, forcing her to spin out of the way and knock her pretty little head against the ground. The way this scene was shot was peculiar. It started off in slow-motion with close-ups of Charlie and her bow, making it seem like Charlie would be all badass, like this:
But then she fell down and hit her head, which is definitely NOT badass, and she ended up like this:
Charlie may be immune to oxygen deprivation hallucinations, but one knock to the head and she's off to Dreamland. Not content with just featuring stupid hallucinations, "Kashmir" gave Charlie a dream sequence where she imagined she was back home with dad in an almost Wizard of Oz moment. Dad didn't want her to leave, but Charlie was all like, "Sorry dad, all this is fake and I have real stuff to do" so she bailed and woke up. That was it. The group then left the tunnel and moved on to Philadelphia, and not a single tear was shed for the Rebels who lost their lives because some stupid girl stepped on a landmine.
Back at Monroe Corp., Rachel was putting together that mystery machine we saw last week. It was an amplifier designed to increase the range of the power-pumping pendants, which would allow Monroe to power up all his toys that were in a half-mile range. The scene that explained this was actually pretty nifty as Rachel moved the pendant back and forth and various electronics in the pendant's range powered up. But c'mon, did anyone even think this plan out? Let's say Monroe gets the thing to juice up his tanks and jets and helicopters so he can terrorize the countryside as innocent people fight back with sharp sticks and harsh language. The range is half a mile, which means his tanks and jets and helicopters would all need to be within that range to be anything more than scrap metal. I'm pretty sure jets can cover a half a mile in about a second and a half, so all I picture is Monroe leading the charge with his pendant amplifier and a bunch of his jets and choppers falling out of the sky as they leave the range of the device. Even if he gets all 12 (I think there are 12?) pendants and creates a dozen amplifiers, that's a range of six miles, enough to keep an area between Wal-Marts really safe. Not exactly ideal for an army looking to take over a country that's more than 3,000 miles wide.
Finally getting the hang of this evil dictator thing, Monroe did the smartest thing he's done all series and brought in another scientist-type to verify Rachel's work. And it's that guy from last week that Rachel already betrayed by trying to get information out of him for Monroe which led to Monroe torturing (and probably other nasty things) his pretty little daughter! Rachel's bridge-burning came back to haunt her as he said her device was actually a bomb that would be used to kill Monroe, so Monroe said, "Gotcha!" and promoted other scientist to Lead Scientist of the Monroe Republic. That meant Rachel was expendable, and Monroe ordered her to be taken away and ruthlessly shamed.
But you have to wake up pretty early in the afternoon to pull one over on Rachel, and she recognized a Breaking Bad Season 3 situation here. Like Gus Fring (the real Gus, not Tom Neville) needed a great meth cook, Monroe needed a scientist with knowledge of the pendants. Like Gale was being groomed to be Gus' replacement for Walter White, so was this new scientist meant to replace Rachel. So Rachel, who already ruined this poor guy's life about eight times, stabbed the guy to death with a pencil to ensure her own safety. The cold, heartless bitch, just seconds after skewering her old friend in the heart, told Monroe, "Now you need me." Holy crap I love Rachel now. This woman is CRAZY.
"Kashmir" was right up there with "Sex and Drugs" for best worst episode of Revolution, and I'm not gonna lie to you: I'm still having a lot of fun watching this series. Probably not in the way the writers intended me to, but fun nonetheless.
– Any episode that starts off with the line, "I told you I'm a Rebel from the St. Anne unit" delivered by Daniella Alonso's Nora is of course going to be a beautiful mess.
– You're dead to me, Led Zeppelin! In case you didn't know, this was the big cross-promotion episode with the band's new album and featured many tracks from it. The episode was even named after one of their most famous songs, though I have no idea why. Has your opinion of Zep changed because of this episode?
– How did that arrow trick to take out those two guards work, anyway? I assumed she shot one arrow higher to give it more time to hit its target and then shot the second one straighter so the arrows would hit the guards at the same time. But watching it again, she shot both arrows up.
– To recap, this episode was full of scenes where people who were dreaming or hallucinating knew that they were dreaming or hallucinating.
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