Revolution's Fall Finale: Stupidity Decelerated

By Tim Surette

Nov 27, 2012

Revolution S01E10: "Nobody's Fault But Mine"

Guys, you're going to think I've almost been shot by a bullet and hit my head on the ground and entered a dreamland, but I'm going to say it anyway: "Nobody's Fault But Mine" very well may have possibly been the best episode of Revolution so far maybe! But before we declare the episode the greatest story ever told, let's admit that going in, the bar was so low it was buried the center of the Earth. The series' fall finale was relatively good in that it wasn't horrible, and it represented a sizable step toward fixing everything that ails this adventurous mess.

The rapid descent into stupidity actually decelerated for the first time in something like eight episodes, and "Nobody's Fault But Mine" came in with a sober focus that was actually relevant to the immediate plot for a change. There were no hallucinatory tunnels, no fake prostitutes (okay, there was one), no Neverneverland full of boy-band orphans, and no canines with a hunger for human skin. This episode was no mere video-game sidequest, ladies and gentlemen. This was the final stage of the tutorial mission that signified the real beginning of the story, and it only took 10 episodes to arrive! Revolution calls this episode a "mid-season finale," but I call it an episode that probably should have happened six or seven Revolution hours ago.

What made the episode work was the way that one of the elements Revolution has been butchering all season long—flashbacks—finally came together finally. The use of flashbacks with relation to the episode's climax was a novel difference that really made it pop. Holy moley I'm actually talking about Revolution like it's an actual show. The relationship between Miles and 'Bas (Mr. Monroe to you) has become one of the most compelling aspects of the series (a distant second place behind the cause of the blackout), and for once, what happened in the past—particularly their bro chat in the graveyard—was entirely relevant to what was about to happen in the present. Even the stupid Instagram-filtered flashback of the two as kids added heft to their showdown!

Monroe pleading with Miles to come back smacked of the classic Eric Kripke accidentally homoerotic fan-fic fodder Supernatural has been so successful with. I mean, for a second, I really thought the two were about to embrace and shove their tongues down each other's throats during that final confrontation. But if we're at least picking that up on our gaydar, it means there's genuine characterization and emotion at play, two basic elements of writing that have been entirely absent from the series so far. I felt truly bad for Monroe; the guy sold his despair and confusion well and David Lyons should put that scene on his demo mixtape because it is by far and leaps and bounds and maybe by accident his best work on the show so far. And now we have a bad guy whose motivation we can finally taste and who isn't just that reject from The Cape. Monroe is an oversensitive lunatic who is making up for all the things that were taken away from him. Jesus, it took 10 episodes for this show to figure out that this is what we needed.

So that was the positive. "Nobody's Fault But Mine" still showed that Revolution is 90 percent aimless meandering, because the majority of the episode was a series of captures and rescues and joyless reunions. It went something like this: Charlie, Aaron, and Nora got captured; Miles rescued Aaron and Nora; Neville and his wife got stuffed in a closet; Charlie reunited joylessly with Rachel; Charlie reunited joylessly with Danny; Danny and Charlie reunited joylessly with Rachel; Rachel sort of got recaptured; Danny and Charlie escaped; Miles and Nora rescued Charlie and Danny; Miles rescued Rachel, Charlie, and Danny and Nora escaped; Rachel showed up and hugged her kids; Charlie, Danny, Nora, and Rachel escaped and reunited joylessly with Aaron; and Miles jumped through smoke and—rightfully—called Charlie an idiot.

It's Revolution's version of action, and there's nothing wrong with loads of action, but whenever I saw Luke or Leia go up against faceless Stormtroopers, I knew what was going to happen. The Monroe Militia is the most inept fighting force in the world, even with the advantage of having guns and cool brands on their wrists. Here's a tip: Instead of several captures and escapes, why not focus all the energy into one dramatic capture and one dramatic escape? Raise the stakes, add some evil to the bad guys, and give some badassery to the good guys.

The episode got close to doing that when Rachel took out Strausser, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that Strausser wasn't the maniac, Rachel was the maniac. Correct me if I'm wrong, but has Strausser been anything but talk since we first met him? I'm pretty sure that Rachel has brutally savaged more people than Strausser the Supposedly Super Evil Henchman. And dude, all your talk about being aroused and wanting to eat Charlie's peach is just gross. If you spent less time masturbating in your rape van outside of a schoolyard and more time torturing and killing people, your murder may have been a bigger victory for the show. Instead, it was just the removal of an annoying character who never lived up to his villainous potential. See ya, Strausser, enjoy being molested in Hell.

Which brings us to the end and the rise of the helicopter. As far as cliffhangers go for a show that's about to go on a four-month break, a helicopter being turned on by Rachel's pendant amplifier and bearing down on the group in the middle of a field where there's nowhere to hide is pretty weak. It seems more like something that would work better as the outro to a commercial break. Personally, I would have preferred a subtler tactic, like Monroe putting the amplifier in the helicopter and turning the thing on with the group hearing the whirlybird fire up. That leaves a lot more to the imagination and would have achieved more of the "Oh fuck!" the show was going for. Instead, what we got was an abrupt cut in the middle of an action sequence that we all know will end fine. I don't want to spoil anything, but I'm pretty sure that when Revolution returns a third of a year from now (*IF* WE RETURN, SAY THE DOOMSDAY MAYANS AND THE IMMINENT POISONOUS MOLE PEOPLE REBELLION) Charlie and company will run away. Cliffhangers on a show where we know our heroes won't die (and yes, this show is done killing off main characters for a long time, Maggie was it) work better when they aren't all about our heroes being in danger.

So there you have it. Revolution served up one of its finest moments just before it goodbye for almost half the time it takes to make a baby. But in addition to the challenge of staying on the right path, something I'm still not confident the show can do, there's still a lot it needs to improve on. Chalk up "Nobody's Fault But Mine" as a minor victory for Revolution, but honestly I prefer the weekly train wreck full of hallucinations, log bombs, and floppy-haired tough kids.



NOTES

– Early on, the episode went out of its way to point out that Charlie's head was still bleeding and she needed help. Then it totally ignored that fact. It's these little details thrown in for no reason that I love.

– A better cliffhanger for the episode would have been a wide shot of the closet Neville and Julia are stuck in, with Neville saying, "Helllllo! I have to go to the bathroom! Is anyone out there?"

– Just think how much the show would have changed if Rachel spent less time staring at Miles and slapping him and more time grabbing the pendant that Monroe will use to rain down Hellfire on the innocent people of the country. C'mon, Rachel, you had a chance to stop the next horrible Holocaust and instead you chose "What did the five fingers say to the face?"

– Jeremy Baker (Mark Pellegrino) to Miles: "You're like a bad penny." I don't know if that really makes sense, but dammit I love that line. Baker is easily the best of Monroe's men. Yes, even better than Neville.

– Why did Miles leave the group initially in the first place? I know the writers wanted to find a way to separate Miles from Charlie, Nora, and Aaron so he could save them later, but they couldn't even bother to give us a reason for Miles to be roaming the streets of Monroe-Milita-infested Philadelphia? Thumbs up, writers!

– More talk about the scarcity of the bullets, and then tons of bullets fired.

– Another advantage the Monroe Militia has: Holding people at gunpoint looks a lot cooler than holding people at swordpoint.

– Rachel's decision to save either Miles or Danny was the ultimate Sophie's Choice, except the opposite. I wanted both of them to die so badly!

– Housekeeping: I may or may not be back to review the rest of the season when it returns on March 25. It's so far off, I could be dead by then. But if I do survive the Mole People Uprising, we may also recruit another writer to cover it.

  • Comments (441)
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  • fan1983 Feb 11, 2013

    No! I love your reviews, Tim, don't stop! This show is awesome AND terrible at the same time, and reading your recaps just drives it home.

  • phonzee101 Mar 26, 2013

    Amen.

  • KevinMiddelbo Dec 20, 2012

    I quite like this show to be honest. It's silly, sure. But it's also charming. :-)

  • Export Dec 10, 2012

    @Tim Surette
    Haha I love that this show got renewed for other season . I like this show . Mebbe they should get a better writer to cover this show since you got a hard on for this show . hahah too funny ,The numbers dont lie

  • ionee24 Dec 06, 2012

    I don't see a clear line of thinking for the show right now: Rachel is motherly or brutal at the whim of the plot, Danny has asthma attacks or not depending if its convenient, Miles had an affair with Nora or Rachel depending on the episode and Aaron has a crush on either his wife or Charlie depending on the day.

    Add Charlie's ever changing combat skills for, what's supposed to be, the sheltered daughter of a postapocalyptic farmer and stepdaughter of british Doc (by the way, why Danny didn't question them about Maggie? He get along with her just fine in the pilot) and I'm not very confident when it comes to the big things like the pendants, the helicopters or the Monroe Republic.

  • GirishStewart Dec 06, 2012

    I don't see you thinking clearly. Almost no flaws on part of the show here. Like none at all.

    Rachel does whatever she needs to ensure the survival of her kids. That's a basic human nature - protecting your offspring. Danny hasn't had an asthma attack since the pilot. Whatever he may have had after that scene may have happened behind the scenes or not at all.

    Miles - So, you've never heard or seen people having relationships with different people at different points of their lives? About Aaron. You must be high and just trolling around.

    Charlie's combat skills haven't changed since the pilot. She hunted animals before and is adapting.

    Wait... How would Danny know that Maggie was with them if Charlie didn't have enough time to sit down and talk with him with all that was happening?

    As long as we're saying aloud what we think (quite frequently and repetitively, if I may add), I'm very confident about the main plot.

  • ionee24 Dec 06, 2012

    Those of you who remember the pilot episode can agree with me that Charlie hunted for post-cards from different cities, not animals. It was well established this was only an excuse for her to leave with Danny (an excuse Tom never bought the way Aaron did).

    And the point was brought up again when Miles told her the world was not a pretty collection of post cards, right before she broke them on camera. Since this reply is so completely wrong about Charlie, you can understand why I don't need to delve in the other characters.

  • ionee24 Dec 06, 2012

    This comment has been removed.

  • Dre5d Dec 06, 2012

    i acutally think the ending was a good o fuck moment. The question is where does the show go from here? I mean they have danny and rachel, are they going to do aharry potter and search for the rest of the necklasses??

    The question also goes for the future of the series...what more will they do?

  • KateBarker Dec 05, 2012

    Oh, but I *love* your reviews, Tim! They're more entertaining than actually watching the show! Assuming the world is still here next year, and the Powers That Be don't pull a Terra Nova on us, I for one sure hope you're back to entertain us with further Revolution insights...

    BTW, does anyone else think the basic premise of this show steals rather blatantly from SM Sterling's Emberverse series?? Of course, we haven't seen the Evil Medieval Re-Enactors or the Good-Guy Pagans yet, but give them time...

  • GirishStewart Dec 06, 2012

    No. As far as I've heard from those who read the series, SM Sterling's world doesn't even have any working steam machines. Don't worry, even if you give them enough time, there won't be any good pagans and medieval bad guys on the show.

  • Bran Dec 03, 2012

    This comment from FringeFanatic requires more views. As some have already said, its the comment of the year:

    Take a bow, guys! VINDICATION! You've been championing this show through some pretty tough times. I gotta say, it looked pretty bleak. Gaping plot holes, inconsistencies, bad writing, bad acting and "insert criticism here" really made your task a thankless one.

    But you made it! WE made it! From the worst episode of oxygen deprived, hallucinogenic stupidity (apart from Miles's hallucinations, which added to the story), to by far the best episode of the show! WOW! Even Tim wrote about it with begrudging respect. That's a huge win for the Revolution supporters.

    This was a very solid hour of television. Haters can hate (oh, how they love to hate!), but even their criticism has been muted by a stellar midseason finale.

    As Tim wrote, the best and most interesting aspect of Revolution has become the oh so complicated relationship between Miles and Monroe. The flashbacks were both emotionally poignant and directly relevant to the story. DID I JUST WRITE THAT?! Why, yes I did. Dare I say they reminded me of LOST? Ridicule me if you must, but LOST was the master at using flashbacks as a means of justifying character motivations, and Revolution took one giant leap in the right direction with Monroe's tortured backstory. Goddamn Harry Potter! The boy who killed. I think losing your family to such trivialness would hurt even more. David Lyons performance in this episode was the strongest acting I've seen on Revolution to date. They were brothers, man! Them against the world. I felt for Monroe, I really did. Miles saved his life and was the only family he had in this world. Part of me wanted Miles to just throw down his gun and hug it out with Munroe (settle down gaydar watchers). If you think about it, imagine all the good Miles could do from inside the Militia? He could rein in Monroe's clearly psychopathic tendencies. Maybe even try to get the Militia to NOT kill innocent people. You know, baby steps. But instead he's like, "You're nothing to me." OUCH! That hurts. Villains are always better when they're not cardboard cutout evil. If a show can make you sympathize with the "bad" guy, they've done a good job. And I sure as hell sympathized with Monroe in that moment. I didn't really understand Miles's completely cavalier attitude towards a guy he grew up with and once considered a brother, but I guess it all can't be perfect. He said something like "You're too far gone", but I wanted something ... more. I don't know. I'd like to see why Miles left the Militia in the first place. Can you say SEASON 2?!

    The rest of the episode was exciting, repetitive, but exciting. Charlie has stepped right into her BAMF shoes. (Miles is definitely rubbing off on her ... why does that not sound right?) Did you see the look on her brother's face when she knocked that Militia dude out? If his eyes could talk they'd be saying, "Daaaaaaaaaaaaamn!" Your big sis has grown up Danny! You'll probably be competing with Aaron in the most useless character department. Who am I kidding? Aaron OWNS that department.

    I was also intrigued with the scene between Rachel and Miles. A few have wrote that there is some URST there, but I think it's more than that. I think Miles may have already tapped the MILFgineer. That should complicate things. Oh, and am I the only one who thought Strausser repeatedly raped Rachel judging by her final words to him? He still wasn't a very convincing evil psychopath, but that at least makes him more maniacal than Rachel. And it makes her killing him a bigger win. Go Rachel!

    Now before I sum up this extremely long, self-indulgent comment, I would like to take a moment to defend the Monroe Militia. QUOTE: "The Monroe Militia is the most inept fighting force in the world." I don't know about that, Tim. Have you ever seen a James Bond movie? One guy basically takes down entire armies. At least Revolution's rag tag group has power in numbers (as in, more than 1). I know James Bond is the most elite super spy ever, but they've painted Miles in a similar fashion. He's the best of the best AND he's got a demolition expert ... and Charlie ... c'mon, she's getting better! Pretty much every action/adventure TV show and movie you watch the main characters inexplicably overcome impossible odds. Bullets very rarely hit their marks. This is not a Monroe Militia problem, it is a "bad" guy problem. Evil fighting forces generally suck at aiming. This is a FACT.

    In summation, I really liked this episode. I hope Tim continues to review Revolution (he's hilarious and he keeps this at times meandering show honest). And March 25 is too long to wait to see if our beloved group escapes the menacing 'Copter (they will, won't they?!).

    Oh, oh, and I just found out Tracy Spiridakos (a.k.a. Charlie. a.k.a. Idiot) is Canadian! I love her entrancing eyes and manic smile even more now!

  • Left4Ed Dec 03, 2012

    I think after getting a break from this on again-off again (but mostly off) series to review the fourth season of Justified (which is ALWAYS on), coming back to tripe would seem like pure torture.

    I mean, it was torture for me to catch up on three episodes. I'm sure at one point, I completely zoned out during the tunnel adventure, because I honestly had no clue who that militia turned undercover rebel was or where he came from. I came to after he took Miles hostage and I was left scratching my head... It's kinda sad, wanting to like a show, but never getting a chance to, because the acting (DIE CHARLIE, DIE!) is horrible and the writing is horrible. Especially when the plot is GOOD. A ragtag group of people facing off against a post-apocalyptic regime, with so many twists and turns that could be turned into television gold, and it's all just flushed down the toilet.

    Supernatural was great, Fringe IS great, and yet, the minds behind them both failed to come together and create something amazing. I'd want to jump ship too.

  • flyingcactus Dec 03, 2012

    Having given up on the show itself, I look forward to your cryptic critique each week. But as I writer I can imagine you'd like to turn your skills to some meaningful criticism instead of shooting fish in a barrel.

    The helicopter bodes ill in terms of anything creative actually coming of the great energy mystery. And Rachel's character is way to shallow to have pulled this off believably. Oh, yeah. This is truly bad fiction. I forgot.

    Again, I am pained at the lost opportunity. Those of us raised in the atomic age who remember having to hide under our desks for those nuke drills have always wondered how me might survive apocalypse. And this show could have been a contemporary twist on such a future.

    Happy December 22!

  • ionee24 Dec 03, 2012

    I think the pendants are most stupid macguffin since the Impala from Supernatural and even I believe it was stupid of Rachel not to grab it on her way out

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