Revolution's Fall Finale: Stupidity Decelerated
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.
– 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.
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