Unless some miracle of television spackling occurs, Revolution is beyond salvation and will never be good. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy it. I'm more into the show now than ever, and that's because I've adapted my viewing habits to match the show. My expectations are so low that Charlie could wake up and realize the blackout was all a bad nightmare that resulted from some chowing on some late-night pepperoni Hot Pockets and I wouldn't even flinch. In fact, I'd love that! So yeah, my expectations are low—but they're still expectations. Even though I go into each episode with an open mind, there's no forgetting the six hours of Revolution that preceded "The Children's Crusade."
Now I get a little antsy before each episode of Revolution, because what if it's... good? What if Charlie doesn't get herself into a dumb situation where she needs to be rescued by Miles AGAIN? What if things make sense? What if there isn't some ridiculous sidequest that Charlie insists the group set out on? What once were wastes of endless potential have become addictive nuggets of dreck, and the early moments of each episode of Revolution, when I'm unsure what's in store, have become nerve-racking.
But after those early moments of uncertainty in last night's "The Children's Crusade," a pack of wild, orphaned kids showed up with bows and arrows and I let out a sigh of relief. Water was still wet. Hell did not experience an Ice Age. Pigs did not sprout wings. Revolution promised to remain enjoyably bad for at least another hour, and the world was able to continue spinning. Phew!
"The Children's Crusade" was not the turning point for the series, thank the lord, but I will say it did take some much-appreciated steps toward answering some of our questions about the blackout. Were they the answers we were looking for? Not even close! But the episode's combination of pointless sidequest and flashbacks detailing the origin of the blackout was Revolution at its bestworst!
Obviously Charlie doesn't care THAT much about Danny, because she's constantly taking up these extracurricular missions that keep her from finding her brother. Last night's was straight out of a bad role-playing video game, as a group of wildling orphans needed help finding their leader Peter. It turned out to be valuable brother-finding experience points for Charlie, however, because Peter was the brother of Michael, a boy who became the de facto boy in charge of the Kid Crusaders after Peter was boynapped by Monroe's men. It should also be mentioned that Michael had a great haircut for a post-apocalypse wasteland. Apparently a worldwide blackout has frozen hairstyles in the world of YouTube dreamboats.
"My brother was taken too so I will help you get your brother because I know how that feels, bro," said Charlie as she put Danny's life on the back burner because screw Danny. Charlie has an insatiable need to help others who aren't her brother that cannot be stopped, so don't even try to reason with her. Heck, she was about to take on a whole Monroe army with a knife because they had a kid in chains! She has People Saving Syndrome, and it's incurable and those who suffer from it are afflicted with poor judgment, an inflated sense of self, and frowny faces. Miles tried to reason with Charlie and made a big deal about getting it through her thick skull that they couldn't save everyone, and then Miles also caught People Saving Syndrome and later said, "We're saving these adorable and dangerous kids that just ambushed us!" Even though Aaron called him out on his inconsistency. Yes, Miles felt guilty about being in charge of the Monroe Republic army when the kids' parents were taken away, but Miles was in charge of the Monroe Republic army when a lot of horrible things happened. Heck, he barely wanted to help his own niece at first. He's the archetypical selfish rogue who will put his own life at risk to help others wait what? Guys, I think Miles might be a paranoid schizophrenic.
So Miles, Charlie, Nora, and Aaron took off to find Peter because it was an adults-only mission, and of course a handful of kids, including the fat one and the young black girl who are about as useful in a fight as baby bunnies, snuck along behind them because they wanted some action, too. What's up with kids in television thinking they can always fight? Stay home and play with your Nintendos that you made out of tree bark and rocks, brats! In hindsight, other than (spoiler) Michael getting taken captive, there really wasn't a point for these kids to come along. Also in hindsight, the guy who greenlighted this show was definitely on an absinthe bender.
Thankfully, Miles had a plan to get into the giant conscription boat that Peter was being held in, and it involved Charlie getting punched. A lot. Last week, the grand plan was telling guards, "I'd hate to be you when I tell your boss that you wouldn't let me in!" This week, the plan was punch Charlie in the face. Charlie sat by the side of a road and waited for some militia men to come by, then one of them punched her in the face. Then next thing you know she was on the boat getting conscripted. Then Charlie picked a fight with a big fat kid, and he punched her in the face. So far, this plan was going great! Here's what it looked like.
OPERATION PUNCH CHARLIE IN HER PRETTY FACE
Then Charlie was in the medical bay (from getting punched in the face twice) being treated by a kind doctor, so she tranquilized the doctor by stabbing him in the neck with a syringe. Not nice! After the kind doctor was subdued, she ran about three steps before she got captured. Ugh, how could this fool-proof face-punching neck-stabbing plan be foiled by a well-run and armed military force? We might never know.
And you know what happens when Charlie gets in trouble (which is all the time), Miles comes and saves her! For the second straight week in a row, Charlie found her way into an impenetrable fortress for an objective using an elaborate plan (dressing up like a slut, getting punched in the face) that worked zero percent, and once again Miles waltzed into the same heavily secured stronghold by climbing over something and saved Charlie. You might be asking yourself, "Why doesn't Miles just go in the first place and save everyone a bunch of trouble?" Let me put that question to rest by saying, "Because then Charlie wouldn't get punched in the face."
They grabbed Peter, and were about to leave when Michael showed up with a bunch of mean militia men holding a knife to his throat. There was no way to get out of this situation, they were totally boned! There were only two things that could save them: Batman or a deus ex machina, and Batman was on vacation. Deus ex machina it is! While Miles and Charlie and Nora and Peter were in trouble, Aaron was back at the lighthouse basecamp with the kids who couldn't follow orders and they were all hiding from some bad guys when Aaron's pendant lit up and turned on the lighthouse! Then the lighthouse blinded Michael's captors all the way over on the boar, and it was truly a blessed coincidence because it gave Miles the split second he needed to start one of the show's epic swordfights and in about two shakes of a lamb's tail Miles killed everyone on the boat. Just decimated all the militia men in a flurry of severed limbs and broken dreams. Classic Miles. So good with a sword when he needs to be. The children were saved, every person in the party got 100 experience points and 15 gold, and Charlie put all her character level-up points into Constitution so she could take punches from larger opponents for next episode.
Back at Casa de Monroe, Revolution attempted to make something interesting out of the insufferable bore that is Rachel's imprisonment in Monroe's prison mansion. Monroe captured a former cohort of Rachel's that supposedly held one of the magic pendants, so Rachel was taken out of her fancy four-star confinement and planted in the actual prison to get the information out of him. But he was wise to Monroe's plan, so he didn't give up the information and instead they tortured his daughter! It was really critical to the whole episode's theme of "What is the point of this?" Way to turn your back on your former friend and get his family probably raped, Rachel.
But the best part (as usual) was the flashbacks, this time following Rachel well before the blackout. Ben's science team was working on a device that could produce clean, low-cost electricity, but instead they created a device that did the exact opposite and shut off electricity! It even shut down Robo Sapien!
Oops! I don't want to question Ben's science expertise or anything, but if you are a professional scientist and you create something that does the opposite of what you were researching, maybe you should look into a career at McDonald's or something? I'd like to see his previous experiments, like that time he tried to find a cure for cancer but ended up giving his whole team cancer. That's Dr. Ben, Accidental Scientist.
Ben's colossal goofup wasn't a total disaster, though. Suspicious Department of Defense representative Mr. Flynn was interested in Ben's device as a weapon, and Ben's eyes turned into dollar signs because who cares if the U.S. uses this as a weapon? What are they going to do, turn off Russia's Tetris machines? No biggie. Peace-loving hippie liberal Rachel had a problem with this though, and she had some strong words for Ben. Sensing Rachel was the key to getting Ben's device, Mr. Flynn needed to find a way to win her over. If only she had some sort of complications with her pregnancy, because Mr. Flynn had good connections with the fetoscopic trials at Colombia. Oh what's this? Rachel WAS having problems with carrying Danny! Flynn offered his services, and I'm guessing she accepted because Danny is alive so he must have been born. Or maybe she didn't accept it and that's why Danny has really bad asthma? I don't know.
It's heavily implied that the government, or at least the Department of Defense, was involved in turning out the lights, so go ahead and add government conspiracy to the laundry list of things in Revolution. What's more, at the end of the episode we found out that Flynn was Randall, the man who captured Grace who is that woman we all forgot about from early in the series!
I'm hoping all future episodes of Revolution are like "The Children's Crusade," a combination of tangential missions of inconsequential importance and disjointed flashbacks sprinkling ideas about the blackout. But I'll also take episodes featuring Charlie in a slinky cocktail dress, too. Just as long as they all have one thing: Charlie getting punched in the face.
– Monroe is probably the least intimidating villain on television. You can just tell the guy is way too nice to be making threats he'll follow up on. I kind of just want to hug him.
– Was there a reason Flynn had to be in the room with all the electronics when Ben showed him the demonstration? Wouldn't it have been just as believable if he was on the same side of the glass with Ben? That way, they wouldn't have had to look like idiots talking to each other on the phone. Oh well, what do I know?! I'm no science major.
– Aaron, trying to earn some nerd cred: "Awesome, like a pack of hairless Ewoks." Haha! Oh Aaron, I still don't like you.