Revolution "The Plague Dogs" Review: Beware of Dogs

  • 330comments

Revolution S01E04: "The Plague Dogs"

The lesson to be learned from last night's episode of Revolution? Let eating dogs eat. Or don't throw fire at dogs. Or where are all the cats? In a post-apocalyptic world overrun with filth and disease, rapey bandits, and violent militias, it was a group of doggies that caused the greatest problem for our powerless survivors thus far.

Despite taking a giant step toward legitimacy with a surprising turn of events, "The Plague Dogs" was still a horrible hour of television bogged down by plot holes, story convenience, and plain old idiotic decisions. At least we can say Revolution is consistent.

After a quick and easy reunion of Group A (Miles, Charlie, Nora) and Group B (Aaron and Maggie), the supergroup nearly stumbled over a pack of dogs feeding on a carcass and making every possible aural indication that they shouldn't be messed with. The sounds of snarling and flesh-ripping should be enough of a warning sign to turn around. But instead of backing away slowly and letting the pups finish their meal, Miles chose to throw a torch at them and draw as much attention to the group as possible. And though this set up the furry hairy situation that drove much of the episode, it wasn't a smart idea. Plus, you're down one torch!

There was a chase, Aaron got bit in the leg, and Maggie shot one of the dogs with a crossbow. Thankfully there was some dog kryptonite—a fence—in the vicinity, and the survivors scaled it to sweet freedom. But that wasn't the end of their canine nightmare.

Coming upon an abandoned amusement park (this world is riddled with them), the group was sneaked up on by sneaky-pants character formerly known as Nate... AGAIN. How many times can this guy hide in the shadows and be found? Is he good at tracking or really bad at it? His credibility as a competent ranger is pretty much at an all-time low. Anyway, sucked for "Nate" because the dogs came back and cornered the group in an abandoned diner! Except for Maggie, who got separated in the confusion and taken prisoner by the Lord of the Dogs.

The pups belonged to a hermit with trust issues, emotionally scarred from a group of looters who killed his daughter. Well, they didn't actually kill her. They just took a bunch of stuff and then later his daughter stepped on a nail and got tetanus and died, but instead of blaming his daughter for not watching where she stepped, he blamed the looters because it was easier that way.

The hermit stabbed Maggie in the leg artery (medical term), Charlie got snatched out of the diner (???) by the hermit, and by this time things were just happening just to happen and logic changed the channel. The dogs cornered the group in the diner, but Miles was able to just walk out and get Maggie after she got stabbed? The hermit was able to just walk in the back door and grab Charlie? The dogs continued to just sit outside the front door of the diner? The hermit set up Charlie in a crossbow trap because why? And Charlie was able to wiggle out of the way of the arrow anyway? Miles can kill 17 armed humans in close quarters with a sword but three dogs against six humans is certain death? Whatever, Revolution.

The point is, Revolution put on its big boy pants and killed off a major character in Maggie (we think). The move certainly changes the tone of the show for the better, because otherwise I was uncertain about how family-friendly it was, but it also kills off the one character with any solid emotional backstory. And you know what? It was sad. Among all the ridiculousness of the rest of the episode, Revolution actually did great work with Maggie via flashbacks as we saw just how much she'd struggled to get back to her kids. She walked from Seattle to the East Coast! Then she walked up and down the East Coast! All those miles and tired legs for a chance to maybe see her kids. That's dedication. Me, I cry when I realize I have to get out from under my blanket on the couch when the remote control is out of reach.

Usually characters die for a reason, but I didn't see any motive for Maggie to go other than for Revolution to prove that it isn't afraid to kill a character (though I'm willing to bet there are no more major deaths for a loooooong time). Supporting characters are designed to support main characters. Their blood stays on someone else's hands, or their sacrifice allows a group to survive. But here, Revolution tried to use Maggie's death as a way to convince Miles to stick around and help Charlie. The problem is that there was no doubt that he wasn't going anywhere in the first place. Character deaths are never entirely pointless; the emotional crater left behind affects those who live on. But Maggie's death was as close to pointless as it gets in television land.

Elsewhere, while Charlie and Miles were dealing with dogs, Danny and Neville were scared by storms. Gray skies forced Neville's caravan into shelter, where Danny escaped his confines AGAIN. The ensuing chasedown separated Neville and Danny in a basement while they waited out the storm and helped fill out the hour. Then an almost-tornado came but got sucked back up into the sky before it could hit the building Neville and Danny were in. It wasn't scary. And just after Neville bellowed, "Amen," the roof collapsed on him in an unintentionally comical fashion. That's what I call bad luck! That gave Danny the decision to either run off to freedom or save his archenemy from certain death. Neville guilted Danny into saving him by telling Danny his dad would be disappointed (the irony being that Ben's death was caused by Neville); Danny saved him, and of course Neville pulled a "Psych!" move and immediately put him in restraints again.

In the C-minus story, Rachel was still in Mansion Prison being pestered by Monroe about what Ben knew about the blackout. I don't know how long Rachel has been in this particular room, but it seems like a long time. And as far as I can tell, Monroe comes in every 15 minutes and asks her the same question. But this week, Monroe had had enough and brought in a torturer! That'll get the answers out! So the guy laid out all his scary torture tools and stuff was about to get real, except the guy never tortured Rachel because later we saw her and she looked incredibly comfortable and unscathed. Although I suppose he could have subjected her to a really intense tickling session.

Later, Monroe promised that he'd torture Danny (yeah right, we're not falling for that again) and called her a cold bitch because she doesn't care about her kids. That was supported by an earlier flashback in which Rachel left the kids and Ben for MONTHS to get supplies. As young Charlie screamed for her mom to come back, Rachel didn't do so much as offer a wave. Cold! Except later we saw that scene from Rachel's perspective and she was crying and broken up about leaving, and it hit us as hard as a down comforter because things weren't set up well and we never thought for a second that she was a hardened bitch. Swing and a miss.

We're four episodes into Revolution, we've had our first major death, and the show has been picked up for a full season. But the series is showing no signs of improving as it continues to slip on banana peels in an effort to find any sort of footing. And with Maggie dead, the show is in more trouble than when it started.



NOTES

– Maggie was Skype-chatting from Seattle with her kids in England, right? And it was nighttime in Seattle, right? Figure an eight-hour time difference, and a conservative estimating that it was 6pm in Seattle... her kids were awake at 2am? Why would she call them at 2am? What kind of mom is she? And why is she in Seattle in the first place, anyone know?

– Nora should have died. She's okay with making loud snide comments about Aaron and Maggie, but she chastises Miles for "blowing up" on Charlie? What a hypocrite.

– This young Charlie looked like a kid who could grow up to look like present-day Charlie. That's the best casting we've seen on the show so far.

– So what happens to the dogs now that their owner is dead? TELL ME!

– "I poured myself a cup of poison" is my favorite line of the fall season so far.


What'd you think of this episode? Is it worth it to keep covering Revolution on TV.com?






Like TV.com on Facebook