With the Sochi Snolympics set to bump Revolution from the schedule until the end of February, the show needed a good episode to keep its time slot warm while the world gets all r consumed by people that they've never heard of before wearing garish fashion disasters. And maybe I'm going insane, but "Happy Endings" was it. What? Me, saying nice things about an episode of Revolution? Weird, right? But "Happy Endings" was probably the show's best episode since the early goings of Season 2, and it's all because it changed its tone and decided not to be such an annoying sourpuss for an hour.
Even if "Happy Endings" didn't take big steps forward with the story (which it did), I would have enjoyed it just for the overdue levity that surfaced. Revolution is terribly inconsistent in its tone. One week it wants to grit its teeth and put on black fingernail polish, the next week it's a Disneyland ride. Because Revolution doesn't have the talent or guts or motivation (or the time slot or network) to go all the way heavy, it always works best when things lean playful. And it doesn't get more playful than featuring a throwaway cameo by Bret Michaels as an acoustic troubadour singing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" accompanied by the line, "When the world ends, there's going to be nothing left but cockroaches and Bret Michaels," and a carnival barker selling a look at Steven Tyler's mummified remains (isn't that we're looking at in present day?).
But goofiness was counterbalanced by some genuinely solid action sequences thanks to director Ernest Dickerson. Dickerson, who directed several episodes of The Wire and some of The Walking Dead's better episodes ("18 Miles Out," the Season 2 finale "Beside the Dying Fire"), brought life to a series that was walking dead, especially in the panicky opening sequence that sprung Connor from last week's cliffhanger and got the typhus vaccines to the people. Quick zooms! Gun sights! Sniper shots! Am I crazy or was that the best Revolution has ever looked? And though the final fight between Miles and that overgrown meathead was a straight ripoff of shirtless Brad Pitt's near-dive in Snatch, those body blows Monroe jackhammered into his foe's stone torso could be felt through the screen and that final Punch-Out! knockout blow was sweet.
As for what actually happened, well, lots, really. Monroe took Connor and Charlie to New Vegas to get some hired muscle (so the Patriots will have people to kill during the big fight), and Connor and Charlie flirted and f*cked. Charlie didn't put up much resistance at all, because the way she sees it, they're all going to die anyway. After several episodes of pouting in the background, Charlie finally gave us a glimpse into that ice-cold heart of hers and gave Connor a glimpse of a whole lot more. Slutty Charlie is Good Charlie. This scene was put side-by-side with Rachel tapping into her own inner floozy, and in the middle of Miles taking her out on a terrible date, she said, "20 years of foreplay is long enough," and then jumped his bones. Tension released all around for these horny Matheson women! These dalliances earned some stern talking-tos from fathers, with Gene slack-jawed at seeing his daughter tainted by Miles–his dead son-in-law's brother–and Monroe perplexed at Connor's decision to tap Charlie when there were plenty of good whores around. Men of the post-apocalyptic Revolution world, when a Matheson girl gets the itch, it's best to prepare your groin, because she will not take "no" for an answer.
We also met the President, whether he's the actual president or just another old white guy in a suit, I don't know, but he gave Tom orders to find Monroe and murder him. I really liked this president, he was a total dick and it's not a coincidence he acted like a slave master by not letting Tom sit on his couch. And as motivation in case Tom should choose to disobey, he held Julia prisoner and promised to scoop out her eyeballs if Tom strayed from the mission. That put Tom and Jason in Willoughby with Gene, Miles, and Rachel, where Tom put on quite a show about wanting to massacre the Patriots for blowing up his wife, and to a lesser extent, the city of decadent fashion known as Atlanta (he was lying, he just wants to get closer to Monroe). Thank the firefly lord that Tom is finally back in the fold with everyone else, because his storyline was staler than Bret Michael's unwashed bandana.
The only potential misstep in "Happy Endings" was Aaron's story as Revolution shoehorned religion into the mix. The guy can influence an omnipresent power and set people aflame, yet instead of watching him develop superpowers, we're following him as he backpacks across Texas with his ex-wife. He landed in Lubbock after his nano-travel-agency booked him there, and he ran into his old college buddy Peter. The three of them worked together pre-Blackout on what would become the nanotech, but now Peter was transformed into a faith healer who didn't understand that his God was actually a bunch of tiny robots. This turned to a bunch of talk about religion and faith, with Peter, once a very practical scientific mind, now a Bible-thumping religious nutjob praying to fireflies (it's unclear whether he actually saw them or not). That came off in the episode worse than that last sentence sounded because Revolution didn't add any threat to this scenario. Instead, it felt like Revolution was preaching the dangers of religion because the problem Aaron had was that Peter was blind to the nanotech and had adopted religion. In the pre-Blackout days, did Aaron run around to churches screaming, "Your God is a lie!"? No? Well then shut your self-righteous trap, Aaron, and be happy your friend is alive and that he's giving some hope to the people of Lubbock. Now if Revolution wanted to add some teeth to this scenario, then they should have dialed up the crazy on Peter. Instead he was as level-headed and lucid as anyone's been in this show. Because really, what's the difference if you're thanking a made-up man in the sky or unseen microbots? There's an interesting idea in comparing religion and the nanotech, but so far, Revolution hasn't found it.
And just when you thought Revolution would make it through an episode without someone getting captured, the hour ended back in New Vegas with a nabbing. A big diamond heist to get payment for mercenaries went sour, and Connor and Monroe were captured by New Vegas authorities. There's your cliffhanger, and we'll have to wait until the end of February to find out what happens. Based on the 572 times this has happened before in this series, I'll take a stab at it and say they get rescued.
But seriously, THAT was the Bret Michaels cameo? Just him playing his guitar for five seconds? Boo! But be sure to buy a bottle of Michaels' new cologne Roses and Thorns, which he's shopping on the Home Shopping Network today and wasn't afraid to let people know.
AIRED ON 5/21/2014
Season 2 : Episode 22