WHAT!? You mean Monroe ISN'T dead? WHAAAA? You mean Dr. Gene ISN'T really a bad guy? Okay, none of that was very surprising, because we didn't expect either of the huge developments that took place in last week's "Dead Man Walking" to stick. But I just can't ignore how awesome it would've been if one of them turned out to be true in the serviceable "Patriot Games," a mellow and somewhat dreary episode of Revolution.
Obviously Monroe wasn't dead. No one in their right mind believed that to be the case, and many of us even guessed what did happen: Rachel injected him with enough sleepy juice to fool hick doctors into thinking he was dead, and then all Rachel had to do was dig him up and he was right as rain again. A few minutes of bed rest, and Monroe was awake and professing his love to Miles, the best barometer of Monroe's health. So much for that death sentence and that promotion for the Texas Rangers. When Monroe shows his face in public again, it will be a Bush-era "Mission Accomplished" moment for both the Rangers and the Patriots.
The more concerning issue was the immediate reversal of attitude toward Dr. Gene, who was exposed as the mole who caused all the Patriot headaches in Willoughby in the first place. I really wanted Gene to be Mean Gene. Imagine just for a second that Gene was actually a bad guy, and that Revolution had run with that. It would've rocketed the series into pretty interesting territory, because Gene would've filled the hole in Season 2 where a villain should be. Instead, "The Patriot Act" spent many minutes flashing back in order to compassionately explain why Gene sided with the Patriots and convince us not to hate him. Nine years ago, Gene's wife (Charlie's Nana) died from cholera, and a mystery rep for the Patriots showed up shortly afterward with a whole barrel of cholera vaccine, promising Gene he'd provide more if Gene would help them out. And by "help," he meant "wake up torture victims who'd passed out so they could be tortured more." These flashbacks were effective in explaining Gene's actions, but they were also the easy way out.
Even with the awesome Zeljko Ivanek doing his trademark evil stares as the recently arrived Dr. Horn, Revolution's second season is missing that one guy who we can all point at and say, "That guy is a JERK, someone please kill him, thanks!" The Patriots are, as we've all agreed, a fantastic addition and a great evil collective that combines all the worst traits of Republicans, Democrats, Nazis, and people who don't like cats, but the individuals who represent the Patriots are all drones taking orders from some mystery person we should really be upset with. Is anyone here really scared of Ed Truman? Or Secretary Allerford? They're just lieutenants, and they themselves have not done anything that bad (or the fact that I can't remember them doing anything that bad is a testament to how harmless they are). And no, Truman rounding up a psycho war clan and killing them doesn't count as bad. Monroe was that pillar of evil last season, but now he's a puppy dog who all the good guys are risking their lives to save.
In a series that is so simply good vs. evil, we need EVIL. Throw a black hat on someone and make that someone perform some horrible atrocities in front of us so we can tremble in our fuzzy slippers. Give us our (pick one, depending on your political preference) George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Adolph Hitler, or Mario Lopez. I need someone to hate on Revolution besides the people we're supposed to like. Gene had the chance to be the temporary fill-in for whatever Big Bad is coming down the line, and he would've been a good candidate. He's still an expendable dude, he has familial ties to main characters, and it would have been a ballsy move by a show that needs to make some ballsy moves. But no, he's just a tool for the Patriots and he'll probably make some big sacrifice eventually to atone for his traitorous ways, a trope that's been proven to work millions of times before. This isn't a terrible story by any means, I just think it could've been better. And if Revolution wants to be more than just an okay network sci-fi show, it's going to have to quit taking the easy way out of difficult situations.
But let's get back to what happened. Once Horn found out that Aaron was the King of the Nanites, the name of the game was "get Aaron out of Willoughby before Horn found him." That obviously didn't go so well, and Aaron tapped into his Human Torch abilities and set some Patriots ablaze during the escape. Cool stuff! His ladyfriend Cynthia wasn't impressed, though, and scurried off, wondering what sort of monster she'd gotten herself involved with. That's bullshit, Cynthia, you don't cold-shoulder your loved one just because he can set people on fire. If anything, that should send your ovaries into overdrive! Earlier in the episode, you told Aaron that home was wherever the two of you were together, but Aaron saved your life with his Duraflame skills and now you shy away? Weak! Boo Cynthia! Booooooo! Wasn't this the same Cynthia who was married to that reprehensible asshole bully? What the heck is wrong with you, Cynthia? Boo, I say! Boo! This is manufactured drama, and I am not looking forward to more of it. Someone cut Aaron a break.
Neville and Jason's story moved an inch. It appeared that Jason was free of his meth-Nazi indoctrination and was almost back to being his normal self, despite Allerford's repeated protests that he would slice them into little tiny pieces at the first opportunity he got. Jason proved himself by slaughtering a couple of his meth-Nazi brothers, and the sight of Jason covered in his enemies' blood when Neville turned the corner was pretty badass. Of course, Allerford did a total 180 on all the bad-mouthing she spewed about her own kid who was reprogrammed, and now she wants to go to Cincinnati to save him. Too bad, Allerford, because Neville decided he didn't want to be friends with her anymore and demanded that she take them to her husband, a high-ranking Patriot. Okay, so we're back to hating Allerford now? Sure. Just tell me who to like and who to hate, Revolution. We are but puppet sheep attached to your puppet strings.
The power of Revolution's strong start to Season 2 is beginning to fade as the show settles into being a nice slice of diversionary entertainment rather than a quality drama. But it can still surge back if the series finds itself a worthy villain, takes some risks, and returns the moodiness and eeriness of the early Season 2 episodes. It would also be nice if it stopped flip-flopping on characters and made one of the season's new cast members not a secret employee of the Patriots.
– A couple very Season 1 Revolution-y moments: Gene knew about Aaron and his magic act because Miles, Charlie, and Rachel talked too loud. Well, that was easy! And Miles avoided the trap set by Gene and Dr. Horn because he saw something in Gene's eyes and just knew. Also, very easy! Way to write around these obstacles, guys!
– Charlie and Rachel are almost friendly again, and Charlie's hug on her mom was genuinely touching, given how far apart the two have been.
– So who set off that bomb in the town? Was it an inside job? And what ever happened to the ramifications of it anyway? Was it just so Truman could declare Martial Law and curfews? The explosion happened early in the episode, and then it was never spoken of again.
– Poor Dr. Horn just wanted to be noticed by people. Pre-blackout he worked with Rachel at the Department of Defense, and she didn't even remember him. Youch! That stings! Who's the big dog now, Rachel?
– Where was the humor that we've been enjoying in Season 2?
AIRED ON 5/21/2014
Season 2 : Episode 22