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NBC (ended 2014)

Revolution S02E02: "There Will Be Blood"

Guys. What is going on here? Are you seeing what I'm seeing? Revolution is... not totally stupid! In fact, it's kinda good. "There Will Be Blood" proved that the unbelievable improvement from the Season 2 premiere was no fluke, and as long as I'm being honest here, I may go so far as to say that "There Will Be Blood" was even better. A lot of the sense of improvement comes from comparing it now to how bad most of Season 1 was, but even without that low benchmark I may go so far as to say that it's good on its own. Yep, bet on the Jacksonville Jaguars to win the Super Bowl, expect a Kardashian/Kardashian presidential ticket in 2016, and buy stock in Blockbuster Video, because Revolution is good. 

The thing that stood out for me is the same reason Charlie is more tolerable this season: it shut up. Everything about the show is more quiet and confident, and it makes for a much more enjoyable watch as opposed to fighting the urge to throw my TV off a cliff. There's an easy effort about what's going on, with as much attention to what is actually happening as there is to character, tone, and suspense. That never happened last year except for in a few fleeting moments. I maintain what I said about the premiere, let's pretend Season 1 never happened.

Things picked up right where we left off this week, so let's visit the stories one-by-one. We'll start with Aaron because he's still Aaron, and he's very much alive after giving his ticker two-and-a-half hours off. Naturally, he and Rachel assumed it was the tiny flying robots that brought him back to life, but there are plenty of other things pointing to something different. There are fireflies having skywriting parties, carpets of dead rats, and other unusual natural phenomena that Aaron discussed last week. Creator Eric Kripke hasn't been shy about saying how the nature of the physical world has changed since the power went out then on then out again, and if he chose to go as far away from nanites as possible, that would be more than fine with me. Does anyone really want this techno-magic hanging around anyway? They could literally make almost anything happen and then just, "Ummm NANITES!" as an excuse. Nope, best to ditch 'em all completely. Again, let's pretend Season 1 never happened.

There's more proof that something is special about Aaron now. "There Will Be Blood" had splashes of flashbacks showing us what happened in the Tower immediately after the bombs dropped on the East Coast. Lots of flashing lights, several mini-explosions, and other weird things. But what was really interesting was 12 hours later when everyone who was downstairs suddenly appeared upstairs on the grass. While Neville, Jason, and Grace, who entered the control room after the others, remained unconscious, everyone else who was down below woke up not knowing how they got outside or what the hell was going on. Could something have happened to them down there in the control room when shit went crazy that changed them for good? Was Aaron the first one of them to show off some weird power of immortality? Did everyone down there in the control room get filled up with nanites while the rest of the nanites in the world expoded? Do I have any idea what I'm talking about? No!

Let's check in on Charlie next. Can I just say I love Charlie this season? I'm going to hand her the Most Improved Character trophy right now, because she's gone from incredibly cute but entirely useless baggage in Season 1 to incredibly hot and super snarky badass loner in Season 2. And aside from one slip up (keep an eye on your enemies or they'll shoot you, Charlie), she really took Miles' advice from last week to heart and is keeping the stupid to a minimum. There wasn't really that much to accomplish with her storyline this week, except to pair her up with the incredibly well manicured and handsome bounty hunter by letting Monroe escape captivity, but it was still entertaining. Their little tête-à-tête showed off the revamped writing in the series, something that. "I liked you better when you weren't talking," said the handsome bounty hunter, which pretty much summed up all our feelings from last season. But again, let's pretend Season 1 never happened. 

So handsome bounty hunter man (did anyone catch his name?) is stuck with Charlie now because Monroe killed his foreign-language speaking Duck Dynasty reject partner and he and Charlie both want Monroe. He's a bounty hunter for the "U.S. Government" and needs him alive, she just wants Monroe dead. Obviously Charlie and Monroe are going to patch things up between them somehow and team up. That's going to be a tricky one to pull off. Maybe they both get captured by the "Patriots"?

Neville found a way to infiltrate the Patriots in a classic Neville way. He arranged a team hit using a redshirt that was one of Jason's old friends, set him up to pull a gun on Secretary Justine Allenford, and then POW he shot him himself to gain Allenford's trust. What I liked about this was that even though this set up is designed to get us on more on Neville's side because he's going up against a worse enemy, the writers didn't change who Neville was. That was a dick move! Yet it's exactly what Neville would do to get what he wanted. Up next for Neville: a spot on Allenford's security team and an eagle's eye view of what these bastards are planning to do. 

Finally we head pay a visit to Miles, who had it the worse of anyone. He's still captured by war clan leader and psychopath Titus Andover, who kept a bunch of prisoners captive in pig pens. For some reason Titus ordered his men to draw some blood from the captives to do a quick test, and when he determined that Sheriff Mason's blood was no good, he had him immediately executed. And to think, he was just part of a great Walker, Texas Ranger joke. Poor Mason. Imagine if your last words were a corny Walker, Texas Ranger joke. This isn't quite "no one is safe" territory, but I didn't expect Mason to go so quickly. 

The violence seems to be up this year, and it's good violence, not just people pointing guns at each other. There are neck snaps, sword slices, and hangings. That's my kind of stuff, right there. And there are even hand smashings! To teach Miles a lesson about escaping and to reduce his skills as a swordsman, Andover smashed his hand with a hammer. Miles got almost Jaime Lannister'd, Luke Skywalker'd, and Rick Grimes'd (comics only). And in the end, Miles got hauled off through the mysterious red door that people don't come back from. In that room through the door was a ghostly lady strapped to a gurney, a lot of weird medical instruments, and one smiling Andover, happy to see Miles joined his party. Whaaaaaaaat?!?!?

That's two weeks in a row of quality network television science-fiction from a show that used to be a total joke. When is it too early to declare that this show has really changed things because we're scared it will revert to what Season 1 was? I hope we don't get to that point because I'm digging Season 2 so far.



POWER LINES

– Another thing Season 2 is doing a better job with is character creation. Handsome bounty hunter man's partner could have easily been a scary big brute, but instead he was a foreign-language-spouting crazy-beard-having old weirdo. That's so much more interesting than just hiring a stuntman to play a bad guy. I think Kripke must have spent the offseason playing a lot of Fallout

– What mens-only salon does Handsome Bounty Hunter go to in this post-apocalyptic world?

– Do you think there was anything to Aaron's hallucination of Ben Matheson? 

– Are you getting sick of the jokes about old time movies and shows yet, or are you okay with them? This week it was Ghostbusters, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Meet the Press.



Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/21/2014

Season 2 : Episode 22

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