'Revolution' Struggles To Maintain Momentum, Consistency
NBC’s Revolution is the epitome of what is wrong with network dramas. Rather than focus on the story and character development, Revolution concentrates on its visual effects and grand set designs. The show chooses to develop the plot through heavy-handed drama sequences, which Abed (Danny Pudi) from Community would say only creates an illusion of story. As a result there are many inconsistencies in the plot and nothing seems to make much sense. That’s not to say that Revolution doesn’t work for NBC. This show is one of the only programs on the former top network that garners significant viewers anymore. And Revolution’s return to television this past Monday proved to be more of the same, except with even more drama and action.
The Stand picked up right where Revolution left off in the fall finale with the group staring down a newly resurrected helicopter. The situation soon turned ridiculous as they miraculously survive a salvo of missiles from Monroe’s (David Lyons) helicopter by taking shelter in a deserted diner. Of course Miles Matheson (Billy Burke) played it off like this was an everyday occurrence for him. Monroe then ordered his squad of helicopters to destroy any rebel base in his republic. This proved hilariously easy as the rebels led by Commander Ramsey were quickly found, along with their HQ. It could be just me, but isn’t it a little absurd to easily find rebel bases when they are engaged in guerilla warfare? It seems to me that Monroe’s problem could have been solved much earlier by just sending in an overwhelming force of his militia. Soon enough, Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) found the location of the rebel headquarters. In the ensuing battle, the fight depicted a rebel force that exclusively used assault weapons, a surprising change in armaments considering the show previously depicted mostly musket and crossbow use.
Like Revolution’s plot inconsistencies, its laughable dialogue and poorly construed characters were also exposed in the latest episode. Before the battle, the rebel leader managec to say this gem in his pre-battle speech, “I say we send a message to Monroe that he can’t do to us what the Germans, Russians, and Al Qaeda couldn’t. And that if we go down… We go down as Americans.”
As opposed to his father’s (Tom Neville) unrelenting loyalty to Monroe, Jason (JD Pargo) has mostly been shown as a loyal soldier only when it didn’t concern Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos), whom he had developed a sort of love-at-first-sight relationship. That’s why it came as a surprise to me that Jason deserted his father and the Monroe Republic in The Stand because he was opposed to the methods that militia used. What rock had he been living under in his tenure in the Monroe militia?
Character inconsistencies have also plagued Aaron Pittman’s (Zak Orth) character in this episode. He complains to the group about wanting to go home to avoid doing any more dangerous deeds. Portrayed as a computer genius, I guess he wasn’t smart enough to realize that there is no more “home” for him due to Monroe’s acquisition of electricity. His cowardly demeanor also contradicted his growth as a more stout character, such as in his attempt to take his own life to save Nora (Daniella Alonso) or his role in helping the group escape from Monroe in the fall season finale. Instead he seemed to revert back to the man who walked away from his wife because of his inability to protect her in the post-blackout world.
Additionally, in previous episodes, the show has tried to use flashbacks to give further insight into who the characters were before the blackout. I like to call this the Lost-effect. ABC’s hit show always had a purpose to their flashbacks and while some of Revolution’s flashbacks have hit home, especially Tom Neville’s humanizing appearance as a humble family man, most of the others have fallen flat because of their irrelevance. The flashbacks in the latest episode focused on Danny Matheson’s (Graham Rogers) extreme asthmatic condition and how much Rachel and Charlie Matheson care about him. But we already knew this, thus making these flashbacks serve no purpose. They only added more drama rather than actual character development.
Revolution has never lacked in major developments in each of its episodes, and in The Stand, they dropped the hammer by killing off Danny Matheson as he heroically shot down Monroe’s helicopter that carried the power amplifier. Time will tell if the show is following Game of Thrones, The Wire, or The Walking Dead in its ability to kill off major characters at any time. But those shows are full of compelling characters (Or in The Walking Dead’s case, zombies). Revolution is not, and Danny, while not overly special, was much easier to watch than many of the other characters. Hopefully the show follows The Walking Dead and starts to kill off characters that are mind-numbingly boring. Charlie, with the same mannequin face and Jodie Foster severity (As Abed would say) regardless of what situation she is in, should be first in line to go.