Revolution S1 Ep10 "The Stand" Directed By Steve Boyum Written ByAnne Cofell Saunders & Paul Grellong
The last time Revolution was hitting the airwaves things were different. Back in November, on the backs of Football,The Voice, and Revolution, NBC found itself as the top network, with the only new breakout hit of the season. Even if what constitutes a “hit” is wildly different from what it was 5 years ago. NBC got a moment to boast. Then the mid-season hit and things went back to normal. Most of NBC shows are/were being continually beaten, like most of the networks, in the ratings by The Walking Dead and spin off talk show Talking Dead. Most shows started to fail or were DOA.
That all could change tonight, for those looking for a refresher watch this. The “power” could be turned on again, with the return of The Voice and Revolution. For it’s part Revolution has at least managed to buck the trend of big genre shows greenlit by the networks in an attempt to get the next LOST. Like most of these shows Revolution had cataclysmic event that affected everything and everyone. Unlike those other shows (FlashForward, The Event, Zero Hour to name a few) Revolution isn’t really focusing on the sci-fi aspect of things, instead doing what LOST did right: focus on the characters. In the first half of this season Revolution didn’t exactly enamor me with it’s characters. Go back and read some of my reviews I was actively rooting for series lead Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) to die and be replaced by the more interesting Billy Burke. Still Revolution had some cheesy fun characters, like mysterious Uncle Miles (Billy Burke) and Captain Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) to keep you around, also the guy from The Cape, David Lyons, is the villain Sebastian "Bass" Monroe. Revolution hasn't really executed interesting characters but it should get credit for at least and not falling into the same holes FlashForward, The Event, Zero Hour all did.
In the four month hiatus series creator and producer Eric Kripke and J.J. Abrams made the rounds talking about how they realized where the show was failing and that this break allowed them to correct the course. Is “The Stand” a new and improved Revolution? It is, but only partly. “The Stand” at best represents a step in the right direction. “The Stand” picks up right where episode 10 “Nobody's Fault But Mine" left off, leading credence to the idea that it might take awhile to see any of the “change’ Kripke and Abrams have talked up.
Dealing in the immediate aftermath or “Nobody's Fault But Mine”, episode 11 is more plot driven than character. Which is the right call, after spending nearly 10 hours building up to regaining some literal power. Of course the next episode should deal with the fact there is suddenly power and HELICOPTERS. Focusing so much on the fact that helicopters suddenly work leads to some cases of obvious TV writing. Rachel Matheson(Elizabeth Mitchell) is suddenly part of the group and she knows the why to a lot of questions. Such as: “Why did the power go out?”, “Who is Randall?”, “Why did you suddenly disappear and lead us all the think you were dead....twice?” Well, it’s complicated and running for your life from killer helicopters isn’t the right time.
It’s an obvious excuse that when further thought about in real world terms, like how the distance from Philadelphia to Annapolis, Maryland is 124 miles and takes 42 hours to travel by foot (according to Google). Doesn't hold up. These things clearly show the artifice of it all. Which is reinforced by blase act structure. Not every cut to commercial needs to be nerve racking but how Revolution has been structured and is in “The Stand” continues to be ineffective in building any tension. They just sort of happen and suddenly you’re getting an ad. All that money and Revolution is the show that makes me it clear I am watching television.
Answers isn’t what “The Stand” is about. It’s about HELICOPTERS, flying and shooting people. There is a certain novelty to these scenes. They aren’t exactly imbued with any sort of art or style. They are a bit of a chaotic mess. Lots of mile a minute editing that does a good job to impart some sense of danger. These don’t look cheap but helicopters are such a departure from sword fights and muskets that it all feels impersonal. This new type of warfare isn’t lost on Jason Neville (formerly Nate). His sudden growth of morality forces him away from his father and the Monroe Republic.
Now with helicopters, Monroe is on an all out attack on the rebels. Intent on seeing the Republic go “sea to shining sea”, unironically as he orders an air strike on rebels literally fighting under the American flag. What few assault rifles the rebels have at the HQ in Annapolis aren’t really going to work against a helicopter, with miniguns and high caliber machine guns. Rachel has a friend related to the pendants that might have some spare rocket launchers. He also has plenty of free time in which to invent more weapons, like a sonic gun. “The Stand” spends a fair amount of it’s run time building up to this final defense of the rebels. And like I said it’s a bit of a chaotic mess. Entertaining on a surface level and good for TV but just lacking in the quality action sequence of past episodes.
Than Danny dies. Danny was never an interesting character, if you could really call him one. He was literally a plot point with blonde hair. He was the reason Charlie met up with Miles and everyone got pushed into this rebel cause. His purpose was fulfilled and had one last thing he could do for his family: die. It is refreshing to see a show kill a semi important character in violent fashion once they had no further use. Revolution had already done this with Maggie, the surrogate mother soon replaced by the biological. With everyone together things were getting crowded and it isn’t like Revolution has a track record of making people interesting. So Danny goes down saving the day. Firing off a rocket after Miles fails at it. Danny manages to take out the helicopter with the amplifier but machine guns don’t need it. As the other helio goes down it lets off once final hail of bullets. Now the memory of Danny can push the group and remaining Matheson clan onward to kill Monroe. Even in death Danny is still just a plot point.
In death Danny provides new resolve to kill Monroe and give the episode yet another cliffhanger ending. Typical to Revolution this ending left me more curious than on the edge of my seat, mind blown. This thing, a blue flashing LED, Rachel pulled out of her son has me interested. How does it connect to the pendants of power or this tower? You don’t go an surgically implant something in your own son for no reason.
Monroe takes the loss of his pendant and helicopters in stride by moping in his Presidential(?) office. Than Randall shows up in a Cutlass Ciera asking what he can do for Monroe. The loss of his pendant was just a battle in an on going war. Fully introducing Randall as the true evil and partnering him up with Monroe could lead to some fruitful scene chewery between the two.
The Bits At The End
So is this turning into a large Stephen King metafiction? This episode title is called “The Stand” clear reference to the book of the same name. A new villain in the form of Randall has popped up, also the villain from The Stand. Miles gives him and Charlie names from The Dark Tower series. And now the show is adding in the a literal “tower” that seems to be drawing everyone to it. If Stephen King were to pop up hopefully it’s as the character from Sons of Anarchy.
- Things that make Revolution look even more like a TV show: That thing they had Elizabeth Mitchell cut into. Seriously WTF was that, it looked soooooo bad.
- Upside they seem to have dropped the turn a light on monologue intro. That type of credit opener only worked in 24.
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