Revolution 1.02 “Chained Heat” TV REVIEW
Writer: Eric Kripke
Director: Charles Beeson
THE ONE WHERE The gang look for Danny, meet Nora, and help some slaves.
VERDICT The motley crew set off in search of Danny, but disband almost as quickly as they came together. A new character and a couple more plot twists also help as Revolution starts to gain momentum. Last week's pilot didn't warrant a opening theme, so this week kicks off a nice set-up montage showing what’s happened to the world, followed by the modern telly tradition of a quick flash of a show title, then the credits gently popping up as inconspicuously as possible over the action so they don't distract, get mistaken for a scene setting caption or land on anyone's face while they're talking.
There's a flashback to the aftermath of the blackout showing the desperation of initial survival. It's nice to see this played out, but hopefully it won't be used too often. It's a great way to add tension, but as a plot device it's something I'm bit too familiar with as a genre telly fan – events in the past acting as a learning experience that foreshadow events in the present.
There's plenty to like in Miles, Maggie and Charlie, whose comments regarding some slaves suggests she'll be a moral compass to the group. Maggie revealing why she still carries her dead smart phone with her is also a good reminder of how dependent society is on electricity to power it, and new character Nora shows off a neat bit of MacGyver -style resourcefulness.
Aside from the search to rescue Danny, Aaron questions whether the blackout is an act of God or – as he suspects – a man made phenomenon. It's good to hear this addressed so early on, as it's the bigger question surrounding the show.
The bad guys get to do more bad stuff. Tom Neville, in particular, is revealing a habit for engaging his victims with a bit of reminiscing about how nice things used to be before executing them or burning a flag.
The show seems overly keen to let the audience know who the bad guys are, and hopefully the writers will dial this back a little as the show progresses. Most tellingly is Sebastian Monroe, leader of the Monroe militia, who wears a suspiciously German outfit with little round ‘M’-shaped collar buttons. The wagons his troops use have a big round ‘M’ logos on the side, and the troops themselves have the ‘M’ logo cut into their wrists. Even the slaves wear matching yellow vests. He may not know right from wrong, but he's clearly a talented brand manager. I'm loving it.
A solid enough second episode, and there’s a great guest appearance from C Thomas Howell, but it still feels like there's more tension in the flashbacks than the present.
UNFORTUNATE VICTIM OF THE WEEK I'll not spoil it and say who, but quite frankly he deserved more than a slightly off-camera neck snap.
ELECTRIVIA Nikola Tesla was a bit of a genius and mad as a box of frogs too, wanting to “split the Earth like an apple”. In one of his electrical experiments he designed an oscillator that could generate a million volts which he set it off, causing a blackout across the entire city of Colorado Springs and setting the generator on fire.
Other examples of electricity becoming old hat in fiction, as Dave mentioned last week, is the 70's telly series The Changes . It's been on my watch list for a while for it's depictions of folk going a bit mental smashing tellys and rejecting all things technological due to mysterious circumstances. A world without Peter Howell’s synthesisers doesn't bear thinking about.
IT’S WOSSERNAME That’d be that C Thomas Howell fella, from ET , The Hitcher and Soul Man . Looking very good for his age too.
Aaron: “Great, they're having a sale on heroin.”
John Cooper twitter.com/JohnCooper_uk
UK airing information: TBC