Revolution 1.13 “The Song Remains the Same” TV REVIEW
Writer: Monica Owusu-Breen & Matt Pitts
Director: John F. Showalter
THE ONE WHERE Tom is captured and something is in the air.
VERDICT There's something exciting about a show when you're not sure where it's going and that’s been the case with the last couple of episodes of Revolution , but it's not something you can do forever without the danger of running into a narrative fog (I'm looking at you, Lost ). For the first ten episodes of Revolution I found myself ranting, “Hurry up and save Danny so we can get on with the story,” at the telly. In hindsight some episodes were better without even a mention of saving Danny; the journey was more interesting than the destination. That brings us to the current predicament with the show: it makes good storytelling sense to have a clear narrative direction that leads you through a series – even it's in the background – and this week after a couple of episodes of broadly re-establishing characters and situation, Revolution finally hints at a direction for the rest of the season.
Wondering how the electrical field suppression effect works? Well, wonder no more! As someone who like to get to grips with with the internal logic of a show, It's the kind of information I'd have expected to have had a dramatic build up leading to it's reveal, but here it is played out early on in a quiet chat between Aaron and Rachel. The cat isn’t so much let out of the bag as fired out at high velocity. It's all nanites! Nanites, nanites, nanites. They don't use the word, but Rachel explains there are squillions of tiny programmable particles the size of a virus which have been released into the air, floating trip switches controlling access to electrical power, and strangely enough it makes sense.
Introduced last week, new character Jim Hudson is quick to set up some look-outs at the perimeter of the gang’s current base, which quickly comes come up trumps when they blow a militia truck off the road containing none other than general Tom Neville, who was busy explaining the therapeutic qualities of listening to Lionel Ritchie. The capture brings a feast of revenge opportunities. Miles conducts an interrogation but he's only first in line to throw punches. Rachel understandingly wants to see Tom's head dancing on the ceiling out of revenge for the death her husband Ben, but she's talked down by her own daughter Charlie and in doing so realises her track record isn't going to win her any mother of the year awards. The main course, however, is reserved for Neville's own estranged son Jason. A militia deserter, now fighting with the rebels, Jason in particular needs a bit of father/son conflict resolution after being rejected as dead by his own father for sympathising with the rebels.
“It's a hard world. If you're weak, you're dead” says Tom. He really is a nasty piece of work, but he's played so deliciously by Giancarlo Esposito that I couldn’t help siding with him against his son, who still looks like he's walked off the set off Twilight . Tom tries not so show utter contempt for his son as he verbally digs himself out of the situation he's in. For a minute I was convinced that Tom's words had indeed persuaded Jason to release him like a Sith lord doing a mind trick, but it's all a ruse for information. Tom reveals that the final destination of his truck full of diamonds is a cement factory and Jason opens his cell door to the surprise party of rebels who have been listening into the whole conversation. Jason had no intention of letting evil dad escape. Miles, Charlie and Jason take a group of rebels and head to the cement factory.
Randall Flynn really is a bit of a dick. The government man only just introduced himself to Mad Monroe properly last week and now, with no real knowledge of Neville's history, he's quick to point out his shortcomings. My dislike of Randall Flynn is quite irrational, and after last week, I've worked out it's because he's a spitting image of a floor manager I had in the mid-’90s when I was briefly a shelf stacker in Morrison’s. Imagining him in a brown shop coat is enough to send shivers down my spine.
The rebels assault the cement factory and interrupt Flynn, who has arrived to replace the missing Tom. Flynn manages to escape in a hurry, leaving behind find plans for what looks like a large nuclear device. What does Monroe want with a nuke? In a world where hardly anyone has power, surely controlling electrical power offers more leverage than a nuclear deterrent? Or maybe I'm wrong. The question isn't asked but it has to be assumed in even simple maths; Sebastian Monroe + Nuclear Bomb = A Very Bad Day.
After more torture Tom Neville manages to make a violent escape, but his options have narrowed considerably. Telling mad ass Monroe his son was dead as a means to protect him was risky, and with Jason now fighting openly for the rebels it's only a matter of time before Monroe finds out. It's unclear how Tom manages to make it out of the rebel camp and all the way back to his heavily guarded home in Monroeville all bruised and flustered without anyone noticing, but he does. Maybe he is a Sith lord.
One thing is for sure; between the rock and hard place of lying to Monroe and giving up the position of the factory, Tom is proper screwed. He can't go back to the militia and instead goes on the run with his wife. It's an interesting development for the character who's influence could turn the Rebels vs Militia fight into something more intriguing.
The discovery of the plans is a catalyst that pushes the show forward. Miles and Charlie decide to go after Monroe and the nuke, while Rachel decides to leave (again!) with Aaron and find the myriosteus tower, the source of the blackout experiment. If they can turn the power back on for everyone it would put an end to Monroe and Flynn's electrical monopoly. Rachel's never been the best mum to Charlie, but her speech is all very final. Is she leaving the show, or just a big drama queen? As Aaron is going along too I suspect it's the former. With two smaller groups heading off in different directions it looks like Revolution is establishing a new status quo.
UNFORTUNATE VICTIM OF THE WEEK Having the truck you're driving explode out from under you isn't nice, but is made a little better by having the man sitting next to you playing “All Night Long” and extolling the musical virtues of Lionel Ritchie.
Miles: “I'm supposed to trust you now, after all the times you've screwed us over? Turn your ass around and walk out of this camp right now.”
Jason: “Not until I see him.” (Tom)
Miles: “If you go any where near him I will bash your little boy band face in.”
Jason (to Charlie): “What's a boy band?”
John Cooper @JohnCooper_uk
UK airing information: New episodes of Revolution air on Sky1 on Fridays at 9m
Read our other Revolution reviews