Revolution 1.15 "Home" REVIEW

TV REVIEW Showdown on the home ground

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Revolution 1.15 “Home” TV REVIEW

Episode 1.15
Writer: David Rambo
Director: Jon Cassar

THE ONE WHERE Miles gives the Militia a pummelling in his home town, but there's a price to pay.

VERDICT Mark Pellegrino returns as militia general Jeremy Baker, and he's not bringing good news. Reporting to Monroe, the episode opens with a montage of his intel. Miles has joined forces with the Georgia Federation and with the assistance of new face Captain Dixon, has wiped out a fair chunk of Sebastian “Bass” Monroe's Militia, albeit with casualties.

Bass isn't going to take it lying down and promptly flies to the home town where both he and Miles grew up, sending a messenger to to the front lines with an ultimatum; "Miles you are to come alone and you will turn yourself in to me or I will kill everyone in our home town". How Nice.

We never find out the name of the location where they grew up, but we do get a bit of back-story as Bass arrives in the town square and starts rounding up the surprised locals. At the mention of home, both Bass and Miles flashback to further than we've seen before, as young men growing up and fighting not a war, but instead for the affections of Emma, a girl both men clearly have the hots for. She cuddles up to Miles and you know from the look on young Bass's face it will all end in tears. It's all gone a bit Dawson's Creek . Returning to the present day, grown-up Emma appears on the scene to see what all the fuss it about. She recognises Bass but she's not fully aware of how unhinged he's become until his men beat up one of the townsfolk.

Since the gang split up and went their separate ways, we've had the dual plot threads of Miles, Charlie and Nora fighting the war, while Rachel and Aaron journey to locate the tower. In the latter plot this week, Aaron is startled when he spots his wife Priscilla in a bar. It's a long time since he abandoned her with a group of survivors after the blackout, a decision made out of a misplaced guilt that he couldn't protect her. After an initial awkward silence it's evident she's not as happy to see him as he is her, and has shacked up with a dodgy-looking bloke called Steve.

Abandoning someone you love isn't going to be reconciled with a hug, as Rachel points out. People move on. Aaron spends most of the episode with a bewildered expression, but he's not about to let his second chance go and his doubts are validated when he discovers that Steve is really a bounty hunter, Priscilla is a wanted woman, and Steve's had her at gun-point since they met. It's a great opportunity to see some grit from token geek Aaron – normally the most peaceful of characters – attacking a man more capable of violence than himself. But ultimately his display of bravado isn't enough to fix their relationship. It makes for a satisfactory development regarding Aaron's back story, it's not always so easy to get closure on your regrets.

It's pretty messy offering this week. From the flashback of Miles and Bass competing for the affection of Emma to the conclusion, you don't have to be an expert on the conventions of dramatic structure to work out her relationship with the two men is the narrative thrust of the episode. Miles takes up Bass' message and fights his way the unnamed home town for a showdown to find Bass has locked the entire village in the town hall basement and set it on fire. It feels like another exercise in moustache-twiddling, just there to emphasise that Bass Monroe is the bad guy.

In the final a stand-off between Miles and Bass, Bass holds Emma at gunpoint. Charlie has ample opportunity to shoot Bass “once and for all” but is forbidden by Miles, who points out that she might hit Emma… not a problem they've had in the past in similar circumstances. Bass is shot in a non-fatal way by Captain Dixon, who opts for the technique of completely ignoring Miles' advice and shooting through Emma, but not before she reveals to Bass she's borne him a son that she's hidden away! Dixon is then shot by Miles in a fatal, close-range and callous way.

The bugbear I'm slowly having with Revolution is when the tone of the show doesn't match the action on screen. Here Miles runs into the burning building to save the locals, Charlie and Jim appear in time to lend a hand. Bullets are fired, enemies fall, but it feels like an episode of The A-Team (I know The A-Team was great, that's not the point I'm making). It's a show which flirts with the darker ideas of guerrilla warfare, but we're probably not going to see the charred remains of a village full of innocent townsfolk. What we get instead a much nicer flashback to young Bass making to love to young Emma. Revolution works better when it's swashbuckling and wise-cracking and a little lighter. The Tom Neville interrogation scene from a few weeks back was a great example of how dark the show can go for its time slot, and it’s better when it's character we care about, not someone we've just met this week.

Even by the yardstick of previous episodes, this one's all little over baked and underwhelming. We'd never previously heard of Emma and by the end, it'’ her death, not the unseen slaughter of half a platoon of militia at the beginning of the hour, that fires the hatred between Miles and Bass. More melodrama than drama.

UNFORTUNATE VICTIM OF THE WEEK We've only met captain Dixon this week and he's already getting on Miles nerves. He looks a bit like a quiz show presenter, and a bit of a jobsworth. He's wearing a Georgia federation uniform so he can't be a militia red-shirt, but then he goes and “accidentally” shoots and kills Miles' childhood sweetheart. Bang. Off he goes to supporting character heaven, or hell.

Bass: “Emma?”
Emma: “We've missed you around here.”
Bass: “After my family, I didn't see a reason to come back.”
Emma: “What is this? They're shoving us into a courthouse, no one's telling us...”
Bass: “There's been a terrorist threat. They're coming here.”
Emma: “Why?”
Bass: “These men will hurt you, as a way to hurt me.”
Emma: “This is me, Bass. We're old friends. I know you, and I know when you're lying.”
Bass: “You're right. We're old friends... But that doesn't give you the right to talk to me, like that.”

John Cooper @JohnCooper_uk

UK airing information: New episodes of Revolution air on Sky1 on Fridays at 9m

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