So after some Hurricane Sandy-related snafus, we’re finally back with Revolution, and this one promised to be good. “The source of the Blackout! Revealed!” And…yeah, they kinda did reveal it, but the overall problem with ‘Revolution’ as a show is that even revelations like this feel relatively wasted, and usually buried under a mountain of plot-related silliness. But I digress.

The really meaty stuff, the stuff that feels important to this show, happened in the flashback portion of this episode: namely, finding out how the Blackout was started. Ben and Rachel (parents of problem children Charlie and Danny) were working on a device to make clean energy that wouldn’t cost the country as much as it’s other resources. Namely, those little silver medallions. But Ben explains to DoD Assistant Secretary Flynn (Colm Feore, who’s joining the long list of actors that are too good for this show), the devices backfired. They ‘inhibit’ energy, or stop it from working. But unfortunately, Ben demonstrates the device’s failure to Flynn, and considering that he’s a Defense man, not an scientist, it can be easy to see how these things might have fallen into the wrong hands. “Can this be replicated? On a large scale?” Rachel is none too keen on suddenly turning into a weapons contractor, but Ben reminds her that…well, they’re broke, and she’s pregnant with Danny. ‘Another month? We won’t be able to keep the lights on.’ he pleads with her. (Har.) And there’s another problem, namely with her pregnancy. Flynn offers her a possible life-saving treatment for both her and her baby if she agrees to work with the Department of Defense.

(So this is all Danny’s fault, I see.)

So it’s pretty easy to see what might have happened next- they tried to make a device to use as a weapon and it messed up the world. In the present day, things aren’t so engaging. The episode gets its title from Charlie’s quest to rescue a bunch of teenagers who have been captured by the militia in order to train them into being perfect soldiers. (Adding more teens? Not the best idea.) The problem with this plot is that Charlie uses the same tactics she always uses to accomplish this – she allows herself to be integrated into the situation and is caught, and Miles has to rescue her and whomever is attached to the plan. ‘Revolution’ never lets Charlie really evolve and her methods as well as her ideology (she wants to rescue these kids because one of them reminds her of Danny) are repetitive and tiring. Sure, it’s fun to get to watch Miles be a human weapon and occasionally snark on Charlie’s bullheaded incompetence, but it also robs their group of ever getting to really win anything. It’s not fun consistently watching a bunch of losers, especially when the villains prove to be much more fun.

The idea is interesting as we watch the militia condition the teenagers into worshipping their cause and hating the United States. It leads me to think that, without news media or…anything else, there are parts of America that have no idea what the current state of government is if they don’t have Munroe’s boot heels on their throats. (Although, most of these kids have to have grown-up largely without the US Government in place, right?) It gives Miles a chance to try and makeup for his role in the kind of rendition and abuse these kids go through to become soldiers. But other than that, it’s a rather flat story. The only real excitement being Miles using one of the pendants to light up a light house as a distraction during a fight. Charlie is branded with the Munroe signal during her rescue attempt.

The problem with this show is that it insists on making Charlie the protagonist when Miles is usually instantly more competent at whatever the task of the week seems to be. If NBC weren’t trying to cash in on a Hunger Games-esque heroine, they might have cornered tv’s other current favorite market: the male anti-hero. Watching Miles trying to redeem himself could have been a much more gratifying premise.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Best Miles-ism: ‘It’s irritating when a dumb kid tells you what to do, isn’t it?’
  • Flynn is revealed as the mysterious Randall who attacked Grace for her pendant earlier in the season. That’s good. Colm Feore can stay.

What did you think of last night’s episode? Let us know in the comments below!