“Revolution” Episode 3 Review: Okay, the show’s writers assume the audience is stupid

Posted: October 2, 2012 in Post-apocalyptic fiction, TV
Tags: , , ,

Okay, after my marginally-positive (or at least optimistic for the future) take on last week’s episode, I’m backtracking hard.  I was a brief optimist, but everything that didn’t work about the show in the first two episodes, but maybe you let slide in hope of a sort-of-watchable post-apocalyptic experience, pretty much smacked you in the face in the most recent installment.  Then there was more bad stuff added on top of that.

For me, I’ll go ahead and say it is likely I won’t intentionally watch any more of this show . . . at the very least because the writers/producers seem to think anyone who would watch it is dumb enough to go along with the kind of nonsense they are coming up with.  (Seriously, a novel with these problems would never get published.)

So, forget the hedging or “hey-they-have-room-for-improvement” angles, here’s a few short takes on why this episode was so dismal:

1. The rebels:  Cringeworthy.   I’d like to see this bunch as, at very least, a real threat to a small group of the ruling militia . . . but they really aren’t.  Looks like a bunch of foolish kids playing Red Dawn in the woods, except without even a single .22 until the central characters arrive with a single sniper rifle.  At least Miles, the only character who seems realistic and practical, if a cliche, refers to them as a lost cause.

More than this, though, is the notion that they are fighting to restore the United States.  Really?  No, really?  How about fighting to not having your crops stolen or the women in your settlement raped/dragged off by thugs?  For survival and decency?  That they are building whatever rebellion exists on the ideological premises of a collapsed nation state is stupid and pandering to a half-witted, jingoistic audience that probably doesn’t exist.

2.  The tactically-inept Monroe militia:  The scene where they have the rebels cornered is absolutely awful.  Apparently, one rebel with a sniper rifle can hold off 30+ armed, trained (by super-badass Miles, as we come to find out) soldiers from a rooftop . . . at night, no less.  Apparently General Miles didn’t teach them about things like surrounding a building or camouflage or creating a diversion.  Instead, their leader, in a tactical stroke of brilliance that will surely raise morale, sends them one-by-one to their deaths to use up the sniper’s bullets.

3. Bullets/firearms:  There are several scenes in this episode that return to the idiotic premise that bullets and firearms are rare in the post-collapse world.  Especially egregious are scenes with militiamen fighting with muzzle-loaders and the execution of  a prisoner/hostage by the arch-badguy officer (no, I’m not bothering to look up the actor’s name).  This is, to this point, based on no realistic premise that would work given the prevalence of firearms (and ammo) in the US.  If they set the show in Britain, maybe this wouldn’t be such a problem, but here it is.

4. Explosives:  I’ll only mention the end scene, where Nora cooks up enough homemade explosives to fill a large purse, which is apparently adequate to collapse a bridge and let the good guys escape the militia.

5. Razors:  Everyone, especially in the militia camp (including the prisoner, Danny) is clean-shaven again.  Add that to the overall cleanliness of people and clothing and anyone paying attention is like, yeah, right.

6. Sex/relationships:  The writers really want to make viewers care about male-female relationships and go out of their way to make the only relatively believable character, Miles, all upset and jealous about Nora’s relationship with the rebels.  Add to this Nora’s miscarriage story and Charlie dealing with dying boys and we’re basically watching Grey’s Anatomy in a p-a setting.

7. The McGuffin sub-plot:  I didn’t watch much of Lost, but this is the kind of crap they did when I did.  Every time Aaron and Maggie show up for 2 minutes, this show gets more inexplicable and stupid because of the magic flash drive.

8. And on that note . . . The basic premise (Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could turn the power back on), which characters are too eager to embrace, is absurd and quasi-magical.  Like with the restoration of some version of a national empire in the U.S., this would be far from the top priority of people living in such an era.

There’s a lot to nitpick at in Revolution overall, and this was the weakest installment by far.  Though I said the flashbacks (and thus setting) and Charlie’s character development might carry this, I don’t see that happening now in a way that will save the show.  The background/flashback scenes are certainly more interesting than the present/main plot, but that’s not enough reason to watch.  And Charlie is too mundane and boring and over-acted and predictable and familiar to carry anything.

Update (10/3):  Io9 is enthusiastically reporting that the show got picked up for a full season.   I’m very surprised.

  1. Josh M says:

    I don’t know if you spent much time browsing the Io9 report, but I’m with the (ridiculously named) forum commenter who noted that p-a “nations” map released by the show’s writers seems to be based on some head-scratching conclusions, particularly the lack of a Mormon state. I’m fairly certain that most of Utah, as well as sizable chunks of Nevada, Idaho, and Colorado, would coalesce into a Mormon stronghold, who would be very well armed. Granted, the storyline thus far is based in New England, but again (as you’ve covered nicely here and in previous posts) the gun issue is a glaring issue. I’ll say it again, for the record — Abrams needs to stick to film and leave television alone. His whole “ooh,look-at-this-absurd-premise-wrapped-in-an-enigma-wrapped-in-clunky-acting-wrapped-in-product-placement” shtick is wearing pretty thin.

  2. Claire says:

    I agree with your description of Charlie entirely. The amount of over-acting is so extensive, it’s nearly impossible to quantify.