‘Revolution’ Series 1 Episode 3: “No Quarter

Is Revolution losing pace or just the plot?

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Having now aired three episodes, it’s not unnatural to expect to see the more adventurous side of Revolution. Charlie, Miles and explosives expert Nora are still on their quest to save Danny and it’s beginning to feel like the pace of this episode is an awful lot slower than the previous two episodes. The plot is driven by more background information being revealed about the characters, especially by way of the ubiquitous flashback tool. This week we meet militia’s commander, Jeremy (Mark Pellegrino). Jeremy is a former friend of Miles. They met six months after the blackout when Miles and Monroe rescued him from murderous looters. Jeremy reveals that Miles used to be a General in the Monroe militia and second in command to Sebastian Monroe. Interesting plot twist, except that by the very next scene we see that the revelation doesn’t fundamentally sever the budding familial Charlie / Miles relationship.

Meanwhile, Aaron and Maggie arrive at Grace’s house only to find she’s not there. She was last seen facing the business-end of an electric shock baton (which looks a lot like a cattle prod) by an attacker wearing a pendant similar to hers. Aaron discovers her smashed computer and tries to fix it to no avail. The pendant powers up unexpectedly and as the electricity turns on some music on Grace’s CD player, Maggie’s iPhone switches on. Aaron listens excitedly to the music while Maggie looks longingly at the picture of her kids on her iPhone. Really? Music and pictures. Isn’t there anything more pressing to do now that you’ve had electricity for the first time in 15 years? However, just as suddenly and inexplicably as the power came on, everything powers off again. Who knows, maybe that’s because the pendant is only designed to power up computers. Then again, if they figured it out that easily the show would be over much quicker than the duration of the first series, so no surprises there. With Grace missing, there’s no answer on who’s on the receiving end of the messages she was sending, or how it is that the other party has the uninterrupted capacity to readily reply to her messages given the whole militia, power-control thing and the ‘no electricity worldwide’ premise of the show.

There’s no sign of Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) this week so expecting to see much made of her character in the coming weeks, given that she was at first presumed dead then seen working under duress for Sebastian Monroe. Tracy Spiridakos continues to challenge herself to bring us a credible, less wooden Charlie and she didn’t disappoint us this week by failing miserably once again. The script together with her acting skills lets her down and she often comes across as weak, whiney and unconvincing. There’s a moment when she interrupts an intense conversation to say, weakly, that a wounded soldier is dead. Then she looks like she’s just lost her doll under her bed and needs her mommy to come fish it out. Eye-roll moment. Whatever innocence the character was expected to portray in that scene was lost in the delivery and the character rings hollow and unconvincing. There is no consolation as the one redeeming factor, compelling baddie Captain Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) is mostly missed from this episode. He features in the background (reading a book at one point), resulting in a lack of oomph and the intrigue seen in the opening episodes.

A struggle to clearly identify the target audience seems to lie at the root of the mish-mash feel which is beginning to surface. It wants to look like a modern day cowboys-and-Indians caper but the squeaky-clean, fashionably dressed, young lead characters seem to speak more to a young adult slash tween, a la Twilight audience. The clash makes for uncomfortable viewing. Ultimately, it’s a great idea, just a shame about the execution. The high-concept pitch comes apart in the detail more noticeably each week which is a sad thing to see. Nevertheless, we still don’t know why the electricity went out, or who’s really responsible for it and wanting to know the answer to that question may, only just, be a reason for a few diehards to keep watching.