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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Revolution 1x5 - "Soul Train"

Best episode of Revolution yet. It took them five weeks to put the pieces together and deliver something that showcases this show's potential as an action adventure series, but this was Revolution's coming out party. The episode worked like gangbusters. And it was all about the train.

The steam train appropriated by the Monroe Militia brought all the show's various threads together. Finally, Miles, Charlie, Danny, and Neville were all in the same place, the town of Nobleton, and had long-awaited encounters that delivered. Charlie meeting Neville for the first time, feigning being a normal girl spying on her cheating boyfriend, and then blowing her cover only to be saved by Miles was good stuff. Giancarlo Esposito is by far the best actor on this show, but in their pivotal confrontation, Tracy Spiridakos held her own against him. This is without a doubt her best performance as Charlie, tough, physical, emotional, determined. She's quickly growing as a worthy lead of the show.

The conflict between Charlie and Miles continued over just who's running this popsicle stand. Miles didn't want to sit around moping after the group buried Maggie, Charlie searched for something recognizable in the uncle she remembered as a child, and together, they Batman and Batgirled an operation to stop a steam train from blowing up and rescue Danny from Neville. They accomplished half the goal; they couldn't save Danny. The eyebrow-raiser is Charlie asserting herself at the end clearly as the leader of this group. She told the fat Goggle guy, the rebel who was stabbed, and her quitter of an uncle to man the fuck up. It almost seemed like they left Miles behind when Charlie marched the group out. You know you have some flaws as a leader when the 20 year old girl usurps all your authority.

The violence and physicality on the show also ramped up significantly and was more brutal. Nora got stabbed by Special Lost Guest Star Jeff (Frank Lapidus) Fahey, a member of the Resistance who wanted to blow up the train to cripple the Monroe government, when she tried to stop him. (The bomb would have killed Danny, being transported to Philadelphia straight to Monroe.) We had knife fights, people being beaten to death with fists, Charlie being nearly choked to death by Neville, and Charlie being thrown off the train. (She's fine, she protected her head as instructed.)

Best of all was this week's Flashback, the secret origin of Tom Neville, who was fired from his insurance job on the day of the Blackout. Neville is married to Kim Raver of 24(!), and we learned the Militia member who was the prisoner of Charlie's group and has the hots for her (understandable), whom Miles named "Nipples" this week, is really Jason Neville, Tom's grown son. Jason escaped captivity and wasted no time in joining his father, but he still saved Charlie's life so his father couldn't kill her. He threw her off the train, but that was the lesser of two evils.

Finally, even the most drudging subplot, Rachel Matheson as the prisoner of Monroe, got some forward movement: Rachel drew him a picture of the locket that can turn the power back on and revealed there are twelve of them! They should call the lockets Horcruxes and send Charlie on a Harry Potter quest to find the other eleven.

We also learned the Atlanta Federation is making strides against the Monroe Republic. Revolution seems to be civil war reenactors playing a game of real life Risk with the former United States of America.