Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Episode 9: Kashmir
Episode 10: Nobody's Fault But Mine
By: Carlos Uribe

Revolution is a show set 15-years after electricity died.

Spoilers Ahoy!


One aspect that many serialized television shows have is the episode right before the fall finale. It's this penultimate episode that's supposed to build up to very next episode. It is often the case that the episode largely stalls the plot until the very final act when the narrative momentum starts to actually build. It makes sense that Revolution might fare this problem. While it's not a terrible show, it is plagued with so many problems that often drag it down into mediocrity. Kashmir is able to actually present a solid episode that builds into the fall finale simply because it uses the circumstances to reveal where exactly the characters are. The main plot could be described in a single sentence: our gang of heroes travel through the old subway system to infiltrate Philadelphia. The plot seems like it's just placing the characters within the city so that they could save Danny. There are some complications and legitimate twists that help make this episode important to the overall series rather than largely filler to stall until the big finale. The complication comes early enough in the episode that is what sheds light on the characters but it's the twist that helps to drive the narrative momentum into full drive. Kashmir is a thrilling episode that peeks into the minds of the characters are they're about to embark on the mission the entire series has been building towards.

What was this complication? It's when Charlie steps into a landmine. It's not just an excuse to provide an unflattering, weird angle on Charlie. The characters are able to escape the landmine but it does collapse the entrance they went through. An entrance that was the only air supply that the characters had. This meant that they were slowly suffocating. This condition gave the writers a perfect excuse to give most of the characters hallucinations that reveal just what exactly is going on in some of their heads. The character we learn the most about is Miles. The first hallucination he sees is of a milita scout. That right there shows what exactly is going on in his mind. The second hallucination he sees is a conversation with a fictional version of Monroe where he faces a dark fear that he'll betray his family and friends if Monroe invites him back into the militia. This scene helps to set the stage for a scene in the next episode but it also shows that he still believes in the “republic” he had founded. He just doesn't believe in the leader. Miles' mind is with the militia and he still shares some loyalty to it. The other character we learn about is Aaron. He's facing guilt for having left his wife for not being able to protect her but now he's facing a conflict because he's been able to be strong for Charlie and friends. It's a great internal conflict that the show is able to externalize because of the hallucination. As for Nora's hallucination of alligators? I'm not sure that says anything about her character. The episode could have definably used this to develop her more.

The twist itself was strong. That one of the rebel turned out to be a member of the militia caught me off guard. He's able to wipe out the rebel company that had accompanied our heroes before he's killed by Charlie. This at least means that our heroes have to undertake this mission by themselves. At the same time, it's not like the series really needed to bring in the rebels into the plot. They all die and they're don't really contribute much to the plot. This meant that the twist seems to render all of that pointless but in reality it does makes the situation worse for our heroes because he's able to injure Charlie. This is when Charlie enters a dream world where her father is alive and everything is alright. What she wants is to be reunited with her father and to be a family again. Miles is able to wake her up at the end but she's still injured. It's an injury that plays a significant part in the next episode. Kashmir works even as it stalls because of it's concentration on character.

Nobody's Fault But Mine:

Nobody's Fault But Mine is a mission that the entire series had been building up to this point: Danny's rescue. The characters are in Philadelphia but there are some complications. The first is that Charlie's head keeps bleeding and the second is that they need to find Danny. Realizing that Charlie needs to rest while they discover Danny's location, Miles is able to find lodgings with an old friend. Miles leaves the group behind to search the city for Danny. The milita aren't stupid. They know that the group is in town and they manage to deduce where exactly our characters are hiding out. They capture Charlie, Aaron, and Nora. This leaves Miles as the only character who hasn't been captured by the militia. The episode therefore becomes a giant rescue mission where Miles has to try and get every good character out of Monroe's clutches. This turns into a thrilling episode with quite a bit of tension. Nobody's Fault But Mine is simply the best episode this show has done to date and it helps to provide a great cliff-hanger that works to hook viewers into the rest of the season. This is an episode that is therefore a complete and total success.

So how does Miles manage to rescue everyone? He goes over to Tom's office and kidnaps his wife. He forces Tom to bring Aaron and Nora to him but he's disappointed to learn that Charlie is being held in a different building. He puts Tom and his wife into a closet after he finds out which building it is. It's a great scene that allows Monroe to at least get some help in infiltrating the electrical plant where Charlie is being held. This creates a simple mission to infiltrate it: Monroe and Nora will sneak their way in while Aaron lays charges at a wall so that they can escape at an opportune time. Charlie and Danny aren't going to be idle prisoners as they manage to escape their cell. The rescue operation is extended because Rachel is still alive. They're able to get her out as well. Just as when it seems like they have gotten away from the station, the episode ends with a pretty big cliff-hanger: a helicopter turning on due to the amplifier that Rachel helped build over the last couple episodes. They're not out of the woods yet. This is an episode that finally allowed Danny to be rescued, a plot that was old as soon as it started. It's now able to move on to better plots within this universe that Revolution has set up. The next immediate one is having to deal with a villain who is now able to have military technology due to his access to power.

The rescue operation allowed the show to close a plot point that's been plaguing this series since it began but the episode also allows for some great moments with the relationships between characters. Charlie is reunited with her mother, whom she had thought died years ago. She's in complete shock when she finds out. This was a moment that I've actually been looking forward to because being reunited with a dead parent is a big plot point especially after she had a dream where she was reunited with the other deceased parent. In a way, she got her desire. Miles is forced to confront his former best friend Monroe. His worst fear comes to pass when Monroe actually offers Miles a chance to come back but Miles realizes he can't accept that offer. What's so great about that scene is that the two are hoping the other won't be able to kill him while at the same time trying to get the courage to kill the other. In the end, Miles is able to win not only the sword fight but the emotional struggle when he denies Monroe as being a member of his family. It's like rejecting Miles as his best friend. That scene works because of the major hallucination from the previous week. This point is made punctuated by this episode because of flashback sequences. Finally, Aaron is able to prove once again that he's strong for Charlie when he is able to set off an explosive after running into some difficulty with matches. He's able to better survive by thinking on his feet and starting a fire on his own: something he wasn't able to do. All of these character moments work well because of the groundwork that Kashmir had been able to lay out. Nobody's Fault But Mine is a pretty wonderful episode but it functions because Kashmir had concentrated on character.

Other Notes:

This show is coming back in March. That's a long time to wait to see what happens.

Shockingly, Jason Neville doesn't appear in either episode.

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