Episode 17: The Longest Day
By: Carlos Uribe
Revolution is a show set 15-years after electricity died.
I have noticed a recent trend in Revolution ever since the show came back from it's winter hiatus. It came back with Monroe gaining access to helicopters. A few episodes later, Monroe gained access to a nuke that he planned to use on Georgia. He proceeded to procure a scientist to develop anthrax in the previous episode. He's now added drones to his arsenal as he uses them to wipe out the rebellion and their Georgian regiment in a single strike. It feels like the writers made a list of every type of military weapon that Monroe could get once the power was back on and proceeded to add them slowly over the narrative. It's like a checklist that the series is making when it feels the need to move the story forward. The whole helicopter bit was used to kill Danny and send two of the characters to the Tower. The whole anthrax plot was a way to highlight the differences between the characters on how far they're willing to go to win the war. The nuclear bomb was used a plot device to get the Georgia Federation to go to war with the Monroe Republic and bolster the ranks of the rebellion. Now the drones are being used to break up that alliance as the rebellion is basically destroyed and the Georgia Federation's army wiped out in one attack. It strains credibility that it basically only took one drone strike to destroy them but it also brings up a big question. The first is why did Monroe wait so long to use the drones? It's not like we have an episode of him trying to get access to the technology. He had the people who knew how to drive them already in the milita which implies he's had access to the drones all along. The first thing he should have done after war was declared was to use the drones to wipe out his enemies. Allowing Miles to have so many military victories makes him look he's a weak commander when it comes to military strategy. He's a character who should be paranoid and full of himself but he should at least be competent at being a general if the series wants to make him a credible villain. No wonder he's terrified of Miles as he clearly knows nothing about how to properly win wars. There's nothing wrong with treating the weapons as a checklist that the show has to dedicate an entire episode around one item as long as none of the items on the list become so obvious that they should have been pursued by the characters first. In other words? Waiting so long to use the drones basically highlights the whole narrative trick while at the same time making Monroe look like a big idiot. Like, seriously, why did he wait so long?
The drones wipe out the entire army and we basically get an episode of the characters trying to survive the aftereffects. Charlie and Jason were basically at some outpost or something when the strike happened. The point is that they were away from the camp which meant that the rest of the main characters had to go rescue them. The added threat was that the whole militia army is basically there. The rescue group has to split up when they find Jason first. Jason had managed to get away from the building when the milita got there but he's in no condition to get back to the medics by himself. Neville has to basically drag his son to get medical attention. This plot basically acts as a reminder to the audience and Jason that Neville does indeed love his son. Miles and Nora have to go after Charlie because they believe she's trapped under the building. There's an attack and Charlie manages to make her way to Miles. The bad news is that they lose track of Nora because she gets captured by the forces. She's so important that Monroe apparently plans to interrogate her. I believe Nora was a member of the milita or something but I'm not sure what her relationship with Monroe was. I guess we're about to find out but you would think this is something that the writers would have revealed earlier on. There's some relationship work done by this episode as well. Nora and Miles had slept together at the beginning of the episode and now the two are split. Charlie and Nate might like each other but it isn't until the end that they kiss. I guess this sort-of means that the two relationship arcs were running parallel to each other or something. The big cliff-hanger from this plot isn't that Neville watches them without approving of their bond but when the Georgian President decides to surrender. Half of her army is dead and she needs to act what's best of her citizens. Wait a minute, really? This is the President that literally just a few episodes ago refused to surrender under the threat of a nuclear bomb. I guess since the writers don't really have a character but a simple archetype that they can do anything they want with her but it frankly felt like such a big reversal that it was hard to swallow. It certainly went from making her appear like a strong leader to a weak one that she crumples as soon as she suffers one major military defeat. Granted, it's also hard to swallow that in one episode the entire momentum of the war shifted against our characters over to Monroe.
In the Tower plot, Rachel and Aaron basically go nowhere. They have to tend to Rachel's leg. When she realizes that Aaron is serious about not leaving her behind, she gets a bright idea. That device that had kept Danny alive can apparently heal her leg. I'll admit that I sort-of laughed at this point. Really? It's like Revolution thinks that technology is magic. There's nanobots that can somehow block electricity and now there's a device that can basically do anything the writers want it do. It's no surprise then that the writers called the Tower's manual as a “spellbook” because that's basically what technology is in this show: spells. Need to wipe out a rebel army? Use fireball (drones)! Need to fix a leg? Use heal (Nanobots)! The writers basically got themselves into an impossible situation with Rachel's broken knee. How could she continue in this harsh world of Revolution? That they came up with basically a magical remedy is frustratingly lazy. It cheapens the situation when the answer comes so easy to the characters. The “good” part comes after Aaron fixed Rachel's leg with magic devices. A couple of scavengers witnessed the event and they demand that the two fix up a kid with broken ribs. Rachel basically lies by pretending they'll do that while Aaron actually wants to help them. Actually that's not true as he seemed intent on telling the truth before Rachel had lied. The two basically learn their priorities. Aaron is going to the Tower to help people. Rachel is going so that Monroe's enemies can kill him. We already knew this for both characters but it's nice when they make it clear what they want to each other.
My favorite part of the episode actually was with Monroe. He's happy when his enemies get destroyed by the drones but he's concerned that Miles survived the attack. When Baker convinces him to go to a bar to drink and relax, a sniper tries to take out Monroe. Monroe gets paranoid as he immediately thinks that Baker was behind the attempt despite having no evidence. In his mind, he passed judgment as soon as he put together two dots. Baker had been the one who convinced him to go to the bar and he wasn't hurt. These two coincidences were good enough for Monroe to decide that Baker was trying to kill him. When Baker realized that he was a dead man, he basically admitted Monroe had no friends because he was crazy paranoid. Baker had been his only friend but now he's going to die because Monroe refused to believe his loyalty. Baker does die but Miles learns the tragic truth that it was a Georgian spy who had tried to kill him. A spy that had absolutely no connection to Baker. This plot was basically a good way of proving Baker's point that Monroe's paranoia is going to leave him with no friends. He might conquer the whole continent but he won't have anyone to share it with. The bad news is that this means Mark Pellegrino won't be on Revolution anymore and he's been a pretty good recurring character. At least Mark can be happy knowing that he'll be hunting mutants on next season's The Tomorrow People.
The Longest Day is an okay episode of Revolution. It suffers from many flaws: the question over why the drones were used earlier and how quickly things turned around for our characters was hard to swallow. The President's sudden decision to surrender seemed out-of-character and abrupt while the sub-plot used a magic answer to easily resolve what should have been a more serious issue. The main plot was a little bit dull despite the life-and-death situation of it all partly because there was never any real sense of danger after the drone strike. It did have it's moments as the Miles plot was a strong way to show his paranoia is pushing him further into isolation while I liked how Rachel and Aaron realized just how different their motives for going to the Tower are. As it stands, I do want to see what happens next with the war and other elements play out.
We also get a flashback story with Rachel that was basically her trolling Miles.