TV Recap: Revolution 101 “Pilot”

NBC’s Revolution asks the question “What would you do if the power went out forever.” That premise, although it seems incredibly ludicrous, has some legitimate weight to it. I would have no idea what to do when something like this happens – I’d probably just crawl in a corner with my laptop. But anyways, this isn’t about me – it’s about the characters in this futuristic action drama. Let’s get this started.

And Then It Went Black

The show starts in 2012, where everything is normal. Then out of the blue, with little warning or backstory, the event happens and blacks out the entire world. No cell phones, no cars, no computers. Even batteries become meaningless relics. Before the blackout, however, Ben (played by Tim Guinee) saved something to a USB amulet type necklace…thing from his computer. If you’ve seen some of the trailers, then you probably have an idea of what this does – but I’ll wait until the end to describe what it is used for.

Fifteen years later, we arrive back into a quaint little village, with car gardens and plenty of crops to go around. We find our protagonist Charlie (played by Tracy Spiridakos) “hunting” in the woods with her younger brother Danny (played by Graham Rogers). Due to an asthma attack, they both turn back to their father Ben, and his new partner Maggie (played by Anna Lise Phillips). Of course because this is a TV primetime drama, Charlie becomes the quintessential surly teen and acts out towards her father, later storming out when Ben explains that he doesn’t want her to get hurt like her actual mother. Shocker.

While she’s away, some militia men role into town, being led by Captain Tom Neville (played by the always awesome Giancarlo Esposito). And for some reason, they have come for Ben. Before they even say a word, Ben already knows what is about to go down, and hands off his pendant USB to Aaron (played by Zak Orth), the local school teacher. Neville is “in a mood,” and just wants to take Ben and his brother Miles. Ben hasn’t seen Miles in years, so this is a bit of a surprise to him to why they would care.

Side note: Esposito is a bad ass, and can really make his dialogue sound truly menacing.

Back to the write up. Just when Ben decides to be captured peacefully, Danny chimes up with a crossbow, ready to defend his father. The whole town starts chiming in, brandishing their own weapons to “help out” Ben. This leads Ben to get shot, and incites an even larger brawl. Everyone calms down…well…after Neville shoots four people. Since Ben is going to die, they decide to take Danny with them, as a sort of filler.

Charlie, of course, arrives late and holds her dying father in her arms. He tells her to go look for his brother in Chicago, and that the militia has her brother, and kicks the bucket. Her mom is dead, her dad is dead, and her brother is gone. Now it’s just her, Rachel, and Aaron (who is apparently illergic to bees instead of being afraid of them) is off on a cross…state trek to find Danny and Miles.

Time To Find Some Friends

The convoy pulling Danny finally comes to a stop, parking itself next to a nice little river. Neville tries to justify taking Danny, only to deliver a wicked backhand the kid once he decides to talk back. As he walks away, Danny finds that the pole he’s cuffed to is a little bit jiggly, something that may or may not be a good thing for him.

As for the gang of three, they continue their journey to find Miles. They walk past some startling images, like a flooded church (why it’s flooded, who knows). They sit down along a campfire for the night, and talk about Miles. Charlie responds to Aaron, who asks what she knows about him, with “All my dad ever said about him is that he’s good at killing.” Well that’s pretty to the point.

The next morning, Charlie goes to grab some water, only to be stopped in her tracks by pretty boy archer Nate (played by JD Pardo). Her trying to be sneaky only backfires, as Nate obviously has eye on the back of his head. They exchange names and googily-eyes and go about their business.

The group of three run across an airfield, which will be their next place to rest. Aaron breaks the news that he used to own one with all the money he had from some company named “Google.” And he’d trade away all of his useless money for a thing of Charmin (PRODUCT PLACEMENT!).

That evening, Danny finally unscrews that one bolt and freed himself from his carrage. To be clear, it took him two nights to unscrew a bolt…just saying. He clonks a guard with the pipe and speeds off.

That same night, three robbers wake up the gang in the airliner, knives to their necks. One of the robbers straight punches Charlie in the face, which is something I don’t expect from my prime time television. Maggie, in an incredibly deadpan and emotionless way, tells the robbers to reach for a side pocket which contains a decent amount of whiskey. The bottle gets passed around the robbers, while the head takes Charlie away to, I’m assuming, try to rape her. But surprise! The whiskey is poisoned, and Maggie deals with her threat by choking him out with the airplane’s drop-down airbag without mercy. As for the head of the thieves, he gets an arrow in the back from, who else, Nate.

Disguises Disguises Everywhere

After the plane incident, Nate joins the merry (using that word loosely) band of survivors on their way to Chicago. Nate, apparently, wants to get on a fishing crew. It is so obvious at this point that he is the love interest here for Charlie that there is now way he is actually going to go through with that. Maggie is a little concerned with Nate’s presence, but Charlie fires back with not being able to trust her, you know, with poison whiskey and all.

Now back to Danny, who we catch running through a farmyard. He grabs some water from a barrel, but then falls victim to an asthma attack. He takes a glance at the farm house, then blacks out.

Finally, the group of four arrive in Chicago, which has become a cast market-type city. The group enters The Grand, the hotel that Aaron got married in that is now the local tavern. They head up the the barkeep, and ask about Miles Matheson. Charlie jumps to the conclusion that he has to be at that bar, in which he has no real remorse for her. Until she mentions the dead brother, which strikes a never with him. Turns out, Miles (played by Billy Burke) is the barkeep, and he takes her into his backroom to have themselves a little talk. Nate tries to butt in, but with some fancy knife tricks, Miles puts one of up to his throat and walks away. Bad ass, no lie.

Danny finally comes to with a gun in his face, held by local Grace (played by Maria Howell). She throws Danny an inhaler (something he has no idea about), and explains that it was at one time her sons. She’s a little bit reluctant to keep him, since he admits that he escaped from the militia earlier.

Miles pours himself a drink while Charlie finishes up telling him everything. Of course the question comes up why Monroe (the leader of the militia) wants with him. If you don’t know by now, its for the knowledge of how to turn the lights back on. Charlie later tries to get him into helping find Danny, but he never said he was going to do anything. Instead, he wants to keep a low profile. He knows that Danny is bait, so he doesn’t want to go after him. Then the guilt comes out from Charlie, pulling out the family card to get him to come. How he was able to say no is incredible.

Charlie is ready to leave the bar, almost in tears. Nate decides to be the knight in shining armor for her, asking Miles why he would say no to her. And then SURPRISE…Nate ends up being a part of the militia. That was something I was not expecting. Nate leaves the bar, bow drawn, to make a quick escape to tell his leader.

Time For Some Swordplay

Miles is not a happy camper anymore. I mean, he wasn’t to begin with, but still. He grabs the last bottle of malt liquor in Chicago and tells the now reformed group of three to leave. Charlie pleads for him to come with them, but that makes him even angrier. The group eventually leaves, without Miles.

Who’s knocking on Grace’s door? Why its Neville of course, and he’s looking for Danny.

Side note: Neville explains to Grace that he’s looking for a nineteen year old boy. If you remember the opening, he was just a little baby, and this show takes place fifteen years later. THERE IS NO WAY HE IS NINETEEN!

Back to the write up. Neville gets lied to from Grace about knowing anything about Danny. Neville, however, was an insurance adjuster before the blackout, so he can tell when someone is lyring. Grace folds, and lets him in to capture Danny once again.

Nate’s militia group re-enters the bar, which looks abandoned now. Except Miles, who stumples down some stairs. They don’t want to hurt him, and he doesn’t want to hurt them. Thus starts one of the best action sequences I’ve seen on TV. While Miles is tearing all of them apart, the returning Charlie puts an arrow in a soldier’s back. Then she runs and gets put into a corner. And who would save her? Why it’s Nate again. Seriously, he needs to stay on a side…especially since he is the love interest here.

The militia is done, Miles is the last man standing. He gets tended to afterwards by Maggie, and changes his mind. He’s coming with Charlie, making it a group of four now.

We get a flashback of Miles with a friend of his, named Bass (David Lyons). Turns out, Miles might know a little something something about the black out. Along with his friend…Sergeant Bass Monroe – ie the guy who is hunting him down.

The episode ends back at Grace’s house, where she pulls out her own USB amulet thing. She presses the middle button, and her own electronics start right back up. She types on her computer to someone out there – whom, we aren’t sure yet.

FINAL IMPRESSIONS:
Although I felt like some of the acting was a little bit so-so (Maggie was too cold for me), I thought it was a pretty solid pilot. The action is pretty fantastic, to say the least. It is expertly choreographed, and makes for some really engaging scenes – especially that last one in the bar. If NBC can promise me scenes like this on a constant basis, I will definitely be watching. I believe Spiridakos will do a better job acting later in the season, but she wasn’t awful. Esposito was pretty fantastic, and really grabs every scene he is in (c’mon, if you watched Breaking Bad you know exactly what I’m talking about). Also, I believe that Charlie’s mom isn’t dead, but hiding out somewhere out there in the world.

But enough of my opinions and thoughts, what do you all think? Did you enjoy the pilot? What do you think will happen next? How long do you think this show will go season wise? Leave your comments down below.

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2 thoughts on “TV Recap: Revolution 101 “Pilot”

  1. Everyone in my office at DISH kept complaining about the fact that there is no way electricity would not work for 15 years, so I thought it was failed before it started. After I realized my Hopper automatically records CBS during prime time I decided to watch it anyways. I have no idea how anyone could complain about Revolution, especially when Esposito is in it! After Breaking Bad there is only one role I want to see him play, and he does it so well. Add in some sword fighting and I’m staying all season.

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