Revolution episode 2 review: Chained Heat

Review Billy Grifter 26 Sep 2012 - 09:30

Billy finds Revolution little-improved since its uneven pilot episode. Here's his review of Chained Heat...

This review contains spoilers.

1.2 Chained Heat

Some TV shows have a poor pilot, but manage to turn things around once the wheels of production start turning. Such hopes for Revolution were dashed at the earliest opportunity, because the second outing was as entirely nonsensical as the first.

More worrying, as someone who is committed to review this to the bitter end (start, and middle) is that a few of those who didn't come out of the pilot looking so bad phoned in their performances in the second show. Tracy Spiridakos, who plays spirited Charlie Matheson, has taken to making odd faces in place of acting. Why, I've no idea, but it's distracting to say the least.

I could pull this episode to pieces all the way through, but there are two scenes worthy of note for how badly constructed and acted they were, and I'll detail those. 

The first is one where Anna Lise Phillips, 'Maggie', explains to (still overweight after fifteen years without a burger) Aaron Pittman why she carries the iPhone. We've been told that Aaron worked for Google, and so he's a techie isn't he? Then if that's true he'll know that the phone uses flash memory which would be erased by the loss of all electrical power, because it uses trapped electrons like a battery. That's if the pictures were even on there, and not on the iCloud for which she's not paid her subscription recently, I suspect. Maybe he told her what she wanted to hear, or maybe the person who wrote this doesn't understand computers or phones, take your pick.

And then we had the now-prerequisite action/fight sequence, where Charlie and Miles decide to get a sniper rifle from the chain gang boss. Their solution to doing this is stupid in the extreme, as they determine that they must get close to kill him, entirely forgetting that Charlie is carrying a crossbow, a weapon designed to kill silently at range. The sentimental bit where after the action Charlie felt bad about killing people, was a little odd because last week she killed someone with the crossbow and Maggie killed two people with poison in front of her, and she didn't mention any remorse then?

The clunky nature of the narrative was actually highlighted by the point in proceedings where the writers got a note that read 'why should anyone watch next week?'. This was late on, so they decided to throw two things in that might spark some curiosity amongst those that hadn't found a sink to unblock instead. The first was to reintroduce Charlie's mother, Rachel, who we'd been told had died with no explanation whatsoever. And the other was to throw in a mystery character 'Randall', who breaks down doors rather than knocking. Why are we mean to care who he is?

If all this wasn't enough, there's still the problem of the premise of the show, which makes no more sense than it did in the pilot. It's just not possible to selectively mess with the electron without killing everyone or making the molecular structure of things alter, period. And we've still not seen any mechanical, wind, or steam engines, which are the obvious directions to go if electronics don't work. I'm also getting bored of every outdoor scene having an overturned vehicle on which the production design crew have creatively placed plastic ivy.

I'm not sure how many episodes NBC have committed to, but I'll predict now that it won't make half a season unless it comes up with half an excuse as to why anyone should watch this trash.

Read Billy's review of the Revolution pilot episode, here.

Disqus - noscript

One of the first lines from Aaron in the pilot was "this doesn't make sense" in physics terms. Given that, I can forgive them the fact that it doesn't. From his later exposition from the effect being man made, it is maybe caused by some kind of sustained EMP affect, which the necklace things nullify. Why people would do this in the first place is another question of course, but there are always crazy people to do crazy things, so that is ok by me.

I don't remember Charlie shooting anyone with her bow in the 1st episode? If you are talking about the guy who tried to rape her on the plane he was shot by her milita stalker (who I am afraid is going to end up being her boyfriend, given how helpful in a bad boy way he seems to be. Now all he needs is a backstory that redeems his actions and she will fall into his arms). I did love how she set him up to get handcuffed to the post, that was genius on her part.

I am enjoying the show, I couldn't believe at first that the doctor's Matheson were played by such well known actors only to be killed off in the pilot, but now that we have seen a few flashbacks it makes more sense, and I expect we'll see a lot of questions answered in true Lostian fashion. (referring to the flashbacks, not several years of no answers... although we'll probably get that too come to think of it).

I don't mind that the physics don't make sense, what bothered me was how the woman posing as a slave had managed to keep her armpits shaven, and also how she hadn't been used as ahem, entertainment by her wardens on a nightly basis.

The main girl is utterly annoying

>> he'll know that the phone uses flash memory which would be erased by
the loss of all electrical power, because it uses trapped electrons like
a battery. That's if the pictures were even on there, and not on the
iCloud for which she's not paid her subscription recently, I suspect.
Maybe he told her what she wanted to hear, or maybe the person who wrote
this doesn't understand computers or phones, take your pick.

Or maybe you don't know what you're talking about?

Wow, so I take out the battery of my iphone and I lose everything???

Oh crap! I have flash thumbdrives on my desk with no power! Everything's lost!!!!!!!!

"uses trapped electrons like a battery"??? Seriously?

I'd say that's a fairly workable analogy. Flash memory traps electrons via a floating gate, so data can be programmed in blocks by injecting electrons,
and erased by removing those electrons. Your thumbdrives might not
look like they're powered, but they are. If whatever event/device
responsible for the blackout in Revolution works by blanket
nullifying electrons, any flash memory based device would lose both
power and data.

All of this is meaningless of course,
because such a device would also have some pretty severe effects on
organic systems. I doubt anyone would be concerned with their iPhone memory. (With any luck this will be addressed on the
show, but I'm not holding out much hope.)

So you've obviously got no idea how Flash memory works...have you?

Right as the big fight near the end of first episode was starting Charlie shoots one of the militia in the back from the shadows. Miles notices and nods. She runs out the back where another militia guy finds her and attacks.

Let me see if I can help. Regardless of who says what about the power, if they don't have a piece of Triforce (those necklaces) then you can assume it has no validity. Why? They didn't know the power was going to get shut off. So, they couldn't have tested anything beforehand. So, without power, how exactly could have they have done any tests to determine what caused it? They literally have no idea and are completely unreliable as a source.

So, what is going on? Have you been watching the show? There's no power. At least one character knew in advance that the power was going to out. Power can be returned by using a piece of Triforce. Seems an awful lot like there's some sort of dampening field that those pieces of Triforce "push back".

It also seems an awful lot like Charlie's parents were pretty heavily involved. Her parents knew in advance it was going to happen. He understood what was going to happen well enough to have been involved in the creation of a countermeasure. Both parents had knowledge of what happened.

Moving from there, it's pretty silly to have not known that Charlie's mother was alive. Major actor, ambiguous cause of death, and foreknowledge of the event are pretty heavy lampshading. If they're intent was to reveal the parents knowledge via flashback, they'd put themselves in the position of Charlie actually understanding what happened without a reasonable explanation of why she hasn't told anyone.

We've got a few major plotlines running. Monroe wants the power back on. Charlie wants her brother back. Miles is helping Charlie while evading Monroe. But, how are these things all connected? It's the not-so-subtle foundation upon which the show is built. Charlie's parents, and possibly her uncle, are known to have enough knowledge of the event to warrant kidnapping. In fact, they know quite a bit more about it than Monroe is aware of. How do they know this? Were they involved in causing it? Is it caused by a machine, and if so where is this machine, and if so why hasn't anyone tried to locate this machine and turn it off before now?

I've got to question the qualifications of a reviewer who has missed all the obvious details of a show. You're using the obviously ignorant explanations provided by obviously ignorant characters rather than the obvious explanation that isn't verbalized.

I like the way you entirely ignored most of the points people are making, about the impossibly clean people, the missing machines that don't use electricity, the fact living creatures are still alive, shaven armpits and shoddy acting.
But then if you're right and this is shear brilliance then he'll be reviewing it for another 7 seasons, and if he's right then you won't have to suffer his lack of misreading the obvious for much longer. Is that a win-win?

Meeting an overweight person in a post apocalyptic world:

1) Is that person overweight
2) If that person is overweight is he sitting on a gigantic stockpile of food?
3) If that person isn't sitting on a stockpile of food check to see if his hands are shaking
4) If his hands are shaking and he's trying to become your trusted friend, watch out! He's a cannibal!

God forgive me but I find the petulant teen so annoying I can't watch this - how she has survived this long escapes me, but then you could say that for a lot of them. Anyway the whole premise of the show is utterly preposterous - electrons no longer behaving properly? That's you screwed too then given that the nervous system and brain work via electrical impulses...

I agree, someone should slap Charlie!

Agree, she is the worst actress on television! Thank God for PVR and I could whip through all her scenes

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