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.

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