Revolution episode 3 review: No Quarter

Review Billy Grifter 2 Oct 2012 - 14:27

Despite a slight upturn, Billy continues to find Revolution less-than electric viewing. Here's his review of No Quarter...

This review contains spoilers.

1.3 No Quarter

It's the third episode, and I've now come to the conclusion that I need to get over the lack of scientific logic in this show, because otherwise I'll whine about it until Revolution ends (possibly in about five episodes' time, by my reckoning).
I tried to rationalise it in my mind by thinking about Star Trek, in which, whenever the plot required technology not to work they used the expression 'dampening field', which sounded more scientific than 'jammer'. In Trek, these devices where everywhere and jammed everything it seemed, but in this show it is just electrical power running in engines and electronics it appears, thus breaking Heisenberg's uncertainty principle about what it is you can know about an electron. Maybe it has a Heisenberg compensator?

Joking aside, I just have to accept that we'll get no believable explanation as to why the inevitable meltdown of the sixty-three nuclear reactors (not to mention those on subs and aircraft carriers) didn't make the eastern half of the US uninhabitable for the next seven and a half million years.

That said, this was a much more interesting episode than the previous two, though I'd hardly call it gripping by any stretch of imagination.

What it tried to do was put some flesh on the bones of the Miles Matheson character, who up until now has appeared to just be a surly sociopathic version of MacGyver. For this purpose we're given an insight into the early days of the power outage when he and 'Bass' Munroe wander around delivering justice where it suits them. Given their original relationship and the current situation, that poses the question of how things changed for them. A series of flashback sequences and more recent revelations attempted to explain some, but far from all, of this.

One thing I've never really understood, but for which I'm sure someone in talkback will have an explanation, is why they've gone with the idea that the Stars and Stripes is outlawed. Historically, repressive regimes usually take the symbols of the past and link to them as a means to project themselves as the rightful holders of power and connected to a common heritage. When this first appeared I wondered if some political Tea Party message was being hinted at, but I've since convinced myself it's just a symbol of what came before. The trouble with any sort of upheaval like the power going off for fifteen years would be that even if it all got turned on tomorrow, things would never actually go back to how they were before, as far too much has changed in the meanwhile.

The revelation that Miles is one of the co-founders of the Munroe Republic (so why is it not called the Matheson Republic?) comes at the end of a siege where he, Nora and Charlie get holed up in a derelict diner with the 'rebels', who don't have a proper name for their revolution yet. The quality of these rebels is very variable, I noticed. One of them is excellent with a sniper rifle, and another one can dig like a prairie dog, but they don't have a strategic thought between them. Why they never posted anyone outside to see the approaching militia seemed silly, and that they've not been easily killed already is implausible.

The digging of the escape hole didn't make much sense either. Because they were surrounded and they've no idea where they're digging to, they could be heading into a flooded sewer. It would also take many days to dig the tunnel we see collapse.

But redemption is at hand! Well not narrative redemption, more the production employed someone who can actually act to bolster these mechanical proceedings, the excellent Mark Pellegrino as Jeremy. He's got a track record in TV and movies (Lethal Weapon 3, National Treasure) that goes back a long way, and he can play the heavy easier than breathing. He's so natural here that it really highlights those who have much less experience, and sadly, more screen time allocated to them. If the show was built around Giancarlo Esposito (Captain Tom) and Mark Pellegrino then it might have some legs, but Tracy Spiridakos (Charlie) is quite clearly entirely out of her depth and Zak Orth (Aaron) is painful to watch.

What we miss this week is any sign of Rachel and Grace or any more about who Randall is. The revelation that power can still work through the Aaron and Maggie subplot was one that needed to be made, though why it worked temporarily wasn't explained. Maybe the table that Aaron left the amulet on had an inductive charger in it, who knows.

Also, in this scene Aaron seems surprised by hearing music, even though it's quite easy to make a record player (yes, vinyl records!) that works on a clockwork winding mechanism, surely? Sorry, I've started thinking scientifically again!

The message I got from that and other things that happened was that the power-off premise of the show was just that; a start-point. Once they'd set that up, the show's makers kicked their intriguingly unexplored idea to the wayside and focused instead on character interactions and the odd revelation to keep things bubbling along. Given the quality of what's so far been told and presented, that leaves us with plenty to regret.

Read Billy's review of last week's episode, Chained Heat, here.

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Tracy Spiridakos (Charlie) is the worst actress on tv today and her character has the worst plot ever! She is weak and constantly leading Miles into trouble. And Tracy is such a poor actress, she always has this half smile in inappropriate situations. Almost as though she knows her performance is laughable.
They need to provide more detail on how the power disappeared or they won't make it to episode 5.

This week's episode of Revolution was marginally more interesting than the previous two, but NBC should be proud of itself for discovering a non-narcotic cure for insomnia.

This was the 2nd show i wanted to see most this season and right now its DOA not doing good i give all new shows 5 eps but this is going to be hard the cast is so so and the plot so far is just lame

Show got a full season from NBC I read this morning.

Do you know what works without electricity? Steam engines. Internal combustion engines. Did you know you can actually make bullets without electricity? Apparently, the "event" not only killed the power, but any memory of how science works or any inclination to do more than wallow in nostalgic whining. I liked this so much better when it was The Postman.

Sigh, the only J.J. Abrams show, not ran by him, that is worth watching is Person of Interest which is turning into a fantastic sci-fi action show. Pains me this wonderful site hasn't given it a chance esp. when the show runner is British.


I would assume that the average American does not know how to make bullets, let alone modern day bullets which are probably majority machine-made more than man-made. I thought they pretty much summed the whole bullet thing pretty well with the last episode with Jeremy stating that finding bullets, especially those for newer guns, are more of an antique dig because they need precisely-fitted ammo for them to work. Why do you think his soldiers carried muskets instead of handguns while the militia higher-ups had revolvers and sniper rifles? Because they are a rarity the militia will trust with only their more loyal men. All muskets need is a ball of lead, gunpowder, and you're good to go. Plus think about if civilians began making bullets. Do you think it's a smart idea to manufacture bullets - which I have to say are pretty much illegal if guns are illegal - and risk your life with the severity of punishment with the militia or have them stolen and be used as blackmail? Mmmm probably not if you were smart enough to want to live. I would also assume any sort of engine also being outlawed. Can't trust them with guns then why trust them with engines? Seriously the only whining I see is by those that don't fully think the situation through and it's been annoying the hell out of me. Dictator-like governments will snuff out any sort of progress to make sure they have the upper-hand over any rebellion and it's apparent that this one runs on fear and punishment. But really, I believe this show is more about the social outcome of a major disaster and the story of a few characters rather than the science of an apocalypse ("The Walking Dead" anyone?). So in the coming weeks I will try to deal with terrible acting because I find the whole idea interesting. Hopefully it will be getting better since the episodes are progressively improving...

It's the small things in this show which bothered me the most, I say bothered as I gave it up after episode 2.

Why did some buildings apparently have small trees growing in them? Did the power outage cause all secuteurs and spades to vanish as well? Bearing in mind some of the things which people can't do, how come all the women are wonderfully shaven and some have managed a perfect dye job on their hair? Even with technology most people don't put that much effort into their appearance.
Why at the end of episode 1 did the mysterious other person ask 'did they find [the computer]' when clearly if they'd found it, she wouldn't have been talking to him on it.
Such, such little sense and the annoying bad young man with the bow who'll eventually turn good possibly but who she loves despite herself is just gut wrenchingly bad.
How this got greenlit for a full series is beyond me when you think of some of the good shows which got cancelled. I doubt it will get a season 2.

The flip side of it is that a few farmers with some shotguns and a steam traction engine or two and maybe the know-how to get a steam locomotive or two working (they're around, if you know where to look) would likely be more than a match for what looks like Civil War reenactors enslaving the locals to haul a dead helicopter around.

Perhaps, though, in fifteen years all of those machines will have worn out, and nobody has figured out how to make alloy steels without electricity. (It's doable, but challenging.)

The thing with the bullets in funny, anyone in the military would know to save the brass so it can be reloaded, you can reuse the casings many many times and you don't need any electricity to cast lead bullets, you can melt lead over a campfire.

The fact they use muskets is just super stupid. Sorry but it is.
Also don't know if any noticed a couple of episodes ago the woman with the computer had schemtics on the desk right before randal burst in that looked a lot like a large satellite. So it would appear to be a man made electric dampening field that encompasses the whole earth, how the little pendant generates electricity is unkown and how devices with obvious dead batteries magically work....

I like the fact that after 15yrs Avgas is still good enough to fly with..

but yeah, (older) diesel engines would run fine, boilers and steam power could drive many industries, I'd also assume that not google and kindle didn't burn all the books and the literature to provide the engineering/scientific know-how still would be accessible.

The main flaw I see in the concept is electricity is fundamental to biological processes, electron flow is not limited to circuits.

The main flaw I see in the show though is Tracy Spiridakus' acting, someone please wipe that stupid expression on her forehead off, she'd have the guys from "Lie to me" stuffed, they'd be asking "is she puzzled? concerned? scared? anxious?" every god damn look is the same.

but aside from that, it's an interesting enough show to watch the next episode.

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