Revolution episode 5 review: Soul Train

News Billy Grifter
17 Oct 2012 - 10:05

Revolution channels Back To The Future Part III in this week's episode. Here's Billy's review of Soul Train...

This review contains spoilers.

1.5 Soul Train

Last week I noted that Revolution took inspiration from no less than the iconic source of Scooby Doo. This week, the origin of some elements appears to be Back to The Future Part III, specifically, how you can put things in steam engines that subsequently blow up.

When the steam engine first appeared, I wondered if this was a turning point at which the writers would accept that while electricity is important, steam, wind, hydraulic and other forms of power do exist if only people had the sense to use them. It wasn't, because nothing much to do with the train made any sense, although we're told that Bass having one makes him 'dangerous'. Yes, because he'll reinstate the postal service, and they'll all be forced to complete tax returns for the past 15 years!

Several things confused me about the train, not least that they're burning wood, and not coal, which would mean that about twenty miles down this track they'll be stopping to cut down trees. But then they have no choice I guess, because they're heading to Pennsylvania, and we all know the region contains no coal at all.

It was easy to get distracted by a train making lots of noise and steam a good twelve hours before it intends to go anywhere, because the real purpose of the Soul Train episode was to give Giancarlo Esposito's character, Captain Tom Neville, a back-story.

For the first time in the entire season, I actually connected with Revolution, because having worked in the insurance industry, I can entirely accept that it will turn you into a homicidal maniac. Though, I'd also say that it doesn't flip everyone this way, and Neville was therefore a closet sociopath beforehand. We got to meet his wife, played by Kim Raver (24, Grey's Anatomy), and his son, who previously went by the names of Nathan, Buff Boy, and now Jason, or Captain Tom Jnr. I hope next week he gets a new, better name. The reveal came right at the end by way of an explanation as to why he wasn't summarily executed for letting Charlie go. I suspect that Miles knew who he was all along, which is why he didn't either kill him or leave him tied up somewhere.

What I can't deny is that this week's Revolution taught me lots of new things. I never knew that just having a flag was a guarantee of being a 'rebel', that it was possible to withstand the intense heat of a steam firebox using just leather, that it was so easy to jump from a moving train without injury, that all fake logs containing a bomb are easily identifiable and that you should always attack a militia-protected train and not the hundreds of miles of unprotected track it runs along. 

But my favourite BS moment of the week was undoubtedly the stabbing of Nora, which, despite happening on a populated station platform, went unnoticed by those in close vicinity. When Nora was gutted for changing her mind about blowing the train up, I was mildly shocked, and then I remembered how weak her character is and thought that it wasn't a bad plan to dump her now. But oddly, she lived.

So last week a nasty gash to the leg means you die, and this week being stabbed in the abdomen means you're good to walk a few hundred miles to Philli? Right. Lucky her torso doesn't contain anything important, really.

What's concerning me longer term is that they keep referring to the helicopter, though Bass wants a 'Black Hawk' (why not an Apache?), and they were dragging an ancient Huey through the woods in episode two. If we get to a stage where they use one of the amulets to fly a chopper that's sat derelict for fifteen years thus perishing all its rubber seals and filters, then I will shout BS at the TV for the rest of that entire episode.

Most depressing of all with twelve amulets to find (and we've only seen two), Revolution is in for the long haul. I can't in my wildest imagination believe that the show's current run has the time to find all of them, or even the first half-dozen. I can't wait to find out that of the twelve Amulets, there is one to rule them all!

I'm reliably informed that the inspiration for the next story is Indecent Proposal, and I really wish I was joking about that.

Read Billy's review of last week's episode, The Plague Dogs, here.

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