Revolution season 2 episode 5 review: One Riot, One Ranger

Review Billy Grifter 26 Oct 2013 - 20:45

Despite its recent improvement, this week's Revolution takes a nosedive in quality. Here's Billy's review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.5 One Riot, One Ranger

After making some decent headway in the past few weeks, Revolution fell down a few holes of plausibility this week, and seemed incapable of scrambling out.
The major problem, and it had been festering away for some weeks in the background, was how to introduce back Bass into the mix without a long list of people just killing him immediately. It was always going to be a stretch, but the direction that they took ultimately seemed the least credible of all possible routes.

Part of the issue was that Charlie only needed to be saved once to join the Bass supporters club, entirely forgetting that he was responsible for the deaths of her father and brother, and a ton of other people. That seemed far too easy, and then as each person encounters him and questions why he's among them, then their issues are dismissed by the next character. It was a domino effect of sorts, where nobody made a stand or had any backbone.

But the model for people expressing concern and that not impacting on others was set up very early in the episode. Aaron explains Firefly Vengeance Mode, and everyone either ignores him or dismisses it as a unrealistic possibility. Given that Miles actually stood and watched the patriots burst into flame, you'd think that perhaps he's listen, but unbelievably his reaction was to 'dial back the crazy'!

He's not even allowed to think rationally about this, because the arrival of the Texas Ranger, played by Jim Beaver, sidelined his entire thought process.
This actor's appearance in the show shouldn't have been a big surprise, as he was a regular in Supernatural. That show was also created by Eric Kripke, and the episode was co-written by Ben Edlund, who was a big creative contributor to that series. As an actor I've liked Jim Beaver long before he played Whitney Ellsworth in Deadwood, but in this lawless town he barely gets down off his horse before events overtake him. Or rather, the entirely sociopathic mind that they've given to Bass is terminal for him, because to him everyone is purely a means to whatever end, and not a person as such.

That wasn't wonderful. I entirely hated the way that Rachel talked to Aaron like he was four years old. And, I really wondered why Cynthia now needed a back-story after so long? During the whole angst sequence where we get to discover that Aaron is responsible for at least four deaths, I just wanted them to blend Firestarter from the The Prodigy, but alas they missed that opportunity. I was also sort of frustrated that a neither Rachel nor Aaron made the leap of logic that perhaps the 'fireflies' could be used to heal someone, as they did with Aaron himself. These are supposedly smart people, aren't they?

That assumption, however, got massively questioned in one scene where Aaron has been teaching and meets Crynia's soon-to-be-a-crispy-critter husband. On the board was an electronics diagram, as Aaron has been educating people in a science that doesn't work. The local kids are going to have a hoot designing circuits that they'll never be able to test, aren't they?

So the return of Bass was unsatisfactory, and so was Aaron's revelation, which left only Tom's new relationship with Allerford. That wasn't right either, for a number of reasons, one of which is the coyness of Tom asking her to remove part of her blouse to work on a bullet hole. Please, only on American TV would those sensibilities apply, because elsewhere the world medical attention for gunshots trumps visible underwear every time. The idea that a round from an M16 rifle would simply lodge under the skin to be removed later is also utter BS, as it would have cut through her and left a hole the size of an apple as it exited from her back. Without rapid medical attention, she'd have died of shock or internal trauma, negating the awkward conversation that she managed here with Tom.

Do we really buy the story Allerford offers, about having upset 'high command'? It could be that the camps are entirely her idea, and that other factions are trying to stop her?

The whole idea of a reprogramming centre seems dumb, especially when people are starving. How much motivation do they need to follow any particular grouping when you're hungry? They don't really need drugs and torture, the return of the Big Mac would suffice.
I was also rather shocked that Tom didn't bother to ask about his son, and Allerford was allowed to pull that rabbit out to negotiate the medical care she needed. It looks like the writers want them to have a growing relationship, so they can throw in the return of Tom's wife at some point to instigate complete chaos.

Overall, this wasn't a good episode, and most of what went on entirely relied on the characters putting their brains in neutral for the majority of scenes. The only person thinking clearly is Bass, and his acceptance is probably the least believable aspect.

I hope this is a blip, because up to this point, Revolution was in danger of becoming watchable.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, Patriot Games, here.

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