Revolution season 2 episode 14 review: Fear And Loathing

Review Billy Grifter 28 Feb 2014 - 09:44

This week's Revolution contains a WTF moment to rule them all. Here's Billy's review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.14 Fear And Loathing

Despite numerous calls to Putin, he refused to allow Sochi to go on longer, and I was forced to confront my worst fears. Revolution came back.

The majority of Fear and Loathing (…in New Las Vegas) revolved around the consequences of Bass and Connor being caught and being forced to cage fight to the death. On paper that sounds silly, though actually it wasn’t as daft as that might seem in the show. Instead of just jumping to the fight they allowed time for things to percolate a little, which gave David Lyons (Bass) some unusual breadth to act. He’s probably the best actor here, along with Elizabeth Mitchell (Rachel), but he’s spent most of the last thirty four episodes just smiling and killing people.

And in the end, that was the problem with his wonderful exchanges with Connor; this just wasn’t the character as presented by season one. When was the last time you saw a sociopathic despot see the error of his ways? No, they don’t, because when things go wrong, they blame everyone else and don’t suddenly become noble. The idea that the introduction of Connor into his life, a son he didn’t even know existed until a short while ago, could suddenly put the last sixteen years into perspective, seems a leap.

But compared with the one that the show was about to make, it was actually really believable.

The Aaron and Priscilla sub-plot is just about the only real connection we have to the events of season one. And it took the sort of turn that shows with flat viewing figures can embrace, when Aaron decides to kill the nanites. This wasn’t exactly a radically new idea because he tried the same in the finale of season one, with disastrous consequences.

But here we were presented with the idea that due to a programing bug, the nanites were dying, and asking for help. I don’t know who was responsible for this scene, but some of the programming ideas presented were written by someone who has patently never programmed a VCR, never mind a computer. My head-scratching started at the point where the nanites fired up a PC and presented the problem code for Aaron to fix. This seemed odd, because surely if a sentient collective of nanites could do such a thing then surely they could find the problem themselves, and test their fix on one of their trillion kind?

Aaron starts typing code, it’s in ‘C’ a compiled language, and the nanites ask ‘why are you trying to kill us’? The audience might wonder how the nanites know he’s trying to do that. Except Aaron is so dumb he actually called his routine ‘initworm’, as to give them a big fat clue to what he’s doing. Amazingly, it got dumber.

As Aaron types they get more upset, because somehow they’re compiling partly written code, while it’s being written and writing it to themselves in a super-optimistic way. I’ve seen dumb stuff in relation to computers on TV, everything on CSI for instance, but this was moronic on numerous levels. And, then when they get super-annoyed, instead of frying Priscilla to a crisp (please… do), they do something entirely odd, and send the both of them back to the pre-nanites era of 2014.

At this point not only was the shark been jumped, but he’d been starring in a rodeo while moonlighting as a Hollywood stunt shark. It was the WTF moment to rule them all.

There are numerous explanations about what actually happened, not least that the release of the nanites created an alternate reality which everyone has been living in ever since. But my money would be that they’ve chosen to send Aaron’s head back to the time he wrote the bugged code on the basis that he might do a better job this time. So it’s a virtual construct, and in reality he’s still sat at the PC. The problem with Revolution historically is that it has been very bad at clarifications, so we’ll either not get a proper one, or alternatively one that’s full of obvious plot holes.

Whatever happens from this point onwards, the budget for scenes with Aaron is going to be much less than before, I predict. 

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, Happy Endings, here.

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