Revolution season 2 episode 16 review: Exposition Boulevard

Review Billy Grifter
14 Mar 2014 - 11:07

Revolution's characters ask themselves what they're fighting for in this week's episode...

This review contains spoilers.

2.16 Exposition Boulevard

What Revolution has lacked for some time is any real central drama. Because having people accidentally bump into each other, in a country the size of North America is both irrational and devoid of tension. So in Exposition Boulevard the writers give the characters more to think about than bullet, knife or crossbow, when they capture two teenagers spying on them.

The problem with the moral dilemma they use is that it’s lifted from the recent Mark Wahlberg vehicle, Lone Survivor. Borrowing ideas from old movies and TV is fine, though actually doing it while the source is still at the cinema seems hubristic at best. When you factor in that the reaction of everyone involved is entirely predictable, then I’d initially written this off as a battle of wills rather than something of more consequence. 

What I did find slightly fascinating was that Rachel mentioned Danny (though not by name), which is the first time she’s talked about him in ages. It’s like his character didn’t really go anywhere in the show, so he’s been forgotten as easily as the plot point he became.

Thankfully the exit designed for one of these kids is actually more memorable, and builds on what we’ve already been told about reprogramming in respect of Jason. I love the trigger number idea, and it’s been a long time since I’ve accepted that anyone behind Revolution came up with something remotely interesting. It was also relevant to more than one plot line, which is always the sign of joined up writing. But from that point onwards that subplot descends into the morass of action ‘B’ movie histrionics, where lots of automatic weapon fire results in amazingly few fatalities.

The Aaron and Priscilla subplot has me perplexed, I’ll admit. Part of me doesn’t think that Aaron is out of the Matrix, because of the way that his ex-wife is acting. Or, she’s not Priscilla, just a mechanism the nanites created to keep an eye on him. Whatever is going on there, Aaron needs to ask himself why apples taste so good, and ask why he’s not remotely curious about what happened to Grace Beaumont?

I’m less conflicted over Tom’s story, because since he and Julia were caught, we’ve not seen her once. If we’d got a cut-away to her in a cell I’d not be convinced that he’d been betrayed, but he patently has been. Even if that reveal is being kept for the final stories, there isn’t much doubt in my mind it’s coming.

What seemed entirely out of place were the Cuban flashbacks, which seemed designed to make the current President (who was previously the Secretary of State) more crazy than he already seems. What it did better is explain why Ed Truman is such a follower of the Patriots, given that he’s also a huge fan of the Mel Gibson’s history re-written The Patriot.

While small moments of lucidity existed in Exposition Boulevard, I found it interesting that the underlying theme was a question all the characters need to ask themselves about what they’re fighting for. The trailer shows that Rachel asks Charlie the very same question next week, spreading the point further. Whenever this sort of event happens in a show I always take it that it’s what is going through the writers' minds, like what is this character's motivation? It might seem rather late in the day to consider what’s motivating people, given we’re nearly at the end of two seasons, but once all the get-the-power-back-on objectives of season one melted in the nuclear explosion, they needed a new plan. What’s not dawned on any of them is that the idea of bringing back the USA, or a version of it, isn’t a remote possibility. Because that iconography has been truly hijacked, along with the Oval Office. The return of the Monroe Republic equally isn’t believable, so what future is?

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

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