Revolution season 2 episode 17 review: Why We Fight

Review Billy Grifter 21 Mar 2014 - 07:52

Revolution delivers one of its better episodes in Why We Fight. Here's Billy's review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.17 Why We Fight

After so many disjointed and unsuccessful stories, those behind Revolution took an entirely different tack with Why We Fight, and the result was a singularly more watchable story. It wasn’t a huge surprise to discover that this was written by Rockne S. O'Bannon, who also penned the stronger stories this season, Come Blow Your Horn and Mis Dos Padres.

There was no hint this week of Aaron and his long walk back from Lubbock, if he’s not still there having another Matrix experience. And, with relatively little from Tom and Jason, they managed to write simple but effective narrative with the basic premise of answering the question of the hour for the majority of characters.

Undoubtedly the episode's strongest parts involved Miles and Gene, as they snuck into town to meet an old flame of the doctors played by Reiko Aylesworth. Yes indeed, the always memorable Michelle Dessler from 24.

We saw some good acting from Miss Aylesworth, Stephen Collins as Gene, and some quite hilarious lines from Billy Burke as Miles. Okay, so they did the usually clunky thing of leaving people dead in the street that then nobody noticed, but it wove an interesting angle about the predictability of human nature. It also went to the heart of Miles' cynicism, and revealed its origins. I do hope Reiko Aylesworth comes back into this, when she discovers that she’s made an even bigger mistake than she imagined.

What really helped this work was that while Miles and Gene weren’t with Bass and the gang, things that happened with one impacted with the other. Having narrative islands has been an issue this show has wrestled with greatly, mostly because they insist on having their characters troop around the former USA like boy scouts on a navigation exercise.

This story also ended the rather odd conversion of Bass from a character he never was into one that’s recognisable from season one. I never bought the new-age version of Bass, and so having him devolve into the psycho we all know made more sense than most of Revolution has so far. He seemed to have some continuity issues with exactly how much blood was on his face, and where it was, but I’ll cut them some slack this week.

What also worked was having the ‘good guys’, and I’m using that expression in the loosest possible way, actually went on the offensive this week, after being less than pro-active for most of this season. That subplot, in which Bass ended up with what was left of Duncan’s army seemed designed to smoke out the motivation of each character, even if some of them remained resolutely cloaked. I’m still not sure I followed Charlie’s logic even after she’d explained it to Rachel, and Connor seems entirely undecided who he ultimately follows. We’re left with the general idea that everyone will head to Austin, for some sort of Alamo battle, and draw a line in the sand for the Patriots.

With just five stories left to go this season, and a dwindling viewing audience (a dire 1.2 overnight), this is probably the time that most shows might reasonably expect to draw their narrative threads together. But this is Revolution, so I’m expecting it to end with either the sort of conclusion that left a sour taste in many Lost fans' mouths, or just to end with plenty entirely unresolved.

Why We Fight was one of the better Revolution episodes, but I’m not expecting in its twilight hours for the whole show to turn around and redress all the clunky exposition viewers have suffered so far, it’s just too big an ask.

There's no Revolution next week, maybe because it takes a while to walk to Austin. The season finale is slotted for May 14th, so NBC has three weeks to run repeats before we’re done.

Just saying ‘done’ there made me feel really good. Done, done, done.

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

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