This review contains spoilers.
1.20 The Dark Tower
I’ve just watched the season finale of Revolution, and there were things in it so dumb, so utterly idiotic, that if it ended here I’d be overjoyed. The opening montage just reminded me of some of the truly abysmal plots and characters that we’ve been subjected to since it all began, but they decided to top that with some complete head-slap sequences here, probably too many to mention within the word count I’m prepared to write on this subject.
But before I get to some of those, let’s summarise by character where after twenty episodes we are. Jason hates Tom, loves Charlie. Tom loves only Tom, and the wife that he never sees. Rachel dearly loves Rachel, and dead Danny, and Miles, not so keen on anyone else, though she makes attempts to like Charlie occasionally. Miles is deeply in flaming love with Bass, and Rachel, and Nora, and himself, and thinks he’s Charlie’s father. Bass hates everyone other than Miles, whom he wants to marry, and he hates himself more than anyone else. Aaron loves walking, meeting new and interesting people, but he hates horses and being surprised by events.
If this sounds to you like an overview of the weakest daytime soap ever, then that’s a reasonable comparison.
But on top of that, we have a science fiction show that’s based on special science that doesn’t withstand even the most modest amount of analysis, or even care if it makes any rational sense. That’s why we have a blast door designed to withstand a direct nuclear strike overcome by piling plastic explosives against it (really?). And, people using incendiary weapons in corridors that can avoid the blast by hiding around corners. And, gunship crews so inept that they can’t shoot an unarmed man in open space with a gun that can fire 6,000 rounds a minute. And, a suite of LCD panels that haven’t been working for over fifteen years, yet all work, and look like they were bought the day before.
But as I watched the ‘plot’ of The Dark Tower (Stephen King deserves a big apology for using that title), I began to realise that not making sense was only part of the issues it was confronting. From the outset, the layout of the Tower wasn’t explained, and as such people running around in corridors that could go anywhere just seemed totally confusing. To that they then added a drainage system that started on Level 11, but somehow came out on the surface, like water can flow uphill. What also seemed odd, was that given the importance of Level 12, there seemed to be numerous ways to get to it. The key-card game harked back to what I said last week about the writers liking Half-Life, because these are always a puzzle mechanism in these games, and without them you usually can’t progress.
The upshot of all the running and shooting was the fatal injury of Nora. Given that she’s shrugged off being stabbed in almost exact the same part of the body in Soul Train, I wondered if she’d survive. But season finales generally need some scalps, and she was the first major character to get hers. Like Danny, I won’t miss her.
So out of all this hokum, which one thing in here was just dumber than any other? Well, it was going to be the bit where Miles came and cut Bass loose, which reminded me so much of Austin Powers. Specifically the bit where Dr Evil says, “I have an even better idea. I’m going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.” Except in this case they have a dangerous and sociopathic individual who they tie to a tent pole, and then leave entirely alone. A person, who in the previous scene had come into the tent had metal handcuffs on, and now has simple leather ties that Miles can cut! Yes, that was wholly moronic, but it wasn’t the worst scene in here by a long chalk.
No, they saved that till near the end, when Aaron finally overcomes his irrational fear of the Enter key, and brings the power back on. And, it comes back on! Eh? So entirely unattended power stations across the globe, they can do that? What are we paying people to work at them for? And, all of the infrastructure to distribute that power, it all works automatically too? What huge piles of steaming BS is this show the proud owner of.
Well that pile got even deeper, when Randall launches two ICBMs that have sat unattended in their silos for 15 years, but now work perfectly. It all ends with the President cheered by the news that Randall has succeeded in making the US east coast uninhabitable for the next 10,000 years, conveniently forgetting that prevailing weather conditions might irradiate the rest of the country that he’s supposedly trying to unify. All framed by CGI worse than most teenagers could produce in a lunch break, for good measure.
It’s supposedly a cliff-hanger, but that rather assumes anyone watching this would remotely care about these characters or the cities about to nuked, or how the story might progress from here. Who cares? Obviously those writing this travesty don’t, so why should we?
If when it returns in the fall, and I can be got drunk enough to carry on covering this show then I’ve already accepted that I’m going to need to get creative about it. Because the normal criteria on which I normally assess TV shows don’t apply to this one at all. Perhaps I could talk about the fashions or the amounts of light and dark in the pictures, because talking about plots and characters is quite obviously meaningless, and likely to cause me to seek long term psychiatric support should I continue.
Revolution, the TV show that’s revolutionary in so many ways. Not any of them good.
Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Children of Men, here.
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