Revolution season 2 episode 4 review: Patriot Games

Having failed to become the new Lost, is Revolution attempting to become the new Heroes? Here's Billy's review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.4 Patriot Games

So far this season, I’ve rejoiced in the major improvements that the plot and characters have generally undergone. But Patriot Games has made me question if the more watchable version of this show is ultimately condemning it.

But before I get to the issues – and there are plenty – the episode opens with yet another rung on the ladder of redeeming Bass, when he comes to the aid of Charlie, whose bravado is about to end in gang rape. Charlie’s never been the smartest character, and she gets herself into quite the mess here. Bass’s appearance wielding double machetes is welcome, though it did make me wonder what happened to the shotgun he had last time we met him. There are other later scenes with Bass and Charlie that serves only to confirm that she still doesn’t trust him, and that they’re heading to meet with Rachel, Miles and Aaron.

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That’s an aside to the main course, which is the revelation to the main characters that the good old USA, as represented by the ‘Patriots’, isn’t the salvation that some had initially assumed. This show isn’t often creative, but the sequence where Rachel wakes from her recovery slumber and wanders through the town in a dreamlike state was great. Never have the stars and stripes seemed so chilling, and the portrait of normality as a worrying thing so manifest. What slightly broke the mood here for this writer was the Halloween stuff, because it harked to an abysmally unbelievable episode of Flashforward. Where weeks after millions of people died, people go trick or treating like nothing has happened.

As if to refine the dystopia, the actor picked to represent the forces of patriotism is made to look like a young Kennedy brother (which one, take your pick). There’s a message here, close to the surface, about those who drape themselves in the flag while pushing their own agenda, that’s a critique much that’s going on in the US right now. It isn’t long before freedoms are being withdrawn for the common good, which appears to be the order of the day.

Of course, this being Revolution, none of the characters is designed for a rules-based-universe, so both Rachel and Miles entirely ignore them immediately. This leads Miles to find and complete the story arc regarding Titus, whom we saw bagged in the previous story by his Patriot buddy. I’d had high hopes for this character, but they were unfounded it seems. He’s only in here to point Miles in the direction of the rail yard where Andover’s people are being sequentially killed to sell the story back in town of a mop-up operation.

Titus is dispatched, but we’ve already seen some crazy firefly remote viewing, and when Miles gets to the railway yard things take a jump off the deep end. Up until now, Aaron’s main abilities have been to be shocked by the actions of others and be ignored as the moral compass. Yet in just three episodes he’s become immortal, and now he’s capable of remotely sensing danger and delivering combustible death. I so wanted the conversation where Miles tells him what happened, and Aaron explains how, but we’re forced to wait for that.

I presume that others who were in the Tower are likely to exhibit super-powers soon, but again I’m ahead of the narrative curve.

Rachel’s misadventure is all about reminding the viewer what her character is like, even if it’s obvious by now. What was less expected was the reveal of Ken as a patriot mole, as given the profile of Richard T. Jones who played him suggested a long term character. In terms of the various people that Rachel has killed, this was a the more believable end of the spectrum. Even if, as ever, metal restraints don’t pose a problem to a determined person. Ken usefully explains that all towns have sleepers in them, before he dies.

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You may be confused at this point in the review, because I’ve so far not really mentioned a total head-slapping moment, the trademark of Revolution. There was however one, inserted in the Major Tom subplot for this story.

As we’ve worked out, Tom doesn’t do instruction well, though he’s conveniently paired with a boss who frequents brothels and drug dens. How he dealt with this was fine, the bit that made me chuckle was that right after killing his superior he then proceeds to wipe his fingerprints off all the surfaces in the room. Really? I didn’t recall when they turned up on the ship from Cuba they said, “the USA is back, and we brought CSI back for one more season!’. Seriously, on one hand they sell the notion of the disintegration of modern society and then suggest that forensic investigations still happen. Mad.

Overall, I enjoyed Patriot Games, even if the whole firefly power is a level of wackiness that we’ve not previously encountered. I just wonder if this is the tip of the iceberg, and having failed to be the new Lost, the show will now become a Heroes replacement?

The best aspect of these changes is that twenty-six episodes in we’ve now got a ‘revolution’ to go with the show title, because nothing that came before remotely fitted that criteria. But what concerns me is that what they’ve actually done is just swapped one set of nonsensical craziness for another, admittedly more entertaining.

This change is underlined by the decline in viewing audience, which suggests as daft as season one was, it had an audience. If it continues to haemorrhage viewers then Revolution will be ended just at the point that it’s about to get truly interesting, sadly. Unless Aaron unleashes the fireflies of destiny on those TV execs that make these commercial decisions, of course. As for the team behind the show, they deserve some credit for trying to make Revolution better, even if the consequences aren’t ultimately the longevity of the show. 

Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Love Story, here.

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