Monday, November 12, 2012

'Revolution' Review - 1.08 Ties That Bind

        On the newest episode of NBC's Revolution, Nora encounters a close relative and must make a difficult choice between family and a promise; one of the most ruthless member of the Militia is tracking Miles, Charlie and the gang; and General Monroe hands Captain Neville a stern warning.

        The two episodes before tonight's hour focused heavily on the side quests that were designed to distract the main characters on this journey. Those types of stories were inevitable with this series because the show - as a network series - couldn't solely focus on the journey of Miles, Charle, Aaron and Nora to rescue Danny every week. They could only realistically drag that plot out for at most six episodes. So side quests episodes pop up to give an entertaining hour but one that doesn't move the plot along very much.
        However, just because this episode was a return to the ongoing plot didn't mean that it would be that great. It felt as if the writers decided that by the end of the episode Monroe would get the necklace and the preceding forty minutes of screen-time would be superfluous steps to getting to that one defining moment. This plot development was necessary. Something needed to happen to add more excitement and tension to make the journey to Philadelphia bigger and more vital than simply getting Danny back. The loss of the necklace should add a sense of urgency to the proceedings that was previously lacking. It also gives a convincing reason to bring much of the main cast together. I have a feeling that this show will be much more compelling when we see more of cast playing off of each other. Over the first eight episodes, we have grown accustomed to the dynamics between Charlie & Miles, Monroe & Rachel, Neville & Danny, etc. and this once fresh dynamics have grown increasingly stale as the show is slowly dragging along to a bigger plot point.
        Tonight's episode further cemented that the Neville character is far more nuanced and convincing as the main antagonistic force than General Monroe. This may wholly be because we have spent much more time with that character and his relationships have been built. We haven't gotten that much from the Monroe character. We know that he and Miles have this tense relationship but that dynamic hasn't been seen on screen for weeks (the last time we saw it was in the episode that Mark Pellegrino appeared in). But in tonight's episode as well as "Soul Train," we have come to know and care for Captain Tom Neville as a character. Tonight's concluding discussion with his wife (a subdued Kim Raver) of him being a much more efficient leader excited me much more than anything that Monroe has done this entire season.
        The flashbacks this week were relegated to showing Nora's past in the aftermath of the blackout. I do have to say that these moments each week have also become quite stall because they are simply just a rehash of an emotional distress for each character on the show. In the beginning, these scenes were very impactful because they showed these simple details of how life was effected and changed in the immediate moments after the blackout. But the past few weeks have used this narrative in a very similar structure and plotting. Nora's past didn't even really add anything to the hour. I mean all they showed was a young version of her (some great casting though) and her sister treking around discovering their dead parents. But there was nothing there to excite or show some fresh nuances to that specific character.

So what did everyone think of the episode? Is Neville a more interesting and complex villain than Monroe? What are Grace and Randall up to? Share your thoughts in the comments.