Monday, December 3, 2012

Revolution is "Nobody's Fault"

NBC's Revolution brought its fall run to a close this week with "Nobody's Fault But Mine." Miles (Billy Burke), Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), Aaron (Zak Orth), and Nora (Daniella Alonso) finally make it to Philadelphia. It doesn't take long for them to be found out by Tom (Giancarlo Esposito) and his men, though, which in turn leads them to discover that Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) is still alive. As expected, this installment ends with a big showdown against Monroe (David Lyons).

Revolution continues to struggle to find its way. There are some things it does correctly. The concept behind the story - all electricity stops working, but a conspiracy could bring it back, years later - is interesting. Burke and Esposito deliver fantastic performances, and Lyons makes an intriguing villain, especially once some back story is revealed. The production team knows how to stage a thrilling fight sequence.

But Spiridakos, who seems to be the de facto lead of the series, is not nearly good enough in the role, at least not yet. The main quest to rescue Danny (Graham Rogers), completed in "Nobody's Fault But Mine," isn't half as interesting as the implications of the loss of power and the struggle for control of the world. Focus should be on the political factions, the military campaigns, and the science behind it all, but instead, we get tales about characters who just aren't developed enough.

Now, they might yet be. There have been hopeful signs, such as finally seeing Miles and Monroe as friends, and dealing with their falling out. But Revolution doesn't go far enough, fast enough. Why did Miles try to kill Monroe? Why has Monroe turned his back on his friend, and why does he continue to go down a terrible path? The show might be trying to tease a tidbit at a time, but it's no Lost, so it's unlikely that viewers will have the patience to wait for nuggets if the present storyline isn't that compelling.

One thing that is highly intriguing is seeing Flynn's (Colm Feore, The Borgias) fully electrified base. What is he doing? Will he be a friend or a foe to the Matheson clan and their friends? This is actually more interesting than anything else that concerns the central players.

Of course, as I said, Revolution does know how to deliver adrenaline, and the showdown that results in the Mathesons narrowly escaping, only to see that Monroe has a working helicopter, is an awesome cliffhanger that will hopefully draw viewers back when the show returns in March.

So, moving forward, what needs to happen are larger, sweeping arcs with big scale stories. I'm sorry, but Revolution just isn't pulling off too much of the character-driven stuff, so it should play to its strengths. Fixing the plot holes is also important, because it's a little tiring to keep making unbelievable leaps to arrive at the next set story point. And either help Spiridakos grow into a true leading lady, or shift the focus more towards characters like Miles, Tom, and Aaron, who can handle the increased scrutiny.

Revolution isn't a bad show, but it's not yet living up to its potential, and if it doesn't find it's way, it may not get a second season. We don't need yet another FlashForward or The Event, which are hurting the genre, and could prevent more brilliant fare like Fringe and Lost from even being attempted. That would be a shame, and it's the reason Revolution's failures are so frustrating.

Revolution will return to NBC in March.

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