Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Revolution Season One, Episode One: Pilot

The show opens in Chicago Illinois with a family. The father, Benjamin runs in and instructs his wife to fill the sinks and tubs and says that they don't have much time. Benjamin calls his brother Miles and says that everything is going to turn off and it will never turn back on.  Suddenly, the signal disappears and the electricity in the city begins to turn off.  The cars on the highway suddenly stop dead and even their headlights get shut off. When Benjamin goes outside, he watches as planes literally fall out of the sky and crash. We get an image of the globe and every single light slowly turns off.  The world is left in darkness with no electricity.

15 years after the blackout there is still no electricity and now nothing works, not even batteries. In the intervening years people starved, died from sickness without medicine, governments fell, and militias rose up.  Benjamin emerges in what seems to be a thriving rural community, where children play and corn grows nearby.  His children, Charlie and Danny are out hunting when they come across an old RV turned on it's side. We get a flashback to the night when the power went out.  Charlie is given a pint of ice cream and told to remember what it tastes like.  Back in the present, she looks at a postcard of Chicago but when Danny unleashes some dust, he ends up havng an asthma attack and they are forced to return home.

Maggie, the area doctor gives him some medicine and Benjamin is not at all pleased because the area is not safe.  Charlie is not happy with the restrictions but Benjamin says that she is risking her life.  Charlie wants to explore but Benjamin tells her that there is nothing worth seeing, not anymore.  There is a lot of animosity between Charlie and Maggie, because Charlie believes that Maggie is trying to replace her dead mother. Charlie walks off on her own and sits in a now defunct ferris wheel to look at the postcards she has collected of different cities pre-blackout.

Maggie is teaching a local boy about herbs, when a man rides in on a horse. Benjamin hands over the flash drive he saved before the blackout to Aaron.  The captain wants to talk to Miles or Benjamin Matheson. It seems that he is under the orders of General Monroe, under the authority of the Monroe republic.  The captain says that he has been searching for Benjamin for a long time and that he needs to leave with him or he will conscript all of the children and re-educate them until they no longer remember their parents.  Ben asks for a moment and tells Maggie to watch out for his children, but Maggie resists.  Danny points a weapon at the man and asks him to leave, even as Benjamin tells him to put his gun down.  The other residents start to arm themselves saying that Charlie has a point. Benjamin gets shot in the chest and a fire fight starts, but the captain quickly brings it to an end.  Benjamin is dragged away screaming for his father and by the time Charlie arrives he is gone.  

Benjamin lies dying and tells Charlie that the militia took Danny and says that she needs to travel to Chicago to get Miles, because he will be able to get Danny back. When Charlie asks her father to come with her, he says that he can't.  Before he dies, Benjamin tells Charlie that she is strong like her mother and that she can do this. Charlie goes and starts to pack immediately and Maggie makes it clear that she is coming. Charlie tries to bush her off and Maggie insists on coming with her. The two women leave and are joined by Aaron, who says that Benjamin was his friend and he is going as well.

The militia are traveling with Danny and the captain says he is sorry for mixing him up in all of this and that he couldn't go back empty handed. The captain says that when General Monroe finds out, he is going to be irate, but when Danny wishes for his death, the captain backhands him and says that he is responsible for his fathers death because he drew first. The iron that Danny is strapped to is lose and begins to undo the screws, clearly with the desire to escape later.

Maggie, Aaron and Charlie are camped for the night and Aaron asks what they know about Miles, and Maggie says that all Benjamin ever said was that he is good at killing.  The next day, Charlie comes across a young man and though she tries to stay hidden he sees her anyway.  He introduces himself as Nate and asks where she is going.  When she returns from getting water, Aaron is looking at the flash drive Benjamin gave him. They walk until they find a plane and we learn that Aaron not only owned a plane but used to work at Google. Obviously his computer background is why Benjamin gave him the flash drive.

That night, Danny continues to work on unscrewing the pipe that he is handcuffed to.  He gets the pipe loose in time to attack one of his captors and escape.  Charlie, Maggie and Aaron are asleep in the plane, when they awake to a few strange men holding knives to their throats.  Maggie tells them to relax and offers him the bottle of alcohol in her bag. One of the men drags Charlie over to rape her and she keeps fighting.  It turns out that Maggie poisoned the alcohol and some of her captors start falling over, with blood gushing out of their mouths. Nate who Charlie met that morning, shows up and uses his bow and arrow to kill the man trying to rape her.

Nate begins to travel with them claiming to be going to Chicago to get on a fishing crew.  Maggie does not trust Nate and is not pleased when Charlie offers to share their food.  Danny has made it to some sort of abandoned farm, but the pollen triggers an asthma attack.  Charlie, Maggie, Arron and Nate make it to Chicago, where they find people fighting in the street.  Aaron recognizes The Grand Hotel as the place where he got married.  Maggie asks a man at the bar about Miles and he says that he never heard of him.  Charlie asks him to let Miles know that his brother is dead and says that she is Miles' niece.  The bartender then admits to being Miles. 

When Danny awakes, he is handcuffed to a bed and a woman is pointing a gun at him.  She tells him that he had an asthma attack and tosses him a ventilator.  She asks about the handcuffs and he admits that he is running away from soldiers and says that he will leave in order not to put to her anymore trouble.

Charlie tells Miles the whole story and he says sorry.  Miles says that Monroe thinks that Benjamin knew why the lights went out and how to turn them back on.  Miles believes that Monroe would butcher the other republics if the power got turned back on, because it would mean tanks and factories.  Charlie asks how to get Danny back and Miles says he is not going and that Danny is bait. Charlie replies that she has lost everyone she cares about and demands that he help get Danny back because they are family. Miles points out that he does not even know her, so Charlie grabs her bag and leaves. When she comes out, she is clearly upset and so Nate approaches Miles to find out what is going on.  Miles pulls down Nate's sleeve and reveals a brand which indicates that he is a member of Monroe's militia.  Nate grabs his bow and arrow and backs out of the hotel. 

Miles says that Nate is probably from the same unit who took her brother and that they followed her hoping that she would lead him to her.  Miles tells Charlie to hit the road and Charlie suggests that he comes with them.  He tells them to leave again and stands there drinking.

The captain and his men knock on door of the farm where Danny is hiding claiming to be looking for a dangerous young fugitive. The captain asks her what she did before the blackout and she claims to have taught algebra and he says that he was an insurance adjustor.  The captain says he saw tracks leading into her house and so does not believe that she is alone.  She opens the door and he runs upstairs and grabs Danny before he can escape out a window.

At the hotel, Nate returns with the militia members and says if Miles is there, Monroe wants him alive.  Miles comes down the stairs as Nate says he does not want to hurt him.  Miles pulls out his sword and the militia men charge him. The fight scene is pretty damn amazing, but when are bad guys going to realise they should all attack at once. This happens all the times in actions scenes in movies and television but it never makes any sense.  When Miles is surrounded, Charlie shows up and kills one of his attackers. Nate runs outside and for some reason, kills the man that was attacking Charlie, as inside Miles continues to fight.

That night, Maggie cleans Mile's wound and he says, "I didn't ask you to come back." Charlie says that she came back because they're family and this is what her father would have wanted. Miles agrees to come with her but says that they are all gong to end up with their heads on a stick.  We get another flashback to the night of the power failure and watch as Miles walks back to the military base. It turns out that the man Miles was riding with was Sebastian Monroe - the leader of the group trying to kill them.

The rider that the captain sent out earlier arrives with a message for Monroe.  At the farm where Danny was hiding, the woman climbs the stairs to the attic. She uses a device that looks exactly like the one Benjamin gave Aaron to turn on a light and a computer. She contacts someone and lets them know that the militia where there. 

The premise of  Revolution quite honestly fascinating and though it is only the first episode I am completely drawn in.  I do however think that it is worth mentioning that I saw only three people of colour and none of them had names.  The captain is played by the amazing Giancarlo Esposito but we never actually learn his name.  The letter he sent to Monroe is signed Captain, but his name is cut off.  There is also the Black woman who used the computer at the end of the show, and briefly takes in Danny, whose name we also do not learn. I had to go to IMBD to discover that her character name is Marie and she is played by Maria Howell. Had there been other characters who received reasonable screen time who were not named, I wouldn't have a problem with this.  There are no GLBT people once again or really any disabled people, but at least when it comes to the disabled, Revolution made a point of saying that a lack of medicine would make it hard for them to survive.  Showing Danny's problem with asthma went a long way to illustrate this.