Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Revolution Season 1, Episode 18: Clue

Nora, a prisoner of Monroe’s, is dressed up in a pretty dress and taken to meet him. he tries playing nice but she’s under no illusions. He throws in some extremely creepy “flirting” and refers to their past together – referring to Nora as a “bounty hunter”, a past she rejects. Nora won’t tell him where Miles is and tries to bash his head in with a booze bottle, which fails

Nora is tortured repeatedly over a month, beaten, water boarded and injected with an agonising substance. The doctor becoming more and more uncomfortable over dosing her. Nora breaks and tells them that Miles is in Atlanta (or was a month ago – this question stopped being relevant a long time ago), that Neville was with the rebels – and that Rachel is going to the Tower in Colorado

Monroe asks Randall what the Tower is and he tries to deny it’s important. But the minion he brought with him has already spilled to Monroe that the Tower can be used to turn the power back on and with Rachel going there, Monroe risks losing his only advantage in the war against the better funded Georgia.  Randall back tracks rapidly and even starts creeping and protesting his loyalty – Monroe shouts at him and has his men take him away. Randall starts squeaking and begging – telling Monroe about other shinies in the Tower – a place where the DoD kept all kinds of experimental and advanced technology - he can give Monroe but his subordinate, Sandborn, cannot.

They get in a helicopter to head to the Tower – Randall now in shackles and chains.

When they’re gone Sandborn, who was also Nora’s torturer doctor, goes to Nora saying he’s going to “put her down” (much to the guard’s disappointment since she’s a “fine piece of tail”). He goes in an injects Nora in the neck.

Rachel and Aaron have reached Colorado. In Atlanta, Miles and Hudson discuss strategy against the Monroe Militia and their drones and generally come up with “we’re well and truly screwed.” They still know nothing about Nora. Atlanta itself is evacuating, with the army collapsing against Monroe and Jason tries to get Charlie to join the exodus, she comments on how worried he is about her and they kiss. Relationship official it seems? But someone catches Jason’s eye that disturbs him and he gets rid of Charlie to go meet them.

And using a car with an amplifier and pendant, Sandborn drives into town with Nora in the backseat, She’s taken hurriedly to hospital. Miles rushes to her bedside and Nora desperately and weakly tells him she’s sorry – but she told Monroe about the Tower. Miles questions Sandborn – suspecting him of being a spy or a plant using Nora to get in, but he says he can’t stand what he’s being asked to do, his conscience is cracking. He warns them again about the Tower – and that he knows where it is and can take them there.

As they leave, Miles tries to convince Hudson to go home to his wife – the tower is their last chance and it’s a long shit, since Hudson has someone to go home to he should take it. Hudson is Not Amused, especially since his wife is hellaciously pissed at him because Miles swooped into town, blew his cover and dragged him into the war in the first placed. Yeah that kind of deserves a slap. Also coming is Neville since the President wants him along. Jason and Charlie are also tagging along as is Ramsay one of the militia leaders and, of course, Sandborn. Nora also joins while Miles objects – but she says she has to because it’s her fault.

Mornoe leads his forces to the Tower into the Plains Nation – he’s warned by one of his flunkies that the Plains Nation Tribes will be hella pissed at him. Monroe makes a crack about infected blankets that ranks up there with holocaust cracks in terms of jokes that will never ever be funny. Is this supposed to remind us he’s the bad guy or are we supposed to find that funny?

Randall is still been lead around in chains and Monroe asks about the Tower – which isn’t a Tower. It looks like rather a small bunker, a door into a hill. Randall tells him it goes down half a mile – it’s a tower downwards. And he keeps on creeping, calling Monroe “sir”. Unfortunately for Randall – his fingerprints no longer open the door. Oops. Over the CCTV his crawling to Monroe is watched by a whole crowd of people.

Meanwhile the dream team’s helicopter is flying, Jason and Charlie engage in some not subtle eye contact and Jason flashbacks to talking to his friend in Atlanta – who has a militia brand: he has a job for Jason.

And they have to land in an airfield to refuel. They scatter to syphon fuel from the vehicles and Nora is still having hallucination issues she’s working through. And then Charlie sees blood leaking from a container. Opening it up she finds the body of the pilot – his throat slashed. It’s been cut with a cross so they assume a local did it – a Plains Nation message not to trespass. And their helicopter has been sabotaged. Far from good – though Miles thinks he can probably fly it and Nora could fix it. But first he’s going hunting

At the Tower, Aaron and Rachel look at the huge camp of Monroe Militia – not what they expected. Rachel has a plan – she gives Aaron the book and tells him the override code for the door is inside and he will get to the door because that night she’s going to go to Monroe’s tent and kill him, drawing everyone to them. Aaron tries to talk her out of it but Rachel emotionally responds that it’s something she has to do – ill Monroe.

At the airbase Charlie and Miles are looking for the others and Charlie is doubting the idea of a Plains Nation saboteur, they’re in the middle of nowhere without food and water. Why would there be anyone nearby? And they find Ramsay dying on the floor, his throat cut. Miles tries to talk to him learning only that the killer wasn’t from a local Tribe before he dies. Everyone gathers and Miles drops the bombshell – one of them is behind the killing. And Nora’s missing.

Time for lots of mutual accusations thrown around as Miles gets everyone to put their weapons in a bag. Leaving them he goes searching for Nora and finds her unconscious with a bloody knife nearby and a cut on her hand. She’s still having hallucination issues. Back at the group Neville is suspicious and Sandborn adds that the drugs Nora is on can cause paranoia and hallucinations. More accusations and drama and even Nora admits she can’t be sure – she remembers killing someone in prison with her bare hands (an incident they referred to) – something she know she did but didn’t remember doing it. Miles insists he trust her but she says she can’t be trusted – she broke, she told them everything. Neville speaks up adding his own distrust which gets a new round of accusations.

Miles finds a bloodied flick knife in Jason’s pocket; Jason claims it was planted. He turns to Charlie to back him up but she remembers his suspicious meeting in Atlanta. He assures her he didn’t do it she points out his less than stellar record when it comes to honesty. He claims the guy was a Georgian getting in his face – and now Neville says he doesn’t believe him. Yup, no special treatment from Neville. He admits the man was Militia offering him anything to give up since the war is over – he wanted Charlie’s safety but he told them no. Miles doesn’t buy it and draws a gun and we have a struggle as Charlie and Neville stop him and Jason runs. There’s a chase and Sandbourn looks suspiciously at the bloodied knife.

Intermission! At the tower a militia scout finds Rachel and Aaron’s camp and she strangles him with her belt!

Back to the airfield and Miles is searching – and Sandbourn catches up with him. He tells Miles that Jason didn’t do it – the knife has the mark of a maker in Annapolis Maryland – and the only one they know from there is Jim Hudson – who attacks Miles from behind and shoots Sandbourn with Miles’s gun. Time for some exposition – the militia has Sophie, Hudson’s wife. Miles says he should have told them so they could have rescued her but he points to Nora as proof of how well their rescuing goes. He’s been feeding all the information to the militia for the drone strikes. Ramsay, Miles, Sandbourn and Neville are all high value targets. Miles protests they’re friends and Hudson reminds Miles AGAIN that he ruined his life. They fight – Hudson quickly and easily getting the upper hand until he is shot – by Jason. Jason saves Miles. He also has a moment with Neville

All is peaceful again and back to the helicopter where Nora thanks Miles for backing her up and asks what she did to deserve it. He counters with a very vague “you did a lot.”  And Charlie apologies to Jason for not trusting him – though he understands given his many many lies. The helicopter works and they fly off

That night at the Monroe camp Rachel uses the dead guard’s uniform to walk into the camp. She walks right into Monroe’s tent and says “hey”. The guard points a gun at her but she has a grenade in her hands – and she primes it.

While long, gratuitous torture scenes have a habit of becoming torture porn, especially with women, this surprised me in many ways. For one, while there was violence – hitting her and then waterboarding, the focus was more on the injections than violence – and while Monroe brings the aggressive flirting, actual sexual abuse and rape is not part of the torture. It’s sad that these are noteworthy elements – but how many shows would take the opportunity if handed to them?

It was still several kinds of hard to watch and it’s still gross that it seems the WOC in this series spend more time being tortured and abused in captivity than not (Grace constantly under threat as well – contrast that with Rachel’s treatment as a guest as much as anything), it was more “sanitised” than it could have been.

I can understand Nora blaming herself but no-one really challenged that narrative or the idea that she has to atone after breaking after a month of torture. She deserved better than that.

What did Randall hope to achieve with Monroe? I can see he wanted Rachel for his own machinations, but he had to realise that, once he gave up the pendants and the amplifiers, he was left with no leverage at all – as can be plainly seen here. Are we to believe that this DoD bigwig was this… naïve? I want more reasoning behind his motivation.

The Plains Nations as a not-even-slightly-subtle analogue to Native Americans (according to the wiki they have a tribal, nomadic culture to survive the arid central America but they’re not Native Americans) is compounded by the idea of “savages” slitting throats and that vile crack about smallpox blankets. How long has it been since the Blackout? A decade? Yet the Plains Nations are expected to be this radically different “savages” so they can force a Native American comparison?  It’s ridiculous that in post 2013 dystopia we’re still forcing a convoluted “wild Indian savages” story.