Thursday, March 28, 2013

Revolution 1.11: "The Stand"

“I made a mistake. I need to fix it. I need your help.”

So I’ve become more and more convinced that the Bad Robot creative team must be stalking me or something. Back in the earlier “Fringe” days, they name checked a town where my mom and I both worked at one point (although they made said town look all Children of the Corn when it’s totally not), spent time in a version of 30th Street Station in Philadelphia (even if it looked suspiciously like the main train station in Vancouver instead), battled in a DC Metro station, and, to top it all off, had a baddie of the week get cancer treatments in the hospital where I was born. The tradition seems to be continuing on “Revenge,” since it looks like it is going to be somewhat Mid-Atlantic focused for a while. In this week’s spring premiere, the Mathesons and their crew journeyed from my home city of Philadelphia to none other than the town where I currently live and work – Annapolis, Maryland. Granted it looked nothing like actual Downtown Annapolis, but more on that later.

This episode pretty much begins right where the fall finale left off. The Matheson crew is trying to escape Monroe’s Philadelphia compound, but Monroe has powered up some helicopters, so they’re in pretty big trouble. The crew manages to escape the initial helicopter barrage, but the respite will be short-lived. Monroe is really, really pissed off that Miles and crew escaped, so he’s going on an all-out offensive against the rebels, starting with their camp in West Chester, which, for those of you not familiar with the Philadelphia metro area, is a suburb west of the city. Monroe’s henchmen just completely lay waste to the place with the helicopters and the machine guns. The Mathesons are disgusted to see this when they finally arrive in West Chester themselves, and they know they need to take their resistance efforts to the next level. Nora’s solution is to go to the rebel headquarters in “Downtown Annapolis.”

All that we actually see of Annapolis is a shopping center, which was kind of unrealistic given Nora’s description. Yes, technically, within the city limits of the City of Annapolis, we’ve got a few shopping centers – I literally live behind one of them – but not Downtown. Downtown Annapolis is all historic row homes, narrow cobblestone streets, and state government buildings. I was kind of disappointed that they didn’t at least doctor some stock footage to see what the abandoned, disheveled State House dome would look like. So yeah, that was kind of disappointing. Anyway, Miles and Rachel are going to visit a friend of Rachel’s to pick up some heavy weaponry while the rest of the crew (Charlie, Danny, Aaron, and Nora) are going to introduce themselves to the local rebels.

The person that Rachel and Miles are going to see is a former coworker of Rachel’s named John. Clearly he had something to do with the experiments that created the pendants. He’s quite a jumpy little dude, too. Throughout this whole sequence, there’s some unresolved sexual tension between Rachel and Miles, which is a little squicky considering that Miles is pretty happily with Nora and Rachel was once married to Miles’ brother. Or maybe that’s not what the creative team intended and Billy Burke just has mad chemistry with anyone they pair him with? It could go either way. Anyway, John does indeed heavy weaponry that could help in the upcoming battle with the helicopters, but it’s not going to be that simple. Randall Flynn, who is overseeing the work of the former DoDers who have been conscripted into tech work, gets word that Miles and Grace are at John’s house. John is a complete wimp and narced on them. Miles has to knock John out in order for he and Rachel to escape with the weaponry.

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew have introduced themselves to the Annapolis rebels at the random shopping center. They introduce themselves and warn the rest of the rebels that the helicopters are coming. The rebels prepare to make their stand at the shopping center, with or without Miles and Rachel’s extra heavy weaponry. In preparation for what is soon going to happen, we get some flashbacks to Danny’s childhood. We see Rachel trying to comfort him before he’s wheeled into surgery, presumably for some experimental asthma treatment, unless Danny had a more severe health issue that we don’t know about. I’m not quite sure if there was enough point to that sequence to include it. What happens to Danny is emotional enough since we already know the rest of the characters pretty well. It’s a bit on the nose.

Anyway, the helicopters approach the shopping center, and the rebels get into formation with the weapons they do have. Charlie begs Danny to go inside and take care of the wounded instead of being on the front line, but Danny refuses. He says that fighting the Monroe Militia is something he needs to do, and even though he owes Charlie his life, he can’t take her up on this particular deal. So the helicopters arrive and the rebels sort of hold them off, although they take heavy casualties. Rachel and Miles arriving with the heavy weaponry starts to turn the tide. Miles tries to shoot the massive gun he procured, but a blast from the helicopter sends him flying backwards. Danny, always really, really stupid, picks up the gun and fires at the helicopter himself. The hit is good, and the helicopter starts to go down. That helicopter had the amplifier in it, so the other helicopter starts to go down as well due to lack of power. The rebels seem in the clear until some stray bullets from the second downed helicopter hit Danny, killing him fairly quickly.

Killing Danny, after the whole focus of the first half of the season was his rescue from Monroe, was a pretty significant creative risk for the show. I think it’s a welcome risk, though. The roster of really annoying teenagers on television is endless, and Danny was definitely among their ranks. Not that he really deserved to die for it, but I think the show will have more interesting places to go without him. Rachel and Charlie now have new motivation. They want to avenge Danny’s death. As Randall and Monroe seem to have teamed up by the end of the episode, the stakes are definitely high. The two of them together could do some serious damage, and Monroe seems to have ambitious to conquer the rest of North America. This next half season is most likely going to take us to some of the other territories in the former United States, and I’m looking forward to it.

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