Reviews

REVOLUTION: “Kashmir”

We’re now one episode away from the fall finale, and Revolution is powering forward to (hopefully) put us on track for an exciting and suspenseful climax. The show has been one of the highest rated and most successful of the television season, but crafting a story that keeps viewers interested is a tough task for any program, not to mention one whose break is being hindered by a four month hiatus.

With the tease of real reunions on the horizon as well as the impending conclusions of certain story lines, it was appropriate that “Kashmir” saw each character more or less deal with the residual feelings of guilt they have acquired so far on this journey (brought on by hallucinations from lack of air after the tunnels that they were using to get to Philadelphia caved in.) For Aaron, it was the guilt of leaving his wife after the blackout. For Miles, it was the guilt of old friendships gone sour (we finally learned in part from Nora the reason why an initial wedge was driven between the two former friends: Miles had tried to assassinate Monroe, but ended up not being able to pull the trigger.) For Charlie, it was the guilt of letting down her late father and not being able to bring Danny home. For Nora, it was…a shark attack? I was a little disappointed that Nora didn’t seem to get anything substantial in her “hallucination moment” especially after last week’s meek offering where her back story was concerned, but perhaps the writers thought that since we so recently spent a decent amount of time on her, we didn’t need to learn anything else about her character right now.

Upon first hearing about how this episode would be structured, I wasn’t sure how the show would pull it off – such plot lines can become tricky (not to mention campy) if portrayed incorrectly. But I was pleasantly surprised with the hour, a perk of the hallucinations being that they afforded us the opportunity to get some scenes that were a breath of fresh air where character interactions were concerned. Though I was a little disappointed to find out that the long-awaited reunion between Miles and Monroe wasn’t real (at least, not yet) it was still enjoyable to watch Burke and Lyons in a scene together for probably the first time since the beginning of the series. And while the actual reunion between the two probably won’t go quite as smoothly as it did in Miles’ dream, I enjoyed the establishment of conflict that will no doubt end up being carried over into the next episode (and possibly beyond.) Acting as that conscience in the back of our head that we always hear but never want to fully acknowledge, Monroe coolly tells his old comrade that he doesn’t put it past him to sell out his friends, because despite the fact that he’s no longer interested in being tied to the Milita, that’s just the type of person Miles is. Kripke likes to draw on character development, and Monroe’s words remind us of the question that Revolution constantly seems to pose, week after week: what kind of person are you supposed to be in this post-apocalyptic world, where it’s so easy to transform into someone else? We have ambiguously moral characters like Rachel, we have those struggling between good and evil like Miles and Neville, and we have those that are so engrained in their innate personalities that it takes a literal life-changing moment for them to adjust like Charlie and Aaron. “Kashmir” did a respectable job of bringing these feelings to the surface, allowing each character to reflect on who they were and why they’re on this expedition, helping to set us up for what I hope is some serious storytelling as we approach the finale.

Last week, we saw Monroe finally claim possession of one of the prized pendants. He brought it to Rachel, who at the episode’s end was shown working on a cryptic looking device.  In this hour, Rachel tells Neville and Captain Burke that it’s an amplifier – that is, it can increase the limited range of the pendant where electricity is concerned, which in turn would be enough to power whatever army or weapon Monroe plans on unleashing. But Revolution likes to pull the rug out from underneath us, and although Rachel’s explanation was so convincing that even I bought it without a second thought, the true nature of the machine is revealed when a suspicious Monroe brings back old Dr. Jaffe for a “second opinion.”

Perhaps still burned from thinking that his old friend had a hand in his daughter’s capture, Dr. Jaffe doesn’t bother to back her up, and asserts that what Rachel is building is not an amplifier, but rather, a bomb. This essentially sets us up for one of the best scenes of the episode, in which Monroe finally snaps and takes his threats one step further, threatening Rachel’s own life. I can’t express how wonderful it’s been watching David Lyons and Elizabeth Mitchell work together: both have fantastic chemistry that is so far unparalleled by most other relationships on this show save for Mitchell’s on-screen relationship with Tim Guinee and the bond between Giancarlo Esposito and Kim Raver. The closing moment of that scene – Rachel killing Jaffe with tears and then calmly recovering, turning to Monroe with the caveat of “now you need me” – was perfectly structured in a way that could only be executed by an experienced and believable actor.  Revolution would do well to have more of these high-intensity conflict scenes, not only because the adult actors all do great work together, but because it’s a perfect example of why some individuals in this show (such as Mitchell) had their characters expanded after the pilot episode.

Tim Guinee’s Ben has been noticeably absent for a few weeks and it was a delight to see him back on screen for an extended amount of time. While I understand the reasoning behind the show’s decision kill his character so early on, I sometimes mourn the fact that we didn’t get to see more of his talent – and scenes like this remind me why. Truthfully, I find I understand more of Charlie’s character when the reasoning behind her actions are influenced by character interactions (such as her conversation with Nora last week about their respective siblings) and watching Guinee and Spiridakos together only corroborates that fact. “Kashmir” let me enjoy Charlie the most I have since “The Plague Dogs,” from her take-down of Sergeant Weebly (like mother, like daughter) to her reaction during the hallucination, which she completely sold as genuine. And with Guinee as the perfect embodiment of a father that’s done nothing but put his children first probably since the day that their mother left, it was easy to see why Charlie would have wanted to stay in her dream world rather than return to her real one.

But just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz (and I half expected dearly departed Maggie to make her way into this episode with all the Oz references and hallucinations), Charlie soon realizes what’s real and what’s not. She makes the decision to return to Miles (and her own Wizard of Oz family, her scarecrow, her lion and her tin man) but not before making peace with her dad in a way she never got to do before he died. And with Charlie’s determined return, we put our characters in place for a showdown that has been a long time coming – I can only hope that the show delivers with as much intensity and excitement as its building up to.

Final Thoughts:

  • Along with a real reunion between Miles and Monroe, I’m very much looking forward to the reunion between Charlie and Rachel – especially now that Rachel is in a predicament of her own and not exactly a cozily treated Milita prisoner anymore. The promo pics seem to indicate Charlie visiting her mother in a jail-type room, a setting that makes a little more sense after this episode. Will Rachel attempt to tell Charlie what she’s been up to? Or will Monroe and/or Neville try to brainwash her into thinking her mother has done nothing but evil things since abandoning them? And if that is the case, will Charlie let her emotions get the best of her?
  • Revolution continues its trend of one-note villains, and perhaps the only complaint I have about this episode is that it’s a little tiring to have the same stories of Milita members parading around as Resistance fighters – or selling out family members – in order to get revenge. I get that Miles is badly wanted by Monroe and that they know that Charlie is on the run, but I would almost prefer that the show stick to villains that could become potentially greater threats – namely, Monroe, Neville, and (possibly) Julia, the “Big Bads” we’ve already spent time with. I’m aware that this is something that could change once the Danny/Philadelphia storyline gets resolved after the hiatus, so I’m not putting too much stock in my criticism – but suffice to say I’m intrigued to see what happens when the two camps have successfully converged and new conflicts start to form between the characters.

What did you think of the episode? Did you enjoy the use of Led Zepplin tunes? And what do you think will happen in next week’s finale?

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