Geek Mentality

Revolution: My Pilot Review

I remember a couple years back hearing about a certain new show on NBC having one of the best pilot episodes in recent history. That show was called The Event and after all that hype the pilot didn’t do that much for me – and the show went steadily down hill from there. What was the event of The Event anyway? I forget if they even told us – which says a lot about the show.

But for some reason, “The Event” was the first thing I thought of when watching this show – not because I was comparing them – but because that show was supposed to have some great pilot episode that launched the series and it didn’t launch much of anything (except lots of negative tweets from me).

But I think the exact opposite can be said about the premiere episode for NBC’s new show Revolution. While by no means perfect – I think this pilot episode set up the themes and story of this show perfectly.

For those who don’t know about this show (and apparently haven’t tuned into NBC at all over the summer to see their barrage of advertisements for it) let me give you a brief overview of its concept.

“All the electricity in the world suddenly stops. Fifteen years later (am I right in that?) we are thrown into the aftermath of such an event.”

That’s all I really knew going in. That and there seemed to be a lot of swords and bow/arrows. But other than that, I went into the show not having any idea of the story that surrounds the idea of a world without electricity.

(Spoilers ahead – I hope you already watched it)

The show opens on a seemingly regular family – and they basically throw it in our face just how much technology/electricity we all use everyday. The son is watching TV and the daughter is on an iPad while the mother talks to her own mother on her cell phone and checks out her laptop.

We get it – we love our e-lectricity.

The first interesting thing happens when the father gets home. He’s panicking about how its all going to shut off at any second. He starts to download some files to a flash disk and calls his brother – one of the guys I recognized from the ads I’ve been seeing – so I know he’s important.

The father, who I am guessing is some sort of scientist? Maybe working somehow with the military? – he’s talking to the brother (who I recognize but only realize later he’s the dad in the Twilight movies – thanks imdb) who mentions he’s going back to the base – so we know he’s in the military. They’re talking about the power going off at any second – and then it does.

The family is left huddled in a dark house eating everything they can before it goes bad. The father looks outside and sees power lines blowing up and planes falling from the sky.

The brother is with a military buddy (who I recognize but I don’t know why) when their car stop – and then all the cars stop behind them. It’s amazing that the order of cars shutting off was perfectly in a row. I’d love there to be a reason for it – like whatever caused the blackout swept over the globe in that pattern – but I think it was more for dramatic effect.

Oh and the dad did seem to download whatever files he was trying to get before the blackout – and he hid it in some fancy locket.

Flash forward (oh remember that show?) fifteen years and we get to witness what a world without electricity is. It’s basically like starting over. There are small villages and militias. There are hunters and gatherers. Craftsmen and highwaymen – except instead of covered wagons and cabins the horses pull old trucks and the cabins are cul-de-sacs from an earlier suburbia.

We see the kids from that family are grown – mom (Elizabeth Mitchell from Lost) has been dead for some time, but dad is still around, shacking up with a British blonde doctor. The kids – Charlie the oldest and her brother Danny – have grown and enjoy hunting and exploring.

Stuff starts to happen pretty quickly here. We are introduced to Aaron, who acts as a teacher to the children and also a friend to Ben – the father of our main family. Ben actually gives Aaron the locket to keep safe in case anything happens to him.

Which means something is about to happen to him – so cue the bad guys.

In comes a group of men on horseback (and that horse pulled truck) looking for Ben   (the father) Matheson and his brother Miles (the military man in the car). This group is lead by the awesome/amazing Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad. They want to take both men back to “Monroe” the leader of this military militia in which each member bearing a branded “M” withing a semi-circle on their wrist.

Of course young Danny is not about to let his Dad go and threatens the men – of which the villagers are all afraid of – with a crossbow.

Things obviously don’t go well, which leads to dad getting shot and young Danny being taken in his place. Charlie shows up to see her dad dying, but before he goes he tells her to find his brother Miles in Chicago – he’ll know what to do.

So now we have our story! These militia men want these two brothers – so they must be important – one does, a son gets taken – and now Charlie has to go off on foot and find her uncle that she doesn’t even know.

Really so far this is setting up the world pretty perfectly. We see that there is some semblance of a civilization – taxes of some kind are referenced (though to be paid to some other group not the militia if I remember correctly) and we have our core group of characters starting to come together.

Charlie – the tough daughter who must save her brother.

Maggie – the blonde smart doctor lady.

Aaron – the comic relief smart guy – who also has that locket on him (shh he hasn’t told anyone yet).

The three of them set off on foot to Chicago. Along the way Charlie runs into a young man (Nate) who I could tell right away was going to be a big part of the show (mainly because I recognized him from the ads). He helps save them from a group of bandits and joins their group – even though the others don’t quite trust him.

We also learn that Aaron used to work for something called “Google” which I believe is pronounced with a hard “G”. I enjoy little references like this and I hope there are many more coming.

One reference that was in the first commercial for the show but not on the episode that aired – Cubs win the 2012 World Series.

Apparently the Cubs are so bad this year having them be World Series champions was more of a stretch then a post-apocalyptic world without electricity – so they erased it.

While all this is going on we see Danny in the process of being brought back to Monroe’s camp and the group’s leader (named Tom Neville) seems almost apologetic about what happened to Danny’s dad – but he had to bring someone back. Of course once Danny mouths off, Neville slaps him (and we’ve already seen him shoot a bunch of people – more on that later) so we know he’s pretty hard core.

Luckily these guys cuffed him to that perfect rusty bad with a lose screw so he was able to escape in the middle of the night, but since he has Asthma he didn’t get far – double lucky he gets found by a woman who puts her up in his house.

Meanwhile, Charlie knows exactly where to find her uncle (I think the dad told her where, but I forget) and finds him pretty quickly even though he didn’t want to be found right away – and has no interest in going with them.

He tells Charlie that the men wanted her dad and want him because they may know about what caused the blackout and maybe they can turn the power back on – and with power comes…well…power.

First moment I wasn’t expecting – Charlie’s new friend Nate – turns out he’s with Monroe and runs off to alert the militia. Charlie begs her uncle Miles to leave with them, but he stays and waits for the militia.

When I first saw the commercial I thought the sword-fighting might prove to be a little corny – and maybe I was blind to the corniness – but when Monroe’s men show up and find Miles there alone just sitting there waiting on them – and then starts to destroy them one at a time with his sword – well, I got caught up in the swashbuckling fun of it.

Now there were some guns used – but they were muskets and it got me thinking. Earlier in the show the villagers had some muskets or rifles and so did some of the militia men. Only Neville had a handgun – so am I right in thinking the muskets can used ball rounds while the handguns use more modern bullets – and those are probably a lot harder to come by. Can they even be made anymore? Will they run out at a certain point?

Anywho, after Charlie and friends surprise Miles by sticking around to help him – he decides to join them and find Danny.

Another surprise – Nate (the spy from Monroe’s men) actually saves Charlie – gives her a look – and then runs off with the rest of the miltia – so even though I knew we’d be seeing him again – they’ve also planted a seed of him maybe being a good guy conflicted after all.

Oh and Danny – yeah that women pretty much turns her over to the militia the moment they give her a slight threat – she seemed to cave pretty easy but there’s more there as well.

After the militia leaves, she goes into a locked room – pulls out a similar looking locket – and flips a switch on it…And BAM – she powers up a pretty homemade looking computer! The show ends with her chatting (reminds me of my computer lab in college) with some mystery person. The person asks “Did they find it?” I’m assuming the computer or the locket. She responds “No” and the person ask “What now?”

What now? Now we’re hopefully in store for a pretty interesting show going forward. Originally I was thinking the locket help some documents or files that help the secrets to the blackout – but now I am thinking (as I just rewatched the final scene) that the locket is actually the source of power itself. It seemed to power up whatever was near it – from a light bulb to a computer….Never mind trying to explain how the computer connected to an internet of sorts….Maybe it’s all wireless – did all the satellite’s in the sky stop working too?

It seems like they’ve set things up nicely. We have our good guys and bad guys. We have a mission to find Danny – while at the same time there’s the mystery of the people with power. The lockets – and how much does ol’ Uncle Miles know about this?

One question I had – where are the bicycles? Are all the roads that bad now that even a few mountain bikes wouldn’t have made it easier on them? I think it’d be great if bicycles like a luxury item and cost a great deal to trade for one.

I like the story so far. It’s held my interest with the intrigue and mystery and has the comic relief that pulls it all together to make the show fun. I was hoping for that when I saw that Eric Kripke’s name was attached. He is the creator of one of my favorite shows, Supernatural – a horror show that is not fun.

As the creator of this show, he wrote the first episode. I am not sure how much of the writing he does going forward but I hope they can maintain the same level of enjoyment I had with this first one.

Also, having JJ Abrams and John Favreau as producers – and Favreau as the director of this episode – also peaked my interest in the show, but it won’t be enough for me to stay. The show has to be good for me to stay (well, for me to stay and like it – my completionist habit will probably have me stay anyway).

Oh – and there was one more reveal that acted as two for me. As it turns out – Monroe….He’s the guy that was in the car with Miles when the blackout hit – another former military man turned head of the big bad militia.

That reveal was great – and it made sense because I knew I recognized the actor from something and thought – is this guy ONLY here for this one scene? – but of course he wasn’t….

But I couldn’t shake that I’d seen him before – and that’s when it hit me – check on imdb. So I did…and that’s when it hit me – again.

Yeah – he was The Cape.

So, while things didn’t really work out for his hero character – let’s hope that he has a better chance with his villian character getting that six seasons and a movie.

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