by Billie Doux
"It will turn off. And it will never ever turn back on."
No more ice cream? Nooooooooooooooooo!
I thought there was definitely potential for massive coolness. To begin with, I really liked the way this pilot episode looked. End of the world stories tend to look like everyone forgot to take out the garbage for a really long time (not to mention the occasional decomposing bodies), but Revolution's post-apocalyptic decor was different and rather gorgeous -- the suburban farms, the vine-covered Ferris wheel, the artfully strewn marble columns and rugs in the lantern-lit interior of the Grand in Chicago.
And how can you not like Charlie, a young female lead who carries a crossbow and keeps her treasures in a Return of the Jedi lunchbox? I liked her cynical uncle Miles, too, although the sword fight in the lobby left me underwhelmed. (Are we going to get lots of sword fights? As cool as modern day sword fights can be -- has there been a show with modern day sword fights since Highlander? -- doing them in every episode could be problematic.) Maggie the blonde doctor with the handy poisoned whiskey to take out rapists could be cool, too. And I liked Aaron, who has already cornered the comic relief market on the show. He was also carrying the Holy Grail Flash Drive of Importance.
It appears that the Revolution Powers that Be are planning to seriously invest in their bad guys, too. There is the awesome Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), who is playing Captain Neville. A former insurance adjuster and truth detector on a horse, Neville was frightening but also showed that he could be charming, which gives me hope that he'll be a three-dimensional villain. Neville works for former Marine sergeant Monroe, a former buddy of Miles's, who apparently demands that all of his followers are branded with an M. (That's going to make it hard for us to be surprised by who the bad guys are, won't it?)
The Monroe Republic militia is big on conscription and re-education, which is bad news for Charlie's asthmatic brother, Danny. We also met Nate, a handsome young man who rescued Charlie. Yes, he's a bad guy if he's undercover for the Monroe militia, but there were "Nate might not be as bad as he seems" vibes. Or maybe they were "Nate is really hot for Charlie" vibes. We'll see.
And there's the other big plot point -- the existence of actual, secret electricity in Grace's attic, as well as whomever she was IM'ing with. I am assuming getting the Holy Grail Flashdrive to Grace's house is not all that will be needed to reset whatever got broken when the lights went out. Was she communicating with Monroe, perhaps? If not, how come Monroe had ice? (Does that mean Monroe has ice cream?)
There's a creative genius at the helm of this show (Eric Kripke, former showrunner of Supernatural), lots of set-up to build upon, and several strong actors that I liked. I have seen much, much worse pilots for shows that I ended up madly in love with. So I'm on board, and I'm going to commit to reviewing it -- for now.
Bits and pieces:
-- The opening scene, fifteen years ago, featured Ben and Rachel Matheson. Ben knew what was about to happen, but he's dead now. And if that's all we get of Elizabeth Mitchell, I'm going to be quite put out.
-- I thought the planes falling out of the sky were effective. But the stopped scene on the freeway reminded me of FlashForward, and that was something of an unpleasant omen.
-- I liked that Bugs Bunny, the trickster, was the last electronic image that Charlie saw.
-- Charlie is fascinated by cities and city lights, and collects postcards. Nice touch.
-- Churches underwater. Let's add some obvious symbolism, shall we?
-- Why crossbows and flintlocks instead of machine guns? The answer is probably obvious and I'm missing it.
-- Aaron was wearing an AC/DC tee shirt. Somebody had to.
I tend not to rate pilots because you can't compare them to what's coming, but I thought that, even though it didn't blow me away, this was a solid pilot. What did you all think? Lines are open,