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Revolution: Soul Train

Neville: "You gotta toughen up, son."

I'm getting Lost vibes. This was a Neville-centric episode, complete with flashbacks to show how he became the vicious prick that he is right now.

The flashbacks introduced us to Tom Neville before the Blackout, when he was a mild-mannered insurance adjuster who had a young pipsqueak boss who fired him, and a nasty neighbor who partied all night and wouldn't listen to him. I'll give Neville credit for not taking out his rage on wife Julia and son Jason; he channeled it into a punching bag in the basement. Unfortunately, after the Blackout, things changed and now, Neville is having a grand old time beating people up, including his own soldiers, as well as Danny. (I think he did it because he resented that Danny saved his life in the previous episode.)

Neville's message to his soldiers, to Danny, to his young son in the flashbacks, was, "You gotta toughen up, son." As soon as we saw little Jason in the flashback, it was so very obvious that Nate the militia Charlie-stalker was Neville's son, Jason. And I got the clear impression that Jason is not a fan of dear old dad, and not just because he wouldn't let Neville kill Charlie.

Which leads me to the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid portion of the episode, the uncle/niece train-rescue bonding exercise. I did enjoy the train sequence, although I did not get why Nora absolutely had to blow up the train right then and there. I thought the bomb inside the firewood was clever. And hey, Lost again, Jeff Fahey turned up as Hutch, a printer working for the Resistance. (Handy for printing secret pamphlets, huh?) I hope that's not the last we see of Hutch.

Note that Miles also yelled at Charlie, not once but twice, about toughening the heck up. Hey, Charlie, don't stand there and cry over the body of the woman who basically raised you. Hey, Charlie, you shouldn't have followed Neville and ruined the advantage of surprise, even though Neville was flirting with you. Miles was probably right (at least about the second thing), but I've gotten pretty sick of Miles treating Charlie like that. I'm still not on board with Charlie as a lead character, but I realized this week that Tracy Spiridakos's acting talents are actually not that bad. The problem with Charlie is that we want her to be Katniss Everdeen, and she's just not.

Finally, I actually hadn't absorbed the fact that mama Rachel and the nasty Sebastian Monroe are in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, with all of its Revolutionary War associations. Rachel just gave Sebastian a drawing of the Holy Grail Egg Pendant and told him they were the key and that there are twelve of them. (How biblical.) When Jason/Nate was in their homemade prison, he saw Aaron's HGEP but I don't think he knew what it was. So there is now an opportunity for the Militia to put two and two together. We shall see.

Bits and pieces:

-- When Miles was talking about where they might be keeping Danny, he was watching Jason/Nate's face to see if he would react to anything. Smart of Miles. I like it when they trust the audience to notice this stuff.

-- Miles called Jason/Nate "Nipples". So the guy had three names in this episode: Jason, Nate and Nipples.

-- Danny mouthed off to Neville again, which I really liked. "You get off beating up an eighteen-year-old kid? What does that say about you?" Danny is right.

-- Nora not only blew the train thing, she got stabbed, too. But apparently, she's okay. I'm sort of wondering what her character is there for, because by this point, Charlie is grabbing me more than Nora is. And that's not saying much.

-- Monroe and his subordinate were looking at a new map of the United States, with the "Georgia Federation" right below the Monroe Republic. I would have liked seeing the rest of it. I love fictional maps. Did you know there's an actual map of Elvis sightings?

[Ask and ye shall receive! Here's a link to the map.]

-- And speaking of the Militia, they're horrible people, but I love those green uniforms.

-- The train was number 47. That was a little tribute to J.J. Abrams.

-- Nice scenery again. I'm sorta getting over it, though.

-- No new episode next week; it's two weeks until the next episode.


Nora: "I'm looking for a biography of Joe Biden."
Given that this aired right after the vice-presidential debates, loved that.

Sebastian: "By the time we're done here, North America's ours."

Miles: "I'm gonna have to walk to Philly and kill my best friend."

Charlie: "Nora, you in? Or are you gonna try to kill my brother again?" Good one.

Fun to watch. Two and a half out of four copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Agreed. I'm really enjoying the show's vibe every week. I can see it lasting for a while if the ratings stay constant.

    I do have to disagree about Charlie. I can't stand her. I don't want to hate the show's protagonist but she's grating on my nerves so much with her constant whining. It might be realistic, but it's not fun to watch. Thankfully judging by the end of this episode it looks like she's finally going to toughen up.

    I'm also loving Kim Raver as Nevil's wife. And I was TOTALLY blindsided by the very obvious twist of Nate being Nevil's son. Loved it.

    Finally, the train stuff was highly entertaining but did anyone feel like it was TOO unrealistic even in the world of this show? I just couldn't take Charlie jumping from train to train seriously!

  2. I hadn't thought of the possibility of Nate being Neville's son until we saw him in the flashbakc, and then to me it was obvious! And yeah, methinks he's had some serious disagreements with "dad" in the past 15 years...

    Soooo glad Kim Raver's character is alive! I'd hate to waste such a good actress in just flashbacks!

    I was pretty sure they weren't going to get Danny this time otherwise hat motivation would they have had for going after Monroe?

    When I saw/heard the train I was thinking "someone finally remembered the Industrial Revolution was about STEAM not electricity!!!"

    12 pendants? The 12 Colonies of Kobol (am in the midst of a BSG rewatching). The 12 tribes of Israel. The 12 (major) Gods of Olympus... does anyone know if the number 12 has any special significance???

    I liked Danny standing up to Neville!
    And Charlie is growing on me. But yeah, she's no Katniss Everdeen.

  3. Funny about that. Because I'm feeling the opposite and I do think that Miles is right 95% percent of the time and Charlie would become a better lead character if she follows Miles for 5-6 episodes and then starts disagreeing with him and fighting with him. Right now, it feels like every time Miles comes up with reasonable and practical ideas to save Danny, Charlie inadvertantly screws up.

    Which is why the second part of the episode, where uncle and niece worked as a cohesive unit worked for me.

    Also, dont you get the feeling that there a tad too many loose ends hanging out there-Grace, Randall, the Council of 12 Pendent wearers, Lucifer, Gus Fring and Audrey Raines, Juliet and the Cape and so on and so forth. One of the reasons why Supernatural worked was because they had fewer characters running through a season intersecting often and interestingly. They need to really start connecting some dots and fast or its gonna seem too diffused.

    Also, topless Gus Fring!!!! Even as a solidly heterosexual male, I can admire that Giancarlo Esposito works out...

  4. Thanks for the comments, CrazyCris and Nadim. Everyone seems to have a different opinion about this show, don't they?

    CoolSid, this show has so many dangling threads that I could knit a sweater with them. It's possible they're planning to sew them up during the season, though. We shall see.

  5. I did not see Nate as Jason at all and so was blown away by the twist. Of course, it all makes sense when you know it's coming. I watched the episode again and all the clues are there.

    I'm with CoolSid in that I think Charlie needed her ass kicked. She is beginning to grow on me, but she does need to toughen up. Speaking of which, I find it interesting that as Danny begins to toughen up, we haven't seen an asthma attack. Maybe the fact that he isn't being watched over by his big sister is doing him some good.

    I love the flashbacks. They add so much to each of the characters and they are becoming some of my favorite parts of each episode.

  6. It wasn't perfect, of course, but I found this episode reasonably solid. The show is a bit overstuffed, but for once it kept me entertained on both the flashback and present fronts. The train sequence was engaging, and I really enjoyed the glimpses into Neville's history.

    I was quite surprised by the reveal about Nate. I guess I just don't pay super close attention when watching this show, because I didn't pick up on anything until they were strolling into Philly together. I had expected Neville to do something awful to Nate, so when he was walking beside him relatively unscathed, it suddenly hit me that he must be Jason. Good twist in my view. I'm now interested to learn some more about their history and why Jason is openly defying his dad.

    I also really enjoyed the throw down between Miles and Neville, and Monroe is kind of quietly terrifying. I like the calm crazy they are going for with him.

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  8. Finally I am able to pinpoint what bothers me about this show. They are writing stories in reverse. As in "This would be cool, so let's find a way to put that in story".

    Zob, I had exactly the same thought during the train sequence: "Oh, I guess they said to themselves--'Hey, we can do a train thing! How can we make that work?'"

  9. I twigged that Nipples was Neville's son about ten seconds before the flashback revealed it. I win! Kind of.

    I agree with everyone who thinks the writing's a bit dodgy. The problem is -- like Zob said -- you can see what they're trying to do. Nora attempting to blow up the train felt out of character to me, but it was necessary for the sequence to have tension, so it happened. And Nipples escaping every other episode is starting to grate. I understand that it's necessary to create long term drama (as is them never managing to rescue Danny), but can they just start killing people, please?

    I think Charlie is at one end of the violence spectrum (doesn't really want to hurt anyone), Miles is at the other (loves sticking swords through people's heads), and gradually they're pulling each other into the middle. Miles is becoming softer and Charlie’s becoming harder. I think Charlie being a bit whingey is all part of that journey. Her screwing up all the time (despite being annoying) is to show us that she's inexperienced, idealistic and needs to toughen up. Likewise, Miles constantly taking things too far and always trying to push people away, is the show's way of telling us that he's been damaged by his experiences.

    But the character inconsistencies are making it a difficult sell. The three main characters vacillate from tough to compassionate, and then back again, far too readily. Plus, I don’t think Billy Burke really convinces as a hard man. His mouth says the hard words, but he still has the face of Bella Swan’s Dad.

  10. I really wish they would stop referring to the Monroevians as a "militia". when you control the norteaster quarter of the former United States + the Maritime Provinces + Quebec south of the St. Lawrence, when you have a sytem of regular taxation and a system of laws, however unjust they might be, when you can get the trains running, even if not on time, you are not a frikkin' "militia", you are a country. Still the bad guys yes, but not a militia. Okay, rant over and pet peeve addressed.


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