Monday, October 1, 2012

Revolution 1.03 Review: 'The Power of Pellegrino'

All it really takes for a show on the edge of being something truly worth tuning in for every week is that one great episode. Did Revolution achieve that? Not quite yet, but they did make a lot of progress from the first two episodes in ‘No Quarter’ that gives me just a little bit more hope in spending my Monday nights in the blackout future.

The Militia hauls in Miles Matheson (Billy Burke).

There’s a reason this post has the title of ‘The power of Pellegrino’, and it’s more than the fact that Mark Pellegrino has become one of the most consistently compelling faces all over television in the last few years—turning in memorable performances on shows like Supernatural and Being Human. Full disclosure: we’re huge Mark Pellegrino fans here at BeyondFandom, but there’s more to it than that as to why this episode stood out. Namely that from the second his character came on-screen there was a true sense of menace that isn’t always present in a world that’s often described by other characters as dangerous and volatile. Pellegrino played a Militia captain called Jeremy who, after capturing one of the members of the rebel group Nora is part of, storms the gates of the rebel base itself.

Now this is more like it. Here we have a character who’s a little unhinged, a lot more willing to act against the threat that the rebels pose, and he’s much more than just the ‘bad guy of the week’. Beyond just a great performance, Pellegrino’s character, Jeremy, was the link that proved once and for all, (for those of you who yelled ‘I knew it’ at home), that Miles Matheson helped to form the Monroe Republic. Our big damn hero is part of the reason why the people live in fear of the Monroe Militia, and that’s the kind of conflict this show absolutely needs in order to become interesting.

Miles gets the upper hand on his attacker (guest star Mark Pellegrino).

Sure, it’s not the most original twist in the book, but seeing flashbacks of how Miles and Sebastian traveled together and Miles was the one who decided to stop turning away from the people who were defenseless means that we can see the Militia in a different light. It’s certainly a road to hell is paved with good intentions scenario as the Militia can serve a legitimate purpose whether or not the citizens like it. Someone has to step up and control dangerous items such as guns and ammunition from a populace that took no time at all after the blackout happened to devolve into thieving, violent savages the minute their iPads stopped working.

When Pellegrino’s character Jeremy made a deal with Miles to take him and the rebel faction’s very dangerous sniper rifle Nora obtained in the last episode he seemed to be a man of his word. He mentioned how Sebastian hadn't ‘been the same’ since he left. How he’d become increasingly obsessed with turning the power back on and it’s making him increasingly desperate. Right in the middle of this bit of plot development Charlie shows with Nora and they rescue Miles. It’s funny that Jeremy didn't have to keep his word about not harming the rebels but they couldn't reciprocate that back because in their minds they’re always in the right. Then Charlie has yet another unbelievable moment of supposed badassery that half of you likely rolled your eyes at when she detonated explosives to trap the Militia men across the other side of a now damaged bridge. I could go on about how inconsistently-written Charlie is in this episode, but it’s not worth the energy really. Not when there was far more in this outing to be pleased with than disappointed in.

Charlie  (Tracy Spiridakos) takes aim as Nora (Daniella Alonso) waits for the boom.

Elsewhere away from the rebel vs Militia shenanigans we had the completely separate story of Aaron and Maggie who've arrived at Grace’s house. Even though Maggie warns them they probably shouldn't hang out in a place where the previous occupant has up and disappeared under suspicious circumstances well they do anyway. The big gasp! moment of the episode (it was supposed to be but this show needs better twists) was the few seconds of power that the mysterious pendant managed to produce in order for Aaron and Maggie to hear some fleeting moments of music from Hurley’s Discman. Aaron, I mean Aaron I don’t know why I keep doing that. I truly do want to like both of these characters mostly because they’re not Charlie (or Danny), but it’s just hard to give much of a damn about them and sympathize when they have this intense red-shirt vibe about them. 

Especially Maggie who, if you want to think about it, is the one who's seemingly the most likely to die next week that the promo teased about. If it is her she’ll get the full tragic send-off complete with somber musical accompaniment and tragic mentions of her long-lost children, but I doubt many people will shed a tear because writing has to earn emotion. Maggie is a very thinly-written character with little to no reason to stay in this story and so when it’s inevitably her demise next week I doubt anyone will miss her. In the grand scheme of things she may as well be that guy that got sucked into the plane engine when Flight 815 crashed on LOST.

God how I wish for it to be Danny though because when I’m rooting for the Militia guy to kick his ass all over the place there’s a huge problem. This is supposed to be the guy we, as an audience, want to see triumphantly reunited with his sister after all. Every episode I really just find myself wanting something fatal to happen to him--his character brings nothing to the table but this overall sense of dull that drags down scenes he shares with more worthy characters like Giancarlo Esposito's Tom Neville.

*Final Note: You know what this episode didn't have that the other two did and that could have contributed to it being better overall? Sappy forced love interest scenes between Charlie and her Militia boy. Maybe there’s something to that…

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