Okay, to start off my recap, I’m going to be that girl. Yes, I know the website says Nice Girls. Honestly, it confuses me as to why they let me in the club, as a) I’m really not all that nice, especially when it comes to TV, and b) nobody has actually double-checked to make sure I’m not secretly a 50-year-old guy with a crush on Katee Sackhoff and a really sweet pad set up in my mom’s basement (none of those things actually applies to me. My mom doesn’t even have a basement). But that’s neither here nor there, I guess. The reason I’m going to be that girl is this:
This show’s basic premise kind of doesn’t work.
Killing all of the electricity is all well and good and all, and kind of fascinating, but here’s the thing, guys: our brains literally run on electricity. That’s one of the many things I have learned from Fringe. So killing all electricity means you and I are doing dead-on impressions of corpses on the ground (see what I did there?). I’m calling shenanigans right from the start on that nonsense, so we can get it out of the way. Good? Great! Let’s do this recap thingamajig.
If you’ve been bopping around the Internet or TV or even meatspace if you live in a big city with lots of billboards, you’ve probably seen something about Revolution, the show that turns off the lights and expects the world to keep spinning. The main call for everybody is J.J. Abrams, of course. He’s the guy behind the new Star Trek, that tiny show that clearly satisfied every single one of its viewers called Lost, and he officially got to smash the champagne bottle for the maiden voyage on The Best Show on TV ™, Fringe. But there are other great things in store for us: Billy Burke, Billy Burke’s eyes, that guy from The Cape, Giancarlo Esposito, Billy Burke’s eyes, Elizabeth Mitchell, crossbows, weed-covered Wrigley Field (hey, I’m from St. Louis, I’m told I’m supposed to rejoice in Cubs fans’ pain), Billy Burke.
But this is a recap, not me sighing happily over Billy Burke, so let’s get on with the show.
My personal predictions for the world ending have to do with Lana del Ray, so I’m a little surprised to see that the end of the world looks completely normal: we start with Tim Guinee, who I kind of think of as “The Other Nathan Fillion” arriving home in a panic and downloading something into an amulet while his young children zone out with the TV and their iPads. We also see Billy Burke (Miles) talking to his unnamed friend in a car about texting and how people under a certain age don’t even talk on their phones .
And then, just as Ben (Other Nathan Fillion) finishes downloading some mysterious program and plugs the USB into a mysterious amulet, the world goes dark. Insert your own DUN DUN DUNNNNNN here for effect if you’re playing the J.J. Abrams drinking game.
TV magic lets us jump forward fifteen years. Other Nathan Fillion and his family live on what’s normally TV shorthand for cult: a subdivision turned communal farm, with chicken cages, a big garden, and people in rough clothing walking about, performing daily pre-electricity tasks. It looks like a nice place to live, which is of course why the main character isn’t there but off exploring.
I’m going to stop everybody here and explain something: the main character of this show is a Disney princess. Charlotte “Charlie” Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos) is all grown up now, very pretty, very nicely dressed, and has the itchy feet-need-to-explore-probably-going-to-get-in-trouble gene that infects all Disney princesses. She (spoiler alert) has yet to burst into song, but you can’t tell me she’s not the perfect mix of Merida and Rapunzel come to life, with a flavoring of Ariel to accent things and maybe Mulan minus the cross-dressing to keep things interesting (though, if that does happen, I won’t judge). She even has a bow! We see her adventurous spirit as she drags her brother Danny into an overturned RV, and he has an asthma attack—which leads us to meeting her Evil Stepmother, also the village healer (played by Anna Lise Phillips).
And trouble starts early, of course. While Charlie is off sitting on a really cool weed-eaten Ferris wheel, staring at her Postcards of Destiny, the Militia rolls into town. They’re led by Giancarlo Esposito, who goes by Captain Neville, and he wants Ben Matheson. Unfortunately, Danny appears to share Charlie’s reckless hotheaded nature, since he shows up with a crossbow to stop Ben from being taken. This, of course, escalates into a firefight where Ben gets shot. Danny gets taken by the Militia, and Charlie arrives just in time to be present for Ben’s death scene, where Ben tells Charlie to go find his brother Miles.
(For the record, I really want Ben not to be dead. Tim Guinee is a great actor that should be headlining his own show, and while jury’s still out on the younger generation of Revolution)
From there, it’s time for our adventurers to assemble! First up, Princess Charlie and the Evil Stepmother Maggie. Then we’ve got Aaron, who was apparently Ben’s lieutenant of sorts, as Ben pressed the Magical Amulet of Electrical Destiny in Aaron’s hand before he died. I like Aaron, for the record (Zak Orth). Not sure why, but when I figure it out, I’ll let you know. They head off on an adventure to that foreign land, Chicago, to track down Miles Matheson. The Southern Illini in me wants to call shenanigans that there’s not more kudzu covering everything, but I tell her to shut up and watch the pretty people walk.
Speaking of pretty people: Charlie’s out gathering water for their hike when she across a random dude in the middle of the forest. Cue awkwardness! For those following along at home, this is Nate (J.D. Pardo), and he’s now officially Charlie’s Love Interest. He’s also dressed oddly similar to her. In fact, I have to wonder if the costuming department just really likes turquoise and brown, as all four of the hikers are wearing variations of that. Don’t believe me? Here’s a screencap.
Charlie, Aaron, and Maggie camp for the night at O’Hare, which is not at all like the time I had to camp for the night at O’Hare as they actually sleep in a rusted-out airplane and not in Terminal K-19. Maggie doesn’t think it’s safe, and she’s right: they’re attacked by raiders. Thanks to Maggie’s quick thinking of offering them poisoned alcohol and a well-placed arrow from Love Interest Nate (who’s been following them), Charlie isn’t raped and they aren’t killed. But the fact that Maggie is walking around with poisoned alcohol really does cement her as the Evil Stepmother in my mind, evil or not.
They decide to add Nate to the party since they’re going to the same place anyway (his story is that he’s looking for work), and they find Miles running a speak-easy in the same hotel where Aaron once got married. Of course they don’t know it’s him because Miles is your Classic Curmudgeon. Charlie does the Disney Princess thing by pleading with Miles on behalf of her brother and her family. Miles doesn’t want to help anybody. Miles just wants to stay there and drink himself to death. At least he’s got good taste in alcohol.
Unfortunately, he’s not going to get his way because it turns out—plot twist!—Nate has that nice raised M branding on his arm that means he’ll never be able to truly go undercover. Smart thinking, Monroe army people. Miles unmasks him and Nate runs off to the militia to let them know Miles Matheson’s in town and even better, he’s probably kind of drunk and easy to overpower.
Hey, this show is not about fair fights, okay?
It must work because instead of drinking himself to death, Miles fights off the militia with a sword. Yeah, you read that right. There is SWORDPLAY ON TV AGAIN, guys. This show is awesome for no reason but that. And…it’s possible my needs are very simple. Anyway, outside, Charlie has a fun moment where she’s about to be killed and then Nate shows up, saves her again, and runs away. Great. Now he’s ambiguous and we’re officially entering WT/WT land. But, hey, Miles decides to join up on their merry group, which means that the fun is about to be had.
Some other stuff that’s probably important: there’s a subplot where Danny gets free of the militia and runs off, only to have an asthma attack. He’s saved by a woman in a farmhouse named Grace, who gives him her son’s inhaler. When the militia shows up, she tries to lie, but Neville’s too smart for her and Danny gets re-captured. If I were going to guess what his arc is now, I’m half wondering if he’s going to end up in the militia himself somehow.
Speaking of the militia, wanna guess who the mysterious Monroe is that runs it? If you guessed “That guy from The Cape who was friends with Miles at the beginning,” you’re doing much better at figuring out this show than I am because I didn’t see that coming until the scene started. But yes, David Lyons plays Sebastian “Bass” Monroe, Miles’s military buddy who’s causing all this trouble. I’m just happy to see him on my screen again, though I’d rather have this role played by Summer Glau.
Oh, right, forgot: Abrams show, that means there’s a twist at the end, and Revolution doesn’t disappoint. Grace, free of both the militia and Danny, goes upstairs in her farmhouse and pulls out a Magical Amulet of Electrical Destiny…and powers up a lightbulb and a computer. She does not immediately check Tumblr to see if there are new Fringe spoilers like a smart person, but instead sends some mysterious code to another mysterious person in a mysterious place and it’s all very mysterious. I’m intrigued despite myself.
So that’s the first episode of Revolution. Aren’t you proud of me that I got through my entire review without mentioning The Hunger Games at all?