The latest episode of Revolution, titled "The Ties that Bind" should be called "The Writing that Grinds".
In the first five minutes of the episode, "the gang" walks into a trap. The militia under the command of Strausser must be the elite squad, because they are all armed with modern combat rifles. Even Neville -- tasked with recovering the pendants and Miles' brother -- was only given a squad armed with swords and flintlocks. So how then do these elite soldiers manage to miss every single close range shot at a group of three average and one somewhat obese targets running right down the middle of a bridge?
I joked in an earlier series review, "Does anyone not have a brother / sister / ex lover who has been taken hostage by the militia and needs to be rescued during the episode?" Well, it started out as a joke, but the Revolution writers delivered once again. Cue flare, Strausser yelling for Nora, telling her he has Mia. Cue edgy sound clip copied from Lost as Nora announces, "It's my sister."
Little did I know, but that seems to be the exact formula for the show, along with these stale tropes that look to be pulled out of a hat every week for the plot:
As Miles and "the gang" wander toward Philadelphia to rescue the sometimes asthmatic, always lame Danny, they will inevitably bump into someone last seen hundreds or thousands of miles away. That person may already be or will become a hostage.
Guns will be fired, but the trained militia will always miss.
Charlie will most likely get punched in the face.
Her brother Danny may also get punched in the face and/or whine about his captivity.
Miles will get into a sword fight, and Nora will blow something up.
Aaron will mope around and even though he should be the 'smart' guy, he will provide no useful input whatsoever. In fact, he won't even figure out that the necklace has a lanyard to put around his neck - instead he'll keep it in the front pocket of his pants, so it can be more easily stolen.
Charlie will walk around with a forehead that looks like she got an injection of Gummi Worms instead of botox.
In the first act, Miles will say they can't do a thing because it's impossible, then in the third act they will do that exact thing. Examples: Can't storm a training ship full of recruits under militia guard, then storm the ship full of recruits. Can't cross the river without a bridge, jump off a cliff and cross the river without a bridge. And so on.
I imagine there must be a plot outline for the season, and the key element for this weeks episode was "Monroe Gets the Necklace". The writers then all reach into a hat, pull out a character name, roll the Dungeon and Dragon dice to see which of the events above happen ( Charlie Gets Punched in the Face must be a 19 or under on a 20 sided dice roll ), then dress it up with some crappy dialogue and start filming.
Every episode is so loaded with events that occur ever so conveniently that there is never any real dramatic tension. Do I really care if Monroe gets a pendent and access to electricity so he can crank up a couple of Apache attack copters and take over more territory? Not at all. For the most part, the people in his territory seem to be left alone. I haven't been given any reason to think this is a really bad thing. Monroe's territory seems to run pretty smoothly.
Invariably, someone is going to read my reviews and say, "Oh, like you can do better?"
First of all, yes I can. But that's not the point. The point is crap is crap, no matter what I can or can't do. If I go to a five star restaurant and order a filet and it comes out with the texture of shoe leather, it's shit. I don't have to be a gourmet chef to point out that it's shit. And I don't need to be able to 'do it better' myself in order for the bar to be lowered where shit is a five star or even a remotely acceptable meal, or where Revolution suddenly becomes quality story telling on television.
The only positive about this episode was that we didn't have to see Danny and his Clairol blond hair and wonder if his asthma is only going to return when convenient for dramatic effect.
If I could give this show a letter grade, it would be Z on a the standard school scale of A to F.