Revolution Season 1 Review “Soul Train” — So Near and Yet So Far

Revolution (NBC) Soul Train Episode 5 (6)

Revolution‘s ‘Soul Train’ saw the gang finally track down Danny. They got within a hair’s breadth of actually rescuing him before things went wrong, thanks in part to Nora’s attempts to help the Resistance by blowing up the train Danny was on. Meanwhile, in flashbacks, we learn how Neville went from being a pre-blackout claims adjustor to a key figure in the post-blackout Monroe militia.

This was an episode of two parts for me.

On the one hand, there was Neville. In flashbacks, we saw him first as a meek claims adjustor, who is fired from his job for being too compassionate, and then as a protective, though hardening, parent post-blackout. This all leads to the reveal that ‘Nate’ is actually Jason Neville, his son.

On the other hand, there was everything else.

While ‘Nate’ being Neville’s son suddenly became clear as soon as we saw Neville’s young son in the first flashback, the foreshadowing didn’t really ruin the impact of that twist for me. It would have been so easy to make Neville, the tough man who bare-knuckle boxes for fun, be a soft, concerned father, and then use that against him in future. Instead, he’s cold towards Jason, especially after being disappointed by him, which is more likely to actively turn Jason away from him than it is to make Miles and Charlie use Jason as an unwilling pawn in their quest to find Danny.

For me, the rest of the episode wasn’t so interesting, mainly because the characters make some pretty shifty decisions. Take Charlie, for example, following Neville with all the stealth of an elephant in a mall. Or Miles automatically trying to tackle the train’s fireman instead of saying ‘hey, there’s a bomb in your wood pile’ (because come on, not everyone can know who he is on sight, and this way the fireman would have aided him in finding and getting rid of the bomb). Hell, why not send Charlie to call to the fireman and tell him about the bomb, while Miles goes to rescue Danny? I think we can all agree that Miles would have been better in that situation.

I also couldn’t understand why they didn’t use Aaron to find out more information in town, since a) the character is essentially useless right now and b) his interaction with Jason was brief and pointless. (There are other ways Jason could have seen the pendant, surely.) And come on, given that Neville not only pegged who Charlie is, but saw Miles, why was anyone surprised when the train left early? What was Neville going to do, sit around all night, waiting to see what Miles was planning to do to get his nephew back?

I’m not going to get into how Nora appears to be fine and dandy despite being stabbed and looking like she might drop dead the day before.

The episode ended with Rachel at Casa Monroe as Danny arrived. Rachel saw this through a window and decided to give Monroe some of the information he needs. Apparently she worked with her husband on…whatever caused the blackout, and so she gives Monroe a sketch of the pendants. There are twelve of them, and he will need them all to turn the power back on.

I really want to like Revolution. The main problem right now is that I just don’t care about the search for Danny (perhaps because we know he’s relatively alright), and after seeing people getting on with their lives, and learning that Monroe wants the power (literally) in order to take over North America, I can’t bring myself to care much about getting the power turned back on. The real conflict seems to be in the militias, Monroe’s being only one of them, but so far the show has pushed this into the background.

After this week, I would love to see more of Monroe, the people of his militia, and how they deal with their territory being threatened. The potential for conflict between Neville and Jason is also pretty intriguing. It wouldn’t hurt to learn more about the resistance and what their aims are: Do they want the power turned back on, or is their primary concern getting rid of the overbearing militias? Do they have a plan of action for if they ever do get rid of the militas?

One thing I’m not looking forward to in upcoming weeks is the gang. This week Charlie found a shiny new badass attitude and became more determined than ever to find her brother, but since we already know where her brother is, it all seems a bit futile. Even if they do find Danny, what’s their plan? How do they get Danny — and Rachel — out from under Monroe’s nose? And what do they do once they have? I would be interested in finding out, but I fear it would be like these first few episodes, albeit in reverse — with the gang running while being pursued by Neville et al.

Overall, an okay episode. I’m still not impressed with Revolution but I can see where there’s room for improvement, and I can see why some people do like the show. Hopefully it’ll grow on me in coming weeks.

What did you think of ‘Soul Train’, dear reader? Eager to know more about the militas? Prefer the emphasis on Charlie and her family? What would you like to see in upcoming weeks? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

  • Anonymous

    The writers don’t seem to have completely broken this story. There were strong scenes with different characters interacting in interesting ways, but like you point out they were strung together with implausible occurrences. Jason/Nate escapes through the attic and into thin air. I liked seeing  Charlie and Neville and then Miles and Neville mix it up in quick succession, but then Charlie and Miles just shake four armed soldiers chasing them down? And… who reaches into a furnace to pull out a bomb? (I guess Miles does, that guy whose brother somehow destroyed civilization enabling his best friend to become the most powerful man in North America. Hey, why not?) But in this episode that was three too many real head scratchers for me. But I’ll be back for episode four; I haven’t given up yet.

    • ptjackson

       Yep, I am in the same place as you are.

      In addition, I am perplexed by what works and what does not work. Steam power works – and if so, why is it not employed more? You can generate electricity with steam power. So, is there a dampener that inhibits anything electrical from working? I guess that is kind of the central mystery of the show, but I want something logical that does not violate the laws of physics. And, why does internal combustion not work?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Ferioli/100001943074614 Linda Ferioli

        Steam works, electricity seems to be dampened somehow.
        What’s sad is that the writers seem to have no clue about steam power. Entire factories were powered by steam before electricity. Manhattan was heated with steam. The path of technology didn’t just go from “the dark ages” to the age of electricity.

        • ptjackson

          Exactly. I’m also not convinced that governments would fall, maybe I guess. I’m just thinking of recent examples of natural disasters, and it seems that the governments would have the most resources, if anyone does.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Ferioli/100001943074614 Linda Ferioli

      The story itself could be great, it just seems the writers lack some basic storytelling skills. Like making sure all the elements make sense. Every episode has so many “head scratchers”. The biggest for me is that they seem to forget tha in this world they have created, the things they take for granted would no longer work and they need to take this into account in crafting the story. The way characters have information ( like “your son is getting on the train, he’ll be here soon” ) almost instantaneously is totally lame. A critic lightly skewers them her for these very issues:
      http://www.marketlist.com/blogs/676/121/abcs-revolution-do-kids-write-f

      • ptjackson

        I love it!!