Review: Revolution S01E03 No Quarter


In Brief: A mixed bag.

In Detail: The latest instalment of Revolution features continued improvement in some areas, but is let down by confused pacing and continued poor performances from Tracy Spiridakos.

I don’t want to rant each week about the pointlessness of Tracy Spiradkos’ character – Charlie – in the show.  Yet her continued weak performances and, quite honestly, lack of relevance to the interesting aspects of the show continue with week.  Revolution‘s most interesting aspects are without a doubt the relationship between Miles and Monroe, Monroe’s past and the power tablets.  Charlie, and her brother Danny, have quickly faded into insignificance after their headline role in the first week, and the show would do well to realise this quickly, and readjust smoothly.

‘No Quarter’ improves from previous weeks in the sense that the action scenes are less gratuitous, excellently shot throughout, and the revelation that Miles was Monroe’s second in command adds a hugely interesting dynamic into the show’s backbone.  The flashbacks are brilliant this week, showing Miles as the more aggressive partner in his friendship with Monroe, and Monroe being largely pacifistic in his response to the post-blackout world.  I look forward to discovering more about the reversal of the partnership, and Miles subsequent withdrawal from the Monroe Republic’s Militia.

The large problem with the episode is that despite this game-changer, there’s not a huge deal of progress made.  Most of the characters remain stationary throughout, with Miles et al stuck at the rebel base until being rescued by Charlie and Nor, Aaron and Maggie in Grace’s house – Grace who has mysteriously disappeared, and we learned nothing more about – and Danny remaining stuck in Militia hands.  There’s not really enough progress, but at least the scenes in the rebel base and in Grace’s house were interesting enough to keep me watching.

I think the Charlie character – for the first time – has shown a flicker of potential.  She could turn into a good character if written well enough, but I have serious doubts about the ability of the show-runners and Spiridakos to achieve that.  Her watching the rebel die in the infirmary demonstrating completely the flaws in her character, leaping to aid the soldier without hesitation and then watching him die with very little emotional conviction.  Note, I said conviction, not emotion.  She appears upset, but I didn’t believe she was really upset.  Therein lies the difference between Spiridakos and the other actors on the show.  When Maggie’s children appeared on her iPhone late in the episode, I believed she was feeling upset, and Maggie isn’t even that interesting a character either, but I do empathise with her.

My love-in for David Lyons continues; I simply find him captivating as an actor, and Billy Burke as Miles appears to get stronger each week.  I particularly enjoyed Miles’ angry put-down for Charlie for being a brat, but that’s understandable given my dislike for Charlie.

There’s some clunky dialogue, especially between Miles and Nora, and indeed Nora’s character spilling her heart to Charlie didn’t seem entirely believable.  But all in all, it’s not too bad.

The pacing of the episode left me feeling a little flat.  At the end, I blinked and thought, “Is that it?”  Partially, that’s a good thing, since the episode flew past and I clearly enjoyed watching it, but it didn’t build and fall at a natural rate in my opinion.  This may, in part, be because the rescue of Miles from Militia hands was a decision made off-screen, therefore there was no build-up or expectation to it, and it came as a bit of a surprise.  It was also a bit too easy, considering how terrifying everyone says the Militia are as a military force.

On the plus side, I think next week Danny’s plot could become more interesting.  Now the Militia know where Miles is, and who he’s running around with, he becomes an easier target.  Danny is consequently of less importance.  I sincerely hope they finally take him to Monroe, instead of sitting around all day.

All in all, I think the show’s saved itself from the cardinal sin: sliding into mediocrity after a pretty decent pilot.  It’s kept its level, and retained my interest.  This is a strong episode, but it could quite easily have been the best episode yet by far with a few pacing changes.  I look forward to next week.

I’m giving this one three and half exploding bridges out of five.

[easyreview title=”At A Glance” cat1title=”Acting” cat1detail=”Strong, but weakened by Tracy Spiridakos’ continued poor performances.” cat1rating=”3″ cat2title=”Filming” cat2detail=”Strongest so far, with excellent action scenes.” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Plot” cat3detail=”Most interesting episode so far, but let down by poor pacing and the pointless Danny plot line.” cat3rating=”3.5″ summary=”Probably my favourite episode to date, but it could have been better.”]

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