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TV Review: REVOLUTION - The Plague Dogs 1.4 - Maybe This Does Get Better

Friday, 12 October 2012

You know what they say? Credit due where credits due and here for the first time in the freshman season of Revolution I have to grant it because "The Plague Dogs" was actually the best episode this series has delivered so far. I actually said during last weeks review of "No Quarter" that I wouldn't be reviewing or maybe even watching Revolution anymore, I had simply not got into any of the characters or their stories, I felt no emotional attachment at all and in all honesty I thought we were headed for another TV show which gives us a first season, no answers and is then cancelled. Turns out I should maybe have given this show a little longer as this episode was brilliant and the writers, along with the actors done a fantastic job of getting the audience to finally sit up and care about the characters who are on display. There are so many TV shows on our screens these days that we probably don't give them adequate time to settle in and I think Revolution is one that could be added to that list, I'm just pleased I stuck it out for another week which saw the dynamic change massively for me.

I think these days anytime we see J.J. Abrams' name attached to a show or movie we are automatically intrigued, will it be as good as Lost? Or, will this be another example of a high concept idea that really does not catch on with the audience? After three episodes of Revolution my initial thought was on the latter but it turns out it just needed a little more time, without doubt the best performance in the series so far has been from Militia Captain Tom Neville (Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito), this guy brings a real presence to the screen when he appears and last week he was joined by another TV favourite of mine Mark Pellagrino who played another Militia Captain. What I said then was that the show should concentrate more on their side of the story and never mind all of the Charlie Matheson and her Uncle Miles stuff. "The Plague Dogs" went to prove me wrong as this episode was so character and story focused that I could have sat and watched more following its conclusion.

Charlie Matheson (Tracey Spiridakos), the female lead of Revolution who last week I told Mr Abrams I could do a job on the being dramatic side of things. I've never felt anything for her character emotionally, but this episode delved deeper into her past with the flash back story and you get to see the reason why at times she is such a tough nut, whilst at others she is as vulnerable as they come. Abandoned (seemingly) by her mother Rachael (Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell), Charlie took the blow really hard and I must say I really felt the emotion of that flash back scene when Rachael Matheson left her family for something "she needed to do", a reason that was not fully explained at the time but delivered a powerful twist at the end of this episode.

What also got me so involved with the story of Charlie this week was her daughter mother relationship with Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips), the woman who was in Canada at the time of the Blackout. Maggie is British but following the loss of power she found herself unable to get back to England, just about to kill herself Ben Matheson stumbles across her and invites her to join his family for some food. Accepting that she will not be able to get back to the UK and be with her own children she becomes a mother to both Charlie and her younger brother Danny (Graham Rogers), unbelievably in this episode Maggie was killed off after being stabbed in the leg by a mad man, I really didn't give her character a second thought till this episode but this scene threw some major weight especially in the direction of Charlie. So, yeah that might have been quick to kill someone off in four episodes but it shows some balls from the writers and also gives you the impression that they are not afraid to "do off", for want of better words with characters, maybe even bigger named ones.

Also good during this episode was the continual development of Miles Matheson's story, the man who co-founded the Monroe Militia and trained all of it's troops in the art of sword fighting. Miles has always been dismissive about whether or not he would be sticking around in a good guy capacity for any length of time, he almost walked in this episode, but the scene I mentioned above featuring Maggie is the one which will finally see him stick around to do some good for his niece Charlie, pretty strong stuff when you consider that the big reveal here is that Miles is actually responsible for Charlie's mother leaving in the first place. I really think there are still many layers to go with Miles and I'm really looking forward to seeing how they do this.

Danny was also developed a little further this week, he never really reacted to his mother Rachael leaving, I don' t know if that's because he was to young or whether he is just a pretty tough nut under the shell of things. Still under the capture of Tom Neville's Malitia unit, he and the gang found themselves in the middle of a tornado and had to take shelter in a barn, finally Danny was given the chance to escape when Neville found himself trapped under the beam of a collapsed roof, run leave him there, that's what I thought, but really to loose Ginacarlo Esposito this early in the series may have been to much. Instead Danny decided to help his captor, probably hoping for a little of the same in return, not what he got of course with Neville showing that Danny really is to important to the story to allow him to escape just yet.

I really was ready to dump this show after three episodes, but like I have stressed above Revolution really does look like its going to get into a good run of form, whether that form can be stretched more than one season remains to be seen but for now Revolution has delivered a brilliant episode which certainly has me looking forward to next weeks, I just hope they can keep it up, great job. How about you? What did you think of this instalment of Revolution? Your comments are welcome as always.
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