Cast: Billy Burke, Tracy Spirdakos, Giancarlo Esposito, Zak Orth, David Lyons, Tim Guinee
Writer: Eric Kripke
Director: Charles Beeson
Network: NBC, airs Mondays @ 10 p.m.
Original Telecast: Sept. 24, 2012

Well things have certainly come to a grinding halt on REVOLUTION after a very impressive “Pilot” episode where it was wall to wall action and a whole handful of good ideas.

“Chained Heat” isn’t nearly as good as the opening episode which seems to sometimes be the case with big opening episodes that are targeted to grab the viewers’ attention and then subsequently falter to deliver in the following episodes. I hope this was just a lull in terms of where the series is going because they pilot was really good and presented an interesting world full of opportunity.

The thing with “Chained Heat” was that we really didn’t get a lot more than what we already knew. The Monroe militia is bad. They enslave people. They kill people who are so-called rebels trying to restore the United States. They keep other people hostage in order to get information out of them. But we already knew they were not a nice group of folks. They made that obvious in the opening episode.

What about showing more about the plight of the people and some of the interesting situations that have come up as a result of the power no longer being on? The thing that worked in the first episode was that we saw cities that had now been turned into a living marketplace for people and those struggling to survive in the given reality. We didn’t get any of this in this episode. Instead we are bogged down in learning more about the bad guys and how bad they really are as well as the struggle between the militia and the rebels that they are fighting.

We also had the obligatory Monroe (David Lyons) is a bad guy scene where he saves a random dude from getting tortured only to show that his really isn’t just a guy trying to protect people and is just a power hungry dictator (something we kinda already knew given what we have seen from his minions and the general atmosphere of the show). Basically, this was a scene that wasn’t necessary. I get they are trying to give some camera time to Lyons in order to build up the persona but why not show him doing something more intimidating than killing some random guy in a tent?

I can see REVOLUTION getting bogged down here. The whole aspect of rebels fighting this tyrannical militia is fine but let’s not make the entire show about this one aspect when the world that has been created has so many opportunities to be something greater than just this linear aspect. What about delving into some really evil things going on? Or some sense of hope that is happening? Or how people have learned to cope with the situation?

Plus, there were some really bad attempts at humor: “Where you going?” “A little place called shut up and stay here!” Really? Coming from Eric Kripke who was so awesome at working humor into his other work (SUPERNATURAL), it was a shock to have such bad humor in the episode. Maybe it was the delivery or maybe this show just isn’t built for it but I assume he can do better.

Now this isn’t to say there wasn’t some good parts to the episode. Giancarlo Esposito, who continues to show just how well of an actor he is following his stint as a drug kingpin on BREAKING BAD, was simply great here. He’s not a complex character like the one in BB but he definitely has more layers than I think they have shown so far. Right now he is the right hand man to the General Monroe’s army, doing the dirty work in the field to bring what Monroe wants back to him. But from “Chained Heat” he also has compassion for the people that are working for him, however, he’s also got a very large mean streak. So this is one portion of the show that is really intriguing and hopefully they will continue to give him more layers as the show progresses.

The development of Charlie (Tracy Spirdakos) is a good thing. Her having to kill a few of the militia in order to free some slaves was something she didn’t want to do but when it came down it – in this new world – she has to. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to have her become a bad ass killing machine although I doubt they will take this stance with her. But it would make for good television and not have Miles (Billy Burke) killing everyone.

Looks like the next episode will delve into Miles’ past and as I said in the first episode that he may not be everything that Charlie thinks he is. Hopefully next week will be better in all phases of the show.

Related: TV Review: REVOLUTION – Season 1 – “No Quarter”

Related: TV Review: REVOLUTION – Season 1 – “Pilot” –  Series Premiere  

Related: Interview with REVOLUTION director Jon Favreau on the new NBC series


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Article: TV Review: REVOLUTION – Season 1 – “Chained Heat”

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