Don’t let my lateness for getting this review in fool you—“Fear and Loathing” was a great episode of Revolution! Especially for character development. I wanted to write a separate review from “Dreamcatcher” but since we have seen both of them now, and I have a crazy amount of work for my class on Comparing Cultures, South Africa and the U.S., I figured I would do both together and make sure you all understood the awesomeness.
“Dreamcatcher” may very well be my favorite episode of Revolution to date. It did something that previously only Supernatural has been able to do for me—not only make me laugh out loud, but also feel intensely for the characters. How Revolution even did it up a notch (for me anyway), was that it was able to get this level of complexity of emotions from me using a character I don’t even like—or to be more accurate, a character who this season I really haven’t liked. But more on ‘Dreamcatcher” in a little bit! First, “Fear and Loathing”!
Written by Anne Cofell Saunders and Matt Pitts, “Fear and Loathing” picks up right where we left off with Bass and Connor being hauled off by Gould for the failed diamond heist. The episode was directed by Liz Fiedlander, who has directed various episodes of The Vampire Diaries, Sleepy Hallow and The Following. I liked her close, tight camera work, drawing us right into the emotions of the character. She used quite a few of the shots that cut off the top of the head, like we are right there with these characters. This is a style of camera work that Kim Manners used a lot…I think he would have approved of the directing style of the episode…although I think he may have really tested his camera men with some aerial, looking down into scene shots during the Connor and Bass dogfight…but moving on…
Gould has found out that not only was he being skammed, but that the skammer was actually THE Sebastian Monroe. He decides to make money and get some vengeance at the same time by forcing Monroe to fight his son to the death. Charlie attempts to get Duncan to help her spring Monroe, but Duncan, fearing for her own position and the possibility that Gould may think she was involved, gives Charlie to Gould as a token of good will. Miles doesn’t trust Neville but feels they need to play along for now hoping that Neville is genuine. Aaron and Priscilla find out the true reason for the nanites getting the band back together again…
This episode flowed along pretty well, although I found myself wanting the Aaron parts to hurry up so we could get back to the Jabba’s Palace scene in New Vegas! There were definitely some elements of it that reminded me of The Empire Strikes Back—the Charlie strangle with chains was very Leia, for example…but Duncan didn’t get on board until later. I was hoping that she was doing a Lando thing and using Charlie as Chewy, but that didn’t seem to be the case. Duncan really did sell out Charlie—which seems like another reason (besides Charlie also saving her) that lead to Duncan giving Charlie five of her trained killers.
But all joking aside, a lot came up in this episode, and there is a lot of Monroe growth, I think. We have seen a lot of him not placing the guilt on himself, blaming others for things—seeing himself as the victim of circumstance. We really see Monroe man up here. He takes responsibility for Emma’s death and not only her death, but he has taken responsibility for hurting a lot of people. He didn’t blame Miles, or say he did it for anyone other than himself. It was a powerful life lesson that Monroe wanted his son to be able to understand vicariously instead of learning through his own mistakes—We all need goals in life. We need to reach for something greater, but we can’t do it at the expense of everything else. We need others, love, family to share our achievements with, or those achievements mean very little. Truthfully, this is a very Whedonian message—because it was the crux of Buffy’s journey. She was the slayer, but she was able to not only survive where other slayers had died, but thrive. She was allowed the opportunity to see beyond the death of slaying because of the network of friends she had around her—the Scooby Gang.
Tied in with allowing Connor behind his emotional veil, Bass also lets Connor know about his physical weaknesses as well. It is important to note that Bass has not even shared with MILES his physical weakness regarding the lack of peripheral vision in his left eye. He has taken down all his walls for Connor. He wants Connor to see him for the man he is—and Bass has never allowed himself to let anyone in that completely. It is a huge step for Bass—he is truly learning to love.
I always love to see the sword fight scenes on Revolution. The Connor and Bass one was no exception—Connor had Bass against the fence for the takedown when Charlie and Duncan start picking off Gould’s men. It looks like Connor would have done it and Bass was ready to go. It will be interesting to see what impact this dogfight, and the lead up to the dogfight, will have on their relationship going forward. Will Connor back off and be more distant now, realizing how fleeting life is, creating that fear of loss? Or will he take Bass’s advice and realize how important it is to love in the moment? Will he take his own advice? We he begin to see things differently now? How will this brush with death affect our favorite megalomaniacal ex-dictator going forward? If it changes things at all?
Neville and Jason had a certain goal of getting in with Miles and the gang and taking Monroe. Apparently they were not expecting Doyle to show up, or expecting that Miles would see Doyle and instantly be interested with who he was and why he was in Willoughby. Neville also underestimated just how much Miles would mistrust him, as Doyle’s plan for taking Miles out of the equation failed spectacularly…as did Miles’ attempt to make Rachel stay away. This turned out to be a really good thing. I do love that Rachel is not going to let her man just go in there on his own.
People, this was always my problem with the women in Dean’s life. Seriously—He needs himself a Rachel. Someone that would tell him point blank when he was being stupid, and wouldn’t let his macho b.s. get in the way. But back to Revolution, I think that increasing the roles of both Monroe and Rachel have made this show take off. David Lyons and Elizabeth Mitchell have risen to the top. I love watching them both!
Aaron and Priscilla finally find out what the nanites’ end game regarding getting them to Willoughby was all about. There was a defect in the code. If that was not fixed, the nanites would eventually corrupt and die. The nanites needed this fixed and wanted their three creators together to make it happen. As Priscilla noted, the nanites are too powerful. They should die. The best thing to do would be to just let them die by not fixing the program. Aaron understood that the nanites were so strong that if what they wanted was not done, they could make horrible things happen. He understood that just allowing the program to eventually corrupt was not an option. The nanites would force their will on them. In an effort to hasten the corruption, and while having access to a computer, Aaron attempted to write a virus into the system, and hilarity ensued…
And with that, we move on to “Dreamcatcher”. Truthfully I didn’t really for a moment think that the Revoverse was the fake verse and that really Aaron woke up today and Revo was all a dream. I figured it was tricksy nanite shenanigans…but wow it was quite a ride!
Written by Ben Edlund and Paul Grellong, “Dreamcatcher” took the best elements of the Supernatural episodes “What is and What Should Never Be” and “It’s a Terrible Life”, and infused it with The Matrix (the first one) and Inception!
The date is March 5, 2014 and Aaron Pittman and his wife, Priscilla live in their posh penthouse in New York City. The nanite strikes are being used around the globe to protect America’s interests. Miles is an alcoholic obsessed with his bother’s wife, and Bass is the sane and reasonable one! Such is the world that the nanites have created for Aaron in an attempt to trick him into fixing the code.
I don’t think there was anything in this episode that I didn’t love. There were several little things that come up in a fun way. For instance, they never really talk about food much on the show. We know it isn’t easy to come by. We know that Charlie was grossed out by the idea that someone would eat a granola bar, but in this episode Aaron was transfixed by the trash—specifically a sandwich that had been thrown out. What I loved about this moment was what it said about our society—we are a throwaway society. There, in the trash, was a sandwich with very little eaten out of it. There are people who don’t have enough to eat, but our trash probably has enough food in it to not only feed those with no food to eat, but allow them to eat pretty well and nutritiously…that reminds me of a great movie starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page called “The East”. Priscilla was completely grossed out by him touching garbage. Aaron told her he had a feeling that food was scarce.
Although Aaron first thought that this world was real, or at least he wanted to believe it was real, Charlie came by and forcefully (read that: violently) put things to rights and made him see the truth of the situation. Charlie would have only been about seven in 2014, and is in this fake nanite induced world. The “belly shirt” girl that Aaron sees is not really Charlie, but a projection from his mind that was created to help him find the truth. She represented the part of his mind fighting the nanites’ control—once he had control of who he was really, although he did not yet have control of the dream, Charlie was killed off—by the nanites’ goons, but also because Aaron no longer needed her. It was time to move on to Rachel.
Once Aaron has some level of control again, he was able to manipulate the dream sequence—which allowed him to create a gun to hold up Rachel after she tazered him. I loved the car scene with Rachel and Aaron. Both of them were so amazing. It bothers me a bit how they keep talking about Danny and how Danny’s death has effected Rachel. I’m not a parent, so I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose a child. But part of me wonders why Ben’s death has been totally sidestepped. There was a comment in “Fear and Loathing” where Neville states that Rachel should hate Monroe because he killed Danny. No one ever says anything about the fact that Neville was directly in charge at the scene where Ben got killed and Danny got taken…In fact, in the nanite created March 5, 2014, Rachel and Miles had an affair, and Miles was very worked up and obsessive over his brother’s wife.
Rachel did bring Aaron to Miles. Bass showed up with dinner to try to talk Miles out of stalking Rachel only to find her there. I really enjoyed this scene with Aaron trying to convince the three of them of who they are supposed to be and that they need to help him. The dialogue is wonderful (like Aaron’s comment on the “on the spot” civil war uniforms Bass has his soldiers wearing, and Bass admitting that he kinda likes the Civil War). But I don’t want to go into too much of it because I would rather everyone watch the episode again On Demand or some such!
Finally Aaron realized that he had to wake himself up. When someone is about to die in a dream they wake up, so the decision was to try to kill himself to force himself to wake up. First the nanites first try to stop him, by appealing to him with the dream. This is an interesting tactic very similar to the one the djinn used in Supernatural’s “What is and What Should Never Be”. The biggest difference for me? Aaron has the ideal life in this nanite induced dream. He has everything he had before the blackout. He hates the current world. He lost everything. But he still choses what was real over this fake dreamscape. Then their first plan failed, the nanites found new ways to play with it. Their final way of getting Aaron to play ball was by utilizing the fact that he saw them as dumb controllable machines. In this final attempt they were able to trick Aaron into fixing the code. Their last conversation with Aaron was that they would leave him alone now.
But my question is what do they have planned for the world? What are the “other things” they are moving on to? I don’t trust Peter—he sees the nanites as god like. I can totally see something of Inquisition proportion coming. The nanites love being respected and seen as deity…this could get really scary…
There is something that I fear as far as this storyline is concerned. In one real important way, it reminds me of my problem with Season Four of Supernatural. Actually, more of the continuing problem I have had with Supernatural SINCE Season Four began. I feel I can compare because Kripke was showrunning at the time, so it would have been “his fault” so to speak. That “problem” is the emergence of Castiel. I don’t say this to tick off Cas fans. A lot of Cas fans are friends of mine—but I do note it as the beginning of the show starting to write itself into a corner. One cannot create an evil or an entity that the heroes have no way of destroying. It manipulates the story too much. With the emergence of Cas, any time there was something that the Winchesters couldn’t fix, Cas would be on it. This took the power away from the heroes, rendering them impotent. Meanwhile, they have no way of stopping this entity if it were to corrupt, go evil. They are completely at the whim of that other force—the story ceases to be the heroes’ story. How can they defeat an undefeatable foe?
When I heard about the nanite corruption, I was hoping that maybe Kripke had an escape hatch—that he saw the dangers of having such an all powerful foe…but then as quickly as he showed it to us, he took it away—he gave these nanites sentience, he has given them that swelling self importance that comes with power, he has given them acolytes and soon, they will have their own religion, all while taking away their defective programing. How can our heroes survive such unbeatable odds? As they tell Aaron, quoting The Outer Limits “we control the horizontal, we control the vertical”. If there is a way to changing the code—maybe by finding Grace, if there is some “dead zone” where these nanites cannot venture, a subprogram can be launched. In that capacity, since this is Aaron’s code, and Peter and Priscilla seemed almost inconsequential in fixing it, Aaron seems to be the gang’s MVP at this point…even though he is the one that has ticked off the nanites so badly part of the way they are now acting could be seen as his fault…
And now for some Nora!
Let me know what your thoughts on the episodes are! I’m very excited to see what happens next week. They will all be back in Willoughby and Neville is going to try to take Monroe! Although I still can’t understand why is his so nutbag for Julia.
Screencaps from grandecaps.tumblr.com