“Yes, people died, it’s a tragedy, but you either let that grief define you, or you learn from it”
New Revolution episode earlier this week! There were some parts I really loved…some parts not so much. Now that I’m settling into the show, certain things are bothering me…like Charlie’s obvious posturing. Even Buffy, who kicked demon butt in platform heels, tied her hair back. Charlie’s hair is so long and in the way, I just don’t see how she can really “fight”. Her hair is more ready for Prom (come on, props, let’s make it look like Charlie is taking this seriously. Give her a hair tie!)…And as each episode goes on, I feel more and more sorry for Nora, who now seems to just be a sexual plot device. Aside from one storyline that really didn’t end making her look all that great, we don’t really know much about her…Or Rachel, who has always seemed a little morally questionable was a study of contradictions in the episode…
Certain things I can definitely chalk up to grief. I’m hoping that Rachel starts to make more sense. I couldn’t quite understand why she was going on about how horrible Randall was one minute and then the next minute she was talking to Randall about if he didn’t work with Monroe she would work with him. I’m sure she was just being a lying liar that lies, playing the game, but it just got my back up a bit about the whole Monroe thing…which I will go into more later…
Monday night’s episode was written by David Rambo and Melissa Glenn, and directed by Miguel Sapochnick. I met David Rambo last week at a talk on writing for television at Hampshire College. One of the most fascinating things about the discussion, and there were many of them, was David discussing how television is literal. Sure they try to work in some subtext, but with deadlines, they just don’t have the time to put a lot in. Most of the subtest is brought in by actor interpretation. Since I tend to have thinky thoughts on the meaning underneath different plot points, this part of the talk really perked my ears up. I guess it is true what I’ve read about writing…somewhere, I can’t remember where, and apparently Google has no idea…I read that you should write the story you want to tell, and let the PhD’s figure out its meaning….so maybe I’m just one of those egg head pontificating fans that try to find meaning where there may or may not be any…
Rachel took that strange capsule out of Danny last episode, and now we have moved on to Danny’s funeral. Everyone is dealing with grief in their own way. Charlie is trying to get back to business as usual, Rachel’s momma bear hormones have kicked into high gear, Aaron is trying to grapple with just where he fits into all of this, and Nora is becoming frustrated with everyone…Miles has now failed to kill Monroe twice, so he has now resigned himself to fighting with the Rebels…sort of…Since he is still sure they are a lost cause with the fly by night outfit they currently have, he has to work on formulating a new plan…Which includes trying to rally up the people who helped him attempt to assassinate Monroe four years ago…that is if they don’t shoot him on sight…
And my sonnet of the week goes to Miles and his desperate attempt to project his Jungian Shadow Self on Monroe…
Oh Miles, sometimes I cannot get you,
Now quipping how to care can get one killed,
The day that Charlie came to Chi you rue,
And claim pain now that Danny’s blood is spilled.
But was it really Danny that you meant,
When you went on with letting people down,
I think we all know where you should repent,
Instead your speaking of burning down his town.
I do think it’s a good idea to go,
Your niece should stop with that so creepy stare,
Evaluate yourself from head to toe
Self projection on your friend you’re unaware.
But I guess what I just don’t seem to get
Is why with you is where I’m s’posed to bet.
So this week’s sonnet had the “snark” lock on, but that was pretty much how I felt about Miles the entire episode. Yes, I’m perfectly aware I’m biased. But I think what you all should remember (all three of you that read this), is that I started out as a big old Miles fan…In this episode, we know Miles tortured Jim Hudson’s brother to get information on him, then he ruins Jim’s bright, shiny, happy home. There were a few things I just didn’t get here. I get what Miles was saying about never being able to wash off the blood, that it would always be in their past. I think that is actually one of the things that really bothers me. Just because it is your past, doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be your future. In order for someone to be redeemed, there has to be the belief that person can change for the better, or can at least to one extent or another bring his or herself to a place where they are happy enough about who they are. Instead of wording it like they are going to make something better, Miles instead words it as finishing something they began. And not necessarily a good thing either. Jim admits he isn’t a “fan” of Monroe’s, but I don’t get where not being a fan of someone turns into being cool with conspiring to assassinate. I am not a “fan” of Justin Bieber. It just means I won’t be following him on twitter, or buying anything he’s selling. It doesn’t mean I have intent to do him ill…And I know, Justin isn’t a political figure. But there are plenty of Senators down south I feel set back our country to colonial days, it doesn’t mean I’m planning anything for them, either…Now people may say that there was no vote putting Monroe in power, but I also will point to the fact that in war time, personal freedoms are often suspended, and from the outward appearance of things, the continent has been in a state of war for the better part of the 15 years since the blackout started…
…which pretty much shows that Randall’s idea that no power would end war was grossly in error, but since for the most part people have been hurling rocks and sticks at each other, the casualties are far less than they would have if we all played global thermonuclear war..
One of the things that Kripke has said to us about Revolution is that there is this idea that the bad guys have ALL the breaks, all the chips, that the odds are heavily in their favor. The good guys are supposed to be out manned, out gunned, up against impossible odds…But I’m just not seeing it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving the show, and there are certain storylines (ahem, the Miles and Bass storyline) that I am incredibly invested in…but part of me feels that everything has been painted SO pro rebels. SO pro Miles. SO in our face that Charlie and company, despite their very blatant character flaws are where we are supposed to be shaking our pom poms, that I just can’t. I can’t help but see the true underdog in this scenario as Bass Monroe. How can we even say that he is a man with everything? Everyone we seem to meet hates his guts for something Miles seems to have started. Now, he has to deal with Randall. Bass can’t trust him. Not as far as he can throw him.
Randall Flynn…reminds me a lot of the name Randall Flagg, which is the name of the antagonist in “The Stand” (let’s take bets this is intentional. did you see how Jim suggested “The Stand” to one of the library patrons?) That is to say, the name creeps me out…So does his nefarious interpretation of the “Prime Directive”. I’m sure that the idea that Randall could take his business and his amplifiers to Georgia or California had crossed Monroe’s mind before Randall even said it, but I really don’t think there was a danger of that. Randall wanted the power off. He seemed to have found a very happy, easy way of living…taking what he needed…stewing…watching to see when the pendants creeped up…I think the only chance Randall would have gone to Georgia or California was if Georgia or California had figured out how to turn on the power. Randall didn’t seem to go there because he knew Rachel was there, he went because Monroe got the pendant and figured out how to use it. Like Starfleet watching to see when that warp drive technology was first figured out by some primitive culture, Randall waited and watched. Once Monroe figured it out, he introduced himself and offered assistance…Of course I have full confidence that Randall is the evil “Shadowfleet” as opposed to Starfleet, but well, that’s what I felt about the scene.
I will comment that I absolutely LOVED the whole Randall and Monroe banter.
Monroe: “You should have come to me earlier.”
Randall: “Maybe, but honestly I couldn’t make up my mind.”
Randall: “Whether you were worthy, or had your head deeply up your own ass.”
Bass’s reaction to that was gold. I loved this scene. Colm Feore and David Lyons were just wonderful.
We got some backstory on Randall in this episode, too…and we found out that he lost his son in Afghanistan. Now I see what the writers were doing here, showing how all these different people deal with grief…Randall losing his son backstory juxtaposed with Rachel losing her son here, both a violent end due to war…one who most definitely has been effected by the loss to the point that we have to ask if he really “learned” anything of value from the loss, and one that we know will be effected going forward by the loss. Another possible interesting connection is the one with Bass and Randall. Bass always thought that he would die first because of the “high risk” gig. I would venture a guess as to say that he seems like the type of person that doesn’t allow himself to love often, but when he does it it passionately and completely. Guaranteed he would have done anything for his family, and never thought of the possibility of losing them first because he just couldn’t bear it. The plan was always to die first, so that he wouldn’t have to live without them. I get the impression that Bass has never had a very strong feeling of self worth and figured they would get over losing him…But with Randall here, he can see a man twisted by the loss of his son…maybe it will help him re-evaluate his own feelings of self worth and what he could have meant to his family.
Another interesting aspect of the losing sons thing is Neville, who shows absolutely NO grief over the loss of Jason. One of the wonderful things about the webisodes during the hiatus is that we get a very good idea that Neville is a terrible liar…or at least a terrible liar when it comes to Monroe…Here I don’t believe him. Guaranteed Monroe doesn’t believe him. He doesn’t have any proof though and his friends are few, but this seems like the Neville being taken out of Monroe’s inner circle we heard so much about. Bass knows he can’t trust Neville. We also know from the webisodes that Bass essentially made Neville his axe, so the fact that he didn’t send Neville is very interesting….But I also wonder if it means something else. Neville and Baker were the ones given the kill order on Miles and the others…but Bass doesn’t send them…just an interesting observation in an interestingly observational way…
Even if Bass did think his family would get over him, he’d expect some grieving period…which we’re not seeing with Neville…
All that being said, I’m a little worried about there being a bit too much juxtaposition. And I was hoping a bit for a bad guy that is just bad for the sake of being bad…because there is an awful lot of gray going on here…
Expounding on the idea a little about the underdog, good versus evil, and who really are the “heroes” and who are the “villains”, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the idea of redemption as it is, isn’t and/or may play out here. Essentially with Miles we see someone who is not unlike Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) with whom redemption sought out. Miles was willing to hide away drinking and brooding when Charlie came in and talked him into coming out on their journey to find Danny. At Wondercon, several people asked David Lyons about Monroe and the possibility for redemption. David seems to want Monroe redeemed, and hopes eventually externally, but doesn’t seem to think it’s likely that Monroe will internally be redeemed. This got me thinking that maybe we were asking the wrong question…
I think of the idea of redeption, the verb, “to redeem” to “deem” again, which seems to imply to me an external perception, rather than an internal truth. It reminds me of the debate my father and I had a few days ago where I said that “success” was a perception. We can achieve things, we can be happy with our lives, but can we really deem ourselves “successful”? To me, this idea of redeption is like that too. I don’t know if it is possible for anyone to be redeemed if it is seen as an internal truth. It’s like Miles said–you can never wash the blood off. You can never “undo” the things that you have done.
I have heard that confession is one of the things that Protestants don’t like about Catholicism…that Catholics can just tell their sins and have them removed. But confession isn’t about that. It is about being forgiven for the past, so that you can move on from it. You never forget your sins. You can’t burn them out of your mind…But in letting them go, they are supposed to lose their power over you. By being told that you are forgiven, that the slate has been wiped, you can move forward…I guess I would compare it to when you are in debt, you get the idea in your head that “what’s another thirty dollars when I already owe so much?” When you are overweight, it’s easy to say “I’m already overweight, what’s another five pounds?” We can be crushed by not seeing an end, not seeing a way to crawl out of the pit we have created. That is what confession is about…and essentially, I think that is what redemption is about. It is an idea that people can look at you and say, “no, he’s good now. He’s fighting on our side.” It isn’t washing away what was, but it is acknowledging that one can be more than what they were, and will be given the chance to do so…But of course that has to start with something…So I guess it comes down to the person, if they are strong enough to say “I can’t change the things I did, or the person I was. I may never be able to balance the scales, but I can do better going forward. I can be better.” So I guess maybe that is more the question I would want to ask–Do you think Monroe has the strength to realize that although nothing will ever change what he has done, he can take control of the man he is going forward, and start down the hero’s path?
So those were some of my musings over Monday night’s episode, let me know what you thought of the episode, and what your thoughts are on my thinky thoughts! Sorry I don’t have a lot of pictures–I had to download a preview and use some “stock footage” and one picture from www.fanpop.com because I couldn’t find any websites that had screencapped the episode.