Last week, due to circumstances (most of which were out of my control) I wasn’t able to get to the point of trying to write up a review until Wednesday and by that time I figured I would lump the two together in one review. Last week’s episode, “Dead Man Walking,” featured some really great acting, but I lamented what to me appeared to be more of a J.J. style episode, complete with duplicity from a character we had started to like and somewhat confusing, even potentially retcon flashbacks.
“Dead Man Walking” was written by Paul Grellong and directed by Steve Boyum. Miles and Bass stage the scene and dump Frye (Jim Beaver)’s body in the water, where they are sure the Texas Rangers will find it. The Rangers then head back to Texas to bring back the troops. Bass, through torture, is able to procure a lot of intel from one of the Patriot soldiers that will help Miles in what they expect to be an upcoming war. Somehow, the Patriots find out where Bass is holed up and with Texas, they bring him to “justice” sentencing him to death with a travesty of a trial. Miles tells Bass that he knew about the son Bass had with Emma and kept the information from Bass. Tom finds out that Jason has been “reprogrammed” by the Patriots, and Justine tries to convince Tom that there is no saving him.
Something I offhandedly noticed rewatching The Patriot Act was that Kripke sure does seem to love finding family members. It seems that those left behind find out a lot about themselves in the looking for others. With Supernatural, Sam and Dean spent much of the first season looking for their father. Here on Revolution, the first half of the season was going after Danny. Right now, Neville has been trying to get to his son. Bass, is very interested in finding the son he never new he had until Home when Emma told him. We know from last season, that finding out he has a son out there has made Bass look a bit more at himself and how he had conducted his own life. More than anyone else, a level of judgment there is a big concern for Bass. Sure, he can tell himself he did everything he did because he had to, but how do you explain that brutality to a loved one?
In this episode we also find out that not only did Bass lose his entire family prior to the blackout–his mother, father and sisters all died in a horrible car accident, but we find that after the blackout, he did find someone and he lost her and their baby. How much can this man take? I think it also makes me wonder acting wise how an actor can prepare for these things. What has happened to you in your past makes you who you are today. You may not think of these horrific things every day or even once a year, but the pain you’ve experienced, the joy, etc., all formulate your reactions now. In movies and in theater, as an actor you have the totality of the circumstances. You see your character’s reactions–you can create the backstory to make it real, and this backstory is there throughout the entire time you play that character–as it would be if you actually were that character. But television is different. I am never comfortable with excessive backstory being given later in a show. It me, by that time a character is established. The actor has created the backstory needed to make the character real. Giving them extra information might mean that there are things that as an actor he/she would have done differently, scenes he/she might have read differently, feelings that may have been expressed differently, had he/she known the totality of the history. And of course no writer is going to write in a back story that isn’t pivotal, that doesn’t impact the character and the circumstances. You have to get your story out in about 43 minutes, you don’t have the time to throw in red herring and subterfuge with backstories that aren’t significant and wouldn’t change the here and now.
Whenever I see this level of back story given, I always feel a little weird. Here we find more Bass loss, and we find out that Bass didn’t agree with Miles’s idea about going and taking food, etc. from another camp. After his woman and child died however, he went in with guns blazing and the recon group took out most of the camp.
A second on this–Miles’s idea, and he was ok with stealing supplies. Leaving the camp sans supplies and starving doesn’t really seem like a good option. I suppose it would be like closing the box with only hope left inside. Killing them was too far. Bass, with a bit more of a vigilante justice feel to him at times, probably saw it more merciful as putting them out of their misery. That they had taken everything from them and left them with no way to survive, so killing them was a mercy. Not that I agree with that…but another example of maybe Miles needing to spell out just what he wants because clearly Miles and Bass have very different takes on certain ideas.
The Bass in the camp that we saw reminded me a bit of Vince Faraday…David Lyons’s character in The Cape. Like Bass, Vince had been a soldier, and even though he had done some horrible things, he had compartmentalized. He was able to find happiness with his wife and son…until Chess took that away from him…but we are seeing a lot of possibilities here–maybe if Shelly and the baby had lived, Bass wouldn’t have been the Monroe that so much of the Revoverse loves to hate.
I also found the conversation between Shelly and Bass very interesting. I got the impression that like others feel that Bass was a bad influence on Miles, Shelly seemed to see Miles as a big part of the problem with Bass. Isn’t it crazy finding that person that somehow brings out the best and the worst in you? I think we see a lot of that with Miles and Bass.
Maybe that explains the acts of outright betrayal we have seen as well. The webisodes showed us that Miles had really gone to great lengths to deceive Bass. Bass didn’t know about them, and he was surprised when Miles tried to kill him. It was interesting to note however that Miles thought Bass killed Rachel. He saw a body, so Bass must have gone out of his way to make it look like she was dead. This would show deception on Bass’s part as well. He also did impregnate Miles’s fiancee, which can be seen as an act of betrayal. I was shocked to find out that Miles knew about Bass’s son though, and that he kept it from him. Miles did know that Bass’s son was alright, though, so he must be keeping tabs on him somehow. I was a little surprised that Bass allowed Miles to dismiss his requests for where his son was. Finding family seems so important to Bass, how can he just sit back and let Miles dictate when he will find out. It must still be because he was stoned from all the barbiturates.
One comment on the facial hair on David Lyons here. Did it remind anyone else of that episode of TNG where they come upon I think it was the USS Pegasus (sorry if I’m wrong, I just don’t feel like looking it up right now) and there is a Riker that was stuck there for years? Even though he was the same guy he was back right before he was supposed to meet with Deanna years before, he had the beard like he had starting in Season Two? It was like they retconned in Riker’s beard! Sorry…
As far as other instances of duplicity, we find out that Rachel let the Patriots know that someone was going to try to break Bass out. I found that most of this episode, I hated Rachel intensely. I understood what she was worried about, but I also felt she hardly had the right. She wasn’t there for Danny or Charlie when they were growing up, and now she is claiming she is betraying people to protect them? Sure I understand that alerting them meant they would move Bass to a more secure location that would be impossible for Charlie and Miles to continue with their plan, but her argument about not losing another child to Monroe did annoy me a bit. I know that she went to Miles and Bass with the intent of protecting Ben and the kids…but I was so angry with her…until she started digging and I realized that, like most of the episode, things were not what they seemed…so then I wrote this (and yes, it is a take off on Kat’s poem in Ten Things I Hate About You):
Ten Things I Hate About You, Kripke!
I hate the way you talk of Bass
and the way you keep Charlie’s hair
I hate that they can’t drive a car
I hate that you make me care
I hate their grubby, yet bottomless wardrobe
and the way you just know my mind
I hate that each ep I start feeling sick
so much so I start to rhyme.
I hate how Rachel thinks she’s always right
I hate when Miles lies
I hate it when Bass makes me laugh
even more when he makes me cry
I hate when hiatus means show is not around
and when it is it makes me bawl
But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you
not even close
not even a little bit
not even at all…
Picking up right where “Dead Man Walking” ends, “The Patriot Act,” written by Anne Cofell Saunders and Matt Pitts, directed by Omar Madha, begins with Rachel digging up Bass. The gang has Bass hiding out in the outskirts of Willoughby while he gets back to full strength. A bomb goes off in a building in town and Gene is pretty sure that the Patriots set it off themselves to have a reason to bring in more troops and take a stronger hold of Willoughby. So far, they have started dictating what books will be read in schools, and soldiers are all around town. Because of the bomb, Truman instates a curfew and a real police state. Dr. Horn is very interested in the nanite activity in Willoughby and is convinced that Rachel knows how to reprogram them. Miles, Rachel and Charlie become worried about Aaron’s safety and consider ways to get Aaron and Cynthia out of town. Justine learns a little something about faith, family and that no matter what, don’t trust the ex property/casualty insurance adjuster…
Remember what I said about back story? Well, at least Gene is a new to this season character–but there was a lot of back story we were given here. Mostly it seems like it was given to cushion the blow of finding out that Gene was actually a Patriot at the end of Dead Man Walking. Gene was the one that let Truman know where to find Bass. Gene was the one that warned the Patriots about the set up that Miles and Bass had done to pin Frye’s death on the Patriots. In The Patriot Act, we find out that he started off with the best of intentions, trying to keep the people of the town safe. (heh, heh. I see what you are doing, show, by calling this episode what you have called this episode. Political commentary much?) Gene’s wife had just died of Cholera. (If you want to see a tough movie/read a tough book, check out The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham. Then you can see how horrific it would be to die of Cholera and to be a doctor trying to treat those with it.) One of these Patriots comes by not long after her death with a cure for the disease. He can prevent others from getting sick. They offer cures to other diseases that we have essentially eradicated in this country today (but showed up again post blackout without the vaccinations readily available) as well. Gene knows that he should be wary. Nothing comes without a price. Really, it was like taking help from the Godfather, but Gene’s intentions were to save the town, to keep the people of Willoughby safe. You know what they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions? In this episode Gene finally cannot deny the fact that he sold his soul to the devil when he got in league with the Patriots…and it seems to be far too late to walk away.
To protect Rachel, Gene tells Truman and Horn the truth about Aaron, and even though he was willing to help Aaron before, now it just looks like he may have intended to give Aaron up the whole time when his duplicity is found out by Miles and Rachel. Rachel is devastated about her father. But luckily, since Miles knows a guilty and desperate look when he sees one they are able to get Aaron and Cynthia out with plan b. The Patriots are ready at the sewer opening, however, so a still ailing Bass, although still quite lethal, isn’t at full strength and Aaron needs to use his super power to set some of the Patriot soldiers on fire.
Bass is fascinated about this power that Aaron has. Cynthia is not. Cynthia seems to be a smart cookie–I’m thinking she put two and two together and realized how her late husband became all extra crispy.
An interesting observation that I found interesting in an observational way involved a line in the Men of Letters bunker a couple weeks ago on Supernatural…Sam commenting about how he didn’t really see the bunker as home. In this week’s episode of Revolution, Aaron apologizes for making Cynthia leave Willoughby because he knew it was her home, yada yada yada…Cynthia states: “No Aaron, wherever we go, you and me, that’s home.”
YOU NOTICE ONLY NOW, ON ANOTHER SHOW, THAT SOMETIMES YOU NEED A WOMAN TO SPELL THINGS OUT FOR HARD HEADED EMOTIONALLY ANOREXIC MEN, KRIPKE.
“But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you
not even close
not even a little bit
not even at all”
I mentioned before that I am pretty sure that David Lyons could have excellent chemistry in a scene with a toaster, and this week’s episode pretty much proved that. I’m sure a toaster is way easier to act with than a boot and a pencil. I really loved his scene where Miles was reflective surfacing in morse code out to Bass and Bass was talky answering. With Miles quite a distance away. “No Miles, I’m not fine. I’m hungry.” and then when he gets that they are sending Aaron and Cynthia out and he needs to get them, Bass’s exasperated “You’ve got to be kidding me.” was great.
Zeljko Ivanek was an uber creepy Dr. Horn! I remember when he was Roland in that episode of the X Files. He was brilliant then, too. And what did Dr. Horn put in the water? It seemed like salt, but salt water isn’t really drinkable…unless he is something else. This does have some extra-ordinary supernatural elements, so I will have to check back with you on that one. I really loved his line when he asked if Aaron was Jesus. “Let’s assume for argument’s sake that he’s not Jesus.”
I never know what to think with Tom Neville. He is fiercely devoted to his son…it seems…everyone else is a pawn he uses to get what he wants. The question is, what exactly is his plan now? He seems to have brought Jason back from his Hitler youth on meth ways…I was a bit put out he didn’t have to Temple of Doom Jason. But maybe little Neville has a bit of dad’s ability to deceive. I’m not entirely convinced that Jason is ok yet. What does Tom have planned for Justine?
Let me know what you thought of the episodes and how you think this season is shaping up! The screen caps for “Dead Man Walking” were from http://grandecaps.tumblr.com . The screen caps for The Patriot Act are mine.