Revolution “Ties That Bind” Review

Revolution title card
Spoilers for Revolution below

Last week Revolution managed to rise above the mediocrity it seemed content with providing us. While a single good episode wasn’t enough to sway my apathy towards the show, it was nice to break up the monotony. “Ties That Bind” stands to keep the series moving forward out of the rut it was stuck in. Unfortunately, even though it was teased that we would find the mysterious reason for the blackout in this episode, it’s not even touched on. Way to go NBC.

I can’t even say this episode entertained me as much as last week’s. Maybe it’s because I’m used to watching such brilliant shows like The Wire or The Shield, where even though certain episodes may not focus on the plot, they actually seem to progress in some way. The very first episode set up the blackout and the search for Danny, guess which one is the actual point of the show as a whole? We’ve been chasing after Danny for the entire run of the show and they’ve progressed the blackout plot so much further, so why are we even going after Danny anyway?

Revolution has set up such a complex world for it to reside in, yet it doesn’t explain any of it. Shows like Firefly could get away with not explaining their setting as much because they focused on characters and those characters’ motivations did not depend on the universe. In Revolution, without a clear understanding as to the way the world works, there’s really no clear motivation for any of the characters beyond the flat portrayals we see. No power = no government, so Monroe control because he bad, grrr. Charlie love brother, chase him, fight bad guys. Miles is badass, was bad guy, now good, swords and Assassin’s Creed style, wait for turn to get stabbed fighting.

Grace in "Ties that Bind" Revolution
Gotta love the last 5 minutes that actually impact the plot each week

“Ties That Bind” introduced a new subvillain and Nora’s sister, both were essentially ‘used up’ in this episode but will probably return in a future one because, hey, we’ve seen that character before (only if Revolution even gets to air a full season, not to mention a second). The episode itself had some good moments, but it failed to deliver on its actual goal. The gang has to cross a river to get into Philadelphia to rescue Danny and it takes them an entire episode to do so. The flashbacks we’re ‘treated’ to this week are incredibly pointless and only serve to make Nora’s sister’s betrayal more meaningful without actually doing so.

I feel like since Grace gave up Danny way back in either the first or second episode, every incidental character introduced ends up betraying the gang if they’re supposed to be a friend or becoming a friend if they’re supposed to be an enemy. What actually seems to happen this week is that the pendant is stolen and turned over by Nora’s evil sister, landing it firmly in Monroe’s hands. Neville gives up another man’s son to save his own from banishment to California (the only time that will ever be a punishment for anyone) and his wife wants him to lead some sort of coup and be leader. The gang goes for a swim and Grace and Randall can track all of the pendants with computer.

Why didn’t the gang just swim across the river in the first place? Why don’t Grace and Randall just get all of the pendants and tell Monroe to eat a dick? How many former colleagues is Miles going to run into and fight? Revolution is never going to answer these questions and if ABC cancelling Last Resort and NBC’s history are any indication, I doubt this show is going to last beyond its initial order. As much as I enjoy droning on every week about how mundane Revolution is for you, I’m secretly hoping for the announcement that it’s cancelled so I can put it to rest and find a new batch of shows to focus on. Until then, might I recommend American Horror Story or Tron: Uprising as excellent, not cancelled shows for your viewing pleasure?