Is it possible to survive another devastating attack and not lose your sanity in the process? That's part of the premise behind the new season of NBC's "Revolution," which showcased a group of survivors who dealt with another major tragedy in their own different ways. The results seemed to be exciting as a whole, but the show's muddled execution might derail the second season before it truly got off the ground.
"Revolution" followed how a group of various survivors were still affected by the nuclear strikes that decimated Atlanta and Philadelphia, even though six months have gone by. Captain Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) and his son Jason (JD Pardo) were eager to get close to those responsible for the nuclear attack, which could be the President of the United States. Neville had to find a way to exact revenge for his wife's death in the Atlanta attack, but it had to be a slow process to make sure that everyone got punished. Rachel Matheson (Elizabeth Mitchell) fell apart after her plan to destroy Sebastian Monroe (David Lyons) led to the deaths of many more instead. Rachel's sanity was destroyed by her obsession to figure out how she couldn't anticipate the nuclear threat before the damage was done. Luckily, her brother-in-law Miles Matheson (Billy Burke) who took her to see her father Dr. Gene Porter (Stephen Collins) to provide a safe haven for everyone, including family friend Aaron Pittman (Zak Orth). Sadly, Miles wasn't able to keep his niece Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) from running away to go on her own quest for vengeance that placed Monroe in her sights. She just has to find a way to get close enough without getting exposed too soon. Will she be able to kill Monroe, or will she die trying?
In terms of questions, the show's premiere posed quite a few big ones that won't be answered anytime soon. The biggest one happened towards the end of the premiere where one character, who seemingly met his maker, came back from the dead for reasons unknown. The premiere proved some hints that Miles, Rachel, Charlie and Aaron were somehow connected to everything that's happened since the power was briefly turned back on. The show proved possible hints that this was possible through the repeated sightings of fireflies that only increased with each shocking moment. It was hard to say whether the fireflies brought good or bad luck because danger always seemed to be close at hand whenever they were around. They circled one particular character in the premiere just before a major event happened and they could come back at any given moment. Overall, the season premiere provided enough material that should last throughout the season, but it was hard to make out what story the show was trying to tell this time around. There were too many variables that haven't been fleshed out as of yet, such as who the main villain was going to be since Lyons' Monroe was no longer in charge. All signs point to the unseen President as the man pulling the strings, but viewers won't be able to know until the role has been cast. The show was also eager to explore the illicit connection between Mitchell's Rachel and Burke's Miles, even though it was hard to root for a pair when viewers didn't fully understand why they should. It also didn't help that Spiridakos' storyline lost a lot of steam after Charlie's brother was unexpectedly killed off. Let's hope that the writers will give her character a new purpose this season that made sense for both the show and the character. Hopefully, future episodes will help to connect the rest of the cast before they get too fractured in too many separate storylines.
As for breakout performances, Burke and Esposito led the pack as their characters managed to drive stories by providing the right amount of action and humor. Burke presented Miles as the perfect anti-hero who made his share of mistakes, but he still had a moral compass that made him want to protect his family no matter what. He reflected Miles' guilt and frustration without having to say a word. He just expressed his feelings in his eyes whenever the character was told that he was bad for his family. Burke's most memorable scene came from the premiere when he kept flashing back to burning down a shack with blood on his hands. He had a look of horror on his face that truly made viewers convinced that he felt horrible for what he did, even if it was necessary to kill someone. Burke's Miles was also an ideal leading character on the show, because he was allowed to provide viewers with moments of levity whenever it was needed. Esposito, on the other hand, had the challenging task of making the complex Tom someone that viewers should want to watch and fear at the same time. He managed to make Tom's simplest actions seem sinister, intentional or otherwise. Whenever Esposito had a smile on his face, viewers knew to expect the unexpected. Esposito's most memorable scene came towards the end of the premiere when he revealed to his son that he planned to destroy those responsible for harming his wife. Only time will tell if Tom's plan will come true, but Esposito will sure make it interesting to watch.
"Revolution" premiered on September 25th and airs Wednesdays at 8:00 pm on NBC.
Verdict: The cast is making effort to tell a complicated that wasn't fully fleshed out in the premiere, but the episode definitely indicated that trouble was coming sooner rather than later.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)