Remember When …
The second episode of NBC’s new genre show, Revolution, builds nicely from the pilot, giving the audience glimpses into not only the current state of affairs, but how they got that way. Through well-placed and well-executed flashbacks, we are given flashes of understanding regarding Charlie and her devotion to her younger brother, Danny, and the events that have shaped her in this post-electricity world.
But what Chained Heat perhaps does best is advance our understanding of these core characters through unyielding action. We’re not told that Charlie is tough or clever, we’re shown through her actions—faking an injury to take an enemy by surprise; sacrificing her safety and maybe a portion of her innocence to kill a slaver. And it’s not just Charlie. Miles, Danny and Monroe are all further revealed in this episode.
What Revolution has done a good job with thus far is Charlie’s characterization. It would be easy to believe she would have grown up and grown hard; easier still to believe she would have grown up sheltered and insanely naïve. But maybe the hardest thought to swallow is that she’s grown up and retained her humanity, when so many around her have not. However, Kripke walks the fine line between innocent and tough incredibly well. He’s proven he can do it after five seasons on Supernatural, but it is perhaps more satisfying in this context, when Charlie is continuously confronted with the horrors of the world and yet still believes there is a right and a wrong and even more importantly, that the two sides still matter. It’s Charlie’s capacity to understand that while right and wrong do exist, they are not easily delineated by black and white, but muddled with gray that is truly remarkable.
About three-quarters of the way through the show, we’re given a hint as to why she is so comfortable operating in this gray world. While her father can’t shoot a man as he tried to abscond with their food, Charlie’s mother, Rachel, has no problem doing so. When you are exposed at such a young age to that type of moral complexity, it’s easy to see why Charlie gets it.
Of course, the other important character on this journey is Uncle Miles, who is as uncomfortable with Charlie’s unwavering belief in right and wrong as he is inspired by it. While it could be considered trite to have the hardened, embattled Miles swayed by his niece’s sweet innocence, there is something real and believable in watching Billy Burke (Miles) and Tracy Spiridakos (Charlie) agree to disagree on these moral issues. I believe that Kripke can maintain this delicate balance between belief and banal. The few scenes between Miles and Charlie in the first two episodes have already far exceeded my expectations.
There are other revelations in the episode that I hate to spoil, but similar to the final scene of the pilot, they propel you to tune in next week. As one of the first new genre shows of the season to premiere, Revolution is making a strong showing for itself, giving use characters to root for, stories to follow and intrigue to discuss around the water cooler. Kind of makes me long to keep them all in the dark.