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Reviewing Revolution can become a tedious task; week after week the show becomes even more frustrating to watch, repeating the same plot points and obstacles, refusing to let the story progress at a tolerable pace, and employing some seriously clichéd writing, among other things. Still, each week the series manages to do the absolute minimum to generate interest and intrigue for the story to keep audiences coming back. I’ve complained about the narrative’s overall lack of direction, specifically the storyline regarding Miles and the rebels. Every episode has had, essentially, the same structure, that of a "crisis of the week" storyline, in which Miles would eventually emerge victorious and our faith in him would be restored and reinvigorated while perhaps something interesting would be revealed about the mythology of the show. Though the conflicts in which the characters have found themselves in have varied slightly week to week, they never contributed much to overall plot development, making for a very repetitive and dull series of episodes.
“Clue,” more than any other episode in this run, is incredibly unsatisfying and feels like a complete waste of time: there is no real plot development, hardly any mythology, and not even an attempt at a slightly interesting flashback story. Admittedly, this episode is probably no worse than the previous hours of Revolution, but the fact that there are only two episodes left in the season makes it a particularly annoying case. Because of this episode's proximity to the season finale, the stagnancy of the storyline feels as if the writers are just jerking us around, instead of building up interesting conflicts to be explored in the closing episodes, the writers have stalled, as if they are saving up their good ideas for the very end. The episode starts off on a promising note; I appreciate the fact that the writers' willingness to speed up Nora’s time in captivity, because let’s face it, there has been hardly any material provided for us to make a strong emotional connection with the character and really become invested in her well being. So what if she dies? Will the drama of the show be significantly affected? Miles will probably get depressed for a while, but will eventually snap out of it because there is a war to be won, people to protect, etc. We have been made aware of the characters that would actually be useful in making important narrative shifts, and Nora is not one of them. She has been relegated to the background since the hiatus and the few moments in which she has emerged as a somewhat important character, the writers have essentially reduced her to an uninteresting romantic foil to Miles and now a damsel in distress. Nora is probably the most expendable of the characters and if we are to expect a "shocking death" in the finale, my money is on Nora biting it.
Since Nora has hardly made much of an impression during this half of the season (not Daniella Alonso’s fault; the writers have seriously underutilized her) and there is only so much drama to create out of someone being repeatedly tortured, I like the fast paced way they move through the days (with the title cards showing the increase in days each time); it was an effective device in order to communicate the grim, harsh conditions as well as Nora’s debilitating mental state. Even Monroe is appropriately threatening and villain-y, still drenched in melodrama, but convincingly evil. His scene with Randall is one of the better ones in the episode, the power play between them is turning unexpectedly in Monroe’s favor, Randall seems scared while he's being confronted and panics when Monroe’s ruthlessness makes an appearance. It is a complete shift from how he's previously acted, so steely and unshaken; Randall always seemed to be in control, manipulating Monroe to get what he wants. But things come to a head and Monroe is not having any of his B.S. Monroe’s “I don’t like you,” outburst is really great and shows him finally gaining the upper hand in this relationship.
The first act sets such a rapid and swift pace that one would expect the rest of the episode to adopt the same approach, but instead it goes in an entirely different direction. As the episode begins to focus on Miles and the rest of the group making their way to Colorado, the writers thought it was a good idea to put ground the narrative to a halt and play a game of Clue, letting down all hopes for a progression of the story and therefore an interesting episode. With Aaron and Rachel waiting until dark to fulfill their plan, the majority of the hour deals with Miles’ deserved paranoia and his search for the traitor in their group. Surprise, surprise, it is not Nora with a candlestick in the library; it is not Jason with the dagger in the study; instead it's Jim Hudson, with his Maryland engraved (that could only be traced back to him) knife all over the damn place. Why would he do such a thing? The writers can't possibly reuse the old, “my family is being held captive” trope in order to justify another character’s dishonorable actions. Ugh. Why, writers, why?! It would have been much more interesting if it had been Nora unknowingly committing the horrible murders; at least that would have introduced interesting character conflict and drama within the group and Nora’s psyche. But the writers shied away from committing to such a potentially troublesome story and went with the predictable, less controversial and uninspired conclusion.
Once more, the episode ends with a cliffhanger that is successful in creating anticipation for next week. Rachel and Aaron are pretty much afterthoughts this hour, but as Miles nears Colorado and the group moves towards a reunion, they will probably have more prominent roles in the next two episodes. Still, Rachel is able to make use of her sociopathic badassery and brutally strangle a militia dude in order to sneak into Monroe’s tent. While she seems determined to blow his ass up, I’m sure the writers will be able to contrive their way out of killing two main characters before the season finale. Nevertheless that closing scene with Rachel threateningly popping off the grenade cap is well executed and builds the appropriate tension in anticipation of next week’s episode.
-- For an episode that weighs so heavily on the theme/idea of paranoia, its funny that Monroe, who has been the most irrationally paranoid character in the series, lets go of his anxiety, right at the moment when he should probably be at his most alert. Rachel is able to stroll nonchalantly into the General’s tent way too easily.
-- I think it's interesting that we get a glimpse of Miles in this very Bass-like paranoid state, drawing parallels between the two characters and showing how alike they can be.
-- We get a tiny glimpse into what the hell is in the tower. Watching the people watch the monitors in the underground bunker definitely gives me some Lost hatch feelings, but also brings up many questions about the tower and who is really in control. Are they all stuck down there in level 12, or hiding away?
-- Not enough Neville is the episode, but his little moments sprinkled in the hour are great. “She wants a representative on this stupid ass mission of yours. I ride shotgun.” Ha. Delivered perfectly with an amused grin.
-- Despite the disappointing premise and storyline, Billy Burke does a good job with the material this week and carries off Miles’ inner conflict well.
-- Charlie being afraid to fly is mildly amusing. Tracy Spiridakos manages to have some charisma and charm, or she’s just growing on me.