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Revolution - 1x04 The Plague Dogs - Recap/Speculation

This week’s episode starts us off with Charlie trying to out run a militia member, in which she stole his back pack full of rations, which seemed to be scheme to allow Miles to get him by surprise so he could be interrogated, in which the man reveals Danny and Neville only about a day away in Nobelsville! Charlie, Nora, and Miles move on, but not with out Miles lashing out at Charlie again. Soon they meet up in Lowell, Indiana with Aaron and Maggie, whom seems so happy to have found Charlie again, but soon the reunion is interrupted by a pack of especially ferocious dogs! They try to escape by climbing over a fence, but a dog grabs onto Aaron’s leg and Maggie in turns shoots the dog with the cross bow so Aaron can get free. We see there is a man behind these vicious dogs…

 The group continues on, which leads to confrontation with Miles and Nate, as Nate is still following them, -But before we know it, the dogs come again hot on their trail. Everyone makes is inside a restaurant across the street, accept Maggie, who gets into a fight with the dogs’ owner, as he tells her, you killed one of my dogs! In the processes of trying to get away from him, she gets stabbed in her upper thigh. The man flees as Miles comes to her rescue. In the mean time they tie up Nate.

 Charlie and Miles try and help stitch up Maggie while Miles and Nora go look for Maggie’s attacker. Maggie tries to give them instructions to help stitch her up, but Charlie is suddenly attacked by the crazy dog man and taken to near by facility. Miles and Nora come back and find out she’s been taken. Miles decides he needs Nate’s help and they set out to track the man, leaving Aaron and Nora to attend to Maggie.

 The man ties Charlie up and starts to rig a cross bow so it executes the trigger if anyone should walk in the door. Charlie tries to get him to talk and he tells her a story about how he tried to save his daughter, but she eventually tied of tetanus anyways and then asks if she would like to stick around and keep him company, in which she grotesquely responds, and he proceeds to finish rigging the cross bow.

 Soon Miles and Nate catch up, and the man engages in battle with Nate, who gets knocked out. Miles injures the man and Nate recovers, as they both continue looking for Charlie, who is trying to scream though the masking tape, as she is freaking out that Miles didn't know about the bow. When Miles walks in she loosened a screw of her chair loose enough so that she could out of the way of the launched arrow.

 When they get back to Maggie, she and Charlie have a special moment, as Maggie reveals she is going to die, because she lost too much blood. The two commemorate that Maggie really served as a mother figure for a time, as Maggie has been flashing back to the times she came to America before the black out, trying to find her way back home after the black out, meeting Ben, and just remembering one of the last time she was with her kids.

 In the meantime other parts of the episode focused on Danny and Neville, as Danny suggested to Neville they stop and seek shelter because he senses a bad storm is coming. Neville initially shrugs it off, until finally he see’s this is Tornadic weather! They take shelter in some old farm and once again Danny escapes right as the tornado touches down, but the fierce Neville comes out and tackles him to the ground and takes him in the basement of a farm house. The two engage in conversation, as Neville explains he likes Danny and reminds him of his own son. Danny is somewhat shocked over the prospect that Neville could be a father… Eventually the floor above them collapses and Neville’s is pinned under several floor boards and beams. Danny almost leaves him behind, until Neville convinces him that Ben wouldn’t do that, and that Danny claims to be a good man like his father, so he shouldn’t leave Neville behind. Danny caves in and Neville takes him captive again, explaining how valuable Danny is and how he can’t afford to let Danny escape.

 Other scenes deal with Rachel and Monroe, as he sends in one of his men to more physically interrogate her with a tool kit. Monroe later threatens that if Rachel doesn't start talking and giving him the information he seeks, that Danny is going to get his teeth pulled when he arrives, as means to his next interrogation method. This was all contrasted to a flash back where Rachel left Ben and the kids behind only to make a deal in which she met up with Miles. It goes along with the Maggie flashbacks, as it sets up a story about what kind of mother Rachel really is in contrast to her daughter, and ultimately in contrast to Charlie being raised by Maggie, as the difference is that Maggie didn't intentionally leave her own children behind and tried to make up for it by looking after others.

 The Plague Dogs: Is the third novel by author Richard Adams. It’s the story of the escape of two dogs from a testing facility in which the government and media seek to track them down, as it is speculated the dog’s carried a bio-weapon, the Bubonic plague! It relates to our episode, as dogs hunt down our characters and literally brings death to one of them, while also the owner of the dogs tells a story about how he lost his daughter to the disease, tetanus. Additionally Miles is also the one that the Militia really wants and the episode started weighing the pros and cons of if Miles helping Charlie is really beneficial to her. It may also suggest that these dogs were created on behalf of governmental experimentation, or that we may have some character’s that turn out to be. But given all the previous Stephen King references to “The Stand”, a type of virus seems a likely prospect…and maybe Aaron will need to watch his leg.-But more over the aggression of the dogs almost seems similar to the aggression of some of the militia members and thugs we have run into recently and right after the back out…perhaps this extreme “aggression” is a part of a viral disease???

Wizard Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The general title when discussing Frank L. Baum’s turn of the 20th century series of children’s fantasy novels about Dorothy Gale leaving her small farming community of Kansas, to be swept away by tornado to another enchanting land, and was famously made into 1939 film staring Judy Garland and considered to be a classic, was heavily referenced in this episode. Maggie really became family to Charlie some time after her mother left. To Charlie, Maggie was like her Auntie Em (or Auntie “M“), but through out the episode we also see that Maggie had been like Dorothy trying to find her way home in this strange new land she discovered being stuck in America after the black out. The irony is this was the book Maggie had read to her two young boys, which she continued to carry with her on her journey, making her much like Charlie, as both carry sentimental objects and as they both had been searching for home, or really a way back to their family. Additionally the episode also featured a full fledged tornado mildly paralleling the film, as Neville and Danny take shelter in an old basement, -the kind you can get to from a side of the house.

My Quick Review:
This episode was even better than last weeks in terms of character story, music editing, filming style, and performances. I really enjoyed the scene with Danny and Neville this time and of course Anna Lisa Philips’ Maggie was great in every scene, which brings to the fact that they killed off such a likable character so soon. It seems the moment Andrea Roth was replaced by Elizabeth Mitchell, Ana Lisa Philips status as a series regular quickly dropped to reoccurring and was said her character was to be written out early in the season. I feel like this was a big mistake. The character was complicated for only being in a few episodes. She had a dark underbelly, a unique sense of humor, and professional skills that would have been an asset to our team. Additionally as a character that is foreigner, has the capacity to give us an outside looking in perspective, or a bridge to widen the scope of the series at some point. So for now I feel it’s shame that she’s been killed off, although I don’t recall seeing them bury her…let alone did any of them take her pulse?
At any rate I hope her children didn't die and that we meet them later in series.

On another note, although their performances are much better, the continuous arguing in every episode with Charlie and Miles really needs to come to a stop. I think most of us understand that Miles is a torn and broken person and that Charlie is a little too pushy for her lack of experience, despite they both have great fighting skills. But this debate between them can not sustain the plot of the season. We need to start getting to point where who they are becomes more definitive and to a place and/or a cause where those identities can start to thrive, even if there are still monkey wrenches down the road. Same goes with Captain Neville and Danny, it would be nice to start seeing them interact with more people.

 The flashbacks however were also greatly improved. It’s nice to have more than one character centric flashbacks that also isn't limited by a specific time or place. In this case it allowed for a thematic aspect of motherhood to shine on us, as two women one knowingly and one not, become separated from their families, but one is able to find another for a while, when the other women seems to be sacrificing herself in the name of her family, but again we see that Miles was somewhat in charge of causing the separation in his own family.

 The character development is greatly improved as we’re set up with situations that show us how any of them would react to it. But the mythology and story itself seems like it’s on the back burner. Two episodes have gone by and we don’t know what happened with Randall and Grace, Danny keeps escaping and getting recaught, and Miles and Charlie keep having arguments, as they each take turns in being taken by brutal men, Nate is still a mystery and really hasn't progressed, but there is a lack of a bigger quest, or a reason outside saving Danny that also hasn't been presented yet, and I am hoping by episode 10 we might be beyond these things….

Additionally I noticed that the militia guy chasing Charlie, who Miles interrogated in the opening scene had some "Monroe Republic" manufactured can goods, suggesting the Monroe Republic either had prepared for this situation, or that they can manufacture good (electricity). -I am guessing the first one.

 On one last thought it seems that it’s becoming thematic that Charlie consoles people right before they die and perhaps plays into a type of supernatural ability, or deep sixth sense that kind of goes with something like shamanism or spiritual healer.

 The Bad Robot Factor: 

 Maggie seemed to juxtaposition Lost’s Naomi Dorrit in one of the ways I thought. These two British female characters who carry and  can only use their [satellite] phones in specific locations both die to brutal fatal wounds of others. The difference between them is the Naomi Dorrit was seemingly bad as she posed a military threat to the main cast and the Island itself, where Maggie so far has poses no malicious intent towards good-sided characters and was genuine in caring for others. But another Juxtaposition also comes with a contrast to Jack Sheppherd, as both characters are doctors, and both don’t die alone, but rather the use of dogs in relation to their deaths is opposite, as Jack dies with Lost’s beloved Vincent, and Maggie dies at the expense of killing one of an angry man’s aggressive dogs, but both character’s play a role, although Jack’s is secondary, in terms of help saving people named Aaron, who are both thought to be special. The number 23 appeared on Maggie’s phone when it momentarily turned on, another sign that her character might be in a near death or actual death situation, as this was Jack’s candidate number.

 The series has yet to actually show us anything directly relating to a virus, but the references to The Stand and The Plague Dogs seem to hint that dealing with a deathly virus or bio-chemical weapon is on the horizon. Viruses/Bio-Chemical weapons are something that are often explored in Bad Robot works from various Fringe episodes like “What Lies Below”, where Peter becomes infected, to the Dharma bio-chemical stations The Tempest on the Island used to in act purges on Lost (which is mirrored with the Observers on Fringe in both 2026 and seemingly in 2609 with their carbon dioxide poisoning), To Alias’ large scale Muller Devise that was once used to makes people terribly angry, to the effects of various kinds of electromagnetic/nuclear radiation , seems likely we will be exploring it once again.

 The Wizard of Oz is then another reference that is shared by other Bad Robot shows. In Lost we have episode titles, "There’s No Place Like Home", "The Man Behind the Curtain,  Mrs. Hawking’s warning to Desmond about futuristic visions of people’s deaths can’t be changed where we witness a young man in a pair red converse being killed at a construction site, to Peter Bishop trying to find his way back home in season 4, only to bring Olivia forward and realize that home is where the heart is, along with an episode featuring a modern version of the song “If I only had a brain”, as the Walter’s memory losses reflect the Scarecrow and Peter trying to find his heart alluded to in “Brown Betty” peg him as a the tin woodsman, and who also makes comments about flying monkeys to Lincoln Lee also at the beginning of season 4, to a Felicity character Alaina meeting her season one love interest, Blare, at a Halloween party who was dressed as the tin woodsman all share a common thread about family and going on a great journey. But in all of those other works, multiple realities are also presented…During the pilot of Revolution Neville’s sun glasses and coat made me think of the Matrix (something that is also referenced on Fringe), and it made me think that this thing with the electricity could play to the idea of multiple reality in some larger way, then just epic adventure from past to present…what if our character’s are in a kind of matrix?

Maggie also goes to the City of Boston which where the the Fringe team in the blue sided universes are located.

 Charlie being tied to chair, threatened by a weapon, and Monroe’s threatening to remove teeth may also reference Alias and by extension to Mission Impossible III.

 Also the dogs gnawing away (also) at night on the deer is similar to the 815-ers hearing the boar in the fuselage.

 Another juxtaposition might be when Danny predicts and warns Neville and the militia officers of the storm, is opposite to when John Locke predicted it was going rain while with Boone, as Neville was trying to relate to Danny in this episode by suggesting he was a father figure.

Lastly, Danny’s appearance in the episode is much like Lost’s Jacob and his ability to predict the storm almost suggests something supernatural or highly intuitive in nature.

But really with the way Danny and Charlie behave it’s like watching Shannon and Boone’s children discovering they have special powers, but just don’t know how to apply them…ok, that was just a little joke (:   -Maybe one day we'll be able to think of them as Masters of the Universe!

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