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Revolution - 1x05 Soul Train - Recap/Speculation

Captain Neville is need of a punching a bag, as he forces his lower ranking militia members to take punches at him, but suffice to say that they didn’t satisfy his needs in which he then turns to Danny for accommodation. Danny is uncuffed and provoked into the confrontation. He takes one really good swing, hitting Neville hard, but ultimately is just the excuse Neville needs to unleash his inner demons. Danny takes several blows with Neville holding onto to back of his neck until he is on his knees.

 This week our story takes us to Nobelsville, Indiana where tracks have been laid for a steam powered train that is about ready to become operational! Prior to making it to Nobelsville, Miles again tries to instill realistic prospects that sitting around mourning for Maggie isn't going to help them get Danny back. Miles and gang are surprised by the train, but assume that Danny is going to be on it. The group finds a place to hide out, while they devise a plan. Miles, Nora, and Charlie decide to get the lay of land to see if they can find Danny and information about when the train is leaving, or if there are rebel allies in town, while Aaron is left to watch Nate.

 Nora finds another resistance member, Ken “Hutch” Hutchison and through Nora’s persuasion decide that they are going to blow up the train and take out a lot of militia. Charlie had been outside some store front when Captain Neville sees and approaches her.. He warmly asks what she was doing, making an accusation that it looks like she is casing the joint. Charlie cleverly and naturally responds that she is spying on her boyfriend, who is talking to another girl across the street. Neville anxious to turn around is interrupted by Charlie, who shows him how she had been using the window’s reflection to spy on him. He introduces himself and asks for her name, in which she gives an alias, and then proceeds to leave, but not before he tells her that her boyfriend would be a fool if he wouldn't stay with her. He then walks across the street and Charlie anxious to find Danny follows.

 Not before long Charlie is lured into a very small space where Neville attacks her, but isn’t alone, as Miles intervenes. Miles and Neville begin to fight and Neville figures out who Charlie really is. The two continue on in a fairly entertaining battle, until more Militia arrive on the scene, where Miles just flips Neville over his should and slams him to the ground. Miles and Charlie make their escape!

On their way back to Aaron, Miles again lectures Charlie on the dangers of Tom Neville and Charlie asks him what happened to the Uncle Miles she once knew, the one who used to sing at the top of his lungs just to make her laugh, and he tells her he is dead. Meanwhile Nate was able to acquire Aaron’s medallion and Aaron lied, saying that it was his wife’s and to please give it back. Nate slowly does. Nora comes barging in explaining she’s going to go blow up the train and leaves again. Miles and Charlie also finally comes back and they know Danny must be here and that he most likely will be on the train. Aaron then gives them the bad news about the bomb. Charlie tries to get Nate to tell them where Neville is and he says he’s sorry, but he can’t. Miles proceeds to engage in a fight with him, but Nate is able to get away rather easily. The three set out to find Danny.

Miles had figured out where they might be holding Danny, but by the time they arrive it’s too late. The train is about to leave much sooner than originally planned. Nora talks with Hutch shortly after planting the bomb, as she sees Danny and Neville on the train. She pleads to Hutch that she had made a mistake and that she can’t do this after all. Hutch declines her request and says he has to do it for his wife and stabs his dagger into her side and leaves her behind. Miles, Charlie, and Aaron come upon an injured Nora, who tells Miles where the bomb is and that she is sorry.

The train has begun to leave the station. Miles sees some horses standing round unattended and he and Charlie ride them to catch up the train and climb aboard! Miles goes of to take care of the bomb and tell Charlie to look for Danny. Charlie finds Danny and they smile to each other that is furthered with conformation that they have to take out Neville. Danny lunges at him and holds him down to the floor, but it takes Charlie a little too long before she can get in, as Neville turns the table on Danny thinking he knocked him out. She too lunges at Neville, who is able to get her in a choke hold, but Danny quickly rises to grab an oil lamp and smashes it over Neville’s head. The both break free past him with Charlie leading, but Nate enters the train car and grabs a hold of Charlie, while Neville grabs Danny and holds a gun to his head. Neville tells Nate to give Charlie over so he can kill her, But Nate tells Charlie to cover her head and instead tosses her out the train car. Neville is left a bit furious. Meanwhile Miles deals with a militia member, but is able to get rid of the bomb. He saw Charlie was thrown from the train, as Nate engages him with more Militia. Miles jumps from the train too. Charlie catches up with them.

 We come to see the train pull into Philadelphia. It’s revealed that Nate Walker is really Jason Neville, Neville’s son who saw as a child in Neville’s flashbacks through out the episode. The two men are greeted by Neville’s wife and Jason’s mother, but an unspoken confrontation clearly exists between father and son, as Jason failed a direct order. Rachel also sees the train pull in with her son noticeably not in great shape, and caves into telling Bass that she and her husband were working for the department of defense and draws him the diagram of one of 12 medallions needed to turn the power on….

 The last scene shows Miles trying to be more sentimental to appease Charlie’s former accusations, but Charlie seemingly hardened by her experience, tells him that he was right and that she can’t afford to do this and is ready to move onto Philadelphia. She asks them each if they are all going with her and they all say yes as they walk on into the wilderness together.

 My Review:
This week I felt “Soul” Train” was a big step down from the progress made in the previous episode, "The Plague Dogs". I find that we keep repeating very similar circumstances, with very similar dialogue, with scenes that feature the same set/pairs of characters. The scenes themselves are often fantastic scenes, have become well acted, and tend to be powerful scenes, but because they are so repetitive and ultimately wasting time on not introducing other things, they are taking away from new story leading to possible character and mythology progressions. It’s almost as if every episode resets the characters back to they way they were presented towards the middle and end of the Pilot. But that’s not to say that there weren't some new exchanges made with characters who had yet to have scenes together.

 Another possible problem then is that the writers and producers have tried very hard to advertise the series as a positive adventurous revival story about hope leading the way to a brighter and better future. Many fans have commented on the lack of a realist perspective on many topics dealing with the ways of life with these people, but I for one don’t have a problem with that since I can value coming at it from a different perspective, and because we don’t actually know what caused the black out in order to actually be able to speculate what realism actually is in this universe. However, fans keep coming back to these issues and how could they not. Even for those of us who can get on board with an Utopian revival story have yet to see it take fruition. Almost every episode doesn't let the allegedly good sided characters win. Charlie and Miles disagree about almost everything, even going back on former beliefs that were stated in previous episodes, Maggie, a very likable character, was killed so early and in a pretty dismal way, Danny keeps getting brown beaten by Neville and never actually gets freed, Rachel is rather passive when dealing with Monroe, And even in this episode, there wouldn't have to be lives to be saved on the train hadn't Nora chosen a poor revengeful course of action to begin with.

 It makes the philosophy more along the lines of what Ayn Rand called her own beliefs of Romantic Realism. In fact Soul Train almost seems like a page has taken from Atlas Shrugged. IMO this philosophy under minds all other hopeful philosophy as it chronicles and almost celebrates the misadventures of humanity in way where “every man for themselves” is always acceptable.

 On one hand for Neville’s story this could have been an acceptable approach to changing a romantic realists perspective had any of the good characters did something to really thwart his plans or emotionally move him, but they didn't  In fact I found the plot of the bomb on the train to be weak on the human condition front, not just because Neville and Danny still get a way, but the sequence and logic for what the characters do on the train doesn't equivocate logical reasoning or gives them a real leg up. It would have been a nice touch to go back to those great western genre films where train cars get separated. There could have been and act to almost have Danny back, but instead of getting Charlie and Miles off the train, found a clever escape root for Danny and Neville would have provided a more fun feel, going along the lines of we we’re so close, but don’t worry, we’ll get ‘em next time! Instead the audience feels a sense of loss, as Charlie denied Miles compromise to show sentimentality and because we end with the train pulling into Philadelphia, having Rachel reveal some truth about the medallions to Bass. So unless things dramatically change over the course of the season, it’s intended concepts seem to be lost in world of contradictions which would defeat it’s own purpose.

 Positive notes go to the cinematography. There were some very nice shots. It’s another reason I will stick with the series.

 Neville’s flashbacks were also compelling, but it might have been more so, if Neville’s reasoning would have been challenged to point where he acted in some way different towards people he had yet to, instead of following suit. It was nice to have Kim Raver guest star. It will be interesting to see if she has any kind of influence over Neville and/or if she could be a kind of lynch pin for his character down the road. The twist with Nate, or should I say Jason, was a good one. We need to get to places where these other relationships that we haven’t seen take a stronger role in developing these characters.

 The train itself could have been a good idea. I see many fans discussing the “how” could one get a train on the tracks and of course it’s the same method as any train put on a track, or even taken into or out of a museum, you would have to assemble to disassemble to reassemble it.. These thematically would go with the pun of Revolution’s concept of going back to re-evolve, but because there was no mentioning or showing of reconstructing this train and it’s tracks, the symbolism looses it’s meaning in being an iconic vessel, a staple note of human progress or digress., that could further play to the soul of humanity of our visions, dreams, and wills.

But lastly Rachel's drawing of the medallion(s) may shed some kind nice metaphorical/literal insights... The inner design is like a molecule or particle of matter "dropping" into space at a very fast speed (the speed of light). If any one has ever seen the time machine (and what it looks like when initiated in use) in the sci-fi film Contact, you may more easily understand what I mean. But the outside shape is a tear-shape, and it may play to the idea of humanities ability to be able to cry and show REMORSE is what separates us from some other species and sets us on a more noble path. I could see a plot where it's our group's mission to set out find and protect them...which in turn could lead to bigger things.

 The Waste Land - Famous 1922 Poem by American turned British playwright and poet T.S. Eliot, is arguably one of the most important poems of the 20th century. The poem it’s self is some what obscure, but calls upon and references many cultures and literature in human history. During the episode we were shown a post blackout map of the former United States of America. The area around Colorado and New Mexico is called “Wasteland”. T.S. Eliot’s poem is SO famous it has influenced many other pop cultural literary works, including Stephen King’s epic fantasy, horror, adventure story, The Dark Tower series. One reason we may want to double reference with the Dark Tower is because another Stephen King novel, The Stand, has also been referenced a few times. -But almost all of King’s works tie into the Dark Tower in some way, but uniquely The Stand shares the antagonist Randall Flagg and takes place partially in Colorado. The Third novel of the Dark Tower is titled, Dark Tower: The Waste Lands. These references just may lightly allude to fated groups of people coming together, although The Dark Tower like Revolution shares elements of American Western genre, but possibly also that we could be dealing with alternate realities down the road. It’s true that so far there is no definitive sign of such possibility, but given our pedigree of Eric Kripke and J.J. Abrams, alternate realities seem a like a reasonable thing to consider since Supernatural has alternate realities and/or realms, and most of Bad Robot’s other works dance around or directly have various kinds of alternate realities/parallel universes in them.

 Note: Dark Tower: The Wastelands -1977 version of Jake Chambers becomes schizophrenic when he buys and reads the book “Charlie the Choo-Choo” from a local bookstore. 

 Starsky and Hutch -1970’s cop thriller TV Series and later films featuring a former army officer and detective David Michael Starsky and more reserved and intellectual side kick Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchison. This week Jeff Fahey guessed starred as a rebel member named Ken “Hutch” Hutchison. It’s unclear to me how this reference related to this episode of Revolution, only to say that perhaps they share a theme of tracking down criminals to try and hold them accountable. It could be then Nora is meant to be “Starsky”. Another possibility is that we could learn that he was U.S. Military or U.S. Law enforcement prior to the blackout.

 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - The seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling’s fantastical novel about a boy wizard and his friends combating against dark and deadly forces was seen in manuscript form when Nora entered Hutch’s books store. The manuscript was literally in Hutch’s hands in which the face cover also included the signature lighting bolt mark which literally is used in Rowling’s novel to mark Harry’s fate. The reference surely ties into Revolution’s young people rising up to deal with the Militias, but it also could allude to themes about death, fate, and immortality. The lightening bolt could also allude that Hutch’s future and/or past could include knowledge about the medallions.

 Star Wars - The Skywalkers: Althouh Star Wars has been referenced with Charlie’s Return of the Jedi lunchbox, so does Jason Neville’s alias surname, Walker. With the reveal that he is Neville’s son, it becomes clearer that there cold be direct parallels in plots dealing with Jason and his father, Tom, paralleling Luke and Anakin Skywalker, as Tom Neville, like Anakin was character who was tired of being put down, lost his sense of compassion, only to be tempted by the ways of the dark side. Jason could be Tom’s only hope, but it could also be that Tom will sacrifice himself for his son.

 The Bad Robot Factor:
Soul Train only brought a few mild references to things presented in other Bad Robot works. One of which were numbers written on the train. The front of the train was numbered 47. “47” is an iconic repeating number in the show Alias. It was associated with the prophetic works of Milo Rambaldi.

 Another number appearing on the side of another wood holding train car was 1656. The number “16” is one of the repeating numbers in Lost (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42) relating to Sayid Jarrah.

 If we put these numbers together we could see a theme of soldiers and terrorist attacks, as CIA Agent Sydney Bristow often sought to save innocent people from weapons of mass destruction and Sayid Jarrah was a former member of the Iraqi Republican Guard, who’s disposition often showed a great duality in being capable of great love and compassion, but also great acts of torture and violence.

 Lastly a Bad Robot LOST Alumni Jeff Fahey guessed starred in this episode and may continue to reoccur or become a series regular. There have been some things alluding to Lost’s Frank Lapidus, or more over the freighter’s militia and science teams, such as Maggie and her satellite phone, Nora looking and acting a little like Naomi Dorrit, and the helicopter being dragged across the forest. -But his character here doesn't quiet portray Frank, as Frank was sort a character that was along for the ride as opposed to having a specific agenda, although Frank helped save a few of the character's lives over the course of series.

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