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Throwback Thursday - Revolution - Kashmir

We lived in an electric world. We relied on it for everything. And then the power went out. Everything stopped working. We weren't prepared. Fear and confusion led to panic. The lucky ones made it out of the cities. The government collapsed. Militias took over, controlling the food supply and stockpiling weapons. We still don't know why the power went out. But we're hopeful someone will come and light the way.

With the Kripke led drama Timeless receiving a surprise renewal thanks (in part) to a passionate fan petition, I decided that this week's TBT would be dedicated to another Kripke series which wasn’t so fortunate, Revolution.

Described as a “romantic swashbuckling sci-fi adventure," Revolution ran on NBC for 2 seasons, spanning 42 episodes between 2012 and 2014. While the show received many positive reviews for both seasons; due to dwindling numbers and high production costs, NBC decided to cancel the series.

When cancellation news broke, fans created a social media petition #RelocateRevolution, which received over 100,000 signatures. Sadly, the show was not picked up by another network but the passion of the fans was not in vain. In 2015, the series concluded via a 4 part digital comic series.

Personally, Revolution is one of my favorite shows of all time. It was a dystopian mystery that filled the hole in my heart post-Lost. With all the dystopia and crazy science being discussed, what really kept the series grounded was the characters and the incredible cast which played them as well as the underlying themes of love, family and survival which were at the heart of the series.
No show is without fault.

At times Revolution became crazy with its dangerously close to incest romantic entanglements and scientific inaccuracies, but in the immortal words of Miles Matheson “It’s all part of the charm.” In order to enjoy this series, you had to roll with a lot of punches.

Side Note: Revolution had choreography which was simply a work of art. It’s the one and only show where I’ve actually ENJOYED big fight sequences. Oh and I'd feel remiss if I didn't at least give a shout out to some of the ridiculous hairstyles this show pulled out. #Hairvolution.

Moving on, the episode we’re looking at today is 1.09’s Kashmir. This episode had a lot of the pitfalls that made Revolution loved or hated. Kashmir’s storyline was cliched and filled with glaringly obvious scientific impossibilities via oxygen deprived hallucinations, but these allowed the show to do what it does best and crack open our main characters for some emotional vulnerability that helped our heroes scrounge up enough motivation and focus to carry on with the tasks at hand. SO for the sake of good characterization and development, I’m willing to overlook the terrible clich├ęs which got us here. Emotionally, it’s one of the best episodes of the series.

The Rundown: Miles manages to convince a local rebel camp to help find Danny in exchange for information which will lead to the capture of Sebastian Monroe. Miles, Charlie, Aaron and Nora (with their new allies), head to Philly via defunct subway tunnels. After an accidental landmine explosion (set off by Charlie) the group suffer from oxygen deprivation which cause the characters to hallucinate the further they travel through the tunnels. In Philly, Rachel is working on an amplifier which will magnify the range of the pendant. Neville and Sebastian doubt her intentions which lead to Rachel making a drastic decision in order to survive.

This episode is all about these characters "facing their fears" and character based hallucinations were the driving force of that message. A lot of the emotional weight of the episode came from Miles, who was struggling with the inevitability he'd have to confront (and possibly kill) his best friend when they reach Philly.

Even before Miles enters the tunnels we see him conflicted. He tries to verbalize his concerns to Charlie the night before their journey begins, but Charlie doesn't understand his point of view much to Miles' dismay. This leaves him isolated in his torment when he enters the tunnel.

Miles' continued conflict and uncertainty on whether he can kill Monroe is manifested in a hallucination which opens with Bass embracing Miles in his office, seemingly welcoming him back into the fold like a brother coming back from war and with no love loss. (With the epic song Kashmir playing in the background, but more on that later)

In his hallucination, Quasi-Bass tells Miles his "dirty little secret" that he’s afraid he might betray his newfound family and return to him and the militia. Miles admits that despite the guilt he feels over his time spent founding the Monroe Republic, he feels like going back is the easier option. He's tired and wants to stop fighting not only on this journey, but also his inner conflict.

The fact that Miles hallucinates Bass is no coincidence. His manifestation shows us that Miles still regards Monroe as the only person he can honestly converse to about his fears. He is one confidant Miles can expose his true demons to without judgement, unlike his interaction with Charlie in the previous campfire scene.

The acting in this scene goes a really long way in selling this hallucination. I enjoyed Miles' broken voice and lip quiver when he asks Bass what his darkest secret is. David Lyon's acting of Monroe is sardonic, something you'd expect from Miles' subconscious.
The hallucination also serves as a tease of what's to come and it heightens the audience's anticipation for the REAL epic showdown between these old friends in the coming episodes.

This is the first episode we really dig into the emotional turmoil of Miles and Sebastian’s relationship (which the fandom affectionately called Miloe) and to this day, it is still one of the greatest examples of brotherhood (bromance?) in a television series.
It's very hard for me to put into words why I love this pairing. A lot my admiration for them comes from the way Billy Burke and David Lyon acted most of their scenes. They showed a vulnerable side of masculinity that one wouldn't typically expect from an action series.

Another reason this pairing won a lot of viewer hearts was their representation of unconditional brotherhood which is a formula Kripke is incredibly good at selling. This was shown through the subtexutually rich and nuanced writing of Miles and Sebastian's interactions in the back end of season one and beyond. Their relationship is written like a love story (something the writers make fun of on the show) but honestly, that's what makes it work.

Unlike Miles' hallucination, Charlie’s dreamscape came from a blow to the head and rather than facing her fear, she was shown a "fantasy world” where Danny was never taken and her father and Maggie are alive. It makes sense from a character point of view, what does a young and sheltered girl really have in the way of personal demons?

What made this moment great was the events outside of the hallucination. Miles calling out to Charlie, begging her to open her eyes. It was impassioned and desperate, a side of Miles we have yet to see because let’s face it, when has Miles expressed an emotion to Charlie other than annoyance and impatience?

This may be the hindsight bias talking, but it was a really emotional father-daughter moment between Miles and Charlie. This was the moment that made me explicitly think “Hey, something’s deeper is going on here that we haven’t seen yet.” The “You are the father” revelation was the worst kept secret on the show, but it’s nice to look back at this episode and see how the writers snuck moments like this into the show so that when the time came, the reveal wasn’t so left-of-field to the audience. I’m still a little miffed we never got to see the moment of truth in live-action format.

Another thing this scene showed was how Charlie and Miles save each other. Superficially Miles grounds Charlie and keeps her alive, while a more complexly Charlie offers hope and optimism for Miles. I think in that moment Miles realized that Charlie is a part of his redemption story and evidence which contradicts Miles’ fear of falling back to the old habits of his former life. The fear of Charlie dying leaves no question on where Miles' true intentions are moving forward.

Other Comments: Nora’s hallucination came in the way of alligators biting at her legs underwater. This was the most ridiculous and basic hallucination by far but seeing as the prior episode already addressed Nora’s emotional turmoil, I guess the writers decided to just use her hallucination as WTF moment. In any event, it was a quirky way of letting the viewers know that something weird was going on the further the gang moved in the tunnels.

Although Rachel didn’t go through a huge emotional tribulation like the other main characters, she did show just how far she was willing to go to protect her family by killing long time science colleague Dr Jaffe. This made her indispensable to Monroe as now she was the only person who could engineer an amplifier. This scene was small but really significant for Rachel. It showed us once again that she was not a victim in captivity and exposed a dark side of Rachel which the series expanded on further when she was reunited with Miles.

As the title suggests, this episode featured the Led Zeplin song of the same name in one of the most epic uses of licencing in a series. If there’s one thing a Kripke show does well it’s the integration of rock classics into the fabric of a series. Dare I say, “Kashmir” for Revolution is what “Wayward Son” is to Supernatural. It’s Revolution's anthem.

Re-watching this episode, (particularly the “pull yourself together, Miles” scene) reminded me just how painful it was to watch Charlie Matheson in 1a. Her lack of understanding of Miles’ inner turmoil about facing his friend,(even after the exposition Nora provided on their relationship) was mildly irritating, especially when Charlie is considered the empathetic heart and conscience of this rag-tag team.
It highlighted the fact that Charlie was naive and way out of her depth in a world of which moral ambiguity and survival of the fittest are societal norms and after 9 episodes, it was no longer endearing. Tracy Spiridakos’ one-note acting in those moments didn’t help either.

In fairness, Charlie’s character at the time started and ended in finding Danny and calling out everyone’s willingness to color outside the lines. I can only imagine how hard it was to beat blood out of that stone as a performer especially when the emotionally meatier moments were given to Billy Burke in this episode.

Thankfully Charlie grew as the season progressed and when the writers finally gave Charlie some substance, Tracy acting skills rose to the occasion. By season 2, Charlie became a female war-hero we could all be proud of.

So that’s lights out for my first SpoilerTV review! Let me know in the comments what you liked (and disliked) about Revolution. 
How did you feel about the series wrapping up in comic form? Do you (like me) feel we were robbed of the live-action portrayal of these events or were the comics enough?