I know who to blame in Revolution’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” – the writers!


The mid-season finale of ‘Revolution’ showed us more of the same: dimensionless characters, on-the-nose dialogue and plot holes big enough to fly a helicopter through. When will they turn this show around?


Another limiting factor is the on-the-nose dialogue. In real life, people rarely say exactly what they are thinking; our conversations are riddled with subtext. Revolution hasn’t learned this screenwriting trick yet. The worst example of this are the hallucination scenes when they are in the tunnels below Philadelphia. First of all, those are the most linear hallucinations ever — Miles walks into a room and has a full conversation with Monroe? Why don’t pink elephants walk by? Or killer clowns? Or anything out of the ordinary since these hallucinations are brought on by the lack of oxygen in the tunnels? Then multiple times both characters call out the fact that this is a hallucination and that Monroe is really just Miles’ subconscious talking to himself. Ummm … we get that. You don’t need to mention it in dialogue numerous times. When I watch Dexter I know that Harry is really the voice in Dexter’s own head helping to control his dark passenger. I don’t need Harry to state every time, “Well, you know, Dex, I’m dead and not really here and I’m just a tool your brain uses to deal with your sickness.” The writers used this over the top hallucination to tell the audience that some part of Miles wants to rejoin the militia, but it could have been done in much more interesting ways, not just stated in obvious dialogue.

But all of these situations and exposition lead to the climactic scene we’ve all been expecting (although not highly anticipating) – the confrontation between Miles and Monroe. They built up this clash the past few episodes showing the friendship and brotherhood these two men shared before and during the blackout. Monroe asks Miles to come back to the militia because they are family — brothers; and there’s a moment Miles considers it. It would be an emotion filled scene except for one minor little problem. Miles had a brother. His name was Ben. You might remember him as being the father of the most annoying and forgettable children ever to survive an apocalypse (Charlie and Danny, respectively). Oh, and one more thing … Monroe’s men killed him. Let me channel the Revolution writers and spell that out for you again: Monroe’s men murdered Miles’ brother. The entire reason Miles went on this adventure was because of Ben’s death, yet this never comes up once during their confrontation. That seems like a big deal to overlook, doesn’t it? Even if Miles hated Ben I think someone murdering him in cold blood in front of his family would generate some response. But it doesn’t and once again the writers fail to take advantage of an opportunity to create real conflict and drama among its core characters.

It’s these types of omissions of common sense, and poor storytelling, that distance the viewers from the characters. If we can’t put ourselves in their shoes, empathize with the problems they face, then we are never going to root for them to achieve their goals. Revolution has a few months hiatus before they continue with their story-line, so let’s hope the writers devise a plan for the second half of the season to draw audiences in and connect with the characters, or else they may suffer the same cancellation fate of other high concept shows of seasons past.


Photo Credit: NBC

12 Comments on “I know who to blame in Revolution’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” – the writers!

  1. Nobody’s accusing Revolution of being Shakespeare, or even Buffy/Walking Dead/Homeland. It’s fluffy popcorn. I don’t take it seriously enough to care about stuff like “Why were the guards not outside the facility.” Because I’ve learned with watching shows like Covert Affairs, if I get wiggy about technical details I know (or believe, based on reading and such) to be true.

    But there are a couple things that jumped out that I wanted to address:
    * Miles and Ben were obviously not close. Miles had never met (or seen in years, don’t remember) his niece and nephew. And Miles and Monroe were obviously incredibly close. I don’t think either of those relationships, as presented, are unreasonable.
    * You and I disagree greatly on the fact that most shows hit their stride midway through their first season. I’d use Buffy as an example, but I think that’s just being purposely cantankerous … So, I’ll point to Angel instead. Or ER, Or Grey’s Anatomy.
    * The hallucinations were hallucinatory enough for you? Just because you dream in color doesn’t mean I don’t dream in black and white :P

    I’d love a Walking Dead, hyper-realistic view of a post-apocalyptic world (One that doesn’t involve Zombies, which like The Walking Dead, generally isn’t my thing (exception to the rule: World War Z)), but I’ll settle for Revolution until something closer to what I want comes along. Hell, I was hooked the minute they worked in a subtle reference from The Stand, and was locked in when they filmed at the “ruins” of an amusement park many colleagues of mine were on the opening management team of.

    But I’ll watch it with a less critical eye, not dissimilar to how I watch the aforementioned Covert Affairs. Otherwise I wouldn’t enjoy it, and would be motivated to write two well-written posts to that effect :P

    • Okay, yes, I am being a little overly critical, but only because the premise has so much promise and I’m disappointed that in order to enjoy it, i’d have to dumb down my expectations.

      But, I still say Miles would have some reaction to Monroe’s men killing Ben. He didn’t completely hate the guy, since he did choose to join Charlie out of a familial bond, so he obviously held him in some regard.

      And you can’t really compare Revolution to Covert Affairs…all of those USA shows (Burn Notice, Psych) have a tongue-in-cheek style of presentation where they know they are writing fluff. I wouldn’t write a post like this over an episode of Psych, but I might about an episode of The Mentalist (same concept, different network) because The Mentalist is written to be more realistic. Revolution isn’t winking at the camera when it makes ridiculous plot choices.

      But,I guess I’ll temper my expectations when the show returns and maybe limit my critical posts to just one covering the entire second half.

  2. Life. Too short to waste on crap TV. “Revolution” survives while “Animal Practice” dies? Ain’t no justice, I says. Soon, “Suits” will return and the world will be a better place.

    • I enjoy Revolution … But Animal Practice? Really Otto? I thought you were better than that :P

      • Nope. Simple man, simple tastes and someone who thought Dr. Rizzo was the s***. “Fringe” lasted 5 seasons with a great cast working with interesting storylines. “Revolution” has neither.

  3. Great critique, Paul. The absurdity of that whole running out of oxygen scenario was made worse by the awful hallucination sequences. Most hallucinations/dreams on TV are way too linear and nothing at all like an actual dream. Mad Men did Betty Draper’s dream really well in “The Fog”; the dream itself involved misplaced, jumbled elements, which she didn’t notice while inside the dream.

    I hated that last confrontation between Miles and Sebastian, because once Miles made up his mind not to rejoin Sebastian, he kept going on and on about how Sebastian was dead to him instead of just SHOOTING HIM. He just had to get everything off his chest before (not) pulling the trigger. It would have been more dramatic if Miles just shot him (maybe his aim get’s thrown off slightly due to fire from Monroe’s guards so Sebastian is not fatally wounded).

    But you’re right – this show always wimps out instead of fully committing to whatever scenario they have set up each week. I want to like Revolution, but each week the promo gets my hopes up and then the actual episode never delivers half the promised drama or action. I’ve been pretty patient with it, but I don’t think it’s worth following anymore.

    Speaking of which – bring on The Following!

    • If only every show/movie/book ever boiled down the final conflict to just someone shooting someone else instead of talking about it, the endings of like everything EVER would be more logical.

      Can’t blame Revolution here for not rising above everything else.

      Which I think is my greater point. Revolution is this good. Not better. This good gets it a 3-ish rating and 10m viewers.

      (Circling back around to a point I meant to make to Paul in my earlier comment:)

      Paul say’s that the show’s biggest shortcoming is the inability for audiences to connect with the characters. While this metric isn’t an indicator of quality (again, because I’m not arguing Revolution is some great bastion of quality TV), but 10 million+ viewers continue to tune in each week. Obviously theres SOMETHING that this audience is connecting to.

      • … and millions watch CSI, NCSI and every other CSI, but not me. Just ’cause ya put butter on it don’t make it a biscuit. :-)

      • I’ll tell you why I kept viewing Revolution every week – because it just happens to follow The Voice. This is the same reason I watched the entire first season of Smash, another promising yet stupid show. After The Voice, I’ll bet plenty of people like me just stick around because they’re not ready to go to bed yet and they’ve been sucked in by the promos (which always make the show sound more exciting than it is).

  4. I had this conversation with a friend not too long ago:

    Me: “Caught the latest ‘Revolution’ … ???”

    Him: “No.”

    Me: “Really? I thought you were interested in it …”

    Him: “No.”

    Me: “Surprising. Because you said just last week …”

    Him: “Okay! I did! My dirty little secret’s out! I can’t help watching it to see what happens … to see if it gets better! I’m entranced! I’m hooked! I’m ashamed! @&#^%$ magic amulet! @&#^%$ lame ass characters! @&#^%$ improbable, boring storylines! There! Are you @&#^%$ happy … !??!??

  5. I really don’t need more drama to “make me feel like the main characters are in real danger” because I always know, there is no real danger when you you have just a handfull of main characters. More drama would just mean even more ridiculous story lines to safe them.

    I am torn on revolution. I find the writing okay-ish. But the world feels to small. It’s like cardboard. No guards outside the factory? That’s TV. But Monroe is this worlds dictator and all we ever see is his obsession with the pendands and micro managing a few of his military officers, including really lowish ones.

    Where is the government? The advicers? The people?

    I have deleted the show from my list now. It’s just underwhelming.
    But more fake drama would make it annoyingly underwhelming.

  6. I feel the good people of the internet, everywhere, are unfairly hating on this show. People seem to want to compare it with the dramatic sci-fi shows of recent years. That’s not what the show is meant to be; it’s a fantasy action adventure.

    Suggesting that Buffy developed to be a deeper show over its run, never mind over its first season, isn’t an objective analysis. Watching a show for years is bound to lead to a greater investment in the story and characters. Buffy had just as many nonsensical stories, plot holes, and one dimensional characters as Revolution or any other fantasy action adventure.

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