‘Revolution’ Season 1, Episode 4: ‘The Plague Dogs’ Recap

Published 3 years ago by

Anna Lise Phillips Revolution The Plague Dogs Revolution Season 1, Episode 4: The Plague Dogs Recap

Revolution has established that its characters live in a violent place filled with people who are very capable when it comes to taking lives. In that regard, there is a significant amount of apprehension when the cast is met with conflict. It’s one thing to see an important character die by the hands of another individual, as was the case with Ben (Tim Guinee) in the series premiere, but when death occurs mostly because the characters are without access to proper medical treatment, it resonates in a completely different way.

The issue is illustrated both in a story of how a young woman succumbed to tetanus and in the slow, arguably preventable death of Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips). ‘The Plague Dogs’ not only convincingly sets up just how dangerous and random the world can be, but it also adds that sense of worry that these survival-based shows depend on for so much of their narrative weight.

And surprisingly, Revolution also manages to provide someone who’s only been around for four episodes with an exit that actually seems to mean something.

Anna Lise Phillips Tracy Spiridakos Billy Burke Zak Orth Revolution The Plague Dogs Revolution Season 1, Episode 4: The Plague Dogs Recap

Revolution understands that a death for no reason is a death wasted on manipulating the audience. So it is made clear that Maggie’s passing – and her words to Miles (Billy Burke) beforehand – have likely put a stop to his efforts of abandoning Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and the rest of the crew whenever he feels like it. The idea that Miles wasn’t into this “hero” thing was well established from the beginning, but after four episodes of that, it’ll be good for the future of the program if he and Charlie can stop going rounds every episode about his commitment to her, and to saving Danny (Graham Rogers). If nothing else, putting an end to the bickering and the whining may help alleviate some of the less pleasant aspects of Charlie’s personality – like keeping (not) Nate (J.D. Pardo) around.

From the title alone, it certainly sounded like death was in the air for the episode, and after stumbling upon a pack of dogs tearing away at a deer carcass, the tone was set. By and large, it was a fast paced outing that combined the overall Miles and Charlie quest with the Captain Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) and Danny subplot pretty well. Additionally, the flashbacks in ‘The Plague Dogs’ managed to land on the more personal level that ‘Chained Heat‘ attempted, but didn’t quite pull off.

Instead of focusing the flashbacks on a single character, the episode works aspects of Maggie and Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) into the story that speeds things along in terms of the getting-to-know-you phase that the series is still on. Here, the flashbacks also manage to answer some larger questions about the world and the overall effects of the power outage. We see Maggie Skyping with her children back in England when the blackout hits, and then pieces of her quest to find a means of transportation back home. Years go by, apparently, as she travels from one coast to another, only to find that all of the sailboats and steam ships have either been dismantled, or are controlled by the militia. And arriving at the realization that she’ll never see her children again, Maggie was once set to take her own life.

JD Pardo and Tracy Spiridakos in Revolution The Plague Dogs1 Revolution Season 1, Episode 4: The Plague Dogs Recap

Granted, by the time the audience is aware Maggie’s time is up, it’s a little late for Charlie to thank her for essentially stepping in and being her mom, but the idea that Maggie found some comfort and reason to live through helping raise Ben’s kids is one that ends the character’s arc on a less dour note. It also segues nicely into the reveal of exactly why Rachel left her family behind, and how she ended up in the clutches of Monroe (David Lyons). As the family inches closer to reunion, the disclosure that Rachel’s incarceration came of her own choice, in response to a demand by Miles – who was still involved with the militia at the time – better illustrates Miles’ apprehension about discussing his past with Charlie.

Monroe is still convinced Rachel knows something about the blackout, and now that Ben’s been killed, believes the only way to get the information is through her. Monroe brings in Sgt. Strausser (David Meunier, Justified) to better illustrate the lengths he’s willing to go in order to get details on the blackout – though, it looks to have been just show and tell, as there’s not much evidence anything truly awful happened. Besides, the real threat is what will happen to Danny once he arrives. Monroe makes it clear that he’s willing to pull pieces off of her son in order to get Rachel to talk.

That brings us to Danny’s long journey with Capt. Tom Neville and his militiamen. Last week didn’t have much of Esposito to offer, but thankfully, ‘The Plague Dogs’ grants him some significant screen time.

Tracy Spiridakos and Billy Burke Revolution The Plague Dogs Revolution Season 1, Episode 4: The Plague Dogs Recap

Apparently, Danny’s a human barometer, and after giving Neville and his troops the forecast, manages to convince them to take shelter so that he can make another escape attempt. Neville cuts Danny’s escape short, but the two are forced to seek shelter in a nearby cellar as a tornado hits. While they wait out the storm, Neville reveals that, in the wake of the initial blackout, things were so desperate and so violent that the militia provided him not only with a relative amount of security, but the promise of a better future for his child. Since the flashbacks have yet to really focus on anyone but the core Matheson group, this is as good as it gets for learning about Neville. More importantly, we learn how skilled he is in terms of manipulating people like Danny – as he convincingly did in order to keep from being crushed under a collapsing roof.

There’s been some speculation about what side of the revolution Danny would fall on – especially since he’s been spending so much time in the company of the charismatic Neville – but as of this episode, he’s not exactly signing his enlistment papers.

For an episode that’s as far away from answering what caused the blackout as the series has ventured thus far, we see just how effective Revolution can be focusing on more immediate tasks and getting into the human elements of the story. In the wake of losing Maggie, perhaps we’ll finally get to see Aaron (Zak Orth) pre-blackout, and find an answer to how he keeps those band T-shirts in such good shape.


Revolution will continue next Monday with ‘Soul Train’ @9pm on NBC. Check out a preview of the episode below:

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  1. Love this show. Very excited about next weeks episode!

  2. I DVRd the last couple episodes, much rather watch Castle. I’m done with this show. I can’t stand the bad acting by Charlie or the way she whines about everything.

    Show had an interesting premise but I won’t endure more bad acting and annoying dialogue to figure it out.

  3. this show would be a whole lot better without charlie. dont know how much longer i will be watching this show.

  4. I have tendency to finish things once started, sadly i’ll be watching this until the end. As always, kill off Elizabeth Mitchell character (make her a tool for the soilders first) and the pretty boy soilder…Also Charlie stop whinning, and to all the other characters she’s not the center of the universe

  5. The bad acting and some wooden dialogue is annoying, but I dont think everyone should so adamant in their Charlie hatred. Isn’t the point of characters that they develop? Which maybe she will always be a whiny and naive, but out of loyalty to Kripke I will stick around and hope to see some character development.

  6. Starting to enjoy this show.

    By the way, every time I see Elizabeth Mitchell, I think of Angelina Jolie and her in the movie ‘Gia’.

  7. LOST pretty much ruined Elizabeth Mitchell for me. Great actress but every time I see her, she’s just a variation of Juliet. So far this show is OK. Ambitious and it’s early days but I don’t think they’ve found their groove yet. The failures of The Event, Terranova and Flash Forward mean that audiences are very finicky quickly. Make a wrong turn and this show dies quickly. I hope they can flush out characters quickly and heighten the pace.

  8. This show has the rest of the season to do whatever it’s going to do, but I just don’t see it lasting. It’s just too uneven and the characters we are probably supposed to be focusing on are just not very appealing. Too much of this show seems purely manufactured to hit demographics and it comes across as just something you would see in a generic video game plot.

    The (overused) flashbacks J.J. likes to use makes this show feel like there was something more interesting that went on when the power first went out, but they felt the need to have these late-teen/early twenties characters in the show who seem like they don’t have the same amount of sense someone who grew up in an environment like that.

  9. Seriously.. Charlie is so annoying.. I cant stand her. She needs to stop screwing everything up!

  10. Finally watched this episode last night. Does anyone else suspect that not-Nate is Capt. Tom Neville’s son? I felt as if it was some foreshadowing being done after he told the story of his son and then the next scene not-Nate is a prisoner in the diner. Perhaps, not-Nate will become a rebel and Danny a member of the Militia…or better yet not-Nate and Danny will convince Neville to join Miles.

    The show has potential and each week I’m enjoying it a little bit more. This was by far the best episode so far. But I agree that Charlie needs to stop whining so often. Perhaps Maggie’s death in this episode wasn’t just to keep Miles around, but it will help harden Charlie (especially after her near death experience with the madman who killed Maggie).

  11. Interesting, the next show features a train.

    In 15 years, would someone have acquired a steam-powered car from one of the museums around the country.

    Am I the only hoping when Miles threw the torch to see what was eating what, that instead of dogs it would be zombies? (As you can tell, can’t wait for The Walking Dead to start this weekend)

  12. The question about Aaron that needs to be answered: why is he still fat? We’re talking 15 years of subsistence farming for survival. Was he holed up in a Twinkie factory until right before the premiere?

    Also: duct tape. The stuff’s amazing, but I’ve dug out rolls that were five or six years old and had to toss them because the adhesive had dried out. Where are these people getting fresh duct tape?

    • The show has a lot of inconsistent themes in their narrative. The episode when the rebels were cornered by the militia and the head bad-guy made his speech about bullets being valuable, then they spent most of the episode firing blindly at the side of a building. And when they did the flashback about the doctor woman not being able to get a boat to go back to Europe because the militia destroyed them all for firewood or whatever, but they show baseball fields and amusement parks still standing pretty much intact, just looks like easy ways to explain things that really make no sense.

    • I asked the same thing about Aaron in the Ep3 recap. Maybe it’s the Hugo Reyes Effect.. hehe.

      The militia destroying boats doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons. One could argue that the reason why other structures are still standing because maybe they are farther away from militia bases (which I would assume would stay close to bodies of water) but at the same time, militias would keep non-electric water-faring vehicles intact for fishing, travel and shoreline defense.

      But… as it often is with Abrams sci-fi, you have to suspend some common sense for plot devices.

  13. Unbelievable. Loved the ending until I realised that they killed off one of the few person that could actually ACT. Good god I hope the Matheson Siblings would just get killed off. It would make the show much better. As to the logic of things.. I’ve come to learn that even in SyFy shows like eureka, one has to suspend a certain amount of logic and rational thinking to truly enjoy to show. So when it comes to Revolution, ignoring common sense completely would be the best.