‘Revolution’ Season 1 Finale Review – Revolution 2.0

Published 2 years ago by

Zak Orth and Elizabeth Mitchell in Revolution The Dark Tower Revolution Season 1 Finale Review – Revolution 2.0

Over the second half of its season – and especially the last few episodes – Revolution has thrown out so many surprises and twists in regard to the series’ central storyline that the basic premise of the show was no longer visible behind these new wrinkles in the narrative. The result, of course, is that the series has ostensibly deserted its original concept in favor of heading off in a new direction.

For viewers who had signed on for the promise of a series about a world without power, where regions that once made up the United States were in a constant struggle with one another while men and women caught in the middle fought gallantly with swords and crossbows – and simultaneously searched for answers to the mystery of the blackout – you’ll have to look elsewhere; Revolution is no longer that show. And although the season just wrapped, it’s difficult to gauge whether or not this development is good or bad at the moment.

The idea of a world without power was an intriguing one that the series struggled to build a compelling story around from the get go. The swashbuckling charm of Billy Burke’s Miles Matheson was capable of carrying the story only so far and other promising elements like Breaking Bad‘s Giancarlo Esposito were criminally underused for much of the season. Meanwhile, the early efforts to center the series around teenage characters didn’t feel like the right fit and was subsequently abandoned – a move that saw Tracy Spiridakos’ Charlie relegated to just a few lines per episode while her on-screen brother, Graham Rogers, was written off the show completely.

David Lyons Daniella Alonson and Billy Burke in Revolution The Dark Tower Revolution Season 1 Finale Review – Revolution 2.0

And then the series began to be rewritten after the halfway point. But as ‘The Dark Tower’ proves, some problems will continue to shine through, no matter how much talk of energy-sucking naomachines or threats of setting the world on fire there is. One of the primary examples comes with the lack of resolution to last episode’s cliffhanger, which saw Miles and Monroe facing off for what feels like the umpteenth time this season. This latest standoff is equally short-lived, as the marginalized Tower support crew interrupts the confrontation, and in the ensuing skirmish, Miles and Monroe fall into the Tower’s water system and wind up washed up on the shore outside.

The two then spend the day attempting to beat the snot out of one another, talking (yelling) their issues out and dodging Monroe’s men who are now under the command of Tom Neville. And while the series has frequently highlighted the conflict between these two men, this scenario has played out so many times this season, with no real sense of conclusion anywhere in sight, it all just feels like padding for an hour that’s really just about Aaron hitting the ‘enter’ key and the audience finding out whether or not he’s going to set the world on fire.

It also doesn’t help much that the Miles/Monroe conflict is padded by some flashback sequences that are heavy on the exposition but really only lead to Monroe’s unfulfilling “everything I do, I do it for you” justification for his actions that is later delightfully skewered by Neville when he says, “Sir, I could never say this under your employ, but you have become foolish and erratic and you have a borderline erotic fixation on Miles Matheson.”

Tracy Spiridakos in Revolution The Dark Tower Revolution Season 1 Finale Review – Revolution 2.0

Neville’s line feels like a bit of prickly self-awareness on behalf the writers, but that self-awareness is contained in those words alone, as yet another round of surprises and twists are ushered in as an attempt to correct a muddled storyline within the confines of the season’s final hour. And although they imply a clear direction for season 2, these changes are a fairly drastic departure from the show’s initial concept, suggesting the writers are comfortable sacrificing certain characters and elements in favor testing out a newer narrative.

For starters, Nora is unsurprisingly killed off so the series can focus on the romance between Miles and Rachel. And while it’s also no surprise that Aaron doesn’t set the world aflame by turning the power back on, it is something of a shock that, before committing suicide, Randall manages to launch some nukes at Atlanta and Philadelphia – apparently under the order of the president, who is residing in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

As mentioned above, it’s difficult to gauge the efficacy of all this, as we essentially have a whole new show on our hands. In that sense, Revolution has found a way to get past the things that weren’t working by shifting the narrative around and essentially starting over. While it’s more extreme, this is a promise the series has made before when it returned from hiatus. The concern here, however, isn’t that this will prove to be a solution to all the things that didn’t quite work, but rather that it’s simply adding several new potential problems to the mix.

Ultimately, this first season felt too much like it was being hastily constructed as it went along; there simply wasn’t a sense that the narrative was headed in any definitive direction. Whole plots were abandoned (for the good of the series, admittedly) while certain inexplicable subplots (like Monroe’s child) would pop-up only to be forgotten about and, in the end, the show’s entire narrative wound up being completely reconfigured.

The question now is: Will these changes make for a better series, or will they wind up being tossed aside as well? We will have to tune in for Revolution 2.0 to find out.


Revolution will return to NBC on Wednesdays this fall.

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  1. Does anyone actually think those nukes will be allowed to hit their targets?

    They might as well do a reboot and throw in a whole new cast:

    “30 years ago, the power went out… 15 years later, the power was restored but a madman nuked the entire East Coast. Now, half the United States is a radiated wasteland and while we have electricity, oil has become a scarce commodity. I am Charlie, to avoid the fallout, me and my family have boated to Australia to build a new life. There, I met my husband, his name is Max.”

    It must be fun to be a writer on Revolution, you can do whatever you want. Maybe they should do a crossover with Fallen Skies.

    • This made my morning, I’d actually watch that show which is the sad part haha, thanks BigNerd.

  2. Well, they moved production to Texas, so the narrative will move there in some shape or form.

    I’m skeptical that the nukes will go off or that the power will stay on completely as it is too ingrained in the premise of the show.

    I’m guessing the nukes will be stopped by some sort of last minute effort by Aaron to reactivate the nanites or that the nukes will indeed go off and cause an unexpected scenario in that the nanites will indeed reactivate or sporadically be activated in some manner.

    The power symbol is baked into the title of the show, so I find it hard to believe that power will be completely restored across the board. They could also have the nanites shorting out or staying active for various other reasons and play with other sci fi elements like super human abilities or space/time rifts etc.

    I’m impatiently awaiting what they have in store for us, since I stopped watching Revolution during the first half of the season due to the terrible narritive. I returned for the 2nd half, and was ecstatic about the new direction the show had taken.

    I guess we’ll see what they come up with.

  3. A friend of mine still has me watching this show so I can debate it with him I guess. At this point it has become like a bad movie that I have to watch until the end because it is a fascinating study in writing and storytelling. The review touched on a lot of the things I was thinking watching the finale, but there are still other things that I do not get about the story.

    First off how and why was Monroe in charge to begin with? In the flashbacks he was made to look like a drunk, suicidal mess who followed behind Miles when everything went to hell. As pointed out in the review he even said he did everything for Miles, so how did he end up in control and so out of hand in the first place? And also at this point nobody should trust Elizabeth Mitchell in this show or any other one for obvious reasons.

    A few more ironies were things like the British doctor who died two or three shows in could not get a boat back to England, but by the end of the second half of the season we saw all types of steamboats and long ships. And even though it is highly unlikely the nukes will hit, it is ironic that people rebelled against Monroe to bring back America and now the remnants of the American government is going to try and kill some of them with nuclear warheads. And who is the President after 15 years and how is there sill a government?

    • I’m not entirely sure why, but whenever you see a post-apocalyptic drama hit the airwaves (Jeremiah, Jericho, Falling Skies), the writers seem to have a hard time committing to a real “post” scenario. It always seems to devolve into some labored commentary on the military-industrial complex and/or a conspiracy theory. Jericho is a textbook case, where it went from a decent p-a drama, to a bizarre and logic-deficient Bush-era political allegory in its abortive second season. Falling Skies, ironically, did the best job so far of really committing to its premise, but even they seem to have waved the magic wand for this upcoming season.

      • My guess is that the depressing nature of weekly post apocalyptic fare is too risky for networks and as you said Falling Skies is turning a weird corner now too. The Walking Dead keeps it pretty grim, and then there are still those complaining it is not hardcore enough.

  4. As the above says they did a full reboot mid season and season 2 will be a reboot again.
    In my opinion cancel this show.

  5. I loved the premise when this show was announced. Through the 3rd episode it felt kinda flat. Half the season gone and i was lost. no direction at all. They tried to reboot it and it became this mess. With so many interesting shows being cancelled it is a wonder how this one managed to survive. I think they must have one more try at it, and they better get it right this time around. I mean if electricity is gone again, and everybody is facing the same issues of the past, without the “homo-erotic fixations”, never ending secrets, and bad dialogues the show would be awesome. I guess no show can survive on its interesting premise alone.

    • I have to disagree with this review, simply be3cause i watched the Pilot, and i thought like so many pilots that are done nowadays, it was convoluted, trying to appeal to the masses and not having a true focus. Episodes went by it gradually got somewhat better, not much though, but i always considered it “ok”. Mainly because of the lead actors, if it wasn’t for them i would of jumped ship before midseason for sure.

      However, ever since the show has returned and the storyline has shifted from the extremely formulaic and rather dull plot of rescuing Danny, to the Rebellion’s efforts and turning the power back on I’ve found it pretty good, and only have gotten better every episode back. Now do i have concerns going forward? Definitely I just don’t know how the show will be next season with an essentially a “reboot” button being pressed in the form of the nukes and the power being turned on. With that being said i feel the show while still a little muddled at times has far more focus on what’s important, what isn’t.

      My only complaint about the finale was that i actually found Miles & Nora’s relationship far more compelling than Miles/Rachel, but that i believe is because they simply haven’t developed the background to Miles/Rachel relationship for us to care all that much. I suspect that will be one of the first things they do next year.

    • @mitchell collinson:

      I surmise the show has survived because all those Twilight fans are following Miles.

      I’m saying again (and again), to save this show they have to turn people into zombies.

      This way Danny, Nora and everyone else they killed can come back.


    • The thing that gets me is how they just dumped story lines from one week to another. They went from saving Danny, then looking for Grace, the big reveal about the 12 necklaces, which was then forgotten for the search for the tower. Then there was Miles and his quest to get his crew back together to kill Monroe, which turned into recruiting one guy who turned on him three or four episodes later. Let’s not forget that Miles then let Monroe go two or three times in the last episode.

      • HAHA! You nailed it!

  6. Welcome to series “LOST” revisited. Revolution looks like the same attention deficit plot dithering as was JJ Abrams earlier creation. Nora had to die; she is just too young to be paired with someone as old as Miles — sure to offend the sensibilities of the female demographics. Better if Rachael takes on a 20-something boytoy. But we really don’t know if Nora is dead, dead just like we don’t really know if those cities get nukes or aborted at the last minute — such are the possibilities of Science Fiction. Maybe the revolution ends up being played out in a parallel world that is suspiciously similar to Limbo — the whole thing eventually swirly down the drain of obsolete Christina mythology. Abrams, you’re a putz. Bad Robot.

  7. Maybe its for the best. The show is so ridiculous that any attempt to make it better is a welcome one. I originally tuned in because of the concept, but clearly the writers had no clue what they were doing, which is a shame because it could have been so good.

    For reasons i can’t explain i continued to watch this debacle and now that that the writers realize a change is necessary, I figure wats one more season? It can’t get any worse, right?

    • it can get worse if they kill off Elizabeth mitchell character or Giancarlo Esposito character if any of them are gone im done. The rest of the actors are pretty bad

  8. I have a question… Are the writers wanting the audience to be sympathetic towards Rachel? If they are then why is Rachel the only character on this show that I’m constantly hoping will spontaneously combust while the other characters start shouting “The witch is dead”. Seriously! She’s condescending to EVERYONE around her and it was obvious that Nora couldn’t bleed out soon enough for her. Charlie asked her for help and I was honestly expecting Rachel to walk over to Nora and put another hole in her so she would bleed out that much faster.

    • That is another underlying problem with this show, a lot of the main characters really are not likable. They shift the focus off of Charlie for obvious reasons. Miles as been straddling this whole I am not a hero thing with trying to be a hero, which does not ever seem to turn out right. Aaron just seems to be around to push that button, and well Nora was just there to get killed like most of the other side characters.

      Monroe has always come across as some kind of meth addict, which as I said before makes it bewildering he was still a charge up until Neville turned the man against him. And then there is Neville, who is the only character that has been consistent and the most interesting when he is on screen. I am starting to wonder if Esposito is improvising in some scenes, because he seems to acting in another show a majority of the time.

      • I’m rooting for Tom Neville from now on. GO TEAM NEVILLE!!!

  9. For reasons i can’t explain i continued to watch this debacle and now that that the writers realize a change is necessary, I figure wats one more season? It can’t get any worse, right?

  10. I started to watch this from the pilot because it was 1) directed by Jon Favreau 2) produced by J.J. 3) looked interesting. It seems to me that everyone has missed the point from day one. Everyone website I read confuses this show to be about electricity, or a sci-fi post apocalyptic rebellion.
    The title of the show is “Revolution”. The characters fight with swords, arrows, and any guns they can find. The Monroe Republic is based out of Philly, and the rebellion is trying to bring back the old United States. Does anybody follow me yet?

    Revolution in a nutshell is a modern-day American Revolution (yes the 1776 one) on a country-wide scale with a sci-fi twist. for that reason, this whole series became very intriguing to me, and I’ve always found the strongest episode to be the Pilot. First off, Miles was more believable with short hair, and honestly isn’t really a leading man yet. Now neither is Charlie, but at least she had more of an everyman vibe. Danny’s death was interesting, but kind of predictable. Honestly not only was it necessary, but I disagree with Screenrant and the rest of you because it doesn’t feel rebooted or forced to me. It honestly feels like the natural progression of the story.

    I thought the epic journey across America in the first half was more interesting, keeping up with the Am. Rev. theme centered around a “Mattimeo” story arc. Then Danny died. and yes the show changed, but not for better or worse, it just changed, as I feel it had to. There really couldn’t be an American Revolution without the actual Revolution, and therefore, going to get Jim, fighting epic battle scenes, turning Charlie into a badass, all seemed necessary changes. I wasn’t frustrated at all. The season finale still keeps with the Am. Rev. theme with the president returning in a fleet of 18th century warships. Now that doesn’t make total sense considering the power is back, but I don’t think it will be for long. Like somebody mentioned above, you know Aaron isn’t just going to let Atlanta and Philly blow to hell. He’s going to take the power and shut it off again.

    Very excited for season 2, but am disappointed to hear that NBC is taking their highest rated show and moving it to wednesday, big mistake. My only question is this; what’s going to happen to Monroe in the field? Will he turn into Cole from Infamous? Will he become a superhero and save the day? Who knows! But I would hate that, so unlikely as it is, please don’t do that writers!

    • The Revolutionary War concept would work if there were only two sides to the equation. Monroe’s militia only controlled a portion of the country, with factions in Georgia, Texas and other places
      running their own form of government in what could be considered an anarchy.

      The introduction of a US President who has now made the call to nuke Monroe’s people & Atlanta kind of puts them at odds with the rebels who have been fighting to restore the country. Considering the shift in tone of the show though, I feel the whole President in hiding thing is tacked on.

  11. I watch the show, but I hate the soap opera style of acting and lack of dirt, blood, etc on the actors. There is a lack of reality here that makes the suspension of disbelieve effect almost moot at most times. I think in an environment of lawlessness that women would be smart enough to know not to run around dressed like that. They wouldn’t want to be giving these men any ideas. Many of the shows performers are just phoning things in. The director(s) aren’t pushing them far enough. This makes Monroe’s over the top performance seem out-of-place. There needs to be consistency, dirt, blood, clothing appropriate for the situation, more compelling storytelling and decent acting in this to make the show watchable. I love the idea, so I’m giving it a chance. They need to remember, they are not the only show in town.

  12. I’m a fan of Kripke and Abrams is hit and miss with me. But the show started, and I wondered if Kripke would have a “Carry On My Wayward Son” type song. It did have a Kripke-style montage. I was glad to see his influence. Then, the Miles and Monroe brother battle…that has Kripke all over it.

    I’m a fan of this series. I do agree that the teenagers need to go…even Charlie’s one or two lines is too many. Doesn’t she understand what the greater good is? Maybe next season, she should watch Jack Bauer on DVD. I’m interested in what will happen with the nukes. The main characters are in an underground bunker on the other side of the nation, so who knows if they’ll let the nuke strike. My brain says they won’t, but my heart hopes they do. That’ll show the nay sayers.

  13. the idea to shift the focus away from the teens in a welcome one,the mid season reboot worked…a world without power..and the teens at least all had perfect hair,teeth,make up etc..now that the focus is on adults,the show can move forward..

    • adding in your dot dot dot’s makes what your saying sound like the opening narration of the show lol

  14. My solution for a better show in season 2. Aaron brings down the nukes but the U.S. still has power. This would set off a cool conflict with the various factions fighting a new civil war for control. Then we introduce all the presidents men to the show which is the most interesting plot line going forward. There should be a main villain, maybe Tom and not Monroe, who should kill Charlie at the mid-season break leaving the best characters to avenge her death on top of choosing which side to support and overcoming various dilemmas. Monroe and Miles should reconcile. Take down the villain at the end of the season and have the east coast under the President’s control because I’d really like the President to be a good guy and someone the “Patriots” can rally behind. Just keep Esposito and Burke. Monroe and Rachael and Aaron I also like. By Fall 2014 no one will remember Charlie anyway

  15. Lovely movie

  16. When this show is cancelled, I will not waste a single peanut. The only positive I can say about this show is that it drove me to find Jericho on Netflix. I will always be grateful.

  17. “Nora is unsurprisingly killed off so the series can focus on the romance between Miles and Rachel.”

    “Unsurprisingly?” The most foolish move on the part of the writers.

    The series just lost me there. I was a great fan of this show until the finale. They should have killed off Rachel. If there is going to be a romance now between Miles and Rachel, I do not want to see that, as I don’t see how anyone can feel anything but contempt for the brain-dead Rachel. Meanwhile they killed off my favorite character. Bye bye, Revolution.

  18. Is rachel some kind of a nanotech robot that can shed tears without malfunctioning emotion? what the hell is wrong with her?
    and what happened to the old fat man who was guarding grace, reading maxim?
    why did he get killed? and who did?
    I don’t understand many things about season 1.