The first episode of the second series picks up exactly where the last left; Aaron, Charlie, Rachel and Miles are in the tower, with nuclear bombs heading towards some of the key American cities still standing. Aaron is trying to turn the power back off, while Miles is unhelpfully yelling a countdown at him.
Six months later, we join Miles setting fire to a barn, Charlie talking to a cute barman as he tells her he was asleep during the power surge, Rachel helping out her father (gasp!) in his sort of doctor’s surgery, and Aaron living in the same town, with a pretty woman.
There are hints at the start that Rachel was not quite right on the return from the tower, and is still not fully recovered. The barman mentions to Charlie that he saw Monroe, and she sets off to try to find him. Miles tries to leave the town, but discovers a group of bandits from a war clan, and returns to Rachel and Aaron, knowing he has to try to protect them. And Aaron sees strange things in nature that indicate the nuclear bombs might have caused more lasting harm than then realised.
For a second season first episode, it was okay. It had enough to carry on nicely from the last season, and we’re introduced to a world even more different from the last season. There’s a huge refugee camp that stretches for miles, where government officials arrive and offer to ‘help’ after the devastation caused by the bombs. There’s New Vegas, which actually seems like a pretty fun place, where people fight, drink and gamble, and sing.
Ah yes, the songs. Music, for obvious reasons, isn’t as evident in Revolution as it is in Kripke’s other show, Supernatural. But it is there, and this episode seems to bring it out more than the whole of the last series. Music is alive and well, with people playing acoustic guitars as they sing, what else, classic rock. As Charlie makes her way through New Vegas, we get treated to a cover version of Crazy Train, and it does add just a little something extra to the overall atmosphere. It serves to remind us that this isn’t some far away future. Many of the older characters have memories not so different from our own, and the music remembered is the music we listen to now.
The episode, essentially, does everything it should. It sets up where the characters are right now, while introducing new threats to the characters and new goals, beyond just ‘get the power back on’. The worst thing about it is, like the first season, Charlie. I don’t know why, but there is something about her that’s incredibly annoying. She did get more bearable by the end of season one, so let’s hope she doesn’t slip back into whiny little bitch mode. (I admit, I liked her at first. But as the series wore on she did get worse. Then a little better.)
This season’s focus is, clearly, going to shift a lot, as the characters adapt and react to the bigger events happening around them. The episode did set that up nicely, and there was nothing massively to fault with it. Although I’m eager to see where this goes, I do feel like it’s the weakest of the returning shows (that I watch, anyway) and it has a lot to do to try to keep people coming back for more. There are interesting aspects to this season but so far, we’ve only seen the groundwork, so whether they manage to pull it off or not remains to be seen. The different characters are placed further apart than last season, so it’ll be interesting to see where the different plot strands leave them and see if they do, at some point, end up reuniting.
Revolution isn’t a great show, but it has the potential to be one. It’s got a lot going for it but like with anything, the way it pans out depends completely on the execution. Let’s just hope this series ends up keeping up the excitement and tension, rather than letting it drop off halfway through like it did in the first.