Nanomachines really are magic, according to Revolution

Illustration for article titled Nanomachines really are magic, according to Revolution

Ah, nanomites... is there nothing you can't do? Apparently not, judging from the "lights out and stop texting, kids" show Revolution. This show has apparently decided that nanotechnology is the all-purpose explanation for everything. Spoilers attack!


Not only did nanomachines cause all electricity and technology generally to stop working — they also cured the rare heart condition of Danny, Charlie's trouty-mouthed brother. And they've cured the stage-four cancer of Beth, the girlfriend of Jane, the nanotech expert that can help turn the lights back on.

The same nanotech. Keeps the lights off. And cures cancer and heart disease. Okay.

I'm guessing this isn't something that's curing all cancer everywhere, but rather a special nano-treatment that was given to the friends and family members of a few researchers working on the Tower project during its development.

Still, this sets up one of those "dilemmas" that's so obviously one-sided, you can't believe anybody spends any time debating it. Jane doesn't want to turn the lights back on, because that will also turn Beth's cancer back on. And the fact that gazillions of people are going to be defenseless against Monroe's slaughter campaign doesn’t sway her at all. This all seems to be set up to prove that Rachel regrets the mountain of bad decisions she made to save Danny, only to have him die anyway — by having Rachel lecture Jane about the pointlessness of valuing your loved one over everybody else.

Meanwhile, in the episode's "A" story, Miles, Nora and Charlie go to the affluent, snazzy Republic of Georgia, where Hillary Clinton is the President, to stop a nuclear bomb going off. Monroe sent a nuclear bomb down there, along with Alec, a guy with a walkie talkie, so Monroe can verbally tell Alec over the walkie-talkie to set off the nuke. If the walkie talkie works, why can't they just use a remote detonator? (I know: nanotechnology.)

In any case, Alec, the guy who is going to set off the nuke, used to be Miles' best friend until Miles threw him to the wolves after a mission to Texas went bad. And now, Alec has decided that Miles was right and duty comes first, sort of — but this gives Miles a chance to do just what Rachel is doing with Jane: lecture Alec (and the audience) about how he made bad decisions and is trying to be better.


In any case, this show took another lurch towards being a full-on war story, with Miles now leading a cohort of Georgian soldiers along with the Rebels, thanks to Hillary Clinton.

Revolution started out as a show with a huge problem: the two child main characters were unlikable and generally annoying whinebags. (Whineskins?) They've solved that problem by focusing more on the adult characters, particularly Rachel and Miles — but now every episode has to be about how the adults have made mistakes and deeply regret everything. And unlike, say, Game of Thrones, these people's mistakes aren't interesting or gruesome enough to keep us fascinated.


In any case, not to be a broken record, but — the pilot of Revolution promised "fun romp." There was angsting, and the dad died, but it was mostly a swashbuckling silly time, with Miles Matheson clearly trying for a Han Solo vibe. When they revealed that Miles used to be a bad guy, that seemed like a nice bit of depth — but we didn't really sign up for wallowing. It takes a certain deftness of touch to make bitter, self-loathing people watchable, and Revolution is never going to have that. Revolution really ought to play to its strengths.

Oh, and let's give Google something to do besides looking gobsmacked and being the butt of fat jokes, huh?



Derek Powazek

I'm only posting to say thank you to CJA for the perfect show description ("lights out and stop texting, kids") and the phrase "trouty-mouthed" which I am going to work into as many conversations as I can this week.