Well, that was… interesting. While REVOLUTION’s unfortunately titled “Come Blow Your Horn” (remember the way he looked at Rachel last week?) wasn’t necessarily a bad episode, its various elements never seemed to work together in a way that allowed them to become something greater. This is a shame because REVOLUTION has actually excelled at doing this for most of the season.
“Come Blow Your Horn” regrettably jumped between story arcs with little to none of the finesse that has characterized the show’s improvement in editing. The subtle touches, such as an establishing shot of Neville after Monroe remarks that he’d be an asset against the Patriots in “One Riot, One Ranger”, were absent from this episode. As such, its presentation suffered and the story just kind of meandered from point to point.
It’s a testament to the show’s improvement in acting and writing that even though things were a bit jumbled, there was still a lot to like. From both a character and overall story progression standpoint, this episode kept me invested in most of what was happening.
Certainly I was invested in Aaron’s story, which impressed me with its handling. I loved that Aaron’s accidental murder of Cynthia’s husband wasn’t forgotten and came into play here. Zak Orth’s eyes intensely conveyed Aaron’s mix of shame and regret with a deafening silence, and when that tear streamed down his face I really felt for the guy.
I felt even worse for him when he found himself the subject of Dr. Horn’s experiments. From a storytelling perspective though, this actually made me pretty happy. I love that REVOLUTION continues to explore the Aaron’s nanobot abilities (I can’t bring myself to call them powers) through characters other than Aaron.
It’s a great way to make the show’s biggest leap of logic seem a bit more believable and natural. It shows that other characters have the same reaction to Aaron that the audience does. It also shows that they’re just as curious as we are to discover how he came to control the nanobots. It’s an effective way to delve further into the plotline without an awkward and forced explanation.
Increasing the sense of urgency surrounding an explanation for Aaron’s condition is the revelation of Dr. Horn’s brain tumor. While it adds more to Horn’s character, as did the flashback to his mother’s death 18 years earlier, I’m not sure that either of these things were needed.
Humanizing the Dr. Horn, and by extension the Patriots, risks rendering the mysterious, all powerful, five steps ahead of everybody organization too sympathetic to remain the effective villains they currently are. It isn’t hurting the show at this point, but I really hope the writers keep the Patriots and their representatives as unsympathetic as possible. They work much better that way.
For instance, Roger Allenford worked better this week because of the selfish and unsympathetic choice to kill his wife rather than face the consequences of her actions (which I honestly didn’t see coming). Also benefitting from being unsympathetic was Neville, who was once again shown to be capable of causing the deaths of others when it suits his purposes. Giancarlo Esposito was brilliantly manipulative this week as a Neville who, now that he believes his son has been saved, is feeling in control again. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Jason’s programming reasserts itself and Neville realizes his relationship with his son isn’t as solid as it currently seems.
Back in Texas, the relationship between Rachel and Charlie continues to improve, as do the scenes between Elizabeth Mitchell and Tracy Spiradakos. It’s one of the best examples of the show’s growth that these two characters can share a heartwarming scene as they bond over making gas bombs. And it works.
Also working in this episode is the badassery of one Mr. Sebastian Monroe, who continues to steal any scene he’s featured in this season. David Lyons consistently strikes an impressive balance between intensity and comedy, which has deepened a character who was once very one note. He’s a joy to watch.
Not a lot of Miles development tonight, but the brief glimpse of his worsening hand wound promises to pay off soon. Kudos again to REVOLUTION for treating this injury with the gravity it deserves for this character in this world.
In the end, “Come Blow Your Horn” is an episode containing the same level of improvement we’ve come to expect from REVOLUTION this season, wrapped in an unattractive package. Its cliffhanger of an ending may be to blame for the choppy episode setup, but I’d like to think that a show demonstrating this level of improvement could do better on the editing front. Here’s hoping next week’s resolution strengthens this entry.
REVOLUTION: Season Two Review- “The Patriot Act”