With the third episode, it's clear that the series is fighting an uphill battle for admiration. It wants to be seen as unique, it wants to stand out in the crowd and this episode is evident in that it's introducing us to those rebels we learned about just last episode.
I do find it interesting
they're introducing the rebels this early, one would think that they'd introduce them later on but well; here they are... I do find it somewhat interesting that they'd reside in a chain restaurant similar to Applebee's; just think, a quaint atmosphere ruined by harsh conditions, it's one of those things that makes the world feel almost reel. Unfortunately, it isn't explored enough and as such it doesn't stand out aside from the signs identifying it, turning into just another action setting; while I do admire that they've used it for other purposes such as character interaction, a forced environment is a forced environment and you can see how they wanted the fights to go without a hitch. Isles so wide you can almost maneuver in it, props that can be dropped on bad guys. The rebel guys themselves are disinteresting
for our first look; they have the potential to be a true power, someone who's mission is either good or bad based on the perception but instead they languish it going the common Star Wars route and showing characters who you could barely care for despite
the fact that two die and most of them are injured. When you're introducing someone, you have to establish that these people are important to the world, that they're a possible hope for us; sure, they competently serve up the action and a cause but they're supposed to be more than just fodder. Additionally, death and bloodshed is not
the most effective way to make an entire group matter; we all relate to the fear of death but you're looking at the famine, you're looking at the darkness and what you're caring about is the situation, not the characters or anybody else in this rebellion. To truly care about something, you have to get into these characters, make them show you that there's somebody
in this rebellion worth caring about; we can feel sad for a death but what long lasting meaning
does a death have if it's just forced upon us since they're an important part of the series?
They got guns.
I also find it interesting that there's a focus to Miles that explores a hidden side
to him. Sure he acts like the same old generic Han Solo caricature with forced lines, lack of impact and cheesy delivery but at least there's something
in him that separates him from the pack. There's a feeling of redemption which they try to fit into his plot and deepen the character; you can tell from the militia who attack the base with ferocity, the conflict he gets into with one of their leaders and his subsequent capture/rescue afterwards that they're providing a platform for him to save himself, to cleanse his sins and the action is done nicely; however, much of this feels oddly predictable
, in his flashbacks, it shows the types of personalities he has and the types of beliefs he develops along the way; meeting all sorts of generic people who don't how how to hunt or eat human remains in the process. I could get the gist almost instantly, "He used to be the founder of this milita because nobody helped them, the poor people who got abused for food and survival. And then came the power, He wanted territory, he wanted control. For the people. But then Monroe decided to get wise and militant and they broke apart and he's been seeking to bring it down ever since." It's not
a good thing you can decipher
his entire purpose for being within the span of those flashbacks; this is supposed
to provides a moral grey area and yet it's almost shattered within seconds ruining his depth. You may think this may lead to better characterization but it doesn't. Charlie still acts poorly putting on faces that don't resemble emotion and tones that seem increasingly forced, (one benefit, she's not scared anymore but just because she can fight now doesn't make her better; and don't get me started on the whole "we can't fight them/yes we can
" bit, it's like ultra-pandering) and Nora, she doesn't show any infliction or even shock; instead acting like their own version of Princess Leia. (Her story about losing a pregnant child does nothing for her character by the way, while it is sad, it's more about how the Militia are bad than it is about herself or her ambitions.)
That doesn't mean there isn't anything aside from Miles; we got some focus on the Militia and their ways; I found the whole argument on the rarity of the bullets interesting as it sort of reflects the tense situation out there and the comment about the law regarding gun ownership was an interesting tease; who knew it was there so that they wouldn't be disadvantaged. It is these things that really develop
the world, give it life, help subvert the criticism; if they were wise then they would include more and make me interested towards their cause. On the negative side of things are the attempts to force depth and moral ambiguity, many of which are generic; it may seem shocking when our guys sends people to their death just to waste the bullets but the various guys who's lives he's sending to his doom, the value of those lives in general, the wrongness of it all seems oddly insubstantial
, and the guy saying it does nothing to give it weight. The guy who constantly bullies Danny because of his friends death is trying to reflect on the cruelness of the militia in general but it all ends up bland, his story is somewhat interesting but all of his actions seem like he's trying to make us care about Danny, the alone time, the brutal beating... The only interesting thing is of course, Danny showing his dominance (although his personality remains weak.) which made it somewhat worthwhile
. There's also the continuation of the plot with Rachel and Aaron in which they spend much of the episode figuring out what the device does; it's admirable what they tried to do with Aaron, have him show emotion, make him a character who the audience can relate to with his sadness, despair and frustration; it certainly makes his character seem more than just the comedic relief and it certainly makes the scenes with Rachel meaningful but his various flaws still
exist and even more are revealed here; he proclaims himself as a geek but it seems odd
that he wouldn't tinker with stuff nor could he figure out how to activate the device, in contrast, he knew various computer parts like the back of his hand. those things served to dilute
his character heavily.
A geek and his candles.
In this episode, progress is being made but this show has a long
way to go before it can truly reach meaningful heights. While certain things are being put on the table like the rebels, Miles and a part of a the gameplan, those things aren't really developed to sufficient levels to make a sufficient impact
on the series and as a result, dwells into the same generic, contrived and forced stuff as episodes past. This show has ambitions but for the ambitions to work it has to become more serious, explore the complex issues rather than use them as a pad and grow the characters to a point where we can care about them; something which I'm hoping
is happening sooner or later.