004 Revolution Fan Podcast – No Quarter

podcast-150x150.jpg (150×150)In this episode of Revolution Fan Podcast, Tom, Jenn, Shelley and Stephen talk about Revolution season 1, episode 3, No Quarter. We also talked about Stephen’s blog post about the screen shots from Grace’s computer, and shared a couple of great links from the official NBC Revolution site and from an Revolution fan site. We also read and commented on the feedback we’ve received since our last episode.

Stephen’s blog entry talks about the screen shots from Grace’s computer, including a list of names the she encrypted. Also check out the comments in the comments section.

We mentioned a couple of cool things from NBC’s official Revolution page. The first was an Interactive Map that NBC will update each episode with pins on the locations we see in each episode. It confirms that Rachel is in Philadelphia, and shows us that Ben’s cul-de-sac was in Sylvania, Wisconsin, and that Monroe’s camp was in Kimberton, Pennsylvania west of Valley Forge. The other was a series of vidoes called Revolution Revealed. Here is the episode 3 video.

In our discussion of No Quarter, we covered:

  • Miles and Monroe, and the creation of the milita and Republic. In the flashbacks, Monroe is following Miles. Who is a leader and who is a follower?
  • the Restaurant at the End of the Rebel Base
  • the Stephen King references
  • the way the base was run after they returned from their mission
  • Jeremy and the captured rebel
  • Jeremy’s flawed tactics at the restaurant
  • our overall rating of the episode and comparing it to the previous two episodes
  • Danny’s plot with his militia foe
  • Charlie, Miles and the success of fighting against the milita
  • Aaron and Maggie’s scenes at Grace’s house, with the power turning on and off automatically
  • who, it seems, may not survive next week’s episode – we all think it will probably be Maggie
  • the bridge rescue scene
  • Nora’s back story in the scene with Charlie
  • whether it was realistic for Miles and Monroe to wait eight weeks before deserting
  • what the military would do in the case of an EMP or other prolonged blackout
  • Aaron’s story about bullies
  • the title, No Quarter and how it fits the episode

We read and discussed a tweet from Marni Case about the choice of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

In the comments for episode 2, Kyle Pope shared a link from the Revolution TV Show fan site that shows a US map, laid out with the Monroe Republic and five other regions across the country. Someone who works at the hotel where they were filming apparently took a picture of it hanging on a wall. The Monroe Republic stretches from Wisconsin to Maine, and from Illinois to parts of Virginia. This image also shows the map as part of a larger set.

We read and talked about an email from Audrey from Texas. We then questioned whether Danny will join the militia; none of us thought there was a possibility.

We talked about Twitter feedback from ReallyNotChris. We read an email from Cooper at the Hugmented podcast.

We read Nasty Butler’s email. We finish with a Tweet from Trevor John about falling satellites. It reminds Tom about the date and time on Maggie’s iPhone when it powered on – September 17th, 6:23 PM, possibly the exact date and time of the blackout?

Please keep sending us feedback. We really appreciate it. Let us know your theories. Let us know what you like and don’t like about the show. Let us know how we are doing.

You can also leave a voicemail at:

  • (234) 738-3265
  • (234) REV-FAN5

For written feedback, please comment in the comment section below, or email us at revolutionfanpodcast@gmail.com

Follow us on Twitter: @RevFanPodcast

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18 Responses to 004 Revolution Fan Podcast – No Quarter

  1. Kyle Pope says:

    This show is failing dramatically in creating a credible world for the story it wants to tell. The ability to draw the audience into your world and have them believe it’s real depends not on the big picture but the small details. This show keeps getting those details wrong.

    First, it looks like the militias are the Imperial Stormtroopers of this world. We are constantly told how dangerously lethal and unstoppable they are. Miles was on and on about how he created this monster called the Monroe Militia that you couldn’t fight but could only run from. Yet every time we’ve seen them in action they have been only marginally more effective than the Keystone Kops. We saw Neville’s troops almost taken out by a village of farmers. Miles killed almost 20 of them single handed. A crudely improvised gun was all that was needed to kill an entire crew of prison guards. And finally a single sniper was able to pick them off at leisure because the only tactic they could think of was to send one man at a time at him hoping he’d eventually run out of ammunition. They give new definition to the term “cannon fodder”.

    What the hell was Grace thinking when she kludged together that computer? Eighties era computer technology is hard to find now with an intact and functioning infrastructure. Instead of piecing that monstrosity together and hiding it behind a door with five locks that will attract the attention of any militia searching that house, she could have grabbed one or more of millions of now useless laptops instead. Having one lying around the house wouldn’t attract militia attention. Just another useless electronic device among hundreds of useless electronic devices. It would have also made her mobile. If she got in trouble she could grab the laptop, her amulet and go, leaving nothing suspicious behind.

    Finally, I cannot accept the presence of Aaron. He should not be there. We are told that after the Blackout civilization fell hard. Governments collapsed. The military dissolved. Law and order ceased to exist. People were reduced to bestial savagery in a war of survival. Aaron supposedly went through this for fifteen years with no combat or survival skills and came out the other end still not having acquired any. People who are, as he described himself, weak and scared would have been the first to die. Even now Aaron has to be taken care of on this trek. And how does someone living in a village of subsistence farmers stay fat? Farming is long, hard backbreaking work and you need every able body out in the fields doing it. You certainly don’t stay soft after doing it for any length of time especially when you’re reduced to hand tools. The Billy Underwood story was apparently supposed to garner some sympathy for the character. If he were telling it to us in the comfort of the pre-Blackout world it would have. But now the world is a hellish place where bands of thugs pillage and rape at will. Slaves are held. Tribute is demanded. How much sympathy would Aaron’s story generate in any of the women who were carted off by the militia? To me he ultimately came off as whining about the loss of his money and the comfort and security it provided him.

    What made movies like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Harry Potter series, etc. so compelling to their fans is the craftsmanship that went into their world building. Their worlds were filled with tiny details that made them correct in the minds of the fans. I notice that in your podcasts so far you are making excuses for this failure of craftsmanship in the creation of Revolution’s world. You are seeing these plot holes and letting them slide. I understand that. You want to enjoy the show. But science fiction, at least good science fiction, isn’t about shutting your brain off. The whole point of science fiction is to turn your brain on. Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Niven, etc. wanted your brain glowing when you read their works. The whole point of the genre is to get you thinking about things you normally didn’t think of. Part of Revolution’s publicity campaign was asking viewers what they would do if the power went out. The official website has real survival tips on it. But how do you answer or even contemplate that question if the world’s internal logic doesn’t stand up to that kind of scrutiny?

  2. Tom Snively says:

    Kyle,

    You make good points. We talked about a lot of that: Jeremy’s bad tactics and Grace not using a laptop in this episode, and about Aaron’s weight I think in our intro episode (1) or the pilot (2).

    We do enjoy the show. We all loved this episode. We talked about sci-fi vs mass audience again in this episode.

    I’m sure you’ll have good TV counterexamples, but it seems harder to put out 22 x 44 minutes of mistake-free content each year, vs the time it took to write the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books, and the time spend on those movies.

    -Tom

    • Kyle Pope says:

      I have one counterexample showing world building done right. There was an animated series on Nickelodeon called Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon recently aired its sequel, The Legend of Korra. Both of these shows take place in an Asian based fantasy world. The creators of these shows meticulously researched their subject matter. They had on board experts in all aspects of Asian culture to include language, customs, clothing, architecture, food, etc. The result of this was a beautiful, deeply realized world you could get lost in. These production values has one the series awards and praise from professionals and fans alike. And we’re talking about a cartoon aimed at children here. And yet the shows impacted viewers far outside the intended demographic. Now by no means was Avatar: The Last Airbender perfect. It had its flaws, errors and occasional plot hole. But people could forgive them because the work that went into the show was clearly visible on screen. Revolution, by comparison, shows nowhere near this level of care and the show is hurting as a result.

  3. Kyle Pope says:

    BTW, to answer you question in the podcast. The rifle in question is a Marine Corps M40A series sniper rifle. The marines are upgrading to a new rifle but the M40s are still in use. The weapon is built on the Remington 700 hunting rifle which has been modified to marine specifications at the Marine Scout Sniper School in Quantico, VA. Paired up with the right ammunition the rifle is damn accurate out to extreme ranges.

  4. Jim Miller says:

    I have to agree with Kyle on a number of points he makes, especially the sniper scene and the tactics used by the militia. Pathetic. I have no military training myself and I would have had a better idea than sending out one guy at a time. I would have set up a diversion in the front with a bunch of guys moving around from cover to cover while a couple of flanking teams approached from other sides of the building. Then at a given signal the diversionary group could start shooting their guns and yelling to cover the sounds made by the flankers as they approached the building to set it on fire. Oh well, that would have worked too well and the show would have lost three main characters. Can’t have that!

    As for how Aaron could have survived this long I think he must have known Ben from before the blackout and survived by riding along with him and his group on their way to Sylvania, WI. Ben lived and worked in the Chicago area as a computer guy. Aaron worked as a computer guy for Google and was married in Chicago (at The Grand). It’s plausible that Ben and Aaron knew each other. There must have been a great deal of trust and history between them for Ben to give Aaron his device in ep 101. We’re sure to find out more about that in future eps. As to why he is still overweight? No theories on that one.

    • Kyle Pope says:

      Even if Aaron knew Ben before the Blackout, we saw in the flashback that Ben and his family headed out of Chicago on their own. When they were confronted with a threat it was Rachel who had the steel to protect the group. I don’t see Rachel wanting to lug around an extra mouth to feed that couldn’t contribute to the survival of the family and would likely be a liability. Ben’s last phone call was to Miles so he had no contact with Aaron prior to the Blackout in which to arrange a rendezvous. Aaron may not have even known that this blackout was different from any other power failure. He may have just hunkered down in his home until it became obvious that the situation was grim. Likely as not Aaron and Ben got to know each other after the Blackout and bonded over their common computer background. So however Aaron survived to this point, it wasn’t because of Ben.

      • Jim Miller says:

        The last we saw of Ben and his family in the flashbacks they were at the University of Chicago which is south of downtown. They will still need to walk all the way through Chicago, and then up into WI, so there’s still an opportunity for the writers to put Aaron with them this early after the blackout. However, there are no clues so far one way or the other this will happen. Good point on Ben’s last call being to Miles, although again the writers could throw in a call to Aaron that preceded the call to Miles. Maybe he called Aaron on the way home or while he was gathering the box of supplies we see him carry into his house. Anyway, all this is somewhat pointless speculation because we will see Aaron’s backstory soon enough.

        The more interesting question to me is: If I were writing the story, how would I find a way for an overweight computer guy like Aaron to survive in a world like we see after the blackout. What could he offer to a group that would help him survive? I’m not ready to say he has nothing to offer, though I admit so far we have not seen much. All we’ve seen from him is his failed attempts to teach some kids, his ability to shoulder a decent-sized pack for long distances, his successful ability to use a map to find Grace’s house, his computer knowledge, his optimism, and his ability to get someone like Ben to trust him with his most precious secret. Maybe that last one is his most significant trait. His trustworthiness. That may be in short supply after the blackout.

        • Jim Miller says:

          Oh yeah, he could hide behind a corner and whack a bad guy with a pole (or something). That was somewhat useful. Shows he has the ability to understand a plan and follow through with it in a time of stress.

          • Kyle Pope says:

            Except he only hit the guy once and not hard enough to do permanent damage. The guy got back up and was turning to kill him and all he could do was stand there clutching his weapon and waiting to be killed.

            Aaron is a contradiction in this world. By his own admission he is weak, scared and lacking in any relevant survival skills. He should not be alive. We saw how dangerous the world was in the immediate aftermath of the Blackout. Your only survival options were kill, run or hide. Most likely all three. How would Aaron have been able to obtain enough food to maintain his current girth in a world where people would kill for an M & M?

        • Tom Snively says:

          Ben told Miles on the phone that the power was going out. If Ben called Aaron, would he have told him the same thing? I don’t think they could have lived as neighbors for most of 15 years without Aaron finding out more about what Ben knows about the power.

          -Tom

          • Kyle Pope says:

            Except Ben never told Aaron about the amulet. Aaron had no idea what it was or why Ben was so frantic about when the militia arrived. If Aaron had seen the amulet before and had some idea of its purpose he wouldn’t have been so confused when Ben gave it to him and told him to hide it. Not to mention his surprise when it restored the power at Grace’s house.

          • Tom Snively says:

            Weird system – seems I can’t reply to Kyle above. Too many levels deep?

            No one knows why the power went out, and why it never turned back on…except Miles, because he had that short call from Ben right before it happened. Maybe part of the reason he needs to go AWOL back to Chicago is to find out more about the power.

            If Ben also called Aaron (“the power is going to turn off and never turn back on. Meet me at xxx in 7+ days”), Aaron would have found out more about Ben’s knowledge, well before Ben gave him the amulet.

            -Tom

          • Jim Miller says:

            All good points from Tom and Kyle. I concede that if Aaron had been told about the blackout and Ben arranged to meet him then Aaron would have known more about the purpose of the device.

            On the point of how he is still around. Two additional ways to survive along with kill, run, or hide are: A) make yourself useful and attach yourself to a group that will protect you, and B) attach yourself to a group that values human life enough to take you on as a burden despite your apparent uselessness. It will be interesting to see how the writers explain how Aaron has survived.

  5. Jim Miller says:

    I’ve finally got caught up on listening to your podcasts. I love them! They are just what I was hoping to find. Thanks for doing them. You can count on me being a regular. I have placed a link to your page from my (admittedly humble and not ready-for-prime-time) ‘Revolution’ blog.

    I would like to comment on some things you mentioned in the podcasts.

    1) Water wheels were in use a lot earlier than the Middle Ages. Here’s a list of ancient water wheels>

    Ancient water wheels

    2) The cattle prod has a button you press to create the arc. Randall could have activated his device on the way up the stairs and then pressed the button the cattle prod as he was approaching Grace.

    3) Perhaps the same phenomenon that is preventing electricity from working correctly is preventing the battery in Maggie’s iPhone to drain. Speaking of batteries, if you look closely at the pictures of Grace’s computer set-up you will see that it is powered by what looks like 4 car batteries. Here’s a link to a picture showing that:

    Grace’s computer set-up

    4) As for who is left that could have Maggie flashbacks (should Maggie be the one who is killed in ep 104), Arron could have Maggie flashbacks to life in Sylvania Estates (and before, if they had known each other before then). I think, since the actress who plays Maggie is not listed among the cast on the official NBC website, I doubt we will see many, if any, Maggie flashbacks after next weeks. Unless they decide to bring her back later in the show.

    5) Someone wondered how the militia could have set a trap for the rebels if they didn’t know where the rebel base was. here’s how. If they knew the rebels were active in a certain area, they could have intentionally leaked the info about a ‘secret’ militia site in a public setting (e.g. in a bar) with the expectation that *somebody* would get the word back to the rebels. Then they would have to be patient and be ready to spring the trap on any given day/night for a period of time. If nothing happen, they would move on to another area where there was suspected rebel activity. At least that’s what I would try, if I were an evil militia. 🙂

    6) As far how Miles and Nora know each other: They clearly have both a romantic and action/combat/fighting-related history. Nora ‘owes’ Miles for something. Also, Nora said ‘You were supposed to stay away from me” (or something like that). Maybe Nora was captured by the militia while Miles was still in charge, but at time when he was thinking of leaving. Seeing how Nora was being treated a prisoner was the last straw and he freed Nora and went on the run with her for awhile. During this time they developed a romantic attachment. However, one of them, perhaps Nora, decided it would be better if they split up and went their own way in order to make it hard for the militia to recapture them. Just a thought.

    Anyway, love the podcast and can’t wait for the next one!

    • Jim Miller says:

      Never mind on the idea for why the battery in Maggie’s iPhone would still work. Here’s an article explaining why batteries stop working after a while even when (or especially when) not in for a while.

      I can sort of see how you could prevent a good battery from working, if you could keep electrons from flowing through wires. But it seems to me that anything that would prevent batteries from going bad would also prevent life from living, since both depend on chemistry.

    • Stephen says:

      Thanks Jim! You made some really great points. I plan on making a blog post regarding ancient and not-so-ancient technology that we should be seeing in the world of Revolution. That Wikipedia link is great. I keep thinking back to the old show “Connections” with James Burke and his discussion of water wheels. You’ve inspired me to get on my work horse and finish that post. Also, I didn’t notice that about Grace’s computer. It makes sense, since a PC power supply just takes your AC mains and converts it to DC (battery-style) power. I never noticed the batteries in the show, but that photo is clear as day. It’s kind of funny, that the open PC reminds me of my old 486. Those were the days…

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Stephen

      • Jim Miller says:

        You’re welcome! I’m also interested in learning more about what technology would need to come back into use in a post-electric world. I plan to write about this on my blog. I look forward to your post.

        On another note, I looked up more about batteries and why they lose charge even when not in use. Unlike what I thought, it’s not due to the stored electrons ‘slowly leaking out’ over time. It’s because the materials that make up the battery undergo chemical changes over time such that they longer produce free electrons that can be used to power devices. This chemical degradation would need to be halted for Maggie’s iPhone battery to still have a charge 15 years after it was last plugged in. It also means the iPhone battery could not be recharged after so long a time. Since whatever is affecting electricity is not affecting basic chemical activity, there’s no reason to expect the effect would preserve the charge in Maggie’s iPhone battery. Either the writers just didn’t want us to think much about the battery in her phone, or we will someday learn that the pendants can actually direct power to electronic devices. It’s a bit of a stretch, but my nanotech theory for the cause of the blackout could be adapted to do this (see my blog). If the nanotech motes could suck the electricity from devices to prevent them from working, maybe they could also provide some power to small devices. The pendants are used to send control signals to the nanotech motes within a small region near the pendant holder. The motes can be directed to allow electronics within the region to work and perhaps even provide power to some of them. Just fun speculation.

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