006 Revolution Fan Podcast – Soul Train

podcast-150x150.jpg (150×150)In this episode of Revolution Fan Podcast, Tom, Jenn, Shelley and Stephen talk about Revolution season 1, episode 5, Soul Train. We talk about a new Questions and Answers page, we have another installment of Scientific Revolution and read and talk about your feedback.

We talked about the interview that Cooper from the Hugmented podcast released where he interviewed Tom, Jenn and Stephen. That episode can be found here.

The Questions and Answers page is an attempt to keep track of the major mysteries in the show, with which episode they are asked, and which episode, if any, they are answered.

In our discussion of The Plague Dogs, we covered:

  • Neville’s backstory, including why his neighbor was stealing silver
  • Barter, and other currency possibly being used
  • The use of the Map showing the Monroe Republic and the other large sections of North America
  • The use of the steam train, taking 15 years to get going after the blackout
  • Jenn told a story about her Great Grandpa who was a brakeman on the first daily scheduled train route in the United States. This is an article about the train. Here is Jenn’s pocket watch she inherited from her Great Grandpa:
  • Nate’s (Jason’s) back-story as Neville’s son
  • Nora and Hutch and the rebel story
  • The scenes with Charlie and Neville, where Charlie was clever, then all kinds of stupid
  • Whether Charlie was sheltered during her life with Ben
  • Rachel and whether she gave away her information too quickly
  • Neville and his anger

In Scientific Revolution, Stephen talks about steam engines.

We read and talked about the comments in the comments section, from Jim Miller, Kyle Pope and Rob Kearney about ammunition, MrGearsOfWar96, Austin M, Rob Kearney, Cooper, and Audrey from Texas.

We talked a little about next week’s episode Sex and Drugs.

If you are listening but are not really sure what exactly a podcast is, or the conveniences of subscribing, check out our “What is a podcast” page.

If you are subscribed through iTunes, search for Revolution Fan Podcast in the iTunes store, and give us a rating and/or write a review.

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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

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You can play the song using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.


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13 Responses to 006 Revolution Fan Podcast – Soul Train

  1. Brian Rock says:

    I also saw the horses pulling the car but I figured the car was on the tracks and the horses were pulling it out of the way. The engineer at one point said they were clearing the tracks for the train.

  2. Kyle Pope says:

    This was an interesting episode. What I liked about it was the peeks it was giving us into this new world and how it’s evolving in the absence of electricity. What I didn’t like about it was that it was a completely idiot driven plot. Almost everything that happened in this episode happened because someone was being stupid.

    First was Charlie’s pathetic attempt to trail Neville despite being warned by Miles not to take any independent action. How are you a hunter if you are that bad at stalking?

    Then there’s Aaron’s moronic turn at revealing the World’s Most Valuable Object to a militia spy. You were right about him and for me his presence in the group is getting harder to justify. That thing should be around his neck and under his clothes and nobody, not even Maggie, should have seen it or been told about it. It is clear the only reason Aaron is alive is because the plot requires him to be alive. Doubtless the writers hope to justify him with a timely and spectacular display of computer skills that ultimately saves the day. I’m not buying it. After weeks on the road with everything they’ve been through I would think Aaron would start acquiring some survival skills if only by osmosis. If Aaron can’t figure out that Monroe would happily put his testicles in a vise to find out what he knows then he is truly an idiot beyond redemption. Expect Nate/Jason to see Rachel’s drawing and make the connection to Aaron.

    We have Nora and her really bad plan for destroying a train. As resistance and insurgent groups going back to WWII and beyond can tell you, when taking out a train you don’t attack the train, you attack the tracks. Google “Sherman’s Neckties” for an example. Military trains are guarded. Tracks out in the middle of nowhere aren’t. You can’t watch all of them. You get ahead of the train, find a curved section of track and place an explosive charge on the outside rail. Pop the charge when you hear the whistle and voila, instant train wreck.

    Miles rare turn at dimness was shown in his abysmal skills at delegating authority. Let’s have Aaron guard the trained militia spy. Send Charlie in to attack Neville and free Danny. With her ninja-like hand to hand combat skills Neville will be a pushover. This guy trained the militia?

    The bright spot was Tom Neville’s backstory. It was interesting to see him before the Blackout and learn how he became the man he is today. But it is Neville’s backstory that drives home perhaps this show’s biggest flaw. For a show airing at 10 pm it is written at a very juvenile level. Everything is painted in broad strokes with bright lines. There are no shades, no subtleties, no nuances. Everything is in stark black and white. The good people are all good, the militia is all evil and never the twain shall meet. Presenting Neville as a complete doormat who turns into a monster over the course of a single act of violence is too simplistic to believe. As Lex Luthor observed, “You see, in life the road to darkness is a journey, not a light switch.”

    I liked the train. I didn’t like that it was the only train. What have these people been doing for the last 15 years? Besides, it doesn’t make sense. The Monroe Republic is a huge area ( I can say that now that the map is canon). Controlling an area that vast requires rapid movement of troops, supplies and information. The Romans controlled their empire by building roads everywhere they went. They could get what they needed where they needed it to be when they needed it to be there. The British Empire could span the planet because of its vast navy and merchant fleet. Rail gave the United States command over its far flung territories. It’s a stretch to believe Monroe is controlling the entire northeastern US with an army moving on foot over unimproved roads. I can only imagine that the Georgia Federation and Plains Nation don’t have functioning railroads either. If they did they could overrun the Monroe Republic.

    I have to agree with Tom’s assessment that there are much more interesting stories in this world than the one we’re being told. Now we know of a war between the allied Georgia Federation and Plains Nation against the Monroe Republic. What’s this war about? Are they trying to conquer Monroe or keep him from conquering them? What kind of governments rule these other nations? Are they dictatorships or are they more democratic? The story of Charlie and the Magic Pendants is starting to pale in comparison to these new developments in the Revolution universe.

    One interesting tidbit we learned is that there are female members of the militia. Nora donned a militia uniform and moved freely through the guards protecting the train. Clearly they didn’t find her unusual. Another tidbit is that the rebellion is inept. Every time we’ve seen them it has been after they got their asses kicked. It seems the rebellion and the militia were made for each other. The Purple Bellies and Browncoats were better realized as antagonists. We learned that Aaron has incredible healing powers. After having his leg turned into a chew toy in the last episode he was up and about for this episode like nothing happened. Given how dangerous even small injuries have been shown to be in this world it appears Aaron may be tougher than I give him credit for. And did anyone besides me notice the similarity between Tom Neville’s story and that of Bob Parr of Pixar’s “The Incredibles”?

    Since sex is going to be a main theme in the next episode I hope it means the series is going to grow up a little. I’m afraid I concur with your speculation that something will intervene and get Charlie off the hook. I would prefer she went through with it as it would allow Charlie to develop in a whole new direction as a character. I have to disagree with the assessment of Charlie growing up sheltered. How is anyone sheltered from anything in this world? Charlie would have grown up seeing death and suffering all around her. She would have seen the militia coming into her village and taking their crops and women. She would have lived through years of crop failures and lean times. Ben would have known that one day the militia would cart Charlie off once she was old enough to catch the militia’s eye. For Ben to have raised Charlie and Danny without preparing them for the harsh realities of this world would be child abuse. I agree with your assessment that the show wants us to relate to these characters but in reality they would be alien to us. It’s also bad writing from a science fiction standpoint. We’re supposed to be drawn into and become a part of their world, learning to think and react appropriately. That’s what the good stuff does. This show would be so much better if it abandoned the whole “getting the power back” storyline and went with a world spanning story of humanity rebuilding from the ashes.

    • Jim Miller says:

      I agree with almost everything you say. I was really frustrated by this episode! I understood the objectives of each scene from the point of view of the story, but thought they could have achieved all the plot objectives in much better ways. I talk more about this in my latest blog post.

      The couple things I disagree with is that we didn’t actually see Neville become a monster after a single act violence. That way I took that scene was that we simple saw the first steps down his dark path. I also think we see moments in the episode where he shows regret for the path he is on.

      The other thing I disagree with, but only slightly, is that I thought Nora’s plan to destroy the train was reasonable given her time and resource constraints. She is basically on her own in this plan and doesn’t have a lot of time to scout out an isolated stretch of track to plant a bomb. Hutch was pretty much useless and the others were focused on finding Danny. She can’t detonate a bomb remotely (no electricity) and doesn’t have any fuse cord handy. She does mention they are not reliable, but I don’t know how true this is. Also, she knows there are crews out on the tracks making sure it is clear, so she would need to avoid be spotted by them. Given that, I don’t have a big problem with Nora’s plan, but that’s me. I can certainly understand how others can have other opinions on this matter.

      I do wonder where she got that well-fitting militia uniform. Seems like she pulled it out of her pack. Either she used to be in the militia and that was her old uniform, or she carries a fake militia uniform around with her and routinely uses it to infiltrate them.

      • Kyle Pope says:

        You may be right about Neville but that was the impression I got from the scene. When we saw him stand after delivering that final blow and look up at his son, I saw Captain Neville’s face. I would hope we get more scenes of Neville’s backstory showing how he joined the militia and moved up to his current position within it but so far the only thing keeping Neville from being a one note villain is Giancarlo Esposito’s extraordinary performance.

        As for Nora’s plan, you don’t try to take out an asset as valuable as a train, especially the only train, on the spur of the moment. Such a mission would require advanced planning. There’s no hurry. This was the train’s inaugural run. There will be plenty of opportunity to destroy it. The rebels could wait until the train was loaded with soldiers and supplies for the border war and destroy it then. That would be a much more devastating blow to Monroe.

        I don’t think Nora was a militia member because she doesn’t have the wrist brand. She either stole that uniform or had it made for infiltration missions. I’m surprised the guards didn’t check her brand before they let her near such a valuable asset. I presume the whole point of the brand is to confirm militia membership. But then, Miles doesn’t appear to have such a brand and Monroe probably doesn’t have one either.

    • Jim Miller says:

      >One interesting tidbit we learned is that there are female members of the militia.

      I finally put up some screen shots showing some female militia members that can be seen in the background in the ‘Soul Train’ episode. Here’s the link:

      Female militia

  3. Kyle Pope says:

    It seems Entertainment Weekly has obtained a complete hi-res view of the Revolution map.


    • Jim Miller says:

      Something I find really interesting in this map are the dashed lines coming out of of San Francisco and leading into the Pacific. These looks like shipping route lines. This is a major hint that some ocean-going shipping is still occurring, and the leaders of the Monroe Republic know it. No telling if they will every incorporate this into a plot, but it’s there if they want to.

  4. Kyle Pope says:

    It would be very interesting if it turned out that the California Commonwealth is the most technologically advanced of the new nations. Given the number of advanced technical universities in that territory and the apparent lack of hostile neighbors the CC would have the climate, distance and resources to build up a non-electric civilization without interference. Were I in that world I would certainly be headed in their direction if I didn’t already live here.

  5. Rob Kearney says:

    I’d be weary of going to CA after a global meltdown. Sure they have a lot of universities there but they also have an insanly high crime rate and a high poverty rate. After “The Blackout” most of CA would break down into anarchy and those people at those institutions would be easy prey to looters and criminals.

    Also I’d say that the vast majority of those who are the university types are going to be the first ones to go after a situation like you see on Revolution. They usually have a specific skill set that is more often than not useless in the first stages of a societal colapse. Think New Orleans post Katrina but without FEMA or the Federal Govt. to come in and save the day. It reminds me of a quote I heard on HBO’s Generation Kill “Those who can’t kill are subject to those who can”

    As for the horse drawn car, I was deployed to Eastern Europe with the Army and there are plenty of supped up horse carraiges there. The most inovative one was where a guy took an old UAZ and adjusted the way the Rack and pinion steering worked. He also ripped out the engine and extended the roof and put a chair where the engine was and had a small wood stove (complete with chimmney) in the passenger compartment for heat.

    • Kyle Pope says:

      Most people think of California in terms of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego but there’s a lot more to the state than that. Most of California is farms and ranches and the UC system has universities specializing in agriculture (UC Davis, for example). Agriculture makes up a major portion of California’s economy. The cities will melt down but the countryside won’t. Also not all technical universities are about electronics. Civil and mechanical engineering are big parts of the UC curriculum. They’re a big part of the curriculum of any technical university. Revolution is right about one thing, this culture is so wrapped up in electronics that it has no concept of how much of the world is purely mechanical and would still be available in a blackout. And I haven’t even started on vocational schools which teach skills like carpentry, metalworking, welding, etc. Skills that will be vital to any effort to rebuild.

      People are only going to squat in the mud so long before they start looking for ways to improve their situation. The educated types across the planet are going to start assessing what they have left in the absence of electricity. They’ll consult libraries looking at life before electricity and determining what technologies they have at their disposal. Then they’re going to build. Necessity is the Mother of Invention and this world is as necessitous as it gets.

      • Jim Miller says:

        >this world is as necessitous as it gets.

        Great word!

        I agree with Kyle about California. It’s very diverse. By percent of area, most of it is agricultural or simply undeveloped. I live just outside of Los Angeles in Ventura county in an area that makes the transition from suburbia to agricultural. I only need to drive 5 minutes down the highway to get to active farms. Drive 5-10 minutes the other way and I get to upscale residentia. Drive 10-15 minutes in another direction and you get to the Santa Monica mountains which is pretty much undeveloped back-country with lots of great hiking trails. This is also, unexpectedly, horse country. But if I want a taste of Los Angeles I can get to “The Valley” in about 30 minutes, or Hollywood in less than an hour.

        Anyone who has driven from Los Angeles to San Francisco will be able to tell you just how much agriculture there is in the Central Valley. Hours and hours of driving past fields, orchards, and farmyards.

        Central Valley

        The big vulnerability for the Central Valley and points south (like Los Angeles) is the heavy dependence on irrigation and aqueducts. By the time people figured out how to move the water without electricity, many crops would likely be dead.

        • Kyle Pope says:

          People also forget that there’s a pretty big chunk of California north of San Francisco and Sacramento. That area would be very fertile ground for rebuilding civilization. I lived in Sacramento before I moved to the Puget Sound area of Washington and I made that drive to LA, smells and all.

  6. Benjamin W says:

    I personally would think the plains nations and Texas would be the best off.

    One big problem with California is that it has no fuel sources other than wood, and some hydro power. The Plains nations will have relatively easy access to oil and coal

    The crash is also going to hit them harder as they will have a far larger number of starving people to contend with.

    The crash will hit Texas hard as well, but they will be within easy trading distance with the plains nations.

    “Plains Nations” implies a plurality of independent states, perhaps with a weak national government setup for the purpose of defense. Basically what the US is supposed to be. Dictators typically want things unitary with no trace of independent sovereignty.

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