The Otherness in the TV Series Revolution

Revolution Cast

The Cast of the Revolution TV Series

Remember when I wrote about Revolution in a quick review.  Well I’m back with a look. In part cause I watched all the episodes, and I figure why not explore what I’m thinking about the show. Today I’m looking directly at a specific character, Sebastian “Bass” Monroe, the leader of the Monroe Militia, and what I think about him.

When I watched the episode “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” in the series Revolution the culmination of the episodes made me ask myself just what is the relation hip between Miles Matherson and Sebastian “Bass” Monroe. Up until that last episode of the “fall finale” I couldn’t really figure their relationship out.  On the surface it looked like the duo were written as ex-lovers more than as brothers. That longing and emptiness on Monroe’s part made me think he was missing a lot of comfort and security, in a way that Linus from Peanuts misses his blanket if it’s taken from him. I think the character has a deep seeded need for Miles, and it lingers in each episode he appeared. The episodes bring into question, what are the meanings of family, alliances, and identity.

While there are bigger issues within the series for the characters to react to, such as all the power in the world being shut off, and it’s more of an adventure show, there are some critical and emotional aspects worth addressing in regards to the characters, and the narrative.

Throughout the show we’ve seen how family as its theme. Charlie over- emphasizes this theme a lot, but she’s on a quest to save her brother, Danny. She’s recruited her uncle, Miles, Maggie (her father’s lover), and Aaron (her father’s friend). Miles’ ex-girlfriend Nora even becomes a member of this team. Nora’s sister shows up as well. The antagonists have family members too; Tom Neville has a wife and a son (Julia and Jason).  Monroe’s pretty left with himself, his longing for Miles, and his prisoner Rachel Matheson (Charlie and Danny’s mother – Miles’ sis-in-law). It gives it that soap-opera kind of feel with entanglements, plotlines and flashbacks that dominates the show.

For the record nothing’s ever revealed completely, and the series makes use of flashbacks as a staple to each episode. For example, I would not have known Arron’s marital status without the use of flashbacks. We’d never know Maggie’s personal desires, or her quest to get back home without the use of flashbacks.

With Miles and Monroe confronting each other in that final episode it did more to give viewers more details of their shared past. These guys are supposed to be like brothers, but they changed. They fell apart, and things get ugly. They hate each other. It isn’t until the episode, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” do we see how deeply connected Miles and Monroe are to each other. They’ve known each other since childhood, and when things got bad as adults, they stuck by each other. Now there’s a rift between them that can’t be fixed.  It’s clear that Miles put a lot of Monroe’s militia into order, and set the pace and tone for the Monroe Militia effectiveness.

What I find fascinating is how asexual Monroe was played up until this last episode. There was a woman in his bed, and we never see who she is, and she’s very unimportant to the storyline, other than to show that Monroe may have sexual needs. In contrast to the other characters and who they are, the brief scene feels weak and forced. Charlie’s infatuation with Jason Neville had more believability due to emphasis placed on her trusting nature, and his interest in her. The bed scene appeared as if the production noticed, after a while, Monroe’s portrayed as pretty much asexual with the exception that he desires Miles for friendship and brotherhood, which could be construed or confused with lust for Miles. I honestly wonder how this could be improved. Monroe’s constructed as a singularity in a world of people who have people to lean on for support or friendship.

Monroe eventually comes off as psychotic, co-dependent, ambitious, unstable, and scorned after Miles rejects him. After this rejection, Miles and Monroe pull out swords and fight each other with neither getting the upper hand. Not sure why these two like teasing each other with friendship and death, but clearly they need each other in an odd, unhealthy way.  I do think the emotional payoff for the rejection needed improvement.  Miles is basically saying I really should have killed you, but never pulls the trigger when he has the chance. Is he waiting for Monroe to apologize or beg for his life?  What turned Miles off to his friend when they’ve been through thick and thin, and Miles himself is no stranger to getting his hands dirty/wet?

Monroe is like, let’s be friends all over again, but kind of doesn’t want to be friends if it stands in the way of power. Perhaps nothing matters to Monroe other than he keep people as attachments, and dispose of them as needed. Perhaps he’s detached from the real word. He doesn’t strike me as lustful for power so much as needing things close to him with no objections to his methods or madness.  What if He had thrown down his weapons and told Miles he needed him as a friend and a guide.  That he was lost without his help?  I wonder, but I guess that scene may never happen.  It comes off like like the scenes got pressed for time. At this point whether the needs of Monroe are sexual, asexual, I want my  brother back, or plain psycho I felt the story needed more work. Perhaps with more episodes the series will gain a stronger foothold in the character development that won’t rely exclusively on flashbacks.

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