Science Problems with Revolution

2420 wc

Originally posted on my writing blog which was active from 2010 to 2018.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the show. I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic fiction I guess. And it has a lot of “heart.” But sometimes television writers are just really lazy about basic science. It’s why this country is like last place in math and science, I guess.

1. Pilot

  • When electricity goes off, screens don’t blink and distort. They instantly go black. I’ve been through power outages. I know these things.
  • Cars wouldn’t stop dead if the electrical system died … at worst I think they’d drift to a stop. But I feel like the engines wouldn’t just shut off, right? I mean they would keep running until they ran out of gas, then you wouldn’t be able to start them again. Anyway they certainly wouldn’t stop in perfect columns on a highway.
  • Planes definitely wouldn’t fall from the sky. They can glide. You know, aerodynamics? Come on. It’s not Y2K for God’s sake.
  • So all of civilization collapsed and rebuilt itself in the 15 years since The Blackout. Seems like a short time.
  • The voiceover said, “Not even car engines or jet turbines. Hell even batteries.” Okay that kind of implies that internal combustion doesn’t work any more? Is that what they’re trying to say? Does that mean all chemical reactions don’t work? Would a match not strike? Lighters not light? How are they building fires? Or are they saying the current just doesn’t flow out of the battery any more?
  • “Physics went insane.” This is the exact moment when the show jumped the shark. I thought to myself, “This show totally sucks and should not be watched.” But I was way too tired to stop it.
  • While the kid eats the last melting ice cream: “I want you to really remember what it tastes like.” People made ice cream before electricity, ya know.
  • Gus, from Breaking Bad! The show started looking up.
  • What is up with these crazy-looking swords/machettes with hilts that look like brass knuckles? They look terribly uncomfortable and impractical.
  • Ugh, crossbow bolts don’t throw people backwards like that. I’ve never seen anyone shot by a crossbow bolt, but I’m very sure of that. Even if physics did go insane.
  • Here’s the inciting incident of the Hero’s Journey, where our hero is thrown from her normal world and forced to go on a quest.
  • Gus has amazing facial expressions. He has another name in this show but I can’t remember it at the moment.
  • Ow, getting hit in the face with a pipe probably hurts.
  • What the hell kind of poison makes people spit up blood within seconds? Shards of glass? You’d think they would notice that.
  • I can’t help wondering how people survived asthma attacks before there was medicine for it.
  • Uncle Miles reminds me of a badass version of MacGyver.
  • This woman with the shotgun looks like Diana Ross to me.
  • Muskets?? Well at least some kind of chemical reactions still work. It sort of implies that they can still make musket balls easily but manufacturing jacketed bullets is beyond them. I assumed that car engines didn’t work because spark plugs didn’t work. (But then, spark plugs are only used to start an engine.)
  • Oh my. A shocking revalation. Very unusual for a J.J. Abrams production.
  • Oh my. Another shocking revalation!

2. Chained Heat

  • “Oh there’s a sale on heroin.” Ha.
  • Why does everyone have freshly-washed hair except the ex-Google millionaire?? And why is he wearing those gigantic black-rimmed glasses?? Total geek discrimination!!
  • I thought that accent was Australian. It never occurred to me that it was supposed to be British.
  • Why would they sleep next to a swamp? They probably would have gotten malaria. And why did they wake up at what looked like noon?
  • Why would they use human prisoners to pull a helicopter when they could use horses or mules or a hundred other draft animals which would be far more effective?
  • I think this exact same sniper guy with dark aviator shades has manned every prison tower in every movie ever.
  • When she typed “Randall is here” I immediately thought of Stephen King’s The Stand.
  • Another shocking revelation!

3. No Quarter

  • The opening sequence of this show is pretty lame. “We’re hoping someone will come and light the way.” Really?
  • Stu Redman! Frannie! Another reference to Stephen King’s The Stand.
  • It’s easier to “scavenge antiques” (muskets) than to find “smokeless powder, copper jacket” bullets. We have more muskets than moden firearms laying around? Sniper rifles are more rare than muskets? Okay, sure. That makes perfect sense.
  • Okay. Let’s talk. Nobody working for Google is going to know what an 8-bit register looks like. An 8-bit register would be a total antique to anyone working at Google today. Only somebody that’s like 50 years old or more (today, not counting the 15 years after the blackout) would have even a chance to be able to pick up an 8-bit register chip and recognize it. And we all know that Google doesn’t hire people more than like 22 years old. And also, an 8-bit register is going to look like a huge microchip, not a little circuit board. AND! Why build a whole cabinet-sized computer from spare 8-bit registers when you could just pick up a freakin’ Rasberry Pi which is a whole freakin’ computer in a package the size of a pack of gum?
  • I am not a trained sniper, but I have a feeling that shooting people in the sternum is not the best way to kill someone in a single shot.
  • Danny’s disgruntled guard is the best actor in this episode.
  • Why don’t people in television know how to tie people up? I mean, loose-hanging rope around the chest and upper arms is probably not going to work very well.

4. The Plague Dogs

  • These people seem to be able to walk a long way in a short time.
  • So these dogs are running away from fresh food to chase after people?
  • If electricity doesn’t work, why is there still lightning??
  • This kid is apparently the only tornado-sniffing expert in the post-apocalptic world.
  • These people sure do recover from injuries fast.
  • The sailor with the big funny ears said: There are “no more steam boats.” But wait … in the very next episode we’re going to see a steam train. He also said all the ships were “destroyed in the wars.” What wars??
  • What a minute. These two groups are only a day apart on foot. But one of them is in the middle of a tornado, and the other one is in bright sunshine?
  • Come on Danny. Did you even watch Breaking Bad? Gus cannot be trusted!
  • Couldn’t she have just, like, tilted her head to the side? Instead of trying to rock the chair back and forth? I’m not a contortionist, but I can move my head at least a foot sideways.
  • Aw dammit. Stupid emotional scenes. I’m trying to make fun of this show! There can’t be touching moments in it.

5. Soul Train

  • Gus holds his fists funny when he fights.
  • Awwww, sad puppy dog eyes.
  • Okay, so apparently steam engines still work. Because there’s a steam engine train. So why haven’t we seen a lot of steam engine technology before now? Why didn’t the major governments immediately revert to steam engine technology?
  • What the hell kind of name is “Bass”? Not like the guitar, but like the fish?
  • Where did Monroe get that “M” pin that he wears on his collar? So they can make “M” pins but not bullets?
  • “Fuses are unreliable.” Again, implying that chemical reactions are messed up? And yet, somehow throwing logs into a fire is a sure-fire way to set off a bomb. Not even a fifth-grade science teacher for a consultant on this show, is there?
  • And how/why did they put “M” signs all over the buildings?
  • Finally, sad puppy dog eyes girl grows a spine.
  • Oh snap! Another shocking revelation!
  • Ah ha! Twelve of them! Just like the Apostles. And the lost colonies of Battlestar Galactica.

6. Sex and Drugs

  • Horse and carriage with rubber tires! Not a flaw in the show, I just thought it was funny-looking. Actually one of the first things that actually makes logical sense. Of course they’d put rubber tires on a carriage. What, are they going to build wooden wheels?
  • Oh, I see they are doing the Lost strategy of giving each character a backstory in each successive episode.
  • Okay, I see, so only regular cars stopped dead at the time of the blackout. But giant tractor trailers that need to serve a plot purpose keep rolling along like a ton of bricks.
  • Oh, he pulled a Lando!
  • “Is she Latin?” Um, shouldn’t that have been “Latina?”
  • Hrm, well, sad puppy dog eyes girl is going a little too far into sociopathic territory.
  • I think I can see where this is going…
  • Come on dude. Someone smart enough to work at Google can learn to hunt.
  • Aw dude. You’re better than this!
  • Nooooooo!
  • Not sure what to make of that. Was it a brilliant plan or just dumb luck? I’m thinking the latter, which is unfortunate.

7. The Children’s Crusade

  • The Lord of the Flies episode, apparently.
  • They’re like the A-Team.
  • I think that’s the kid from Under The Dome.
  • Well, at least The Militia supports gender equality!
  • I’m not sure why they went to the trouble to make themselves uniforms. They must have a pretty good tailoring industry going on at least.
  • I know this is totally stupid but I really wish it was fashionable to wear a sword. :) I guess it would be impractical to get into a car, though.
  • Oh wow that’s inconvenient. But it’s a very convenient distraction.
  • Wow, go Google dude! See, I told you smart people can become violent sociopathic killers!
  • A weapon that inhibits electricity would be more dangerous than any kind of bomb. Just sayin'.
  • That’s Randall! And he was in Stephen King’s Storm of the Century! It all comes back to Stephen King with this show.

8. Ties That Bind

  • Hey wait, a few episodes ago they said fuses were unreliable…
  • Ohhhh, she’s coming back. Don’t be so sad.
  • Oh snap! A shocking revelation!
  • Damn people walk fast in this show.
  • Ugh dude take that rifle with you!
  • On second thought, probably a good idea to leave the rifle if you’re going to jump into a raging river.
  • I swear I’ve seen Charlie in another show but according to IMDB I haven’t.
  • Aw man. Uber bad guys!

9. Kashmir

  • The one with that cool Led Zepplin song, right?
  • Hrm, they’re playing the wrong Led Zepplin song.
  • “This pendant powers up anything within its range.” “It’s like a wireless battery.” No, it’s nothing like a wireless battery! It’s like a wireless MAGICAL AMULET THAT DEFIES THE LAWS OF NATURE AND COMMON SENSE. “It has very limited range; only 9 or 10 feet.” Okay so she moves away from the CD player and it stops. Then she moves it back in range, and the CD player starts again … at the same place in the song. I realize CD players are rare now and maybe kids aren’t as familiar with them, but surely everyone knows that when you cut the power to a CD player, it doesn’t just resume where you left off! Even if it had been an iPhone playing an MP3, it wouldn’t have resumed at the same place. If it had been a record player it might have worked, with the appropriate spin-up warbling. Or a cassette tape player. Or an 8-track tape player.
  • I’m not even going to comment on the whole “pendant” concept. I mean. It’s just. I can’t even. Her explanation of the pendant “powering up anything within its range” is obviously wrong anyway. Obviously, something is actively inhibiting electricity over the whole world, because electricity is a natural phenomenon. I can only assume that the uber bad guys from the previous episode are inhibiting the world’s electricity with orbiting satellites of some kind. So these little pendants must be inhibiting the inhibitors somehow. Which means … oh man, I don’t even want to go down that rabbit hole of what that means. Okay I will. I guess they’re trying to say that radio waves or microwaves or something is inhibiting electricity, and the pendants put out waves which cancel the other waves. That makes perfect sense, right? TO A SCIENTIFICLY ILLITERATE PERSON. And/or the average American school graduate. Oh snap, I just burned the American school system.
  • Not enough oxygen in the tunnels. Um. I’m not sure about that. I am not very well-versed on oxygen depravation, but I feel like if they were so low on oxygen that the torches weren’t burning and they were hallucinating, that they would not be physically able to walk around. Also, I mean, they might want to consider putting out some of the torches if they’re burning up the oxygen. Also, the tunnel like just collapsed, and it’s a pretty big space, so I feel like the oxygen wouldn’t run out that fast.
  • Explosions in that enclosed space would probably make them all deaf. :)
  • Oh wow, they finally played the cool Led Zepplin song!

10. Nobody’s Fault But Mine

  • Another Led Zepplin reference in the episode title. I just realized that Episode 3 “No Quarter” was also a Led Zepplin song.
  • Again using the fuses that are supposed to be unreliable…
  • So the Google guy can’t get matches to work, but somehow flint works? That seems pretty random.
  • Dual-wielding swords looks badass and all, but it’s not very practical. Also, everyone knows that real sword fights only last like 2 seconds, right? Erol Flynn-like duels never actually happened. Even fencing duels are rather fast. Have you seen the pros?

11. The Stand

  • Stephen King reference in the episode title.
  • I can’t help but wonder why everyone’s pendant works all the time except the one that Aaron carried around which only turned itself on sporadically at the most inopportune times.
  • “Audio cannon.” I’ve heard of audio weapons before but I seriously doubt you could put one in a handheld weapon the size of a pistol that would do anything more than annoy people.
  • Aw dammit. Another touching moment.
  • Feels like this episode is the end of a story arc. Like they only expected to make 11 episodes.
  • Randall Flynn … obviously meant to be a variation of Randall Flagg! (A Stephen King reference.)
  • Dubya tee eff is that?!?

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