I’ve been saying all along that the best thing NBC’s Revolution had going for it was showrunner Eric Kripke. During his tenure on the CW’s Supernatural he managed to find new ways to twist and reinvent that show every season, resulting in a series that consistently got better and better over the course of its first five years. In spite of a mediocre start, I’ve been holding out hope that Kripke had something clever up his sleeve. Now a new interview with him has boosted my interest and confidence in the show even more: Kripke says we may well learn the cause of the show’s biggest mystery — the global blackout — before the end of the first season.
During a conference call reported on by Zap2It, Kripke explained his thinking behind potentially wrapping up the mystery of the blackout so soon:
The longer you drag out an answer the more pressure there is that it’s the greatest answer given in the history of man. Frankly, I’m not that smart. I’d rather answer a question and open a door to a bigger room. Even if we do answer the question of what caused the blackout it leads directly to a bigger and scarier mystery.
It’s definitely a ballsy move for a new show that has hung so much of its appeal on that central mystery. If the reveal doesn’t lead to even more interesting mysteries, Revolution risks the fate of Twin Peaks, which never really recovered after definitively revealing “Who killed Laura Palmer?” On the other hand, this sort of thinking could avoid the problems Lost had for most of its run — spinning its wheels constantly since there was no end date for the show in mind.
It should also be relief for fans to hear that Kripke and his writers do actually have an answer in mind for the cause of the blackout. Going back to Lost again, many of that show’s were burned by claims made by the producers, such as that everything on the show had a scientific explanation (such as, you know, the magical glowing hole that turns people into smoke monsters). Moreover, since the show has a specific answer it’s heading toward, Kripke says they will be laying in plenty of hints for the sharp-eyed viewer.
You should look for clues everywhere.There was a phenomenon that we have up our sleeves as to what caused the blackout. What you see in that globe shot [of the blackout creeping across the Earth] is an accurate representation of what we’re working on.
Kripke says this philosophy of providing answers sooner rather than later will apply throughout the show. For instance, he says that the subplot involving Danny’s kidnapping by militia forces won’t be dragged out throughout the entire season. “It was only a way to bring the audience into the world and introduce them to the characters. It’s time for the audience to find out why the show is called Revolution.”
SPOILERS FOR LAST WEEK’S EPISODE BELOW!!
Really, it’s quite spoiler-y. Run away before it’s too late.
Kripke also addressed last week’s shocking death of Maggie (played by Anna Lise Phillips). Fans of Kripke’s Supernatural know that the showrunner falls in the same category as Joss Whedon when it comes to his willingness to kill major characters with little warning. But, as Kripke explains, Maggie’s death wasn’t only done for shock value, but to help remind viewers of the stakes in the post-electricity world of Revolution.
We decided internally very early on that it was important to show that this world had real stakes and was truly dangerous — you’re not close to hospitals, paramedics, help. We realized the scariest thing we could do was to kill the doctor among them. It was purely a creative decision about giving the world a real charge of danger. As we move forward in the series we want the audience to understand no one is safe, including the main characters.
I’m definitely intrigued to see how the show develops, and more specifically how they address the blackout mystery later in the season. If he can successfully pull off answering that huge question without killing the show’s momentum, season two could be very interesting (assuming it gets renewed).