Don't let the terrible episode title fool you, I promise it's not that bad.
After what feels like an inordinately long break after the Pilot thanks to NBC’s early preview, I’m back to tell you about things that happen on the latest JJ Abrams brainchild (or whatever his role in it was exactly) Revolution. This week’s episode assumes we’ve got the basic picture from the pilot episode, which is reasonable enough. So thankfully we’ve moved past all the introductions and can get to the nitty-gritty, which is really going to work out well for us, I hope.
Warning: I will spoil things you haven’t seen.
In true JJ Abrams style, we open with a flashback. The Matheson family (sans Miles, just the core American Dream family) is packing up a week after the blackout to escape to the suburbs. For some reason I assume all these people hauled out to Napersville. Rachel tells Charlie to be a good big sister and watch her brother.
Back to the future: we find Miles sword fighting with a bounty hunter. He’s prepared to kill the man, but Charlie intervenes and they instead leave him in an abandoned boxcar. Charlie & Co. leave, and as they do we find they are being tracked by Nate O’Squinterson. They arrive in Pontiac, Illinois, which is 1.75 hours from Chicago via car, if you’re wondering. So what I’m saying is, it’d be a pretty long walk. This is apparently the capital of Monroe County. Miles goes into a poker room in the back of a shady saloon and asks for a woman named Nora, offering a gold nugget as a bribe to complete the ol’ west theme. Unfortunately the bounty hunter he didn’t kill comes to capture him, holding Charlie, Maggie, and Aaron as hostages. Miles puts up his hands and goes with the bounty hunter and his gang of merry men. Before they can get him too far, he straight up murders everyone’s ass. I am growing fond of Miles.
Somewhere in the country (read: literally anywhere in Illinois that isn’t Chicagoland) Captain Tom Neville (or, let’s be honest, Gus) is transporting Danny via cart. I’m sorry, did Danny’s hair grow like half a foot in the past few days? And also, when did he have time to bleach it? Honestly that looks like a completely different kid. They hear gunshots, which are illegal, and since this militia is 1257% more efficient than present-day Chicago at enforcing the firearm ban, they go to investigate. They find a man who has shot a buck. Neville waxes philosophical a bit about his wife’s venison chops, relieves the man of his shotgun, then murders him with his shiny gun when the man pulls a pistol on one of his militia men. Efficient man, Neville. They find an American flag inside the house, and Neville orders everything to be burned.
In one of the Monroe County tents, a Sergeant Strauss is “interrogating” someone about the Mathesons. Monroe comes in and reprimands the harsh tactics of Strauss, while speaking soothingly to the victim. The man says he is not afraid of Monroe, so he slits his throat. Harsh penal code there, man. Heh, I said penal.
Aaron is looking through Maggie’s pouch and finds her iPhone, making fun of her for carrying an electronic product. Thankfully we’re not treated to any Mac/PC fanboy rants. Miles tells the group to meet him in Lowell, Indiana (not Pawnee?) in two weeks; he is planning to find Nora and they are only holding him back. He peaces out while Charlie mopes. Predictably, when Aaron and Maggie arise the next morning, she’s gone after him.
Charlie falls and hurts herself while hiking. Nate’s been following her still and walks toward her to help- but she’s fooled him with her damsel-y-ness, and handcuffs him to a useless telephone pole. He asks if she’s just going to leave him there. She asks if Nate is even his real name, and he says no. Aww, he hurt her feelings. Also, does this mean his real name is Squints? Can I call him that? I feel like he is this show’s answer to Taylor Lautner.
Aaron insists they’ll see Charlie again if they stick to the plan to go meet her, since she’s a better tracker than they are. Maggie is less confident, and confesses that the reason she has the iPhone is because all of her children’s pictures are on it. The perils of the digital age, I suppose.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the middle of cornfields (so anywhere in about 99% of the central US), the wounded militiaman is dying. Gus says some inspiring words to him, gives him promises of Elysium/heaven (I love you Giancarlo, but you’re no Russell Crowe), and gives him laudanum or whatever to suicide with. The man goes nobly to his grave, no doubt dreaming of glory and the eternal promise of Internet porn. Also, there are constantly flies around Neville’s face. Is that the dramatic twist? Is he already dead?!
Charlie sees a deflated basketball while she wanders and resumes her earlier flashback. Her family is at U of C while her dad gets some stuff. How the hell did that family get all the way to Hyde Park without getting fucking murdered? Or if they already live there, how will they get out? Do you know what surrounds Hyde Park? Terrible, terrible places surround Hyde Park, and I don’t think an apocalypse is going to spruce them up any. Good luck getting through Englewood, people. Anyway, a man took young Charlie hostage and threatens to kill her if they don’t give him their wagon of food. Miles interrupts her reverie and Charlie explains to him that she feels responsible for Ben’s death and Danny’s kidnapping.
Aaron shows Maggie Ben’s magical USB thing and tells her that Ben told him to find Grace Beaumont, who you might recall is the nice lady who saved Danny’s asthmatic ass in the pilot. Aaron goes on to wonder if the whole blackout was manufactured and imposed on them by man, because by the laws of science it has no reason to be happening. Thank you for addressing my concerns, show.
Neville holds a funeral service for the dead soldier. He says that the militia is the only stopgap for anarchy, but Danny scathingly suggests that in fact Neville simply enjoys killing people for funsies. He gets slapped for expressing the sentiment, though Neville appreciates his honesty.
Charlie and Miles come across a work camp being forced to haul a helicopter. One of these prisoners is the Nora they’ve been looking for. To illustrate the horrors these prisoners have to face, one of them falls and is shot for not getting up fast enough. That night, Miles frees Nora. She yells at him for this, as it ruined her plans. She was going to steal the warden’s sniper rifle because it would make a killing on the black market. She agrees to help Miles and Charlie get Danny back on the condition they help her get that gun first.
The next morning they hatch a plan. Nora makes a sort of hand pistol that can be concealed in a sleeve. (I don’t know if there’s a proper name for something like that, I don’t do guns.) Miles points out that neither of them is an ideal candidate for walking up to the warden and shooting him in the face, which is what they’ll have to do to be effective. Charlie pipes up and says she’ll do it. Miles reckons she won’t, on account of she’s not a merciless killing machine like him, but she speaks up on behalf of the imprisoned. Freedom and liberty and all that. She walks out towards the group, pretending to be a lost girl in the woods.
As she’s brought to the warden and his rifle, she finishes her flashback scene. Ben comes out of the university and sees the man with little Charlie. He draws his gun, threatening to kill the would-be robber, but in the end can’t shoot him. He says they need the food, and even after the guy frees Charlie and leaves with the wagon, he doesn’t think Ben will shoot him. He starts to walk away, but is shot. Ben couldn’t shoot him, but mama bear could.
Charlie takes after her mom and shoots the warden. She and his second-in-command wrastle for the rifle while Nora and Miles take out the rest of the guards. She ends up shooting the second-in-command as well. Afterwards she feels guilty, and Miles basically tells her to buck up, and gets distracted by Nora’s tattoo of ol’ Glory. She didn’t want the gun for the black market- she’s a rebel now. America! Fuck yeah!
Grace is at her computer, typing away, when someone knocks at the door. She figures out who it is and returns to her computer to type, “Randall is here.” We never see his face, but the man shows up with his own magic electrical USB and a tazer.
Rachel is not dead, it seems. Monroe comes into wherever she is (looks like a colonial era drawing room to me) and tells her Ben is dead and they have Danny. She fails to thrust a pen through his jugular, and he tells her it’s time to talk about what Ben knew.
Welp, that’s it for this week. I admit I’m much more on board with this show than I was with… ahem… other JJ Abrams-approved works. Now that we’ve got the background out of the way, and it looks like they might actually attempt to stick with logic (as far as it goes for sci-fi television shows, anyway), which is always a plus. I wish the characters weren’t so bland, though. With the exception of Miles, they’re all pretty transparent. That isn’t to say they aren’t cool or don’t serve a good purpose, but I’m much more keen on character development for a show’s long-term prospects. I’m interested in the plot but I hope to eventually become invested in these people’s fates. I guess, though, for right now I’m happy enough watching sword fights and other murdery things. Now if you'll excuse me, I have homemade pumpkin pie to eat.
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