“Revolution” 10/15/2012 (spoilers): Charlie vs. Choo-Choo and the Philly Flash

Giancarlo Esposito IS Tom Neville IN NBC's "Revolution"Barely recovered from last week’s Shocking Character Death, the heroes of the Revolution are allowed to dawdle in mourning for all of half an hour before action hero Miles Matheson decides that grief is over and it’s time for everyone to move on. As soon as they cross the next set of bushes without benefit of jump-cut or montage, presto! They’re in Noblesville. Keeping in mind that Indiana Beach is 85 miles northwest of Noblesville, I infer from this instant arrival that our intrepid remainders — Miles, Charlie, Aaron, and “willing” “prisoner” “Nate” — graciously carried their fallen comrade’s body all eighty-five of those miles before deciding that the time and place were right for a proper funeral service, right next door to our villains’ current location. If you ask me, the Indiana Beach area is much prettier and farther away from evil. On the other hand, Noblesville has a large concert venue, the Deer Creek Verizon Wireless Klipsch now presumably sponsorless Music Center. Maybe music fans of the future would love a final resting place near that.

This week we finally learn the strategic importance of Noblesville: it’s the nearest working train station. Modern commuter trains may all be mothballed, but steam engines are untouched by the great blackout. I thought it was the HQ of Monroe Republic dictator Sebastian “Bass” Monroe, but I misunderstood. He’s actually secured in Philadelphia, an American Revolution tourist attraction over 700 miles east of Noblesville. In our present, I’m not sure if the north-south railroad that runs through Noblesville is connected to the nearest Amtrak station in Indianapolis, but let’s assume for plot’s sake that pre-blackout Indiana was a commuter haven with ample rail options. My, how we’re dreaming big here. Let’s also assume that the currently existing Amtrak stations in Lafayette and a few other northwest towns were all nuked. I’m at a loss to make up a story explaining how the massive railroad nexus of Chicago was unplugged from this network, because its existence would’ve saved everyone a lot of walking.

Regardless: there’s a train about to leave town, and Neville aims to drag Danny aboard so he can gift him to President-for-Life Bass. Miles and Charlie plan to save Danny. Through the magic of secret rebel codewords (“I’m looking for a biography of Joe Biden” — no way anyone in this future would say that phrase by mere coincidence), Nora connects with special guest star Jeff Fahey as Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson, a fuzzy Rebel Alliance leader whose wife and entire complement of rebels was recently killed. Their Plan B: bomb the train, with or without Danny aboard, because of rebellion. Aaron is assigned the thankless task of watching over “Nate”. If “Nate” attempts anything, Aaron is history, but Aaron has to play sentinel because he’s the least useful in an action scene and possesses the proportionate speed, strength, and acumen of an elderly bank guard. Oddly, “Nate” stays put and doesn’t make Aaron look bad in front of his friends, but as soon as Miles and Charlie let him out of his cell for some simple, threatened interrogation, then he successfully escapes his captors, even with his wrists bound. Aaron 1; Miles and Charlie, 0 each.

Meanwhile, our dastardly villain shows us why you can’t spell “Neville” without “evil”. The star of this episode’s flashbacks, Neville-that-was is revealed as a distant cousin of Terrence Howard in Crash — a milquetoast company man easily trampled by said company, pointedly ignored by his party-hearty neighbors, but loved by his precious li’l son Jason, and his wife Kim Raver, whom you may know well but I don’t. When a post-blackout burglar makes Neville look bad in front of his loved ones, suppressed suburban rage drives him into his first kill, a hard-to-watch murder by punching. Even to the present day, when he’s not accidentally running into Our Heroes at random, he’s staging one-sided Fight Club with his prisoners, including the sacred Danny.

Despite his asthma, Danny is a stone cold trooper — unflinching in the face of Neville’s menacing pomposity. So many threats, punches, mind games, and loopy soliloquies have pushed Danny over the edge and given him the fuel he needs to survive as a Republic prisoner. It helps that he knows Bass wants him alive. His mindset is especially a plus when Our Heroes fail to rescue him.

Nora has a change of heart and steps forward to botch her own mad-bomber scheme, but a grief-stricken Hutch dissents and stabs her on the stomach. When Neville orders an early train departure, Miles and Charlie give chase through the wonder of coincidentally hitched-nearby horses, a staple of every Western town, even though Noblesville is extremely far from the Old West. Miles assigns himself the task of throwing the bomb off the train, while assigning Charlie the task of rescuing Danny despite no possible way of accomplishing this with her presently lacking skill set and without any heavy artillery to take out Neville. She gamely puts forth her best effort, but even with a handcuffed Danny faring better than she does, she ends up captured by “Nate”…who then throws Charlie from the train rather than kill her, even whispering to her, “Shield your head,” which her stunt double proceeds not to do. Once again, “Nate” vacillates between good and evil and back again with no clear logic. Perhaps he’s possessed by one serious schoolboy crush, or maybe he comes from The Future with the foreknowledge that Charlie is the Chosen One. I’d almost prefer the latter to the former.

Miles succeeds in yanking the bomb (hidden inside a fuel log) from the locomotive’s fiery firebox with his hands wrapped in magical non-flammable blanket, then throws himself from the train because he’s outnumbered and not prepared to handle multiple opponents as nimbly as he did in the pilot. In all, the Mathesons prevented Danny from being killed by the bomb or its lethal side effects, but accomplished little else. Sadly, by this time the horses they stole have abandoned them. They rendezvous with purposeless Aaron and stabbed Nora (obviously much sturdier than poor Maggie was), though crazy Hutch is nowhere in sight. Their new mission: road trip from Noblesville to Philadelphia! As opposed to her mournful hesitation at the beginning of the episode, Charlie is now the one who’s all drill-sergeant, insisting that recuperation is over and it’s time for everyone to move on. Those seven hundred miles aren’t gonna walk themselves.

Two epilogues reveal choice tidbits of information. With prisoner in tow, Neville arrives safely in Philly, where he’s reunited at last with his wife Julia, who in turn is also excited to be reunited with their son Jason…whom we’ve been referring to all this time as “Nate”. Surprise!

Meanwhile at Stately Monroe Manor, fearless leader Bass — already disgruntled about possible collusion between the neighboring governments of the Georgia Federation and the Plains Nation — finds an upside to his day when his imminent threats to Danny’s well-being finally convince his captive Rachel Matheson to spill the beans in a flash about her late husband Ben’s secret project. We learn at last that Ben and Rachel had been working on devices that would provide power even after the blackout. Rachel draws a picture of what we’ve seen before — the potentially world-saving flash-drive MacGuffin amulets. Officially they’re pendants…and they made exactly twelve of them. And with that revelation, we’re To Be Continued, before Rachel has the chance to regale us with a fantasy poem about the fabled twelve pendants, in the Land of Monroe where the shadows lie.

Alas, Revolution will be skipping next week and leaving a hole in my loose writing schedule, unless I feel like covering yet another Presidential debate that’s preempting it. (Seriously not likely.) By the time Our Heroes return in two weeks, I imagine they’ll be nearly to West Virginia by then.

3 responses

  1. One of my favorite things in this show is to look up the locations where they are filming. I know a lot is done in Canada, but last week they filmed at the former Hard Rock Amusement Park, which is actually abandoned. Well, I just want Danny to get rescued finally, and see what will happen with those pendants. As I have found in the past, like with LOST, when I really like a show, I usually buy the DVD at the end of the season. This time my DISH coworker reminded me that I have thousands of hours of recording time on my new Hopper DVR, so I can save the episodes on there. I can even back them up with an external hard drive, but it will save me a lot of money not having to buy the DVDs this time.


    • Usually if I buy DVDs of a show I’ve already seen it’s either for theoretical marathon viewings I can hold when I’m 60, or for DVD extras I’d like to see. I don’t expect Revolution to hold that kind of temptation for me…but who knows. Stranger things have happened.


  2. Pingback: Footballs and MacGuffins in “Revolution” « tv and pop

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