“Revolution” 10/29/2012 (spoilers): Charlie vs. the Poppy-Pushing Pig

Aaron and Miles, "Revolution", NBCI had assumed that this week’s new episode of Revolution, “Sex and Drugs”, would begin with Nora perfectly fine and her stab wound from episode five healed over nicely. Instead, last week’s fake episode recap turned out to be 10% prescient, as her wound became infected and demanded serious medical attention. Rubbing dirt in it just wasn’t working. Maybe she was doing it wrong.

Fortunately, Miles knows a guy. Unfortunately, the guy is five or six hours away in some direction. Fortunately, Our Heroes now have a wagon and a pair of black horses, a wise investment indeed. Unfortunately, that guy, Drexel (Todd Stashwick), is a psycho. Fortunately, the psycho has a doctor on staff. Unfortunately, the psycho owns a poppy plantation and controls half the heroin supply in the Monroe Republic. (Did you know drugs were a problem in the Republic? Surprise! At least one industry has remained recession-proof over the past fifteen years. Unlike, say, boating.) Fortunately, the doctor is skilled enough to transfuse Miles’ o-negative blood into Nora’s depleted self and save her life. Unfortunately, in this post-electrical world blood transfusions are like magic, and as all Once Upon a Time fans know, magic comes with a price.

Fortunately, despite the seedy preview for this week’s episode, Drexel isn’t demanding a night with Charlie. Unfortunately, his price is even harder for Charlie to pay: Drexel wants her to murder the patriarch of the O’Halloran family, who went all General Sherman on his poppy fields and destroyed his precious commodity. Drexel wants revenge; he wants someone else to exact it for him because he’s a spoiled brat; and Miles owes him because their erstwhile association (formerly evil Miles used to kill rival drug lords for him) tainted and sullied his reputation among discerning heroin consumers.

While Miles, Aaron, and bedridden Nora remain Drexel’s prisoners as insurance, Charlie and her pained expressions infiltrate the O’Halloran family stronghold with a two-part disguise: one of his tarted-up maidservants’ tawdry dresses, and a misogynistic punch to the face courtesy of Drexel himself, so she’ll appear the abused refugee seeking shelter. Miles and Aaron have a laundry list of complaints about this plan, none of which they’re allowed to express because of captivity. When attentions are turned away, Miles turns into the Super-Miles we know and watch the show eagerly for — sneaking down a dumbwaiter shaft, dodging a bullet, and sword-fighting his way out of Drexel’s kitchen so he can stop Charlie from taking another step toward becoming Hardcore.

One would hope the next scene is Charlie confessing everything to Bill O’Halloran: “Sir, you have to help me. Your psycho neighbor is holding my friends hostage and he punched me in the face and he wants me to kill you and I think I can do it but I really don’t want to and I want my mommy.” None of this happens. Charlie’s mental state was already tearing at the seams earlier in the episode, further exacerbated by childhood flashbacks that drive her to tear up her beloved souvenir postcards inside her sacred Return of the Jedi lunchbox. I shouldn’t be surprised, then, that even though kindly Bill has a wife, a baby, no love for drug lords, and every indication of sainthood, Charlie convinces herself she can totally assassinate him with the giant hairpin Drexel made her wear. Killing a family man will make everything right and maybe even impress Miles, or something. With steely resolve found after several minutes of waffling, she cold-cocks her host with a teakettle and prepares to stab him in the face, not unlike the nonexistent scene with the quarrel in my episode 5½, which is now upgraded to 15% prescient.

The scary part is, she comes this close to doing the deed, a Manchurian candidate who doesn’t even require expensive brainwashing. I would liken it to Abraham and Isaac, except in this poor man’s version Charlie is Abraham and Drexel is God. Charlie doesn’t analogize well under pressure. Luckily the day and her soul are saved when Miles sneaks into the heavily guarded O’Halloran place and stays her hand. Somehow they sneak out undetected, even though Miles’ path inside didn’t look terribly two-way or two-person.

Meanwhile back at Drexel’s death house, Aaron has had more time to reflect on his lot in life. He’s the star of this week’s primary flashbacks, which introduce his wife Priscilla and reveal their whereabouts on the night of the blackout: inside a party limo that powered down, drifted along the road, and then SURPRISE SEMI SMASH. Two months later all semi-related injuries had apparently healed, but nasty lake water inflicted dysentery upon Priscilla, until a Real Man comes along, diagnoses her, and joins poor Priscilla and her feeble sidekick. Six months after that, Aaron proves spineless in the face of banditry, decides he’s not worthy, and abandons his wife with this hardy group who’re less likely to get her killed than he might. Somewhere between inadequacy and cowardice lies…Aaron.

As he and Nora are surrounded by their oppressors after Miles’ escape, Aaron is forced to deal with his demon head-on: he’s the Zeppo of the group. Just as Xander Harris once struggled to justify his membership in Buffy’s Scooby gang, so must Aaron find a way to save the day for once instead of being a comic-relief liability in distress. When Drexel forces Aaron and Nora (after one anti-stuporific adrenalin shot) to duel with each other with pistols for survival and fun, Aaron commits the first manly deed of his life: he shoots himself in the chest.

Jaws drop. Eyes bulge. Everyone questions reality. The show’s accountants prepare to adjust the production budget accordingly. Just as all appears over, Aaron rises from the ground, pops a cap squarely in Drexel’s chest, then reveals that the bullet was aimed squarely into the whiskey flask in his pocket. So the day is saved by Aaron’s drinking problem. But at least it was an intentional save on Aaron’s part. Drexel’s henchmen are so stunned and not terribly loyal to their workplace that they allow Aaron and a still-woozy Nora to depart unharmed. For his act of unheralded valor, maybe they’ll even let him keep the gun.

Thus do Our Heroes not walk away from this episode unchanged. Charlie has learned how she could just kill a man, if only Miles wouldn’t stop her, even though he keeps telling her she should kill more often. His mixed signals confuse her. Meanwhile, Aaron has also learned how he could just kill a man, but hopefully doesn’t come away from the experience with an insatiable bloodlust and a need to show off by shooting other people so that he can win his abandoned wife back from whatever dark forest she and her party of neck-snapping Real Men are currently inhabiting. Miles has learned that maybe, just maybe, killing shouldn’t be Charlie’s thing. And Nora seems closer to fine and her stab wound should be healing over nicely. Hopefully everyone remembers where they parked the wagon.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, the episode ends with Danny and Rachel, reunited at last. Few words are needed, just lots of hugging. They’re still Monroe’s prisoners, but they’re together, and that’s what matters. For outstanding achievement in the field of teenager-hunting, Neville is promoted to Major and offered a position in the department of Intelligence and Interrogations. Monroe is not one to opt for vague names such as “Department of the Interior” or “Department of State”. No, in his administration, you know exactly what job you’re being offered and what the responsibilities include, no ambiguity whatsoever.

Monroe also moves forward with his plot to capture one of the Twelve Pendants, the potentially world-saving flash-drive MacGuffin amulets. After Jason files his official field report for Operation Danny Boy, he reveals vital intelligence to Monroe: that Our Heroes have one such Pendant in their possession. Monroe assigns the job of retrieval to Strausser, the nasty torture-loving henchman who’s skulked around in previous episodes. Jason’s reaction to this order (“*gasp!* Not…Strausser!”) is a sure sign that it’s high time for another random betrayal. This eludes Neville’s notice altogether, despite his son’s frequently demonstrated penchant for betraying. I think that bumps up the final prescience quotient on last week’s spoof up to 20%.

4 responses

    • Thanks for reading! I’m hoping the show stabilizes by the end of the season, but so far it just won’t stop inspiring a MAD Magazine response in me.

      And yes, even at the end of civilization, even when “money” no longer exists as a viable concept, heroin will find a way!

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  1. I am so happy with this episode of Revolution, no matter how dull Charlie is. A lot of my coworkers at DISH have started to pick back up on the show, after they gave up on it early on in the series. With so much on TV on Monday nights, I’m so glad that my Hopper records all four major networks with the PrimeTime Anytime feature, so I don’t have to worry about missing an episode. I can’t wait for next week’s episode, and hopefully it continues Aaron’s storyline!

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    • Fortunately, Xfinity on Demand allows me some of the same viewing convenience with a more limited selection and at a much higher price. But they have a cooler name and years of customer loyalty for reasons of my own, so it all evens out. And I’d have to agree that after this episode, Aaron is now much more fun to root for than Charlie.

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