“Revolution” 4/8/2013 (spoilers): Charlie vs. Neville vs. Neville

NBC, Revolution“No one’s a good guy.”

Thus does our hero Miles Matheson (Billy Burke) sum up the current state of mankind in the final minutes of tonight’s new Revolution episode, “The Song Remains the Same” (another Led Zeppelin song title, for annotation fans). If the power is restored for one and all, to oppressors and oppressed alike, who’s to say the warring factions of the country formerly known as America would set aside their differences and reunite for the good of mankind? If adversity wasn’t enough to inspire peaceful cooperation, why should we expect the restoration of power access to be any less divisive?

It’s a question worth asking, in light of the surprise revelation about the true nature of Ben and Rachel Matheson’s secret invention responsible for the worldwide blackout. Bets were won and high-fives were exchanged for any viewers who guessed that the correct answer is…

…insert drumroll here….

…redundant pause for tension effect…

…one last pause for no good reason…

…nanobots! After last week’s expository cliffhanger, we pick up a few minutes later with Aaron (Zak Orth) flipping through a notebook full of nanobot sketches that Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) apparently carries around with her without fear of it falling into the wrong hands. Fair assumption — one wouldn’t expect too many sci-fi scientists to have lived this long after the blackout. By Rachel’s description, a couple hundred quadrillion of the li’l pests have permeated the Earth, even floating in the air, all sharing just two simple commands: “Absorb electrity” and “Replicate”. It stands to reason that the nanobots have been coded not to infiltrate people’s brains, neutralize the electrical activity found there, and drive humans to instant extinction.

Knowing the nature of the tech that ruined the world, Aaron becomes gung-ho about heading to the Tower that spawned them, finding a way to reprogram or shut down all couple hundred quadrillion offenders through good-guy science, and prove he’s not just the team’s resident babysitter and cheerleader. Rachel declines because it would separate her from Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), and they just reunited, and now she’s remorseful and feeling maternal after fifteen years of neglect, some of which was not not her fault. Charlie’s busy with her swordfighting classes, but perhaps a mother/daughter dinner is long, long, long overdue.

Meanwhile back in Independence Hall, President Monroe (David Lyons) and his new ally Randall Flynn (Colm Feore) assess Major Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) and his poor job performance. He’s still appropriately obsequious and homicidal, but he murdered a key Matheson family member (Ben) and allowed two more to escape (Rachel and Danny). While Flynn openly sneers, Monroe grants Neville a new assignment: delivering thirty pounds of diamonds in exchange for an important MacGuffin. Neville accepts the assignment because it’s an order, but can’t help feeling that Flynn is filching Monroe’s favoritism from him.

Neville and a few men hit the open road with the world’s first working convoy in fifteen years — one truck and one Humvee. Neville passes the time with the first recorded music he’s heard in fifteen years. Of all the albums ever recorded and available on mp3, Neville opts for Lionel Richie’s Can’t Slow Down, a massive best-seller from my childhood. Judging by the prominent placement of the cover photo on the dashboard, I trust it’s now available on iTunes. Just as he’s waxing rhapsodic about the magic of that Billboard #1 smash “All Night Long”, EXPLOSIONS ruin his road trip. Our Heroes knew he was coming, planted mines accordingly, and drag him captive back to Rebel Alliance base, an empty factory or farm or whatever. The amplifier that was powering their vehicles was conveniently smashed by the mines, but they nab the pendant they were using…which lasts all of a single scene before Rachel dissolves it, same as she did with two others last week so Flynn and company can’t track their whereabouts.

Neville’s interrogation begin in an empty room with him chained and seated in the middle. Miles enters alone with an ominous toolbox, sets it aside, and limits himself to punching Neville for info. I suppose he wouldn’t want to dirty his precious tools. Miles is kind of terrible at trying to manipulate Neville into divulging the nature of his mission, but Neville plays him like a harp, smiling and poking at the uselessness that was the entire first half of the season, spent on rescuing poor asthmatic Danny: “A thousand miles. Face to face with Monroe. And the boy just dies.” Neville doesn’t stop smiling even as Miles pummels him some more.

During the interrogation, a fresh batch of rebels arrive on base and fill out the backgrounds a little more. Counted among their numbers: Jason Neville (JD Pardo), reported as dead to the Monroe Republic, and not exactly beloved by Charlie or Miles, considering in his first several appearances he switched allegiances more often than he changed clothes. Much discussion ensues with the rebels who brought him, which somehow ends with Jason being admitted over their objections. Miles issues a stern warning if he switches allegiance just one more time: “I will bash your little boy-band face in.” Young Jason correctly responds in ignorance, “What’s a boy band?” If only he weren’t on the outs with his dad, perhaps Neville the elder could teach him a thing or two about New Edition or Menudo.

Later that night, Rachel uses a pretense of dinner delivery to approach Neville’s holding room and knocks out the gullible Rebel Alliance guard on duty. Before a vengeful Rachel can enter and ostensibly end Neville, Charlie just so happens to wander into the neighborhood and bars her path, interrupting Mom’s Inigo Montoya moment before it can begin. Charlie, now acting more like Miles than ever, advises against an emotional reaction because they need the Monroe Republic intel. Anyone who’s been watching since episode one should be bewildered and/or relieved at the complete role reversal that’s taken place.

Next scene: Jason sneaks into Neville’s chamber alone, no Charlie to stop him. Jason still seeks his father’s approval. Neville sheds a few tears and grants it. Jason knows crocodile tears when he sees them, and knows his dad’s just trying to play him like a harp. Dad’s wicked smile returns and drops the ambient room temperature another thirty degrees. Then Dad invokes his mom’s name and cautions that her life is technically in danger if he fails at his delivery job. Jason takes the bait like a sucker, cuts him loose, asks him where they’re headed. Destination: a Virginia factory called Connor Cement.

The door opens to reveal Miles and company, who’ve been standing there the whole time, proud of Jason for beautifully playing his old man like a harp.

Back in Philadelphia, Monroe assumes Neville has failed and sends Flynn to complete the delivery, somehow arriving in Virginia in record time. As the Rebel Alliance prepares to convene on the cement factory, Charlie makes Rachel promise not to murder Neville while they’re gone. Just for good measure, Pastor Nicholas (Derek Webster) and a nameless guard stand watch over him. Neville asks for Catholic services in order to right himself with God. Nicholas knows crocodile repentance when he sees it, and knows Neville’s just trying to play him like a harp. Neville’s wicked smile returns as he rises from his chair, casually murders both men, and drops the nail he used to unlock his fetters. Chalk up another unceremonious loss of supporting cast. Presumably the recently added Hudson (Malik Yoba, present but mostly quiet this week) will do for Nicholas what Tyreese did for T-Dog on The Walking Dead.

JD Pardo, Jason Neville, Revolution, NBCThe episode climaxes with a shootout at the ol’ cement factory, where Jason takes out at least two men with his bow ‘n’ arrow, even though his positioning in the photo at left seems laughably inconsistent with what my brief archery lessons back in college taught me. Charlie contents herself with killing just one henchman on screen; instead of putting her swordfighting lessons to good use, she just walks up and stabs a guy in the back when he’s not looking. Our heroine, ladies and gentlemen, more hardcore than ever. The opposition doesn’t last long because a lot of Flynn’s men were never trained in the complex art of taking cover during a firefight.

Flynn and a few lucky men make a clean getaway anyway despite all the multiple bullseyes, just about the only contribution this episode from Nora (Daniella Alonso) outside of tears of mourning over Nicholas’ brutal slaying. The unhappiness doesn’t end there, as Our Heroes discover what was being exchanged for diamonds: nuclear materials, probably of the bomb-making variety. In a world that’s kept turning just fine for fifteen years without WMDs, things just got real. Maniacal and over the top, but real.

This shocking development quickly changes Rachel’s mind. She and Aaron, who comprise the entire Rebel Alliance tech-support team, resolve to take their leave of the group and head out to the Tower to save the world from powerlessness and nukes. Mother and daughter swap goodbyes, with a practical-minded lack of tears even though they’re well aware this may be their last reunion ever. Rachel and Miles swap a few words, then throw caution to the wind and indulge in several long seconds of passionate kissing, with dialogue hints that this isn’t their first time doing so, though a quick calendar check would confirm that any previous PDAs would’ve taken place while her husband Ben was still alive. That might account for why they finally break away from each other with “total mistake” written all over their faces.

To be continued!

* * * * *

If you missed a previous episode of Revolution, you can check NBC’s official site for any episodes remaining online, consult your local Video On Demand provider, spend money on them over at iTunes, try Hulu if you’re so inclined, or check out past episode commentary/recaps here at MCC. Your handy episode checklist is provided below, along with recap links. Thanks for reading!

9/17/2012: “Pilot
9/24/2012: “Chained Heat
10/1/2012: “No Quarter
10/8/2012: “The Plague Dogs
10/15/2012: “Soul Train
10/29/2012: “Sex and Drugs
11/5/2012: “The Children’s Crusade
11/12/2012: “Ties That Bind
11/19/2012: “Kashmir
11/26/2012: “Nobody’s Fault But Mine
3/25/2013: “The Stand
4/1/2013: “Ghosts

4 responses

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