“Revolution” 5/13/2013 (spoilers): Charlie vs. the Drones of Devastation

Aaron Pittman, Zak Orth, Revolution, NBC

Former Google executive Aaron Pittman (Zak Orth), possibly the only sci-fi character in history that I can convincingly cosplay at conventions.

Thousands of curious Googlers can rest easy now that their burning question has been answered by tonight’s new episode of Revolution, “The Longest Day”: yes, this is the episode where Charlie and Jason finally kiss. NBC has been teasing the moment in every other promo for weeks, but tonight was the payoff at last. Their initial meet-hate and subsequent cat-‘n’-mouse run-ins have been forgotten or forgiven for the sake of beginning a relationship based on intense circumstances, despite the advice of Speed to the contrary.

Before that climactic kissing moment toward the episode’s end, other games are afoot. Jason is finally confronted by the formerly evil father he tried to leave for dead last week. Neville skips the coy gameplay, hands Jason a loaded pistol, and dares him to shoot the father he allegedly hates so much point-blank. Long, hard, tense moments pass before Jason backs down and storms away. Away from the awkward scene, Jason and Charlie compare notes and discover something in common: parents who fail at parenting.

Far away in the Plains Nation, failed parent Rachel still has a compound leg fracture that looks sick and possibly terminal if left to fester. Since Aaron refuses to abandon her to go take down the Tower himself, she resorts to Plan B. Somehow Aaron carries her to a nearby former computer shop (J&D Electronics, if that means anything to anyone, unless it’s a random nod to JD Pardo), where he finds plenty of leftover computer parts. With Rachel’s guidance and Dr. Warren’s Tower Operators Manual, Aaron fashions a device that allows him to hack the blinking capsule that once kept the late Danny Matheson alive, which Rachel now reveals is a miniature canister containing “first-gen nanotech” whose primary mission is reversing organic tissue damage. Once the nanobots are reprogrammed, Aaron inserts the capsule into her gaping wound, whereupon a mixture of unholy screams and nanobot magic result in instant tissue regeneration. If you’re reading Valiant Comics’ Bloodshot like I am, it’s a lot like that, except Revolution nanobots don’t seem to require raw materials for matter-to-matter conversion, instead working on a nothing-to-matter fantasy conversion principle that makes Lavoisier cry.

Perfectly poor timing brings in a cluster of locals who witness the miracle up close. One despondent father in particular (Robert Neary) hopes they can do the same for his son, who was gravely injured when thrown from a horse while trying to impress a girl. After a brief meeting with the hopeful lad, Aaron thinks they can make time for life-saving. Aaron, Rachel, and dad return to the electronics store, where Aaron plans to cut the nanobot capsule out of Rachel’s kneecap, reprogram it once more, and save a background character’s life because it’s the right thing to do.

Rachel takes the initiative in implementing her counterproposal: she KOs dad from behind and orders Aaron to grab his gear so they can leave town and return to their side quest.

At first Rachel insists the kid’s infection has spread too far and it’s curtains for him no matter what they try. When Aaron presses her for a sign of humanity, Rachel finally confesses what some viewers may have suspected, based on her past acts of aggression against innocents who crossed her line of fire in earlier episodes: Rachel’s not acting from altruistic motives. Rachel isn’t interested in saving as many lives as possible. She’s not going to the Tower to save humanity. She’s going to the Tower because, with electrical power restored to Earth, President Monroe’s enemies can finally rise against him and kill him dead, dead, dead, dead, DEAD. Her primary objective is total, fatal revenge against the tyrant responsible for the deaths of her husband and son. Nothing else matters, not even the lives of others, harmless or not. Aaron is understandably disturbed.

Meanwhile back at the Rebel-Georgian Coalition HQ in Ashland, Kentucky (nearly 500 miles north of Atlanta, far from where I thought it was), Miles and Nora awaken after last week’s hijinks, which Nora immediately declares a mistake when Miles wakes up snarky instead of cuddly. As the show’s prospective couples are sorting their own respective affairs, the peace and small talk are disrupted by the horrifying sounds of drones flying overhead, all equipped with power pendants and flown remotely by Monroe Militia tech support. Chaos ensues as the drones pepper RGCHQ with missiles against which no one can defend. Buildings are demolished and casualties escalate. A few miles to the north, hundreds of Monroe Republic soldiers prepare to march on Ashland.

Even further north in Independence Hall, President Monroe shares a moment with commanding officer Jeremy (Mark Pellegrino), basically Monroe’s best friend by default now that the rest of the cast has abandoned him. After what Jeremy assumes to be a decisive victory, he suggests Monroe leave his office for a few minutes and join him and the other men in a drink at the bar across the street. A quick Howard Hughes reference elicits one of the precious few laughs we’ve seen from Monroe to date. Just as their party heads outside, thoughts of revelry vanish as a rooftop sniper takes out a few of their nameless buddies. Monroe and Jeremy are luckily unscathed and retreat inside.

While other soldiers search the city for the sniper, Monroe ponders the coincidental timing of this assassination attempt, finds it miraculous that Jeremy was out in the open and didn’t take a single bullet, saturates his thoughts with his ever-mounting paranoia, and concludes this was all Jeremy’s fault. Monroe exits his office while the other survivors surround a disgusted but stoic Jeremy and mete out justice, instant-judgment style.

Later, another henchman reports to a sulking Monroe with the news that they caught the sniper, tortured him extensively, and concluded that he’s a Georgia Federation spy acting alone. Whoops!

Back in Ashland, the entire cast has survived. Miles, Nora, and Neville are slightly shaken at base camp, but Jason and Charlie were at the North Outpost, where Charlie had enough time before the drone attack to climb the outpost and ring its warning bell. Even though Monroe’s advancing army is also in that direction, Miles insists on heading that way to save Charlie. Nora thinks it’s pointless but tags along because she doesn’t want to see Miles hurt. Against his better judgment, Neville accompanies them as well because — regardless of tension, hatred, and betrayal — Jason is still his son.

Quick insert for the flashback of the week: seven years after the blackout, we see Rachel turning herself in to General Miles Matheson, second-in-command of the Monroe Militia, so that they’ll leave her husband Ben alone. It doesn’t work. Miles hunts for Ben anyway. When that fails, he ties up Rachel and prepares to torture her for info, despite longing looks that imply they may have once had something between them. A stubborn Rachel refers to their moment as “a cheap and ugly fling.” Presumably, reluctant torture ensued.

Somehow this incongruous scene fuels Miles’ insistence that he go save Charlie so that he doesn’t fail her as he did Rachel. Nora raises a noticeable eyebrow at this statement. Nonetheless, the trio head to the outpost and find Jason lying outside, bloodied and inert from a militia attack. While Miles and Nora stay and fight, Neville cradles his son and runs him back to camp. Three men who make the mistake of ambushing a cornered, overprotective, homicidal father find themselves quickly eliminated, though Neville takes one bullet anyway for Jason’s sake.

Miles and Nora hold their own for a while with enemy troops, giving a faraway Charlie time enough to emerge from heavy rubble and run headlong into the fray with no sense of direction or awareness of her surroundings. In all the bedlam, a moment occurs when Miles finds Nora and Charlie each running from him in opposite directions. He only has time to save one of them. Fortunately for Charlie, she wins. Just as she’s nearly overcome by a baddie who’s driving a sword into the palm of her defensively raised hand, Miles cuts him down and saves the day. When the dust settles, Nora is nowhere in sight.

For postscript purposes, Our Heroes have made their way back to President Foster’s compound in Atlanta, where Jason rests in proper medical care. He awakens to find Charlie standing over him. After light badinage, there’s that kiss the world has been expecting for weeks. Approaching outside, Nevile also sees their shared moment. His reaction for now is inscrutable. It doesn’t resemble joy.

In another room, Miles and President Foster tally up the damage. With over half her army now lost in the drone strikes and the Monroe Militia showing no signs of retreat, unless Miles has a better idea she’s seriously considering surrender. The mood in the room is the opposite of joy.

In Independence Hall, President Monroe greets his newest guest: a captive Nora. Monroe’s expression is much closer to joy.

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
4/8/2013: “The Song Remains the Same
4/22/2013: “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia
4/29/2013: “Home
5/6/2013: “The Love Boat


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