“Revolution” 10/9/2013 (spoilers): Tom Neville for Your Oscar Consideration

Tom Neville, Giancarlo Esposito, Revolution, NBC

If the show must keep swiping episode titles from sources cooler than it is, then “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” was a missed opportunity.

On tonight’s new Revolution episode, “Love Story”, Tom and Jason Neville agree on one thing: for the death of the late Julia Neville to be avenged…Tom and Jason Neville must die!

In order to go undercover with the Patriots and thereby wreak havoc and vengeance on the parties responsible for the twin destruction of Atlanta and Philadelphia, Our Heroes vow to put their past lives behind them and go super double extra deep undercover as Edgar and Nate Crane. (Season one fans will recall we’ve heard “Nate” before — Jason’s first alias.) Immersion in the Patriot life means everything that meant anything to them must now be put aside. As a symbolic gesture, Neville burns a photo of Julia, though I’m sure he’s stashed a crate full of extras somewhere. He also shows Jason their proof of admission into the club: American flag patches they can sew on their jackets. Ooh, special.

As newcomers to the Patriots’ stronghold at the Savannah Refugee Camp, the “Cranes” must start on the bottom rung: food service. Also, they have to be tested with a surprise mugging in their shanty. Four goons overpower them and demand to know their real story. Neville correctly pegs them as Patriots, who in turn already know the notorious Nevilles on sight. So Tom did burn that photo for nothing.

At gunpoint with one chance to save their lives, Neville delivers a passionate speech — voice faltering, his features fraught with tension, eyes perilously close to moisture — declaring a partial truth: he wants to join the Patriots because he knows who’s really responsible for the nukes. Partial not-truth: he blames ex-President Monroe and swears he wants to be by their side so he can at last bring Monroe to justice. It’s a truly moving, spellbinding performance. Anyone who knows the real Neville would think he’s an even better actor than that Giancarlo Esposito guy in the credits.

Bad news: his captor can tell he’s still lying. Before the guy can pull the trigger and ruin the show for me forever, Defense Secretary Justine Allenford intervenes at the last second. She knows Neville and his capabilities…but has uses for his brand of sinister subterfuge. For Jason, she has other, mysterious, unhappy-sounding plans. She hopes that won’t be a problem for Tom. It’s her lucky day: Tom’s fine with them doing whatever with Jason…who’s understandably not happy.

What kind of chores does Allenford have in mind for Tom? Will Jason be tortured or sent back to serving gruel to radiation burn victims? Have they cast anyone to play the President yet? Tune in next week — same Neville-time, same Neville-channel!

…as for those other folks who hogged the rest of the hour:

Charlie teams up with the bounty hunter Adam, even though he was holding her prisoner last week, but they’re now drawn together by their mutual need to track down Monroe. Adam gives her a half-sob story: yes, he’s hunting Monroe for the reward (six ounces of diamonds, the post-blackout equivalent of a small fortune), but the Patriots are also forcing him to hunt Monroe by holding his dad hostage Or Else. Monroe clobbers him from behind. After light interrogating, Adam admits the dad story is a lie. Monroe clobbers him again and leads Charlie to his possessions, stored inside a nearby armored car. Among them is a stack of wanted posters, whose featured fugitives include Monroe…and her own mom. Both agree Rachel needs to be warned and/or defended, but Charlie refuses to walk by Monroe’s side and promises there’s no use in trying to track her ’cause she’s like a stealthy ghost or whatever. I imagine Monroe laughing heartily inside.

Meanwhile in the Plains Nation: Titus Andover reveals that he needs Miles’ O-negative blood for mass transfusion into his ailing wife Jessica, whose diabetes and renal failure necessitate frequent replacement for lack of functional dialysis machines. During the first transfusion, Miles is rescued by Rachel and her dad Dr. Gene, who just so happen to find a random sewer tunnel that leads up to the floor grate in Jessica’s room. Before they go, they also rescue Miles’ poor cellmate and kidnap the fragile Jessica for use as a bargaining chip later. Willoughby’s newly promoted Sheriff Riley (Will Beinbrink), a deputy last week until special guest Adam Beach was killed, finds this idea stupid, but Miles figures conflict was inevitable, so why not get it out of everyone’s system now. It’s possible all-out wars have been ignited for worse reasons.

During the negotiations between Willoughby and an understandably edgy Andover, we learn he’s actually a puppet for the Patriots, who want everyone out of Willoughby, dead or alive, because shadowy motives. The setup requires Andover to look in charge at all times, meaning that when he makes Jessica’s return Priority One, the grizzled Patriot representative who’s playacting as his right-hand man is powerless to override Titus’ desperate orders. Miles strikes a bargain: if the war clan will let all the townspeople, Andover can have his wife back and Miles as his wife’s personal blood bank.

While the citizens exit town one wagonload at a time, an increasingly enervated Jessica throws a wrench in the works by stating her refusal to rejoin her husband, revealing some of his obsessive abuses, and ruining the negotiations by committing suicide via glass shards. One of Andover’s spies discovers the truth just in time for his men to call the bargain off by opening fire on the last departing wagon. Miles, still with his hand crippled from last week’s literal hammering, does his best to pull a Dread Pirate Roberts and fight left-handed, but he’s more of an Inigo Montoya and is eventually overwhelmed. Rachel defends herself valiantly until a crossbow bolt nails her in the chest. During the melee, Andover has a tearful reunion with his late wife, interrupted when his right-hand man murders him. Meanwhile, Aaron and the final wagons’ survivors hole up in the nearest house and barricade every entrance the best they can.

Suddenly the day is saved! Several rounds of automatic gunfire eliminate the remaining clansmen, courtesy of a platoon of heavily armed soldiers, all wearing the American flag patches that could only be worn by official members of the Patriots, what with American flag patches being a rare commodity after the blackout. The troops go marching one by one, secure the town, and raise the new American flag high. Never before has a takeover of America by Americans felt so ominous.

To be continued!

* * * * *

If you missed all of last season and would rather read about Revolution than spend hours playing TV catchup, the MCC recap of the season 1 finale has links to MCC recaps of all first-season episodes, for better or for worse. MCC recaps for the current season are listed below as handy reference for fellow members of the Neville Family Fan Club. Thanks for reading!

9/25/2013: “Born in the U.S.A.
10/2/2013: “There Will Be Blood

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