“Revolution” 11/6/2013 (spoilers): the Abominable Dr. Horn

Željko Ivanek, Revolution, NBC

For Doctor Horn, life is a big ball of stibby stabby torturey worturey stuff.

On tonight’s new Revolution episode, “The Patriot Act”, for once Tom Neville’s three scenes were not the only parts I thought were worth watching. I applaud this bold new initiative of making the other characters likeable and occasionally funny.

One key part that definitely worked: the addition of Željko Ivanek as the sinister Dr. Calvin Horn. Before the blackout he toiled away in the Department of Defense’s Alternative Energies Projects division, the same workplace as Ben and Rachel Matheson, whose fault all of this is. He scaled the ladder of post-blackout career advancement and is now “the President’s senior science adviser”, which is more impressive if you accept the Patriots’ as-yet-unseen “President” as the true leader of the withered husk that represents what’s left of America. He doesn’t brook liars, he has his ear on the ground, and he thinks more than one step ahead. He’s not quite up to two steps ahead, but the potential’s in him.

How did our cast fare this week? Follow along:

Neville and Son: Our man Tom and the fugitive Justine Allenford continue their slow walk to wherever the Patriots’ secret bigwig cabal is nesting, with Jason in tow and still shaking off his evil programming. Tom is so distracted by the process that he allows himself a mental lapse, during which he walks across an open field in broad daylight and gets them all ambushed by a band of Patriot cadets holed up in an abandoned stable. Jason proves that his 12 steps are coming along nicely by feigning a relapse, joining his fellow cadets in the stable, and then stabbing them to death while he’s still handcuffed. At last the Neville men are a team once more!

The dynamic duo’s first act together: turn on Justine, demote her from comrade to captive, and question her about her husband, supposedly a higher-up in the Patriots. And that Machiavellian gleam is back in Tom’s eye.

“Bass” Monroe: The very first scene this week is Bass’ eye twitching while he lies in his buried coffin. Is anyone really surprised that he survived last week’s execution? Or that the contents of Rachel’s needle were less than lethal? Rachel completes her surprise plan by exhuming him and letting him back on the team, partly because they need all the help they can get against the Patriots (finally she accepts this…for now) and partly to impress her estranged daughter, who went to a lot of trouble to escort this former dictator all the way from the Plains Nation to Willoughby.

Dr. Gene Porter: Rachel’s dad and Charlie’s grandpa (Stephen Collins, walking a fine line between parental love and desperate spinelessness) was revealed last week as the mole. This week’s flashbacks show us how Gene sold his soul to the Patriots years ago in exchange for all the lifesaving medicines and vaccines that his precious town of Willoughby could ever need. And all Gene had to do to earn them was assist the Patriots in their torturing sessions. In the present, Gene crumbles under Dr. Horn’s creepy questioning and reveals that Aaron’s resurrection (word of which easily reached Horn) and the recent incidents of spontaneous combustion were the result of Aaron’s new power over the nanobots, and not Rachel’s doing as Horn suspected. Like Rachel, Gene clearly will do anything for family and sometimes those displays of affection tend to involve sacrificing anyone who’s not a blood relative.

Later, remorse plagues Gene for the first time since the blackout, and he offers to ferry Aaron and his girlfriend Cynthia out of town before Horn can dissect Aaron and use Cynthia as hostage leverage. Unfortunately for Gene, Miles is on to him.

Aaron: In his secret identity as the Nanobot Firestarter, Aaron is now a potentially valuable pawn for any schemers or tyrants interested in finding new uses for the couple quadrillion nanobots clogging Earth’s atmosphere. Everyone agrees he needs to be as far away from Horn’s clutches as possible, but he’s at his most furious in series history when anyone dares suggest that he leave Cynthia behind. After Gene’s false-bottom-wagon plan is abandoned because of treachery, Our Heroes locate the nearest sewer drain, through which the sometimes cute couple deliver their impression of Bishop from Aliens and commence crawling.

Cynthia: At the beginning of the episode, she complains about how the Patriots are overriding her school’s textbook selection privileges and deciding they know what’s best for the few surviving kids in town. After the Patriots bomb a nearby building, rack up serious casualties, and frame it as an attack from outside forces in order to justify escalated defenses, Cynthia forgets what she was talking about.

When Cynthia later crawls out of town with the man she loves, the Patriots unfortunately have an ace up their sleeve, by which I mean Dr. Horn in the only one with enough of a brain to consider their sewers the first place to look. Patriot henchmen greet them on the other side, but the day is saved both by Bass’ sword and by Aaron’s pyrokinetics, which Cynthia has never seen before. No one told her the man she loves may seem to sensitive folks like kind of a monster. Cynthia has much to ponder about her ever-fracturing reality.

Martin Shaw: A new Patriot henchman played by stage actor Waleed Zuaiter. He appears in Gene’s flashbacks as his brutish torture supervisor, and is one of a hunded-plus new arrivals in Willoughby as the Patriots continue consolidating their presence for mystery reasons. Presumably his retroactive intro and reappearance in the present are meant to haunt Gene into doing something redemptive in a future episode.

Miles: Grouses about the increased Patriot presence and doubts the chances of their escape plan succeeding. (“Unless we can get Aaron to charge through the wall Kool-Aid style…”) Said plan nearly does fall apart until he looks into Gene’s eyes, perceives “desperate and guilty”, pegs him as the mole, and hastily whips up Plan B in the sewer. His is also the sad duty to inform Rachel that her dad is a turncoat.

Rachel: Draws pride from saving Bass’ life just to impress Charlie. Suppresses an emotional breakdown when she learns what Gene has done. Once the day is saved and Bass, Aaron, and Cynthia are on their way elsewhere, Rachel finally gives up and lets out all her heartbreak. Possibly several episodes’ worth.

Charlie: Mostly idles in the background all day long, but steps up in the final scene and hugs her mom for the first time in a very, very long time.

Too bad Grandpa Gene will likely have to pay for what he’s done.

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, in all their uneven glory. MCC recaps for the current season of Revolution are listed below as handy reference for my fellow looky-loos. Thanks for reading!

9/25/2013: “Born in the U.S.A.
10/2/2013: “There Will Be Blood
10/9/2013: “Love Story
10/16/2013: “Patriot Games
10/23/2013: “One Riot, One Ranger
10/30/2013: “Dead Man Walking

One response

What do you, The Viewers at Home, think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: