“Revolution” 5/7/2014 (spoilers): Beware the Yellow Peril

Revolution 2.20

“The mustard is coming! The mustard is coming! THE MUSTARD, CARL!”

On tonight’s new Revolution episode, “Tomorrowland”, the desperate Patriots change up their tactics a bit. Guns weren’t getting results, poison oranges only stay fresh for so long, and brainwashed cadets were expensive to feed. Thus they unleash their newest secret weapon: mustard gas! Bright yellow cloudy death is a-comin’ to Willoughby!

How did our cast fare this week? Follow along:

Patriot commander Ed Truman, somehow not dead yet: The longest-lived of all the Patriots (Steven Culp, riding high on the fortune of a cameo-with-lines in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) is called on the carpet by President Jack Davis (Cotter Smith), who’s tired of the de facto American government continually losing a battle within its own ostensible borders against a bunch of unruly revolutionaries. Davis expressed his dissatisfaction about the Willoughby situation in a previous meeting to Truman’s immediate supervisor, Roger Allenford (normally David Aaron Baker, but not actually present), who apparently left the Oval Office missing some of his blood and a pulse.

Truman endures a minute or so of this “conversation about failure”, but refuses to sit down and be executed by the President in the same chair as Allenford. He stays standing and blames the repeated Willoughby failures on the President himself. Then he sits in the unclean murder chair, but he refuses to cower and minds his posture.

The President laughs and lets him live. Apparently the President likes spunk.

Miles Matheson, five days after near-fatal trauma: The voice of Miles (Billy Burke) is the loudest when thousands of random birds fly over Willoughby, followed by the a billowing, yellow wall of nigh-inescapable mustard gas, backed up with armed Patriots in black hazmat/combat suits. Our Heroes lose twenty men and maybe some civilians (nobody complains aloud about those casualties), but the main cast stay safe inside an oil tanker until nightfall, by which time the coast is clear of gas and henchmen.

When a riled-up Bass demands they exact revenge by stealing mustard gas from the Patriots and doing pretty much the same thing back at them, up to and including not caring about civilian casualties, Miles plays along, thus spurring Rachel to break up with him on the spot. Miles counters with the standard TV-drama defense: he stares blankly at her and says nothing.

The two former best buds, plus Bass’ son Connor and the longest-lasting New Vegas merc, Scanlon (Billy Lush), go on a field trip, sneak their way onto the mustard gas Stormtrooper team, and easily pilfer all the canisters they brought to town. Bass is tickled pink at the thought of a great big mustard gas explosion right in the heart of Willoughby. That’ll show everyone not to mess with the big bad Bass! Because that’s the whole point!

Connor Bennett, cartel man 4 Life: While Bass and Miles do the hard part of the mission, Connor and Scanlon hang around a campfire and mouth off to each other. When Scanlon gets a little too uppity, Connor (Mat Vairo) ends the debate with a quick jab to the throat, as a reminder that his lawless upbringing remains very much a part of him, albeit cloaked in the background while the writers concentrate on all the other characters most weeks.

Rachel Matheson, destroyer of hopes and dreams: When the boys return from their mustard gas raid, Miles locks out Bass and Connor while his girlfriend (Elizabeth Mitchell) uses a mixture of lye and water to render all the mustard gas inert and unusable. Once again the day is saved thanks to Rachel “MacGyver” Matheson. Bass is not happy.

In a later heart-to-heart chat, Miles reveals the one thing that kept him alive during his burial last week: that lone guitar pick he found on the floor of his collapsing prison, a 1960s vintage Fender Celluloid (available today at Fender’s official site, starting at $3.99 and up) just like the one he owned when he first met a young Rachel Porter at a barbecue in Evanston, Illinois. The happy couple kiss and move past their pretend-breakup.

Aaron Pittman, nanobot houseboy: Poor Aaron (Zak Orth) remains at the mercy of the nanobots still using the body of his wife Priscilla (Maureen Sebastian) as their personal tour bus of the human experience. This week, “Priscilla” discovers the magic and perplexity of happy, perfect, airbrushed magazine models. After showing Aaron some kindness by alerting him to the mustard gas before anyone else, then she/they turn up the creepy factor by staging a mansion to look like a living magazine photo shoot, forcing mustard-gas soldiers to play the part of unmoving models trapped in mundane poses. One of them cries while being forced to sit in a living room chair and read a newspaper. Those of us putting up with today’s world of journalism feel your pain, evil sir.

“Priscilla” reveals she/they have concluded that when it comes to the world’s dysfunction, “People are the problem.” By manipulating their limbic systems, good emotions can overwrite bad emotions, and then Earth will be as swell as an issue of Good Housekeeping. Aaron tries once more unsuccessfully to walk away from this very bad relationship, but nanobots won’t take “I quit” for an answer when they think they’re on to something.

Dr. Gene Porter, still on the show: Stephen Collins checks in to confirm that Rachel’s dad hasn’t died yet. In a moment of rare usefulness, Gene corrals his ex-girlfriend Marion Reilly (Reiko Aylesworth), who previously betrayed Our Heroes to her boyfriend Ed Truman, and shows her all the evidence they’ve accumulated that proves Ed is not nice.

Between this intervention and finding weird things in Ed’s dresser drawer that morning — a gas mask and an evil dossier — Marion finally opens her eyes, agrees to be their spy, and informs them there’s another shipment of mustard gas (codename Yellow Cross) being shipped in shortly on the new railroad that now reaches Willoughby. Said shipment is a good 100 tons of hacking, choking, dandelion-colored death.

Tom Neville, world’s most dangerous grieving family man: Tom arrives back in Willoughby to find a surprise on his doorstep: returning compatriot Shaw (Waleed Zuaiter), acting as greeter on the surface but in reality assigned by Truman to remove Neville from active duty with extreme prejudice. Neville, still a non-dummy, invites Shaw in for a drink and promptly tricks him into stepping inside a newspaper-covered hole containing a spiked, agonizing Jigsaw trap. Once again lives are ruined with newspapers.

Tom wastes time interrogates Shaw because he wants to confirm his worst suspicion: that his wife Julia has ceased being a Patriot hostage back in D.C. and has shared their son’s fate. Shaw is a dutiful goon with limited intel and is quickly dispatched. At the rate Revolution keeps shedding recurring characters, by the time the finale arrives, dwindling Willoughby will be Population 6.

Sebastian “Bass” Monroe, throwing a mustard gas tantrum: Our deposed tyrant Bass (David Lyons) really, really, really wanted that mustard gas. He was totally gonna chemical-bomb Willoughby and the Patriots off the map, and then he and Connor were gonna go reunite with the remaining Monroe Republic cells scattered across the northeast, and they were gonna take over Georgia while they were in the neighborhood, and then they’d be the father/son kings of the east coast, and his best bud Miles was gonna throw in with them and they’d be three kings ruling a big chunk of America together. And he swears it’ll be “different this time”, though his vague politician’s answer contains zero examples how. But then that blond chick hadda go and ruin everything.

Bass and Connor abandon Our Heroes and go dig up a box box of guns ‘n’ ammo Bass previously stashed outside the W. Shaye Chemical plant. Slight hitch in their plan: Tom Neville gets the jump on them and holds a knife to Connor’s throat — a grieving father threatening another man’s son.

Tom isn’t there to kill either of them. He thinks they should team up against the Patriots, but minus the Matheson family. And he thinks he and his former boss should take down the Patriots their way. It will probably not include diplomatic negotiations or any form of mercy.

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 whatever reason. 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
11/6/2013: “The Patriot Act
11/13/2013: “Come Blow Your Horn
11/20/2013: “Everyone Says I Love You
1/8/2014: “The Three Amigos
1/15/2014: “Mis Dos Padres
1/22/2014: “Captain Trips
1/29/2014: “Happy Endings
2/26/2014: “Fear and Loathing
3/5/2014: “Dreamcatcher
3/12/2014: “Exposition Boulevard
3/19/2014: “Why We Fight
4/2/2014: “Austin City Limits
4/30/2014: “$#!& Happens

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