Revolution is often dealt a tricky hand. It’s a show filled with dense mythology, most of which is needed to understand why certain characters in a large cast are important. It’s also a show filled with questions, most of which need to be answered in order to help the plot move at a pace that doesn’t make the viewer feel like they’re tuning in for nothing. For the past few episodes, the program has been doing a commendable job at balancing out these two aspects, but “The Love Boat” fell somewhat short. Perhaps it’s because previous episodes have seemed more action-filled, and, while solid, this hour felt a little bit like too much of a breather in a show that should be ramping up as we head into the final four episodes of the season.
Understandably, not every episode of every television program can be high-stakes exciting (though this show does try more than most to bring its all to every episode, generally succeeding.) Nor should it be. The magic of good television is when a show has the ability to go from “seat-of-your-pants” crazy to subdued and slow, but you appreciate the balance and understand why it needs to occur (right now this specifically extends to Game of Thrones, but there are a number of other shows that could work here.) Perhaps my feelings come from the fact that there are further plot points that I’m eager to see come to fruition, such as Miles becoming a hard-hitting Militia controller again, or Charlie giving in to being a true “child of war” or the Rachel/Miles history reveal, or Rachel’s quest to find the Tower. Perhaps I’m just too hard to please. Whatever the reason, I am understanding of where the show is going and have high hopes for where they’ll leave us by the end of the season. I did enjoy the pacing of this episode – starting with a full-on action sequence of kidnapping Camp and then backtracking to two days earlier, leading up to a quick recap of what went down. It helped move the episode along and was a smart way to capitalize on a big plot point without letting it drag through the hour.
Seeing Giancarlo Esposito front and center again after a bit of an absence was a welcome surprise, and it was nice to have some casual exposition thrown in about just what happened to him and Julia after they fled Monroe’s clutches. Clearly, no one is ready to trust Neville (including his own son), and for good reason. I’m not entirely sold on this new and redeemed “good guy” routine myself, and continue to be skeptical of his real reasons for joining up with Foster (arguably the same reason Miles couldn’t turn down Foster’s request that he be general. There’s something to be said about power and how we respond to it, especially if it’s handed to us – and we all know how Neville reacts to power.)
The crux of the episode revolved around the capture of a man named Stephen Camp (Timothy Busfield), a doctor who was making dangerous anthrax for Monroe. After successfully kidnapping Camp and stealing him away on board a nondescript fishing boat, Neville and Miles proceed to butt heads about how best to deal with their prisoner, who, blackmailed by Monroe, just wanted to save his family. Charlie, for all her bloodthirsty rage, has it out with Miles when he learns that he’s treating Camp the way Monroe treated her mother – it’s nice to see that she still has strong maternal feelings where Rachel is concerned and that she’s still affected by what Monroe did to her mother. Family is family, after all – an underlying theme that has made itself clear all season, and not just in the form of blood relations. I quite enjoyed the exchange between Billy Burke and Tracy Spiridakos, whom I feel has grown immensely in this role since the first half of the season.
Speaking of Rachel – unsurprisingly, some of the best scenes of the night came from Elizabeth Mitchell, who managed to sell every single second of screen time. Still in the Plains Nation, problems begin for Rachel and Aaron when Rachel steals food from a villager and is very nearly assassinated for her crimes. While running for their lives, Rachel takes a fall that breaks her leg pretty badly, which forces Aaron into a corner of not only having to take care of her, but having to make the call on whether or not to save himself. Despite Rachel’s best attempts to get him to leave given her low chances of survival and (assumed) inability to defend herself, Aaron chooses to stay – and it’s a nice contrast and character moment for Zak Orth, especially after last week’s turn of events, when Aaron was reminded by his wife that once upon a time, he was too cowardly to make a choice like that. He’s bound by his loyalty to Rachel – as any family member is – something that Rachel herself seems shocked by, which makes me wonder more about Rachel’s history. It seems that she can’t understand why someone would stay and risk their lives for someone when they have a chance of escaping, and perhaps her desperation in this scene comes from her own haunted past of the selfish things she did in the days before (and possibly after) the blackout.
Of course, Rachel being Rachel finds a way not only to survive but to also save the day, and kudos to Mitchell for bringing us one of the best scenes of the night. I continue to be amazed at the caliber of acting she brings to the program and wish we had seen more of her in this hour.
As for the unprecedented Miles and Nora kiss? We’ve been teased about their history for some time, and we’ve even gotten hints that Miles is still attracted to her (just how many women did Miles have a thing for, anyway?) Still, even knowing what was going to happen - the conversations about being a better man and Nora not being happy with the person he was turning into were obvious groundwork – the whole thing felt a bit forced, as if the scene was one that needed to happen because the show had to create a bigger conflict for Miles that will inevitably come to a head when Rachel returns. That’s not to say I could turn my opinion around when it comes to the two, but at this point, I think I’m pretty set on their relationship being a thing of the past.
With Rachel finally showing Aaron his picture inside Dr. Warren’s book, it seems as though we’re finally getting closer to a reveal of just what Aaron’s history with this blackout is. Obviously, he’s part of something bigger – perhaps even more involved in this than Rachel is – and I’m really curious to see what happens.
If Revolution cares about continuity (and I hope they do), Rachel should have somewhat of a limp for the rest of the series following her injury – and I have to wonder how Miles and Charlie are going to take that. I mean, there are no magical doctors in the Plains Nations, right? (And for those wondering how Rachel might survive this wound, given its severity, let me remind you about the nanites – which saved Danny, and could possibly save her as well.)
Grace finally reappears! With our first glimpse of the Tower, where she’s finally getting the elevators working – which may not be the best idea, as her supervisor leaves to check out something on another floor and promptly gets killed by…something? We’re not sure what – it’s the mystery Revolution leaves us with at the end of the hour, as the elevator opens in front of Grace to reveal something that she’s terrified of. And for once, I don’t have a theory off the top of my head for what this could be – your guess is as good as mine. But I think it’s safe to say that the Tower might not be the place that solves everything after all, and whether or not Rachel knows all of this remains to be seen.
What did you think of the episode?