It’s been a bit of a ride on Revolution so far this season – but dare I say that it was a ride I enjoyed? Sure, the series is still far from perfect. Most shows, even those I deem my top favorites, are. But after Revolution’s sizeable misfire last season, there was little they could do to make my skeptical (and loyal) self roll my eyes less than I did for most of season one.
All of which leads me to say, Revolution is probably the best example of what happens when showrunners listen to their fans and realize their mistakes. The show’s second season was not only tighter in storyline but also in character growth and overall plot. Stakes were raised and strong supporting characters were developed, while the past lives of main characters continued to be explored. With nine episodes and a fresh start, Revolution finally found the feet it was struggling to stand on, and I’ve enjoyed my continued surprise as each week has unfolded.
“Everyone Says I Love You,” the last in Revolution’s run of episodes for 2013, was a fast paced arsenal of action, offering up answers as well as some big questions. (And yes, it was also literal – Rachel told Charlie she loves her and Miles told Rachel the same thing, in as many words.) We finally learned what – or rather, who – the nanotech was, as well as how and why Aaron is able to control it the way he can. Before I got enough intel to predict that the child was actually an embodiment of the nanotech, I was initially thrown off – I thought perhaps he was related to Cynthia, or maybe even Aaron or Monroe. Instead, it turns out that he was someone that Aaron “created,” and who he subsequently awoke when he turned the power back on at the end of season one.
At the end of last week, we saw a failed sabotage of Horn’s hideout by Charlie, Miles and Rachel when they found out where Aaron and Cynthia were being held. This week, our heroes manage to find their way into the bunker, curiously finding all the guards knocked out, Aaron and Cynthia gone, and a strange escape door with a tunnel that led to the outskirts of the city. I liked the touch of having Aaron and Cynthia wake up in the same (now abandoned and run down) school where they first met – though it did make the end of the episode that much sadder.
We knew that Aaron could protect himself by setting other people on fire, and after last week’s attack on Cynthia, we now know that he can cure people (something Horn had suspected, which is why he wanted Aaron in the first place.) Aaron can control the power of the nanites to an extent – they obey what he says or thinks, especially if the connection is emotional. But like anyone who gets a gift that seems too good to be true, it seems that control isn’t wholly realized. At the end of the episode, after Horn fatally shoots Cynthia in a desperate attempt to convince Aaron to help him, he elects to have Horn and all his soldiers killed. It’s only afterwards that he tries to get the nanotech to save Cynthia, to which the child moodily refuses. And, well, considering that Aaron’s rage led him to tell the kid off after finding out who he really was, I can’t blame him (though something tells me Aaron will be regretting that decision for the rest of his life.) I’ve been really happy at the way the show has taken previously underused actors like Zak Orth and given them some real storylines to work with this season.
With Aaron’s nanotech, the show seems to be sliding away from its initial offering of “post apocalyptic Stephen King” territory and solidifying itself more and more in the science fiction territory – “all this X-Files weirdness,” as Miles called it. (However, unlike Miles, it is my thing.) Many have criticized this shift for contributing to the fact that the show now seems like a completely different series, but I personally think this is a smart move – dystopian fare was a bit of a hard sell, and although science fiction can, at points, be hokey, it allows Revolution to embrace the more silly side of itself without looking like a fool.
There are some storylines that the show has been slowly hinting at and bringing up since the premiere – notably, the relationships (past and present) between Miles and Rachel, and Charlie and Rachel. We got a nice flashback tonight to six years after the blackout, when Rachel came to confront Miles before he left (oh, the hair!) Faced with Rachel’s overwhelmingly emotional declaration of “pick me, choose me,” he opted for the easy way out by telling her to marry Ben and that it wasn’t going to work between them. Cue Rachel’s broken heart (Elizabeth Mitchell, everyone – the only actress that can make a single tear look more devastating than large, wracking sobs) and, as we’ve suspected, some years of a very regretful Miles.
It was nice to see everything come to a head, more or less, with Miles’ blood poisoning from the hand wound he sustained some episodes ago – obviously, he won’t really die, but the moment did allow for some vulnerability between the two that should lessen some of the tension that we’ve been seeing (add in that Cynthia’s now dead, and that could make for some very interesting emotional developments.) As for Charlie and Rachel, there have been some nice moments in the past few weeks as the two work slowly to repair their damaged pasts. While we have a ways to go, tonight brought us closer than ever to a possible resolution with Rachel’s genuine grief over possibly losing Gene and the fact that unlike most of last season, she now cares about saving people.
After teaming up with Roger Allenford last week, Neville and Jason are on their way to D.C. via train so that Neville can fulfill his revenge plan of killing the President, to make the Patriots pay for Julia’s death. Imagine his surprise, then – and mine – when a stroll through the train car reveals that not only is Julia alive, she’s remarried (to a high class Patriot, no less.) I cannot express how happy I am to have Kim Raver back – having assumed she was gone for good, I was thrilled to see her return, and even if her role will still be recurring, I’m very much looking forward to how she’ll fit into the story for the rest of the season.
I was personally expecting more of a conflict between Neville and Julia after they reunited given the fact that Neville assumed she was dead and Julia remarried. But Neville and Julia’s relationship has always been a strong constant in both their lives, so in the grand scheme of things, it makes sense to me that they would latch back onto each other so fast. Not only did the pair quickly (and I mean, quickly) get over their differences, Julia wasn’t even put off by her husband’s desire to murder. And we got a small hint of the deviousness that we were introduced to back in season one where Julia agrees to play along with Neville, though in a more devious and cleaner way, so that they can both get some revenge. Did I mention my excitement for Kim Raver’s return? Not only will this jumpstart Neville’s storyline in a tremendous way, we get to continue to see Julia play the “Lady Macbeth” card that she seemed so intent on dealing to the Monroe Republic last season.
With one surprising (and very welcome) return, we bid goodbye to another. I can’t say that I was sad to see Cynthia go because of attachment issues – I shed more tears over Maggie in season one, and she was only around for four episodes. But Cynthia’s death will certainly be a pivotal point going forward, as it’s no doubt going to motivate Aaron to figure out how to control his powers once and for all.
Among the mysteries left up for grabs – the disappearance of Gene, whom we last saw sacrificing himself to the Patriots so that his daughter, granddaughter, and Miles would have a chance to escape, as well as a cryptic line from Neville to Roger Allenford about “skeletons in the closet.” (I’d still love to know more about his relationship with his wife, but I guess that’s something I’m just going to have to let go of.) And what is the significance of Spring City and the ball of twine? I suspect we’ll be finding out when the show returns, especially since the Texas storyline seems to have been taken care of. Perhaps our next destination is Oklahoma?
- Call it David Lyons’ insane chemistry (no, not in that way) but I am entirely on board with the Charlie and Monroe buddy cop show. Can we please make this a side project? I’ll finance it! I also continue to enjoy the parallels of Charlie and Monroe fighting together compared to the way Miles and Monroe used to fight in the Militia as best friends.
- Horn’s brain tumor – which we only first found out about last week – moved awfully fast in the critical department. This is where Revolution’s science fiction grounding comes in handy – so let’s just let it go and overlook the random acceleration of disease.
- Every time Monroe calls Aaron “staypuff,” I can’t help think of Sawyer’s LOST nicknames. It’s not that I don’t like to be reminded of fun callbacks, but maybe a new and original line wouldn’t hurt in the future.
- Still, there were some great lines tonight – “an AI Haley Joel” made me laugh.
What did you think of the episode?