More exposition, more reveals of things I called back in the pilot, more explosions and most importantly, more swordfights. We’re not getting lots of forward plot development, but guys, come on. It’s the 3rd episode. I think next week we’ll really get things starting to ramp up.
The best part about this episode: the guest stars. Not only did we get Mark Pellegrino (who’s played both the devil and sort-of Jesus; always good), but the lesser known but equally beloved by me Michael Mosley (whose an alum of a lot of shows I’ve loved, including Kings, Scrubs, Justified, Pan Am and an episode of Happy Endings).
Revolution also got some good news this afternoon: Revolution got a full season pick-up by NBC (though at that link it doesn’t list what they’re considering a “full season”). I’m guessing poor, struggling NBC is high on actually decent audience numbers. I also don’t know what that means in terms of writing/production (as in, have they been pacing themselves based on assuming a pick-up or not, and will there be a shift in the post-pickup produced episodes, but either way, at least we know we won’t get shafted by a season cut-short before it finds its legs (the phase we are definitely still in).
Let’s get on with it.
Previously: blackout, Militia, FAMILY, FIND DANNY, introduction of Miles’ friend Nora, Rachel Matheson is alive (not that it comes up this episode), and there’s a Rebellion.
Charlie, Miles and Nora head to the Rebel base while the latter two talk about her commitment to the “lost cause”. Their past romantic relationship: also a lost cause. Charlie: “Uh, is this a private conversation?” Miles: “Yes.” Nora: “No.” Ha! Nora pokes at his weakness: “I wonder if you really believe [the rebellion is a lost cause], or if you’re just scared of going up against Monroe?”
Once upon a time at the Parris Island Marine Depot, eight weeks post-Blackout, Miles is packing up to go AWOL to Chicago and to find his brother.
Monroe: “You’ve gone insane, Miles. You know that, right?” Miles: “The rest of the world’s gone insane. I’m just keeping up.”
Aw, that was way less heavy hand-handed than all the FAMILY crap in the Pilot, so thanks Kripke.
Charlie/Miles/Nora approach the Rebel “base”, which looks like and abandoned Red Robin (minus all the crap on the walls) next to a mall. They almost all get shot as they approach (what is it with these people and not having like signals or passwords or shit like that?) but thankfully a friend of Nora’s named Nicholas happened to be about. They hug just a little bit too long, which means awkward looks from Miles and Charlie, who totally assume she’s tapping that. Miles gives fake names for him and Charlie.
Shit, Uncle Miles, even I know those were bad. Next time it’s my turn to pick out the aliases.
Unfortunately, things aren’t great at Rebel Base Red Robin. They had gone out on a raid that morning to a Militia supply drop to try to get guns, but it was a trap, which led to the tableau inside, where most everyone is dead or dying. Charlie gets called over to apply pressure on a guy still being worked on and is pretty traumatized by having the kid try to whisper his dying words and her not being able to understand.
Miles asks what the damage report is: 12 dead, 1 missing, but Nora’s friend (possible Rebel middle manager? I hope to God he’s not the leader) Nick doesn’t know if the missing was captured. Miles, even if he doesn’t care about the Rebellion, tells them they need to get the hell out of dodge ASAP, because the Militia’s probably coming for them right now. Charlie comes over to tell them another man has died. Miles: “This is what being a Rebel gets you.”
And Miles is, of course right, that the missing man was captured and is being questioned/tortured into giving the Rebels up. He’s up against Jacob (I’m going with that name because I’m a Lost girl, first and foremost), who plays some Russian Roulette at the captive with his revolver. Handily, he also exposits even more about the gun/ammo business, so STOP FUCKING BITCHING ABOUT IT (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE). He uses the phrase “medieval cesspool”; love it.
This Rebel captive doesn’t do quite as well as the guy from last week and caves, giving up the base location. He gets killed anyway, which seems a theme. I’m not really understanding why anyone captured would ever give up anything, since unless your last name is Matheson, you are totally dead.
Speaking of the Militia, I’ll recap the Danny + Neville plot in one go: Michael Mosley’s character was best friends with the Militia man Danny shot back at the village, the same one who shot Danny’s dad Ben, so they’re not really thrilled with each other. He comes by to drop Danny’s water, but Danny has gotten smarter in his captivity: “Captain Neville? If you want me dead just kill me. Otherwise, I’d like some water please.” Mosley is temporarily cowed.
Later that night, Neville is away so Mosley has his own solo blanket party and beats the crap out of Danny. I like how this is the second time something has gone down with Danny at night and there are no other soldiers around AT ALL (like when he escaped in the Pilot). It’s like there are 2 (or now 3) Militia guys who are competent and also brutal as fuck, and the rest as all incompetent redshirt dweebs.
See: the next morning, when Mosley gets duped by Danny faking an asthma attack, and Danny chokes him with his handcuff chain.
Danny lets him go, his point conveyed and looks up to see Captain Neville staring at him from his horse. He seems impassive, but I swear to god there was the tiniest twitch of a smirk in there. Giancarlo, you are magnificent. So what’s the over/under on Danny going to the dark side by the time Charlie kinds him? Alright, laterz Danny boy.
Back at the Rebel base, there are various pow wows. Miles is ready to leave, especially because the base has a kill order hanging over it, but of course Nora wants to stay and help the Rebels relocate. Since the Danny Mission is Charlie’s mission, she makes it her call and wants to stay to help Nora and her friends. It’s not a dumb Charlie-move either, because, as she reminds him, Miles said they needed Nora for the Danny Mission.
Charlie helps out by attending to a boy her age with a broken arm. She talks about how she broke her arm once. “A boy from my village. He was a bully, a real dick actually. He was about 5 years older and 50 pounds heavier than me, but I still managed to knock his front teeth out.” “Remind me not to pick a fight with you.” “I will.” Aw, that was cute, which means doom is imminent.
Speaking of being a dick, Miles just has to have a good reason for Nora to be Rebel-ing it up. He pesters at her that it’s “Shaq” and “the honest love of a good man. That’s why you’re fighting with these amateurs?”. Nora calls him out on his jealous, childish behavior and informs him that her friend Nicholas is a Catholic priest. “Oh. So, you’re not his type.” Ah, ouch.
She admits it: “You’re right, okay? I’m here for a guy, and it’s not Nicholas. And drop it.” Miles looks sad-ish? Maybe? Please no pining or anything. Please.
Nicholas preps the rebels on the plan to escape and rendezvous in 2 months at “Wilmington base”*. Unfortunately, not a lot of them are going to make it, because Jacob and his Militia crew have arrived and start shooting up the base. Miles protectively grabs Charlie, which I think is nice. Oh, and the nice boy Charlie was chatting with earlier got shot. This is why you should never make human connections with people! Because then you care about them, and they will soon die.
Cute boy gets late rites and Charlie is sadface. The best shooter, Trevor, gets the sniper rifle and is up to the roof and he manages to do a pretty great job of picking off the Militia soldiers sent out, getting the troops to fall back and buying them time. Charlie’s still being sad about the kid, who was apparently named Sam, but Nora comes over to be exactly what I had hoped she would for C. “Sam was a sweet kid, but you can’t lose it. Not now. Now I need your help.”
Miles’ plan is to tunnel out of the restaurant rather than trying to push through the troops outside.
That night, the Rebel sniper on the roof keeps taking out each man Jacob sends. His logic is that eventually, the Rebel will run out of bullets, and because he’s a psycho, he’s cool with sending out Red Shirt after Red Shirt until that happens.
Charlie helps Nora set up an explosive trip-wire and assemble some other various explosives, which gives them a nice chance to chat. It’s really not as horrible as it could have been, and it could have gone pretty fucking horribly. Nora admits that the Rebellion probably is a lost cause; they are out-manned by Monroe. “Then why are you here?”
Nora: “Yeah, I was with your Uncle for awhile, but after that there was Frank. He was sweet, had no idea who I was, what I could do. One night though, we went for a walk and these drunk Militia dicks stopped us. They were getting cute, Frank thought he had to be macho, defend my honor, whatever. They were beating him up pretty bad, so I knocked ‘em out cold. Took a few hard shots, but…”
Charlie: “What happened to Frank?”
Nora: “He dumped me. I think he was a little bit scared of me.”
Charlie: “I don’t understand. You told Miles that you joined the Rebels over a guy?”
Nora: “Yeah, but it wasn’t Frank. It wasn’t even a guy, so much as it was… a boy. I was five months pregnant that night, but the nest morning, I wasn’t… That’s why I’m here, Charlie. Win or lose. Cause I had to make it mean something. And… if I have another baby, it’ll be born in the United States.”
Seriously, that could have very easily tipped into the melodramatic, but Daniella Alonso was really good there and I bought it.
Miles, Nicholas and another guy work on digging the escape tunnel, but it collapses in, right when the Rebel sniper runs out of ammo and Nora’s charges are set. Miles’ only plan is to dig another tunnel, but Charlie wants to fight.
Miles: “There’s 50 men out there. You cannot stop them.”
Charlie: “You know that’s what my Dad used to say. Every time the soldiers would come into our town and they would take our crops, and our women. I bet he said it the night they came for him.” [He did, pretty much]
Miles: “And he was right. He was trying to protect you.”
Charlie: “He was being a coward!”
That sets Miles off, getting up in Charlie’s face: “Don’t ever, ever disrespect your Dad. Are we clear?!” Charlie, my girl, isn’t cowed, even by Marine!mode Miles. Yep, I’ve officially changed my opinion on Charlie. She has become so much more awesome than the Pilot.
The explosive trip wire is set off upstairs, so the Militia is coming in. Everyone goes up to fight, except Charlie, who Miles orders to, “wait here. I mean it.” She grabs a pipe off the table next to her anyways and I think ignores him, because we see her hold her own in the SWORDFIGHT upstairs.
The Rebels do okay (except against the muskets), especially when Jacob recognizes Miles (outing his real name) and when they go mano-a-mano, Miles gets the better of him and takes him captive, intending to trade his life for theirs. Jacob continues to marvel at the fact that it’s really Miles, and everyone else gets pretty weirded out that they apparently know each other. Miles says ‘fuck it’, they’re going to find out the truth sooner or later, so why not now (great mise-en-scene here, too, with the flag as a framing backdrop)?
“He taught me everything I know” [about being a psycho killer, I guess].
Called it. The “I’m not going back” from the Pilot pretty straight forwardly foreshadowed that, so I’m not really bragging. Apparently Nora knew, but everyone else is pretty gobsmacked, like Charlie, and pissed, like Nicholas, especially at Nora for letting him in. There’s a great shot of Miles looking over his shoulder, all potentially sinister, right before the break.
Father Nicholas is ready to slit his throat, which seems a little harsh. Apparently he’s not as down with forgiveness as Christ is. Mark Pellegrino, bless his snarky heart: “This is soooo dramatic. You guys remember One Life To Live?”
Miles: “Look, be pissed, hate me, do what you gotta do, but we have bigger fish, kay? We trade him in, we get out of here.”
Jacob: “Won’t matter.”
Miles: “Yes, it will, cause, like he said, I made the rules.”
Jacob: “Well the rules of engagement have changed, kid. Monroe’s done negotiating with traitors.”
Miles: “You’re a bad liar, Jeremy [Jacob].”
Jacob-Jeremy: “I’m a bad liar? Look me in the eye and tell me I’m a liar. So, let me go, don’t, I’ve made peace with my Lord and when my men come in here and cut you all up into strips you’re going to have to-”
Miles punches him out cold, which gives Charlie the opportunity to try and get some sort of clarity. “I just, I’m confused. So General Monroe, you know him?” “I’m not talking about this right now.” She’s definitely still smarting from his outburst about her Dad; “I’m sorry, but I think I deserve an explanation.” I agree. “Really? Do you? Okay, yeah, I know him. Very well.”
I love this; it totally changes the power-dynamic in their developing relationship. Before, Miles was her superior and could boss her around, but now Charlie has the pretty damn significant moral high-ground. It’s a double-standard for Miles to chastise her about disrespecting her father when he was the one who did exactly what Neville did, and probably trained him to do it.
And now they, and we know, why Miles is so convinced the Rebellion is destined to fail. “Now you know why the Militia cannot be stopped. Because they’re mine. I trained them, and they are brutal, and smart and vicious. ‘Cause of me. That’s why your Dad was right: when you seem ‘em coming, you don’t fight; you run.”
The new plan is the just charge out, even though half of them will probably die. Miles: “It’s easy, actually to have a better idea than that, because that idea is awful.” He’s still committed to the trade idea, but on different terms. He’s going to trade himself for the safety of the Rebels. Jacob-Jeremy also wants the sniper rifle. Miles has known JJ for longer than he’s known any of them, so he trusts that he’ll keep his word. Speaking of promises, Charlie reminds him about the Danny Mission, but “you can’t find Danny if you’re dead.”
Last time Miles let himself get arrested, he had a pretty good shot at getting out of it (and obviously knew it), but this time, with an entire Militia garrison, it seems like he’s well and truly screwed. Charlie assumes they’re going to kill him, which is perfectly cool with Priest Nick. Hey Nick, you suck.
Miles and JJ catch up a little. “Miles, it’s me. You can level with me. Is it true?… Well, the rumor is Monroe wants you because you know something about flipping the lights back on. That’s crazy, right?” Miles still isn’t tipping his hand to anyone, “What do you think?” JJ: “I think it’s crazy. I think Monroe is obsessed. It’s sort of worrisome. Tell you something else: he hasn’t been the same since you left… Yeah, he’s angrier, shorter fuse, you know. Not like the good old days.” I’m so sure he was just the nicest ever before his BFF left, and I’m sure Miles leaving had nothing at all to do with Monroe already taking a turn for crazytown.
Miles gets no time time reflect on that, because as the troops are about the cross a bridge, they catch another of Nora’s trip wires, causing an impressive explosion. The girls come in and save Miles’ ass, although he does get another quick swordfight with his friend JJ.
The three run off, Charlie dropping a really nice looking leather bag along the way. Once they get to safety on the other side, Charlie shoots a flaming arrow at the bag, which explodes the bridge to the point where they can’t be followed. YES! BADASS LADIES! Awesome job.
During their later trek in the woods, Miles gets his self-loathing on, wanting to get Charlie to admit that she thinks he’s “a monster, that I’m garbage. Miles Matheson: General of the Militia. Come on, I want to hear you say it.” But it’s not going to happen, because Charlie doesn’t believe it. He thinks it’s because she doesn’t understand, that she’s naive and even though she says she wants to understand, he doesn’t think so. But for Charlie, his actions now, in coming on the Danny Mission and that “he still saved all those people back there, so obviously there’s a part of you that still gives a crap.” He can’t get over his self-hate, so he tells her she’s wrong, but Charlie is unswayed.
And here we learned how Miles was before, before the Monroe Republic and becoming the Militia General. 6 months post-blackout, he and Bass were 4 months closer to Chicago when they came across a campsite, the fire still smoldering, and the owners lying dead on the ground, shot in the back. They’re run across many a similar scene so far, and Miles doesn’t understand how things, how society, could have fallen apart so fast. Bass: “What do you expect, man? People are hungry. Hungry people get desperate.” Miles: “Yeah, but this? Ain’t nobody coming to help. No one.”
A little later on, they catch up to the shithole murderers of the couple, currently beating up on some other dude and stealing his supplies. Bass begs him not to get involved, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Miles is that he is the intervening type. He’s also the vengeful type, and even though the thugs drop their knives and it’s “over”, since they can’t call the cops and can’t be put in jail, the only logical solution at that point is to shoot them both dead. Bass is freaked.
They turn their attention to the victim on the ground, and of course it’s JJ, who they help up and bring along with them.
Finally, Maggie and Aaron arrived at Grace’s farm, but it’s empty and she’s gone. Maggie’s the smart one who first realizes something’s wrong. The front room is fine, and they take notice of a Discman and also a framed photo of Grace and her two young kids. When they investigate upstairs in the attic, which has been ransacked, presumably by the mysterious Randall. Aaron finds the broken remains of her tech and gets hopeful; “the last time I saw this I was happy, and so, so rich.” It would have been crazy for Grace to have built herself a computer, unless she had power. Maggie’s worried that whoever took Grace might be coming back, but Aaron thinks they have to risk it; he has to figure out what’s going on. “If Grace really had power, and it sort of looks like she did, how is anything more important?”
But when Maggie comes to check on his progress later, all he’s got is a “sucking black hole of nothing”. Not even Meg’s discovery of salt and curry is enough to get him out of his (not understandable) hissy fit/pity party. He finds all of this, the empty house, destroyed tech, the mysterious tech-lace and the non-information Ben didn’t give him like “Lucy yanking some enormous cosmic football just as Charlie Brown’s about to kick it.” He also called the tech-lace (that I covet) ugly, which is uncool, but he’s sad, so I forgive him. Maggie peaces out to let him mope on his own.
More moping and whining downstairs later.
Aaron: “Want to hear a joke? You’ll love it. There was this kid, Billy Underwood. Beat me up everyday on the playground in 5th grade. Wedgies, especially. Kid was like the Mozart of wedgies. And I swore that things would get better. And they did. I grew up. I got 300 employees and four homes and a wife who didn’t care about any of it in the best possible way. And the punchline was the Blackout. When the world went back to being one giant schoolyard, and the Billy Underwood’s are in charge and I am weak and afraid.”
Which is a nice monologue, but there is also the arguement that even pre-Blackout, in our society today, the world is still one giant playground, that high school never ends (yes, I linked a Star Trek version, because why not?). I think the biggest difference is what we saw in this episode’s flashback, where they’ve really thrown out all the rules, and people can kill and steal and it’s basically anarchy.
Anyway, just as Aaron finishes up his sad story, the tech-lace that’s been sitting on the coffee table powers on. He hears something from the table and puts on the headphones of the Discman and listens to Marvin Gaye, “Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Maggie rushes to pull out her iPhone and once it powers on she finally gets to see a picture of her kids again.
But just as suddenly as it started, the pendant shutters back out again. “How?” “I don’t know” But now it’s hope, a renewing spark of the faith that was slipping away. There’s the light at the end of the tunnel is back.
Bits & Bobs and Quotes:,
- So, the “Wilmington Base” Nicholas mentioned, I wonder if we’ll get to that. There’s a Wilmington, NC, but there’s also a Wilmington, Delaware that I think is geographically slightly closer to their position, assuming they are still in the general Chicago/Illinois area, but we haven’t really gotten much information on the direction they are headed. We know they are going south (since Miles’ rendezvous location was Lowell, Indiana), but I don’t think we have confirmation on where Monroe’s headquarters are. Maybe it’s the Falling Skies Revolutionary War thing, but it might be interesting if Monroe headed back to South Carolina to set up his Republic, and if maybe the other Rebel base is in a Northern state and there ends up being some sort of Civil War analogy? I’m just throwing things out there. Thoughts?
- Neville was reading Lee Iacocca’s autobiography, which I guess is an interesting choice when you living in a world without cars.
- “Must be nice to have faith. Must make you feel real confident.” Miles, you don’t understand what faith is, do you? Like, literally.
- What happened to Aaron wife?
- Adorable cast is adorable.
- During some tumblr searching, I found an image of this map of post-Blackout America. I don’t know if it’s canon or fan-made, but since I’ve been very curious as to what the deal is there, I thought it might be interesting to put up. Thoughts?
Here’s the trailer for next week, now titled “The Plague Dogs“. I know nothing about it, besides just reading the Wiki page. Anybody read the book or seen the movie and have predictions based on that? It looks like the movie might be on YouTube, if you’re interested in it. I swear if [promo spoiler] dies, I will throw an Aaron-level temper tantrum.