This episode’s got everything: bare-knuckle boxing, Frank Lapidus, exploding logs, horses, Harry Potter, trains, surprise children and, of course, swords. And what is a Kripke show without a lady character getting stabbed?
Hey, remember another show set in a dystopian future, with a grizzled, angsty, handsome pirate-y male lead that had an episode that this one reminded me of? Yeah, sigh. Oh well.
In “Soul Train” we got a good chunk of Captain Neville’s backstory, so if you’re a big Giancarlo Esposito fan, you’ll be happy. And Charlie decided to put on her big girl pants and grow a pair, so that was nice too.
Neville’s story: as we already know, pre-blackout he was an insurance adjuster, but he was also a super lame pushover. On the day of the blackout, he got fired and can’t even tell his hard-partying neighbor to turn down the music. He is married to the very pretty Kim Raver, and has a cute son named Jason. He expresses his suppressed rage on a punching bag in the basement, but when Jason finds him, he tells his son “we only hit the bag, we never hit people”. Fish are friends, not food. Of course, the second his son takes a punch: blammo. Blackout.
In the present, they’ve made it to Noblesville, where they decide to have some bare-knuckle boxing. The other Militia dudes are too scared to fight Neville for real, so he invites Danny up. Danny boy isn’t over it, getting punched in the nose a few times. He finally balls his fists and gets in a decent kidney hit, but that only makes Neville more mad, so he punches poor little Danny’s lights out.
We find out Team Neville is hanging in a bank and keeping Danny in a bank vault while waiting for a steam train to be ready to take them to Philadelphia. Neville starts giving another one of his weirdo monologues to Danny again, this time about banks, when Danny finally loses it.
This show is subtle.
Charlie and Aaron are mourning over a grave of some chick who wasn’t important at all. Miles is ready to move out, because they’ve been standing there being sad over a body in the ground for 30 whole minutes while the all-important Danny is so close. She “doesn’t have the luxury” of “hanging around there crying”.
They make it to Noblesville pretty damn fast, but hear the train whistle, which is not great. “If Monroe’s got a train, that’s bad, Charlie. Could be real bad.” It’s an antique train, like the Galactica of trains, but Neville is pushing the head mechanic to make sure it’s ready to leave first thing the next morning.
Ready for more ambiguous creepiness? Sure you are! Monroe comes by to visit Rachel again, informing her of her son’s immanent arrival. She pleads with him: “Please, we used to be friends. If that means anything to you, let Danny go. You have me. I’ll tell you everything.” And when she says ‘you have me’, Bass makes a face that’s like ‘but I don’t have you have you why won’t you love meeeee?’ Maybe that’s just me.
During this bit, he touches her pinky, and she leans in, and it really totally looks like she’s going to kiss him. I mean, looks at that bottom left gif; out of context, it’s totally pre-kiss. He wants it so much. Bass is sorry it’s come to this, but he gave her plenty of chances to cooperate, and he leaves.
Wild guess theory: Bass is actually Danny’s real father. I don’t know, I’m probably most interested in Rachel and Bass’ backstory, of how they were “friends” in the past. Was it through Miles, or did they know each other some other way?
Team Miles finds a nice empty warehouse as a base. They know the train’s leaving the next morning, and that Danny’s going to be on it, which means Danny’s somewhere in town. Miles, Nora and Charlie head into town to see what they can find out; Charlie is supposed to find Miles if she gets even a whiff of Danny. Aaron is left with a crossbow to shoot “Nipples” aka Militia Boy aka Not!Nate if he moves at all.
But Nora really wants to blow up the train. Like really. so instead of looking for Danny, she looks for some fellow Rebels, who apparently show themselves by putting three tiny little black marks on their windows. She goes into a marked shop, which I guess is some sort of bookstore and says the (amaze-balls )secret Rebel code-phrase to an old dude who just hand-printed the title page of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. Which, okay, fine, cute, but that shit’s 759 pages long. Come on now.
Well, old guy is named Hutch (which I’ll use instead of Lapidus because it’s easier to type). They show their Rebel colors (American flags) and he breaks the news that he’s all that’s left of the Noblesville Rebels; the Militia killed everyone else, including his wife. It’s okay though, because now they’re a team and they are going to blow up that train.
Charlie’s poking around town and looking into windows very conspicuously, so of course Neville shows up and starts questioning her. Surprisingly, she handles it pretty well; I mean, I might have like thrown up all over him or something. She admits she spying, but says it’s on her “boyfriend” who she suspects is cheating on her. She also comes up with a way better fake name than her uncle did. And just in case you weren’t creeped out, he gives some of that too, leaning in and telling her, “that boy’s a fool if he’s two-timing you.”
Charlie takes a minute to breathe and calm down, and then decides to follow Neville herself, incredibly obviously, of course. It would have been so much smarter if she would have ducked behind the cars and had a little bit of stealth so she could better pinpoint where he was heading (and where Danny would be) and then go tell Miles. Of course he catches her pretty much right away and is about to slice her open…
But it’s Miles to the rescue, again! Stand-off, knives, intensely saying each others’ names, Neville figures out Charlie is Danny’s sister, she skedaddles, “how’s the wife?”, “how’s my nephew?”, gross sexist euphemism.
Miles proposes a trade, Nipples for Danny. Neville pauses when Miles describes Nipples, but still says no deal, even though Miles says he’ll die. And then some mysterious angst before Miles runs off.
Aaron looks at that dead chick’s iPhone, then knocks over a table so that the power pendant falls to the other side of Not!Nate’s cage. Aaron scrambles for it, but Not!Nate picks it up. Aaron asks for it back, lying that even if it’s a “no good necklace”, it was his wife’s, so Not!Nate gives it back. But he did get a good look at it.
Nora comes back, with Hutch in tow, to inform the rest of the team about the train-blow-up-plan and to change into a Militia uniform they just happen to have. Aaron’s worried about Danny being on the train, but Nora’s pretty sure Miles will find him first.
Only Charlie’s screw-up means that they’ve lost the element of surprise, moving up the train’s departure time. Miles bitches at her a bunch for not being a master spy: “This was already hard; you just made it impossible. So, if we don’t get Danny back, you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself.” She wonders what exactly happened to make him such an asshole. Time for a convenient memory and some more angst.
Team Neville prepares to move out, and Sassy Danny is sassy, noting that Neville looks nervous.
He flashes back to Six Weeks Post-Blackout, where the Neville family has stayed in their giant suburban house. Kim Raver thinks they better leave soon, but there’s a break-in downstairs before they decide. It’s the douchebag neighbor, who’s stealing their silverware(?). Little Jason comes downstairs to see the neighbor hit Neville and few times, before Neville’s transition to evil, where he beats the dude’s face in. Kim and Jason are appropriately horrified.
Charlie and Miles learn about Nora’s train job, and he knows they won’t be able to stop her, so their only hope is finding Danny before he is on the train. They try interrogating Nipples; first Charlie tries the Bambi-eyes approach, no go. Miles is about to try the sword, but Not!Nate parkours his way into escaping. I thought at first this was actually a sneaky ploy and they were going to follow Not!Nate to the Militia group, but no, it was just stupidity.
Brief world-building interval, combined with some Big Bad Monroe. We get a view of the map I linked to earlier of the post-Blackout US, which confirms it’s canon.
The Georgia Federation to the south and the Plains Nation to the west have formed an alliance, and seem to be planning an attack on the Monroe borders, probably encouraged by rumors of the Rebels. Monroe wants a Black Hawk and power and to take over the world.
Nora prepares her train bomb, which is a hollowed out log filled with gunpower and some green rock candy. They’ll put the log on the train and then the furnace will do the work for them. Hutch and Nora talk about how killing people isn’t easy. Hutch think his late wife, the fighter, would be proud of him doing this. Nora goes out to place the log on the tinder car.
Charlie/Miles/Aaron head to the bank, but Neville’s gang is already gone. Charlie sees Danny’s bloody cloth and is worried.
The train is leaving now, they’re not waiting until morning. Not!Nate has rejoined the Militia ranks, no problem. I wonder why, after spending so much time as a hostage/prisoner, his loyalty wasn’t questioned? He wonders why they’re leaving is Miles is there. No response form Neville. Danny has been packed on the train. Miles/Charlie/Aaron hear the train whistles as it creakily starts to pull put.
Nora and Hutch watch, but then she sees Neville and Danny and has second thoughts.
But Hutch is very focused on proving himself to his dead wife, so he stabs Nora to stop her and then runs off. Man, those angsty old white guys with dead female relatives sure do love stabbing the ladies, don’t they. Charlie/Miles/Aaron run up and watch the train pull away, and Nora informs them that both the bomb and Danny are on the train. Ruh roh.
Charlie and Miles steal some horses and manage to catch up with the train, jumping aboard. It’s actually a pretty awesomely shot sequence. Miles heads up to get the log bomb, while Charlie finds the car Danny and Neville are in and damn it, but they are actually adorable.
She nods at him and he jumps on Neville, but she can’t get the car door open. As Danny and Neville struggle and Charlie tries to break in, Miles is fighting the dude at the furnace, who just put the log bomb in. Charlie finally gets inside and totally ineffectually runs right at Neville with her knife, so of course Neville chokes her until Danny hit him over the head with a bottle. Miles has knocked out the furnace guy and is trying to fish the bomb out of the fire.
Charlie and Danny head for the door, but she’s intercepted by Not!Nate, while Neville recovers immediately and holds a gun to Danny. Miles manages to get the flaming log bomb out and throws it off the train where it explodes, causing nothing more than a jerk to the Neville/Danny/Charlie car.
Neville orders Not!Nate to hand Charlie over or he’ll “shoot the bitch”. Fuck I hate this show and how it hates women. But Not!Nate whispers to Danny to shield her head and then throws her off the train to safety. Not!Nate runs back through the car and spots Miles, who looked like he was about to go get Danny, so Miles now has to bail from the train too. Not!Nate is brought back to Neville, who is very unhappy with him. Totally thought Not!Nate was doomed here.
Charlie and Miles watch as the train and Danny chug away, and Charlie makes the sad face again.
Back at the campsite, Nora’s patching herself up, because of course her’s was only a flesh wound, getting better (please excuse me while I rage blackout over here in the corner). Miles goes over to try to explain himself to Charlie.
Charlie, finally, is done with all his mopey, angsty bullshit. “I get it, Miles, but honestly, I don’t want to hear it.”
Finally. Jeez, it only took 5 episodes. Nora snarks at Miles: “Nice job, coach.” Hey, it got the right result, so whatever. Charlie needed to toughen up, and now it looks like she has.
And the ending! Neville’s train arrived in Philadelphia, and the troops, including Not!Nate strut into the depot, where Kim Raver is waiting (and where everyone is dressed weirdly fancy).
But how is Not!Nate alive? Because, of course, he’s baby Jason Neville, their son. “Hello mother. It’s good to be home.” I’ll admit, I didn’t bother to guess that (I was probably too focused on the Danny = Rachel/Bass son whacko theory), but it’s the most obvious when he smiles. He has a flash back to his now crazy dad who ants to teach him how to use a knife and a gun. bb!Jason is sacred, but Neville tells him it’s time to toughen up. “If we’re scared, if we’re weak, then we’re dead.”
Rachel watches from her window and sees bruised and beaten Danny being marched in, and it’s finally enough to break her, and so when he asks, “for the last time, what was Ben working on?” she goes to her desk and does a quick sketch.
“We were both working on it. We worked together. I don’t have all the specs, but if you want to turn the power back on it starts with these pendants.”
Oh, just like Cylons then. So we know Aaron has one, Grace had another and the mysterious Randall has a 3rd.
I guess there’s a debate of some kind next week, so no new episode until the 29th, which is good because based on this preview, I’m going to totally fucking lose it and I’m going to need the extra week to prepare.