The day Revolution fans (can we just start referring to ourselves as “Revolutionaries”?) have waited for has arrived! NBC’s post-civilization action adventure is back with episode eleven and this time, the show is pulling out all the stops. Gone are the lackadaisical days of the first half of the season—this episode, entitled “The Stand,” lands with a bang. And when I say “bang,” I mean explosions. Lots of explosions. Helicopters full of explosions.
Want to know more? Let’s recap last night’s episode and welcome back Our Heroes on their journey to find out why the lights went out.
“The Stand” picks up exactly where the first half of the season left off. Our Heroes have rescued Danny and Rachel from Monroe’s grip and escaped from his compound, only to see a helicopter taking off in pursuit! They head into the woods and take shelter in a building that the helicopter handily destroys with a missile or two. (Get ready for a lot of that in this episode, which is absolutely chock-full of things that explode.) Their relieved reunion is full of kissing for Miles and Nora—but hello, is that a jealous-looking Rachel there? What’s up with that, lady who was married to his brother? Meanwhile, Monroe orders the choppers to attack every resistance base ever to wipe away all opposition to his attempt to retake the entire country.
Rachel convinces the others that they have to help the resistance, in order to make up for her mistake in helping Monroe. She says she knows a guy who has power—and rocket launchers. (See what I meant there about more things that explode?) She and Miles take off to find help while Nora takes the others to Annapolis, the headquarters of the resistance. As they leave, there’s a tiny Rachel flashback about an “experimental procedure” performed on Danny when he was just a boy (more on that later). Nora takes Aaron, Danny and Charlie into Annapolis where they meet Commander Ramsey, head of the resistance, and their old friend Nicholas the ex-priest turned rebel, and warn them both of the impending danger. On the road, Miles apologizes to Rachel (“I thought you were dead!”) and there’s some serious steamy nearly-kissing... Though Rachel tells him to step back, these two have some serious unresolved heat going on.
Outside the Annapolis camp, Captain Neville has followed the trail of resistance bases with his son Jason at his side. Jason refuses his father’s order to call in the strike because, you know, slaughtering women and children is bad, and jumps his father... who promptly flattens him and tells him never to come home again. When he goes to warn Charlie, she won’t take him in. Thanks for the warning, but no friends for you!
Rachel and Miles arrive at the house of John, a former co-worker of hers who has a pendant and power. He warns Rachel that Grace has disappeared off their computer network, as have others. He shows them to the basement where there is an arsenal—it seems John likes to build weapons in his spare time! While Miles picks out a nice rocket launcher or two, John reveals that he knows that Grace is being held by the creepy Randall Flynn and that Randall has gotten to him, too. He knocks out Rachel and Miles with a sonic canon and ties them up for Randall. Cut to Randall, all dressed up, with Grace in their little scary bunker. He wants her to get an elevator working so he can get down to something called Level Twelve. Rachel and Miles wake up and John tells Rachel that Randall has reached something called “The Tower.” Miles busts loose, flattens John, and they escape with their weapons.
At the rebel camp, Charlie asks Danny to stay off the battlefield but he refuses. Just then, two choppers appear! The rebels take position and it’s a pitched gun battle between air superiority and the resistance on the ground. The fighting is intense but clearly not going to go well for the rebels when a horse-drawn carriage arrives—Miles and Rachel! And the rockets! Miles grabs a rocket launcher, ready to flatten a chopper when his position gets hit and he goes down. Danny runs out, grabs the launcher and takes out the chopper that has the power amplifier on it; the other chopper, suddenly without power, starts to crash. Before it goes down, though, it fires off one last spray of bullets—and hits Danny head on. The chopper crashes and Danny falls in slow motion. Rachel and Charlie run to his side, but he’s gone.
The two women sit and mourn Danny’s loss and promise that they’ll kill Monroe together. That might prove harder than before, however, because back in Philly Monroe gets a visit from Randall, dragging John with him and offering to help Monroe! Meanwhile, Rachel goes to visit Danny’s corpse, says goodbye, and then cuts open her son’s side to pull out a tiny blinking capsule. And that is where we’re left with a big old fade to black.
What Worked This Week:
Welcome back, Revolution, good to see you—thanks for bringing the excitement! Whatever difficulties the beginning of the season had with pacing and lack of energy were cured in this episode. From the first second to the last shot of Rachel cutting open her own son’s body, we’re treated to a heck of a high-stakes adventure. There was little time for personal development for the minor characters, but there was so many major plot points driving the episode forward I barely noticed. Once again, Elizabeth Mitchell proves that Rachel is the heart of this show as she mercilessly drives the action forward with her heroine-mom pragmatism. And what’s with her apparent near-kissing with Miles? That was a nice twist, there, and some interesting implications about just where in their past Miles and Rachel may have had a relationship.
The big moment for the night cannot be overlooked: Danny’s death. From the moment the show began, Revolution has been centered around the premise of Our Heroes trying to rescue Danny. How many times during the first ten episodes did they drag out the question of when Danny would be rescued? Well, they did it and now he’s dead. My hat’s off to any show that will kill a main hook like that to keep the plot moving. This allows the plot to refocus on finding out how to get the power back on and fighting Monroe. It was also a great last episode for Danny, who proved to be the square-jawed earnest hero to the very end. And speaking of square-jawed heroes, Jason “No Name” Neville stepped up in this episode at last! Taking on his father was one of the biggest moments for Jason so far, and I’ll be glad to see him get integrated into the plot a little more, moving forward.
What Didn’t Work This Episode:
I’ve got only a few minor problems with the episode. Let’s start with Rachel’s inability to answer questions. Her evasiveness has become a major part of her character but often it seems like just another reason to keep the plot dragging out—why would people trust her after all she’s done? I don’t care if she’s family, she’s holding back a ton of information and the only person who is calling her out on it is Aaron. And speaking of Aaron, he and Nora got backseated so much in this episode I barely noticed they were there. Equally so Captain Neville, though he had his small moments—like beating his son to a pulp. As I mentioned, Jason also had a big moment, but with Charlie refusing to take him into the rebel base (with good reason!) he’s out in the wind once more, the dangling plot hook that never seems to land.
The major sticking point for me this episode was Charlie. For a character that is supposed to be one of the main characters, she has often been, and continues to be, completely absent in the show. Rachel and Miles were the stars of this mid-season return, as they have been since the beginning, and it makes me wonder if Charlie isn’t ripe for the chopping block, too? I wouldn’t be sad to see her go but I imagine the show wouldn’t want to get rid of its Katniss factor.
1) Miles and Rachel were together, that’s for sure. The question is when, and for how long? And that begs another question—is Miles Charlie’s dad?
2) The blinky thing hidden inside Danny is a component to the Tower. But was it what made him sick all his life? Or was it there to save him? My guess is that it’s a power source to something that was supposed to make him healthy; now they can use it elsewhere.
3) This all seems to be driving towards the only possible conclusion: Monroe’s going to get his hands on bigger weaponry. Helicopters are big but maybe, just maybe, nukes will factor in?
Things I Can’t Wait To See:
1) The eventual Nora-Miles-Rachel blow up. I wonder if that’ll signal the end of Nora on the show too? She’s proven to be way more interesting than Charlie, so I’d hate to see her go—but if she’s staying, it’s time to make her more central to the character interactions.
2) Aaron getting on board with team “Let’s Save The World” a bit more. He’s so far just hanging out in the background again, and that makes me worried he’ll be relegated to his old Scared Nerd role again.
3) Captain Neville told Monroe his son is dead. How much is that going to blow up in his face later?
“You mean you’re not going to throw me off a train again?” —Charlie to Jason, referencing what was, effectively, their second date.
“Because, sir, he drove here. In a Cutlass Sierra.” —Soldier to Monroe, about Randall Flynn.
“I love you, Danny, to the moon and back.” —Rachel, before cutting open her son’s corpse.
Tune in next week for episode twelve, “Ghosts”!
Shoshana Kessock is a comics fan, photographer, game developer, LARPer and all around geek girl. She’s the creator of Phoenix Outlaw Productions and ReImaginedReality.com.