After seven episodes, Revolution finally turns to the “X days earlier” trick- that popular gag among shows like this where we briefly begin in media res and then jump back in time. Revolution‘s creator and showrunner Eric Kripke’s earlier show, Supernatural, had a funny take on this concept in Season 6′s Frontierland by beginning an episode with “48 Hours Earlier (And 150 Years Later),” although that was after he had left. Usually this tactic doesn’t work, and Revolution‘s “The Children’s Crusade” is no different. Starting the episode showing Charlie getting branded by the Monroe Militia (before leaping back two days) doesn’t add suspense or intrigue to the proceedings. I’m sure they had another 30 seconds of walking they could have used to pad out the time. (See above.)
Regardless, two days before Charlie gets branded, Team Miles runs across a ragtag group of children. Think of the kids Fry and Michelle meet after getting re-unfrozen in Futurama‘s “The Cryonic Woman.” These bad actor-led rapscallions are alone, their parents having been killed several years earlier while Miles Matheson manned the Monroe Militia. Unfortunately, the modern Monroe Militia made off with one of their brothers, which sends our gang on their Quest of the Week. As expected, the kids tag along, even if they really don’t do much either to help or to hurt.
Like most weeks, Miles and Charlie have their argument about who will volunteer for the dangerous mission, and Charlie gets the assignment. She fakes being caught to end up on a conscription ship, where kids, like the kidnapped boy, are re-educated and turned into loyal soldiers. While there, she picks fights with other cadets and gets her brand. Eventually Miles and Nora make it to the ship, a sword fight ensures, and our guys win. I’m not saying I’m beginning to notice a formula, but how many episodes have had Miles and Charlie arguing “this is my responsibility!” … “It’s too dangerous, and this is my responsibility!”? (Off the top of my head, we have “Chained Heat” (episode 2), “Sex and Drugs” (episode 6), and possibly “Soul Train” (episode 5).)
Part of the reason Team Miles defeats the army is because of the unintentional distraction caused by Aaron. Hiding in a lighthouse with the children, the pendant turns on, thus powering up a lot of equipment and the lighthouse itself. Afterward, Aaron fesses up about the device to Miles and Charlie. Miles wants to destroy it, but he doesn’t. I’d bring up how the kids should have been more freaked out by the lights or by the sounds of the equipment because none of them are apparently over 15, and maybe even that the adults on the ship should have been blinded by the lighthouse’s light after a decade and a half of utter darkness, but as I said in the Pilot recap, I’m not going to question the science.
Speaking of science, we kind of learn the origins behind the technology that led to the blackout. We don’t learn why the blackout itself started (never trust the promos), but we get some answers. A company that Ben Matheson, Rachel Matheson, and Grace worked at developed technology that inhibited electricity as an unintentional side effect of trying to find a clean energy source. Three years before the blackout, Department of Defense Assistant Secretary Randall Flynn (an obviously nefarious Colm Feore of 24 and a bunch of other things) wants to buy the technology (presumably to use as a weapon). Ben was willing to sell but Rachel wasn’t…until she learns that the DoD can provide her with access to medical science that can help cure the then-natal Danny’s medical condition. Flynn, by the way, is the person who kidnapped Grace in the second episode.
Speaking of Rachel, she’s still at Monroe’s camp where she’s living the high life to the disgust of her son. Having told Monroe about the pendant, he is attempting to track down the people in her circle (i.e. others with a magical pendant), but is having a difficult time doing so. However, he finds one of them, Brad, whom Rachel interrogates horribly. Pretending to be captured herself, she brings up the pendant within seconds of meeting him despite not having contacted him in years. He doesn’t buy into it and accuses her of being the one who spilled the beans about the pendant to Monroe. Further showing her dedication to the cause, Rachel lets slip to Monroe about Brad’s daughter, which leads to her being kidnapped thus providing Monroe with additional leverage.
Rachel has the potential to be an interesting character, probably the show’s most fascinating one after Miles and Neville, but they need to decide what to do with her. My hope is that she’s more calculating and malevolent and working her own scheme, because otherwise she’s just incredibly stupid and incompetent. Though being Monroe’s prisoner for X amount of years might do that to someone. Just another instance where the decade-and-a-half span may hurt the show more than help it.
• Three episodes left before the hiatus that brings us to March 2013.
• At one point Aaron calls the children “Children of the Corn” when Lord of the Flies or the kids in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome seem more apt references.