This week, Charlie and Co. continue to track Danny and Miles seeks out a potential ally.

Okay, so it’s no secret that I wasn’t exactly dazzled by last week’s premiere, and would, in fact, roll my eyes at all the promos that would quote that ‘Revolution’ is “one of the best shows of the year.” (I know, it’s early in pilot season, but leave me to my cynicism.) But I was earnestly hoping that this week would improve upon the relative blandness of it’s inaugural outing. Did they succeed? Ehh. Kind of.

‘Revolution’ starts with a pretty unnecessary voice-over that reminds you that all the electricity in the world disappeared and no one knows why. (Except someone totally knows why.) And we’re brought back to where we were last week, with Charlie, Miles, Maggie, and Aaron setting out to find Danny. But Miles has a large task in mind, ie: finding someone named Nora, who can help them. Her only descriptor is “really good at blowing stuff up” so far, and Miles manages to wrangle her location out of a bounty hunter who was put on their trail to bring them to General Munroe. Miles wants to kill the bounty hunter to get him off his trail, but Charlie pleads with him that he doesn’t. He ends up letting him go. A sense of mercy is not a bad trait for a character to have, but this show keeps insisting that Charlie whip it out when it just doesn’t make sense, really. Of course, this is probably all a part of turning Miles from a human weapon into Charlie’s “father figure” later on, but it doesn’t give Charlie much depth as a character. It really just makes her look like a patronizing wet blanket. She’s supposed to be the lead, but once again, she’s defined by things that others enforced upon her, rather than her own thoughts, actions, and feelings. I swear I’ll try not to harp on this every second but a show can’t rest solely on its interesting peripheral characters.

But there is progress here: There’s a few moments while she and Miles pow-wow about going to find Nora that she admits that her brother’s kidnapping was her fault, that she shouldn’t have been brooding in the woods. (Danny’s kidnapping was Danny’s fault, in my own harsh opinion, but I liked this moment.) Charlie is, after all, a teenager raised in a fairly normal community. So she’s not a hardened warrior of the wasteland, but I would love if the script let her do more than glower about the unfairness of it all. When Miles takes off to free Nora, Charlie tags along with him. Turns out, Nora is a part of a forced labor camp under Munroe’s orders, and Miles finds her literally hauling a chopper with about 30 other people, like the images of slaves hauling bricks for the pyramids. Miles liberates her only to find out that she wanted to be there, in order to lift a sniper rifle from the guard. While she and Miles argue about the best way to get the gun, Charlie reminds them that there are other people still imprisoned, and is a little miffed that they don’t seem to care. Show’s not called ‘Revolution’ for nothing, I suppose.

Meanwhile, we follow Captain Neville as he transports Danny back to Munroe, and causes some terror on the way. They track the sound of a gunshot to a house, where he finds a man skinning a deer. The man tries to lie about having a gun, which is a death-penalty offense, but Neville seems much more interested in the “rebel flag” the man has, aka the American Flag. He snaps the man’s neck and takes his gun. Neville is a kind of fascinating, if not terrifying man, and Giancarlo Esposito’s presence on this show is a continuous gift. He can be a very hard, unforgiving man, but later, almost tender as he overdoses a dying soldier to take away the pain. I want to know what got him from point A to point B as a character, and what makes an insurance broker into a sociopath. Tonight’s big reveal was that, of course, Rachel, Charlie’s mother is still alive, being held by Munroe as a “guest” and given anything she wants in return for secrets, not that she’s offering them willingly. In a flashback, Charlie remembers being attacked as a child by a frightening, starving man and her father not being able to fight back as he walked away with their food. Rachel was the one to pull the trigger, not enjoying it, obviously, but taking those necessary steps to protect her children. More Elizabeth Mitchell, always.

Stray thoughts:

  • Nora has an American flag tattooed on her back. Interesting how this show both blends and completely avoids any contemporary  political allegories: militias are the enemy, they outlaw guns and revile the flag. This is a metaphor for something but I don’t know what it is and neither does the show.
  • Maggie clings to her iPhone because its the only thing he ever kept photos of her children on. Who hasn’t run into this problem when a computer crashes or a phone is broken? Tangible evidence of memories are important. Also: no sign of Maggie’s kids, so that can’t be a good story.
  • Aaron says the Blackout “cornholed the laws of physics.” I’ve played cornhole and I appreciate it’s verbiage.
  • Am I the only one who thinks that something horrible happened to Neville’s wife? This is the second time she’s been brought up, and when it comes to baddies like Neville, that usually means something grim.
  • The banning of firearms is called “The Baltimore Act.” Which just reminds me of ‘The Wire.’ I’d like to see Captain Neville square off with Omar Little.

Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of last week’s ‘Pilot‘.