REVOLUTION: “Children Of Men”

Revolution - Season 1

In the first of its final two hours, Revolution delivered on most of what it seems to have been promising all season – lots of action, character development payoff, and answers to questions that we just couldn’t seem to figure out. In fact, the hour was wrought with so much action that it makes us wonder if the show left us anything for its final episode, save for an inevitable Monroe/Miles showdown and a final battle towards turning the power back on – which, as we now know, could result in either success…or death. For some time, we’ve wondered how Revolution would move towards its next season given that the answers behind the blackout were already explored, and the climax of these episodes seemed to be focused on getting to the Tower. I suspect that after the events of next week, we’ll be dealing with some sort of crisis.

It’s taken the show a bit of time to find its footing – and it seems like we’re just going to make it to end of the season before it does – but as proven in “Children of Men,” the show works best when it pulls from its action and focuses on the stronger members of the ensemble. Spending more than half the hour exclusively with Elizabeth Mitchell’s Rachel and David Lyons’ Monroe makes me realize how much I would prefer smaller scenes like these as opposed to larger, complicated storylines, even if these particular scenes sometimes feel out of the blue. Revolution tends to even out its action by offering us emotionally dramatic exchanges that hold lots of weight, usually including one or two of its more experienced actors – but unlike mythological shows such as LOST, where the character development was so incredibly nuanced and vital to the story, Revolution has yet to earn the merits of its jaw-dropping dramatic acts. Despite the capabilities of the actors, who can bring even the most mundane stories to the table, the scenes that should come off as more impressive tend to come off feeling out of place, a randomly strong hour of television amidst a season full of hits and misses.

I mentioned last week how much I had missed seeing the Mitchell and Lyons interact, and was extremely pleased to that the hour gave us so much story between them. As Rachel, Mitchell continues to be the strongest quality that Revolution has to offer, consistently bringing her talent to the forefront of every scene week after week. While the character hasn’t had much to do in the past few episodes, Mitchell completely shone in “Children of Men,” stealing every scene from present day to flashback. Despite her sociopathic tendencies, her sentimental vulnerability – especially where her children are concerned – is part of what makes Rachel such an interesting and complex individual, and it’s these layers that play to Mitchell’s greatest strengths as an actor.

It wasn’t a surprise that the grenade stunt was foiled at the last minute, though it did provide an interesting segue for Monroe to come to terms with seeing Rachel for the first time since last season. In a strange, full-circle way, Revolution brought us right back to where we started – to a struggling, worrisome family (as shown in the Matheson flashbacks) and a woman stuck in captivity due to her self-surviving actions. I was rather surprised at the amount of exposition we were exposed to while both were trapped inside the bunker – not only Rachel’s explanation of why she was so desperate to kill Monroe, but Monroe’s admission of him having a son, and how he was beginning to regret the fact that he had become such a terrible individual. Combined with Neville’s play in convincing Monroe’s soldiers to turn against him, it’s enough to make me wonder if the rumors and speculation of Monroe’s death next week are true – and if so, all I’ll say is it would be suicide for the show to kill off one of its best assets, however much it would add to the story.

In our continuation of receiving answers to long-lost questions, we finally got some resolution on what happened a few weeks ago when we left off with Grace. Turns out the people who were guarding the Tower – and the ones who helped open the door for Rachel – were old colleagues from Rachel and Ben’s days before the blackout. They’ve been protecting the Tower ever since the night that everything went wrong, sealing off the 12th floor to keep themselves safe. But how good are the “good guys?” While they seem to lean towards being helpful, they also showed a considerable amount of wariness when Rachel suggested trying to turn the power back on, going so far as to burn the book from Dr. Warren that held most of the answers to turning the power back on (an overt, but nice segue with Grace talking about how the world could be set on fire as the book burned.)

Stuck between a rock and a tight place after Charlie and the gang opted to leave Neville and Jason to defend for themselves outside the Tower, the former Militia general used his knowledge and training to his advantage, attempting to mind trick the other guards into rebelling against Monroe. It was a great few scenes for Giancarlo Esposito, who I still feel isn’t used as much as he could be – but any time we get a cold and calculating Neville, it makes me happy. And to see Jason helping his father out and going along with his plan was a nice moment that made me wonder if we might see a resolution between the two before the season ends.

I love seeing Zak Orth do more than stand around and offer comic relief, and continue to hope that the hints of his character being involved in the blackout mean that he’s going to turn into a much more important part of the storyline. Orth has more than proven he can handle the change, and given his dynamic with Rachel, I think it would be interesting to see what happens when joined with the rest of the group, who he’s been away from since the beginning of the second half of the season.

Final Thoughts:

  • The way Dan (Glenn Morshower) explained that they’ve been keeping the Tower safe, did anyone assume that he would try to enlist Rachel, Aaron and Charlie to take over?
  • I’m happy that despite the fact that we haven’t had Matheson family flashbacks in awhile, we’re still finding out bits and pieces of Rachel and Ben’s life before the blackout. The latest installment showed us how the two were on a bit of shaky ground due to the nature of their work (and moral differences), while also showing us that an interesting bit of mythology – Ben using the same computer that we saw Grace using at the beginning of the season, as well as making pendants.
  • The “12th floor” mystery will no doubt be explored next week – what do you think is so important that they have to restrict access to it? The actual control room that can turn the power back on, perhaps?

What did you think of the episode? Are you ready for the finale next week?

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