REVOLUTION: “The Dark Tower”

Revolution - Season 1

It’s been a long time – really, it has. Revolution started its freshman run in September as a promising sci-fi series, birthed from two show runners who had an encouraging pedigree of knowing how to tell stories and structure character arcs. After a bit of a rocky start, one that plagues most serialized television dramas, the show seemed to finally find its feet as its mysteries picked up and we began learning more about each character’s backstory.

And then NBC made the decision to put the show on hiatus after ten episodes, holding its return until February, when its run could be completed – which it finally did tonight, roughly three weeks later than most normal television series that debut in the fall (or even later.)

Was it worth it? The question is one I asked myself as I sat through what has been a long and admittedly up and down journey of twenty hours over the course of nine months. Certainly, no one can say Revolution didn’t deliver in its final hour, which was chock-full of explosive moments and fast-paced action. And it did set up a rather intriguing mystery for next season with the reveal that the actual President of the United States was hiding in Cuba – as Kripke has stated numerous times, the power turning back on was only a part of what could be considered the show’s bigger mythology.

I could talk at length about what I’d love to see from Revolution’s second season – and how I’d love to see it make itself into the kind of war and survival story that it seemed set on becoming when the series began – but for now, let’s focus on the more notable events of the hour. The promised “two will die” mantra was fulfilled as we said goodbye to both Nora and Randall, the latter who sacrificed himself after using the newly turned on power to launch missiles at the republics of both Philly and Georgia (to destroy the new governments in lieu of bringing the United States back.) Nora’s death, brought about by a botched explosion and a heroic effort to protect Rachel, Charlie and Aaron, seemed to largely serve the purpose of addressing the looming Rachel/Miles/Nora triangle while also placing a larger wedge between the two remaining members of the Matheson family, who were just starting to feel comfortable with each other again despite the information Charlie recently learned about her mother’s past.

The situation did lend itself to a nice scene between Mitchell and Spiridakos, in which we were reminded of Rachel’s questionable morality. Though Danny died early in the second half of the season, it’s fair to say that his presence has made itself clear throughout the past few episodes, especially where Rachel’s journey is concerned. Much of that journey culminated in Rachel’s actions when she decided against trying to save Nora and chose to turn the power back on instead. I actually found Charlie’s line about Danny being gone quite powerful – for all her good intentions, Rachel is still the emotionally attached single-minded mother set on avenging her son’s death (even it means doing it at the expense of others) while Charlie is the one who remains detached in order to make the best choices possible for the people she loves.

I suspect that Charlie’s anger and resentment towards Rachel’s apathy for Nora’s demise will carry over into next season, just as Rachel’s possible guilt towards Nora’s admission that Miles loves her will (it was a nice – though seemingly out of nowhere – sentiment to finally acknowledge the elephant that has been hanging around the room since February.) Nora’s death was not unlike another beloved loss at the beginning of the series (RIP Maggie), but despite the fact that Charlie was powerless in both situations, the emotionally wrecked girl we saw in the series’ fourth episode was quite different than the one we saw at the end of this hour. Though most would probably say otherwise, in a surprising way, Charlie may have undergone the most transformative character arc that we’ve seen so far.

Aside from Rachel finally reaching Level Twelve, the hour’s other major moment was the reunion between Miles and Monroe for the first time since the show’s November finale. It was much more involved – the two had a chance to spend some time with each other outside of a “hostile” situation when both ended up outside of the Tower – and it nicely allowed us some perspective into Monroe’s character, continuing what we saw last week between him and Rachel. We’ve spent the entire series thinking Monroe was the worst person imaginable because of the evil things he did while he was head of the Militia – yet we learn that everything Monroe did was for the benefit of his best friend, even if his intentions were sorely misguided. After months and months of feuding, I enjoy that the show brought something back to the human level – that is, Miles and Monroe’s relationship and how much of it is grounded in a real and true brotherly love, bringing out the fact that while Miles’ loyalty towards Monroe changed somewhere along the line, Monroe’s apparently never did.

Revolution made it through its first season relatively unscathed, largely due to the its promising premise and the crop of dramas it stood out against when it debuted – but the 2013-2014 season will prove to be a challenge, especially with new contenders and a shift to Wednesday nights at 8pm. I’d love to see the show succeed and see it fulfill its potential in terms being a show that is grittier, dirtier, and one that raises its stakes higher. I’d love to see the events of this hour give Billy Burke and David Lyons more to do emotionally when we return and I’d love to see a decent storyline for Neville and Jason (if he’s going to stick around) especially now that Neville seems to have put himself back into the role of power. I’d love to see Rachel and Charlie truly clash over their differences of how to survive in war and see more of Aaron’s story fleshed out (we finally learned about how he came into contact with Rachel and Ben, and that it was his research that was “stolen” from MIT in order to code the Tower.) But most of all, I want Revolution to become a show that surprises me – and that returns bigger and better when it premieres again in a few months time.

Final Thoughts:

  • The music video type montage at the beginning of the hour was a rather interesting way to recap what has been a longer-than-intended journey, and while it was certainly different, it did catch me a bit off guard.
  • Yes, Neville actually used the phrase “borderline erotic fixation” when referencing Monroe’s relationship to Miles. Either the writers are having fun with David Lyons’ ability to have chemistry with everything in sight, or someone has been reading Twitter/message board conversations.
  • So long as the missiles actually don’t destroy the world, I hope President Foster continues to stay around next season. I’ve loved having her on the show, even if her screen time so far has been brief.

What did you think of the finale? Sound off below!

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