Revolution S01E02: Chained Heat

Are you guys ready for another round of headscratching post-apocalyptic television? I sure am. This new series summary they’ve introduced at the beginning is pretty slick, though combined with the “road so far” recap, we’re looking at over a minute of screentime telling us stuff we’ve already pieced together. I have a horrible feeling this is going to be like Supernatural, where every time you try to rewatch/marathon episodes you get a goddamn couple scenes of Mary Winchester on the ceiling; “Sammy!”; “Get your brother inside!”

Finally, after long last, we begin with a flashback of before the lights went out and then flashforward to adult Charlie looking contemplatively at a city. It’s suddenly gone all Inception in here. But where’s Uncle Miles? Oh Miles, you. rapscallion. He’s off sword fighting with a bounty hunter. It’s a bit of an odd segue, especially since we didn’t hear the swords clash during the moment of contemplation, but nevermind. Maybe Charlie was just really, really out of it.

And Miles. What can we say about Miles? From him, we get exchanges like:

“Where are you going?”

“This little place called shut up and stay here.”

Oh Miles, you rapscallion. Of course in this latest village we end up in, he also runs into a few guys he almost killed in the past, and he denies knowing the rest of the group when they’re caught at first. It’s part of his character specs, as is the ensuing fight and choking out a guy with a chain for some information. They’re really pulling out all the stops in painting Uncle Miles as the resident badass.

And then in what I’d argue is the more interesting story thread: militia plus Danny stop at a homestead and Captain Tom Neville does his thing questioning the homesteader about a newly shot deer. Guns are banned, remember. It’s so strange, because this scene entirely reads like a comment on the “they can pry our guns from our cold dead hands” school of thought in a certain strain of American politics. Big Bad Ruthless Government trying to take guns away from a public just trying to get by? The scene is punctuated with a man being interrogated back at Monroe’s camp and Monroe acting hella axe crazy.

Cold dead hands.

Meanwhile, while the main team use their 45 Survival skills around a campire, Miles manages to have a heart to heart with his niece: “Charlie, next time I want to kill somebody, lemme kill them.” However, we manage to acquire another quest during this scene! We’re apparently looking for a woman who’s good at blowing up things and she’s the only hope for rescuing Danny. Of course Charlie goes after Miles and sprains her foot slipping down an embankment because she’s the spunky protagonist. Of course. HOW DID CHARLIE LAST THIS LONG IN A POST APOCALYPTIC WORLD. Damn. Luckily, Twilight, aka Nate, shows up to save the day and they can have clumsy YA romantic tension together while a love theme plays in the background. “Why did you save me?” Why indeed.

And the whole anti-gov lesson isn’t all Revolution has to teach us modern society folk today. How sad is it that Elizabeth’s only pictures of her kids are locked away on her cellphone? How much of an indictment is this on the iPhone? “I don’t have a single photo to hold in my hands.” I’m suddenly realizing most of my photos since 2002 are digital copies… The kinda stretch this moment of sadness out when we get back to Neville’s band of marauders: nameless militia guy dies slowly, so Neville goes and mercy poisons him. It’s the first moment of tenderness we’ve seen between Neville and, well, anyone. It’s either there to demonstrate how harsh the militia world is or how much Neville cares for his men in his own special way, we’ll find out which one it is if they give Neville any similar moments in the future. My prediction: they’re gearing us up for a heel-face turn from him in one of the final episodes.

More flashbacks. Wee Charlie getting threatened by the most horrifying guy ever. Big Charlie says everything that’s happened so far is her fault. By now we realize the flashbacks are analogues to what’s happening in the present, and that something will change Wee Charlie’s life forever before the episode is over. But also, in a major development that promptly scoots the plot right along forward, Aaron finally reveals the truth about the power-giving amulet to Elizabeth. What do you know, through the use of cut aways, we find out he has to get that amulet to the woman who was using the computer in the last episode, Grace. Apparently the blackout could be man-made? Or aliens, just saying.

Danny calls Neville a psychopath after the unnamed soldier’s funeral. Nothing new there. What is new, is that Charlie and Miles find a chain gang of convicts pulling a helicopter through the forest. Apparently physics going haywire affected the breeding patterns of the draft horse population of America as well. Nora, the lady who’s our one and only hope for saving Danny, is one of the prisoners and the militia are shooting people left and right to prove how evil they are. You know where this is going; Miles attempts to badass her out of the camp but not before messing up Nora’s ploy to liberate a special gun from the prison gang. Not going to lie, it’s pretty cool how Nora jury rigs a tiny handmade gun to shoot the warden. Charlie is a voice of reason in this, pointing out that, hey, maybe saving the prisoners would be a good idea too, and she takes on the mission when it’s clear neither of the other two would actually manage to pull it off. “Shoot a man? You? Pffffwahahaha” basically says Miles in his mind. After all, Charlie’s family apparently has a history of morality. In a flashback we see Charlie’s dad being unable to shoot a guy who ran off with their food, while her mom manages to do the deed. And then. Oh man, that armgun. That swordfight. That disgust and remorse over killing, clearly showing Charlie to be the idealistic moral compass of this entire show.

However, surprise! Nora’s a rebel against Monroe’s regime, though I have to question how great an idea it is to have a tattoo of a resistance group on your back, then wear tank tops over it. This will clearly cause a problem at the worst possible moment towards the end.

So it’s almost time for the show to be wrapping up, but not before we’re also introduced to a new baddie. Some guy named Randall, who shows up at Grace’s house with an amulet and a cattle prod and then the scene just cuts away when the cattle prod starts sparking up. Mysterious…

>>implying

However, coming up: possibly the twist of the show. You know Rachel, Charlie’s mom we thought was dead? She’s currently in the hands of Sebastian Monroe. Say whaaaaaat? Going by what we see here, it’s pretty obvious we’re going to be getting a lot of verbal riposting in the future, since Monroe is trying to pry some information about the power outage from her, including threatening Danny in the meantime. And that’s where it ends: with a mystery and a reveal.

Lawful evil, secretly crazy.

Morals of the story so far:

1. It’s wrong to kill people even if you are rescuing the prisoners. Unless you’re a terrible person like Miles is.

2. Gun legislation results in people getting shot by tyrannical government officials.

3. Cloud computing will be the end of all of our memories forever.

About Jac Thurmond 25 Articles
Co-founder of The Spoilist. Resident horror aficionado. Also reviewing science fiction, animation, and arthouse films. You can find me on Twitter.