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Exposition time! Via voiceover from a character we soon learn is named Aaron, 15 years after the blackout: “After the blackout, nothing worked. Not even car engines or jet turbines. Hell, even batteries – all of it, gone forever. People starved. Sickness without medicine. Fires without fire trucks. Governments fell. Militias rose up. If you were smart, you left the city. If you weren’t, you died there.”
This is all with a striking backdrop of flooded cities, plants growing up the sides of skyscrapers and deer frolicking through city streets overgrown by grass. (Anyone who saw History Channel’s Life After People got a taste of the look of Revolution’s world).
Bearded bear of a man Aaron continues for a group of children who look like they grew up in a colonial era rather than in the 21st century: “Physics went insane. The world went insane overnight, and nobody knows why.”
He and Ben are both living in a cul-de-sac that has been turned into an agricultural village. Ben is smiling and greeting neighbors. This doesn’t seem to be a man bearing the secret of how all the world lost power instantly.
Out hunting are all-grown-up Charlie and Danny – or at least they’re supposed to be hunting. Charlie instead lures her younger brother to an overturned RV. Ever the eager explorer, she scopes it out, and her bright blue eyes light up when she finds a postcard with an image of Chicago’s Wrigley Field. But then Danny breaks out into an asthma attack, and she rushes him back home.
There the town doctor, a woman named Maggie, tends to him in the Matheson house, while Ben scolds his daughter, telling her, “That road’s not safe.” It’s a Nemo-Marlin relationship with an added sibling. Charlie complains, “Nothing’s safe. Everything is off-limits.” And it’s here that we learn Rachel is out of the picture and Maggie has replaced her spot in Ben’s bed. Rachel is dead, or at least her family presumes her to be.
The next day, Charlie escapes beyond the town to her hidden collection of postcards from far-away, unseen places. Meanwhile, we get our first look at that militia Aaron spoke of. And they don’t look like they’re men to be trifled with.
Ben is hurriedly handing the Locket of Power off to Aaron, who tells him, “Nothing is going to happen to you.” But something does happen, and it’s not good, not good at all. Captain Tom Neville (Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito) has orders from General Sebastian Monroe, under the authority of the Monroe Republic, to take Ben and Miles to Monroe.
Well, as much as level-headed Ben is willing to go quietly, Danny isn’t quite so eager to see his father taken away without a fight. So in he steps with a crossbow pointed at Neville’s head. And this doesn’t turnout well: A fight breaks out, and in the crossfire Ben is shot. Neville and his men take Danny with them instead, and Charlie, who came running back at the sound of shots, returns to find her brother gone and her father wounded and dying.
And thus ends Ben’s non-flashback time on the show. He dies in Charlie’s arms, his blue eyes reflected in Charlie’s tear-filled own, barely heaving out a last wish: That Charlie go find Miles in Chicago. “He can get Danny,” Ben says.
So Charlie sets out for Chicago, and much to her dismay, she’s accompanied by her replacement mother and the man who’s afraid of bees – Maggie and Aaron. (“I’m not afraid of bees. I’m allergic to bees. There is a big difference!” Aaron retorts back at Charlie.)
On one road we see Danny handcuffed to a horse-drawn cart, where Neville tells him, “You drew first. That puts your daddy’s blood on your hands, son.” On another, Charlie runs into a bow-toting, well-built young man – probably the first attractive guy her age she’s ever met – named Nate. After an incident when Nate saves Charlie’s life from a crew of ill-meaning bandits, he joins the trio of travelers on their trip to Chicago, claiming he hopes to join a fishing crew there.
NEXT: Chicago ho!