A family is reunited, a brotherhood is tested and power is gained
Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC

Well, that’s all folks… for now. Revolution won’t be back until March 25, but before the show goes dark for four months (yes, I’m sorry guys, four months), we got one final hour of action, intrigue and family drama.

The mid-season finale (which is the third episode to take its title from a Led Zeppelin song, this time from 1976 song “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”) kicked off in Flashbackville, five years after the blackout. Miles and Bass, both in green-and-brown militia uniform, are in the middle of a firefight. A titlecard tells us it’s The Trenton Campaign. Taking cover behind some rubble, Bass tells his friend that word is they’re running out of bullets. “We’re gonna have to ration. Start using swords,” he says, and that’s how we get what from my count is the second time we’ve ever seen Miles laugh. “We’ll be like pirates!” Bass says with a big grin across his face. And then he sees that his best friend is clutching his side with a bloodied hand. Miles is urging Bass to go, but Bass says, “All the years, all the times I was in trouble, you never left my side. You never ran. If you’re dying, I’m dying with you.”

Back in the present in Philadelphia, we cut to the man who has this memory on his mind: Miles. The Fellowship is looking for a safe place to take care of Charlie’s head wound, but Nora reminds Miles that this is Philly – there’s nowhere safe here. Making it even less safe for our band of heroes is the news that has just reached Monroe: He knows that Miles is in town. Wheatley, the supposed rebel who led the Fellowship into the tunnel last week, had sent a coded message that he was bringing in Miles Matheson. Monroe knows that this means he’s either coming for Danny or for him (uh, or both? Buddy, this is Miles we’re talking about. He definitely can come after both.) And what’s behind Monroe and Neville here? Oh hey there, Liberty Bell!

With a little help from Nora playing the part of one of the many women in Monroe’s arsenal, the Fellowship busts its way into the home of Kipling, a militiaman Miles believes is one of the few friends he has left in Philly. That’s where they take refuge while Nora patches up Charlie. Miles leaves to find out where the militia is keeping Danny, assuring everyone he’ll be OK because “they’re my streets. Nobody knows them better than I do.” Isn’t that what you said about the tunnel last week, Miles?

Well, it turns out Miles is fine, but not everyone else back at Kipling’s place. Militiamen burst in with guns. Charlie’s sure that Kip gave them up, but when Neville struts in, he assures her that he didn’t – though he should have. It wasn’t tough to figure out that Miles would seek help from one of his few friends left in town, Neville says. Aaron, Nora and Charlie are dragged away, and Charlie is tossed in a room with one small window.

“Charlie?” She hears a quiet voice on the other side of the room. It’s her mother. In her disbelief, Charlie looks more like a child than we’ve seen her in a long time – not a bratty kid, but a fragile child.

After the first commercial break, we see what happens next between these two: Rachel tells her daughter that she knew it was her, even though it’s been years since she’s seen her. “You’re beautiful,” she says, on the edge of tears. But then Charlie’s face hardens – it’s hit her, the realization that she’s been deceived all these years, that her mother has been out there alive but not with her. In a moment that’s really painful to watch, Rachel steps forward and reaches out to her daughter, but Charlie backs away, and Rachel stops, let’s out a small “sorry,” shoulders hunches, hands unsure where to go.

Side note: Around here is where the credits tell us this episode was co-written by Monica Owusu-Breen, an alum of three J.J. Abrams shows, Alias, Lost and Fringe, and by the end of the episode this makes a lot of sense. We get long-awaited confrontations between multiple pairs of characters in this episode, and all of these scenes really deliver, just like a favorite Fringe scene of mine written by Owusu-Breen, when Olivia finally breaks down and opens up to Peter at the end of “Marionette.”

And now we get our next confrontation, one that I didn’t even think much about before this episode, but as soon as this scene began, I thought, This is gonna be good. Aaron and Neville. The once-powerful man who lost all power when the lights went out and the once-weak man who gained immense power when the lights went out. Neville recognizes the Google tycoon from the covers of countless Wired magazine issues. And the militia major immediately begins to tear down Aaron, savoring his opportunity to gloat about how much their fortunes had changed. Though maybe he savors the moment a little too much – this scene could have been pulled off with much more subtlety, but I guess it says something about Neville that he’ll take the chance to spell out the role-reversal as explicitly as possible.

NEXT PAGE: A good hostage situation never fails

Back to the mother and child reunion: Rachel is trying to explain herself. Charlie is asking her to slow down, telling her she needs a minute to process this. Rachel says that she was trying to kill Monroe and save Danny. What? You want to talk about the most recent of events instead of explain why you’ve been gone for years and years? Rachel starts rambling about how she never should have left her family. Then Charlie firmly tells her mother to stop. Speaking in imperatives, Charlie essentially tells her mom to shut up and go save her son. Now it’s Rachel’s turn to be really shocked. “You’ve grown up,” she says.

We get a brief glimpse of Miles returning to Kipling’s house and realizing that the militia has taken his friends and niece. Back in Rachel and Charlie’s prison, they’re laboriously unscrewing the bolts in an air grille while they play catch-up. At Charlie’s first mention of Uncle Miles, Rachel says, “Miles is here? Did he hurt you?” A little taken aback, Charlie says, “No, of course not. Why would you ask me something like that?” But they don’t get to finish that conversation because in marches Creepy McCreepster, Sgt. Strausser, who is way too delighted (and forward about how delighted he is) to have two Matheson women in his possession.

Across town, Neville arrives home. The major, who shortly before was so confident that Aaron and Nora would be perfect bait to draw in Miles, gets the tables turned on him. There in his home is Miles Matheson, and he has a sword to the neck of Neville’s wife. The deal Miles is offering is simple: His friends for Neville’s wife.

With some hesitation, Neville cooperates. He brings back Nora and Aaron. But this isn’t good enough – Miles is demanding he get Charlie and Danny too before he releases Julia. The best Neville can do is tell Miles where they are: at the power plant north of the city. So after a couple of swift moves where it really looks like Miles is about to slice off Julia’s head, and after Neville imparts his promise to someday kill Miles for this, Miles locks the Nevilles in a closet and heads off for the power plant with Aaron and Nora.

Over at the power plant, Charlie, Danny and Rachel are all back together (which is kind of weird to see. A family together? And alive? This can’t be right!). Danny is a little shocked that Charlie came all this way for him. And in another Winchester echo, the older sibling tells the younger brother, “Of course I came. It’s my job to look out for you.”

Then it’s time for some more Monroe pushing Rachel around until she does his bidding. In the room is a Locket of Power amplifier – a real one this time, not a bomb – that Jaffe had partially completed before meeting his Rachel-inflicted demise. At Monroe’s mention of Rachel shoving a screwdriver into another human’s chest, Charlie shifts her eyes from the general to her mother. “Mom?” she says. “Oh, I’m sure there’s a lot about your mom you don’t know,” Monroe tells Charlie.

Then Strausser takes a page from a book any psychopath like himself has probably been dying to recreate: Sophie’s Choice. He commands Rachel to choose which of her children he’s going to kill. Rachel is hysterical. She of course can’t choose. But Charlie remains calm, determined to stop Rachel from helping Monroe kill thousands of people, telling her mother some things are more important than family. So she stands up and places herself right in front of Strausser’s gun and yells, “Pick me.” But Rachel gives in – she’ll finish the amplifier if they let both children live.

But Monroe isn’t exactly about to reward Rachel’s compliance: He makes a painful situation all the more painful when he says, “See? It’s like Miles always said, ‘A good hostage works every time.’”

NEXT PAGE: A peek deeper into Miles and Monroe’s past

While Miles, Nora and Aaron approach the power plant, Charlie goes back in her holding cell with her brother and Rachel gets to work on the amplifier. And Baker (Mark Pellegrino’s back!) has a little chat with Monroe. He points out that standing orders have always to bring in Miles alive. Monroe tries to brush this off, telling Baker that Miles probably knows something about how to turn the lights back on too. But Baker sees right through this, says that Miles sucks at math so there’s no way he knows anything about hardcore engineering. Baker offers up his opinion: That it would be best for him, Baker, to kill Miles. “You think I can’t?” Monroe fires back.

Another flashback, this time further back than we’ve been before: It’s nighttime, two years before the blackout. A slick-haired Miles finds Bass sitting on the ground in a graveyard, a half-empty bottle in hand. We learn a lot here: Bass and Miles did two tours in Iraq together. Bass thought he’d be dead by now. But instead he’s alive and his family is dead – his parents and two little sisters were killed on the way to a Harry Potter movie by a drunk driver. Bass loses it – “I got nothing left,” he sobs through tears. But his best friend reminds him, “You got me… We’ve been brothers since we’ve been kids.”

Seventeen years later, Miles is outside a power plant about to ambush that same onetime-best friend. Nora gives Aaron some pipe bombs. You’ll know if you need to use them, she tells him. He waits outside, while Nora and Miles head in.

Charlie and Danny have managed to escape their holding cell, Charlie again surprising a family member about how much she’s changed lately when she whacks a militiaman across the head with the now-loose metal air grill. Shots are being fired all throughout the power plant – at the two Matheson kids on the run, at Miles running in – while Rachel places the Locket of Power in the completed amplifier.

Miles finally catches up to Charlie and Danny, slicing through the back of a militiaman about to kill the two kids. Hey, Danny, meet your Uncle Miles! He’s ready to get out of there, but Charlie tells him they’re not leaving without their mom. That stops Miles short for a moment. “Rachel’s alive?” he says with a mixture of relief and anxiety in his voice. Clearly he’s happy to know his sister-in-law is alive but worried about how he left things with her.

Strausser is doing more Creepy McCreepster things, so Rachel takes the opportunity to take him down. Last week it was a screwdriver. This week it’s a hammer. Though it’s Strausser’s own sword that Rachel ultimately uses to kill him. “That’s for what you did to me,” she says, “you sick son-of-a-bitch.” Did to her as in play Sophie’s Choice and all that cruel stuff we’ve seen on screen? Or did he do more creepy, gross stuff to her off-screen?

Of course this is the moment Miles walks in, just in time to witness Rachel ruthlessly kill the one man he fears. “Miles?” Rachel says, her voice small. But now we get to see another Matheson woman’s face harden. Bam – she slaps Miles right across the face.

If only Rachel had used her precious time left in that room to swiftly destroy the amplifier instead of letting loose a little anger on her brother-in-law, because just then Baker strides in with three other soldiers, big guns in hand. So out Rachel and Miles run, leaving behind Monroe’s new power source.

NEXT PAGE: Miles vs. Monroe

And now, the moment we’ve been waiting for: the Miles-Monroe face-off. Quickly enough, it’s just the two of them alone. Miles has shooed Rachel away to go get her kids. Miles has taken out the three militiamen who flank Monroe. We get a couple more flashbacks, now of Bass and Miles as kids, playing war, harmlessly shouting that they’re gonna kill the other, drawing what we now know as the symbol of the Monroe Militia on their arms with magic marker – an ‘M,’ as Bass points out, that represents both of them.

Monroe lowers his gun, but Miles stands firm. “I’m not gonna hurt you,” Monroe says, and then he says the thing we know Miles fears the most: “I want you to come back.” Monroe has lost the clean calm he always possesses. He’s sweaty, words are coming out uneven. “I forgive you,” he says. “Come back. I’ll let your family live. I’ll give you whatever you want. It was better, it was simpler with you here.” The militia general drops his gun to the ground, hands up. He doesn’t believe Miles can do it.

“I’m sorry,” Miles says, lowering his gun. Monroe lets out a little laugh – for all his big talk, he’s still relieved to actually see that Miles isn’t going to kill him. But not so fast – “No,” Miles clarifies, “I mean, I’m sorry I didn’t kill you the first time. You’re not the same person. You’re too far-gone. We are not family. Not anymore.” Ouch. The usually tempered general is losing it again – eyes red, breath catching, he’s had enough. He grabs Miles’ gun. Shots rattle off at the ceiling. He manages to tussle the weapon out of Miles’ hands.

So it’s hand-to-hand combat now! Hands push at throats. Faces are smashed into walls. Fists go to stomachs. Bodies tumble over stairs. Then they get to show off those pirate skills Bass once laughed at the thought of. Two pairs of swords, one pair of shadows cast on the walls that ring with the sound of clanking metal. It’s a very even match.

Outside, Rachel catches up to her children and Nora. “How do we get out?” she asks. “Aaron’s on it,” Nora says, provoking another look of surprise in Rachel. “Aaron? Aaron Pittman?” she says. Wait? How does she know Aaron? I’d assumed Ben and the kids didn’t meet Aaron and the rest of the villagers until after Rachel left her family.

Inside, swords are still clashing. But not for much longer. Baker and two other militiamen arrive. “Kill him,” Monroe orders. And that’s when the face-off ends, both men making it out alive, as Miles escapes through a window.

Indeed, Aaron is on it, slowly but surely getting the pipe bombs all in place to blow an exit hole in the building. Out run Nora, Charlie, Danny and Rachel. And then we get another adorable niece-uncle moment. The others have all started running clear of the building. But Charlie stands right by the hole, anxiously waiting for Miles. When he jumps through a sheet of smoke, the biggest possible smile spreads across her face. “Run, you idiot,” Miles snaps at his niece, and the two run off together, Charlie still with a huge smile on her face.

Nora’s in the lead, but she stops when she hears something – a whirring. It’s as Miles warned: Get electrical power in Mornoe’s hands and he’ll immediately use it for weapons. A helicopter rises above them, machine guns about to fire on our newly formed collection of heroes, the Fellowship 2.0.

And cut! That’s where we’re left at the end of Revolution’s mid-season finale.

Alright, Revolutionaries, scoop: Tell us all you thought about this final episode of 2012. Was the big Miles-Monroe showdown everything you hoped it would be? Does anyone think Miles’ “I’m sorry” really meant something else, and then he changed his mind, or was he always confident he could kill his friend? Which other meet-up was your favorite: Charlie and Rachel, Aaron and Neville, or Miles and Rachel?

Did the titlecard for The Trenton Campaign make you wish you could take a peek at the timeline that’s surely stretched across the wall of the writers room? What did you think of Strausser’s death? How long do you think it took the Nevilles to get out of that closet?

Now that we have a better sense of just how brotherly Bass and Miles have been for so long, what do you think Ben and Bass’ relationship was like? What do you think went on between Miles and Rachel? How will Charlie react when she learns some new piece of Miles’ dark past? What new dynamics are you most excited to see in the Fellowship 2.0 when Revolution powers up again in the spring? Danny with the uncle he doesn’t remember? Charlie with the mother she thought was dead? Or Rachel with her could-be-sister-in-law, Miles’ onetime sweetheart, Nora?

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyNRome

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