The Matheson family, reunited, face the Monroe Militia's new firepower

By Emily Rome
March 26, 2013 at 06:33 AM EDT
Brownie Harris/NBC
S1 E11
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  • TV Show

The lights are still off, but Revolution is back on.

Welcome back, Revolutionaries! It’s been four long months, but now we finally got to see what happens next in this saga of a world stripped of electricity.

Revolution returned with an episode called “The Stand,” taking its title from the Stephen King novel of the same name, which has gotten a few other nods in the show already. King has said he conceived The Stand when he set out to write “a fantasy epic like The Lord of the Rings, only with an American setting” – not unlike creator Eric Kripke’s own description for Revolution.

There also is quite a stand that’s made in this episode – a stand that our rebels make with a high cost.

Oh, and what I said earlier about the lights still being off? Not completely true. They’re certainly still off for the wide majority of the world, but Monroe has that amplifier and that Locket of Power. Though when the episode begins – right where we left off last November outside the power plant – that amplifier is being used not to light up Independence Hall but to power the helicopter that’s going after our Scooby gang, who all miraculously escape the copter’s machine gun fire. Then a refrigerator saves the day – Miles, Charlie, Danny, Aaron, Nora, and Rachel all pack into the walk-in fridge of a diner not far from the power plant just before the militia blows that diner to pieces.

Monroe, of course, is not too happy that no remains of Miles and co. have been found at the onetime-diner. Major Neville takes some heat for that and also for letting Miles go (remember, Miles was within Neville’s reach but managed to be the one calling the shots when he put his sword to the throat of Neville’s wife). But Monroe won’t let all that get him down – he does finally have real firepower, after all. “Miles doesn’t matter,” he says. “We have light. Power. We have everything. And it’s time to let everyone know it, starting with the rebels.” That becomes Neville’s next assignment: find and obliterate every rebel camp in the Monroe Republic. Next on Monroe’s to-do list: take over the rest of the continent.

With a little trickery, the Fellowship (yes, I’m still calling them that. It’s still apt, right?) make it out of Philadelphia’s borders. Next, it’s hug time! And kiss time! That’s hugs for the Mathesons and kisses for Miles and Nora.

Trekking through the wilderness, Aaron and Charlie demand answers from Rachel about where she’s been, how she knew about the Lockets of Power, a host of other mysteries. But no answers are forthcoming now. “It’s complicated,” she says, with a promise to explain later.

Back to Monroe’s helicopters: They attack their first rebel base. Everyone inside is dead within seconds. Later, the Fellowship finds their bullet-ridden base. Bodies are everywhere. A streak of blood covers the cabinet next to an American flag.

They know that the militia is planning to hit the other rebel camps. Nora and Charlie have their minds set on going to Central Command – the rebels’ headquarters in Annapolis. But Aaron’s not at all keen on joining this new mission. “We found Danny, so please, let’s just go home,” he begs. Here we see a pained look on Danny’s face – he knows they went through hell to get to him. But, as Rachel points out, there’s no home to go back to. So Aaron’s aboard another cross-country mission.

They set out, but there’s a breaking of the Fellowship: Rachel decides to not join the others on their trip to Annapolis but instead to go to the house of a former coworker, John, who we later learn has another Locket of Power and lots and lots of heavy-duty weapons. She plans to meet the others later in Annapolis. So they split up.

NEXT: Miles + Rachel

Okay, here is the part where we need to talk about Miles and Rachel. As in Miles/Rachel. Or Miles+Rachel. However you want to say it. In a recent EW interview, Elizabeth Mitchell hinted that our inkling of a romantic history between these two was on point.  And in this episode we got to see more hints at this supposedly amorous past of theirs.

So, I will now proceed to the portion of our program where I round up all the significant Miles/Rachel moments of this episode.

Miles/Rachel moment #1: During that brief everything’s-fine-and-dandy scene when hugs and kisses are exchanged, Nora pulls Miles in for a long, firm kiss, which Miles returns, but a few seconds in, he opens his eyes – to stare right at Rachel. But Rachel doesn’t see his eyes boring into her. She’s already turned away out of politeness – or perhaps because she really can’t bear to watch.

Miles/Rachel moment #2: When Rachel decides to track down John and his Locket of Power, Miles tells her, “You know I’m coming with you, right? Somebody’s gotta keep you in one piece.” Rachel challenges him, “And that’s you? You’re the one that’s gonna make sure that nothing bad happens to me?” – with ever so slight an emphasis on “bad.”

Miles/Rachel moment #3: Later on, it’s just Miles and Rachel, the two of them, alone, on this trip to John’s house. Their horse buggy pulled over for the night, they take awkward steps around each other. Miles, barely looking at Rachel, says, “We ever gonna talk about – you know – this?” Rachel says there’s nothing to talk about, but Miles keeps pushing: “Rachel, I saw a body. It was you. You gotta know that I would never, ever have left if I thought you were alive.” He asks if Monroe hurt her. Rachel doesn’t respond. She makes a move for the buggy, but somehow that one step just ends up shrinking the space between them. Still unable to look Rachel in the eye, Miles says, “Everything that happened – it’s all my fault.” He apologizes for it all, and he bows his head toward Rachel’s, their foreheads just an inch apart. Rachel closes her eyes for a moment, then says softly, “Step back. Please.” A wider shot reveals Miles was gripping her arm. He takes a step back, and Rachel climbs into the buggy.

So what’s up with these two? What happened when Miles thought Rachel was dead? What exactly is this apparently romantic history of theirs? Did Rachel start to fancy her brother-in-law while she was “away getting food”? Or does this date back further? And when and why did things turn sour between them?

Well, I guess answers on all that will have to wait. But theories don’t. (Have at it in the comments section, guys.)

And there’s still more left to theorize upon. Onward: Nora, Charlie, Danny, and Aaron make it to Central Command, where Nora is reunited with Nicholas (who we met in the show’s third episode) and they meet Commander Ramsey, who’s convinced that now that Monroe has electrical power, all hope for the resistance is lost.

Meanwhile, Jason Neville is starting to lose hope too – and faith in the militia. As Jason has accompanied his father on his mission to locate all the rebel bases, he’s seen too much. Killing everyone in a rebel camp – mothers, fathers, children – does not sit well with his conscience. And when Jason and Major Neville start spying on the Annapolis base, Jason can’t hide his change of heart anymore. He doesn’t want the militia to kill all those rebels – and more specifically, he doesn’t want them to kill Charlie, whom he catches a glimpse of through his binoculars. He wants out, and he tells his father as much. “With those choppers, we’re not fighting. We’re butchering,” he says. Neville strikes his son. “You are a shameful disappointment to me,” he growls. And they start throwing punches at each other. The senior Neville, of course, gets the upper hand, striking down Jason with one final blow. He orders Jason to never come back home.

What’s next for Jason? He doesn’t really know – there aren’t many places for him to go, but he does know step one: Warn Charlie. He finds her much like they first met, when she’s gathering water in the woods. He tells her his real name (now Charlie knows he’s Neville’s son), and he warns her about the incoming airstrike, which will be there in 12 hours. “You should get out of here,” Charlie says firmly. Jason tells her all about how he’s finished with the militia, but Charlie doesn’t let him come with her.

NEXT: The stand

Charlie brings Central Command the news of the 12 hours they have until machine guns tear through their base. Ramsey determines there’s not enough time to evacuate all their wounded. So they’ll fight back. (Really? Okay…)

They prepare for the airstrike. Charlie watches her little brother, the one she risked so much to save, as he gets ready to put his own life at risk. This is where we see the second of two flashbacks (the first I’ll get to in a little bit). It’s the Matheson siblings when they’re much younger – around the same age as when Rachel left them. It’s nighttime – Danny gets an asthma attack, and Charlie rushes over to his bed to help him. “Breathe the way I’m breathing,” she says, and they breathe together until Danny’s breathing matches her even breaths. Back to the present: Charlie walks up to the brother she’s always tried to protect. “Danny, I gotta ask you for something,” she says.

Charlie wants him to get inside as soon as the helicopters there, but of course Danny doesn’t want to hide – he wants to fight. And we can see that Charlie understands that – she’s spent the past few months trying to convince the grown-ups that she’s capable of being useful in every rough-and-tumble situation right along with them. But she still can’t watch her brother join the front lines. Not yet. “Because you owe me. Because I walked over a thousand miles to get to you. I will never play this card again. I will never ask you for anything again, but I’m asking you for this,” she says. Danny admits he’ll never be able to repay her for what she’s done for him, but then he says something rather reminiscent of another Kripke-created pair of siblings: “It’s not your job to look out for me anymore.” Charlie can’t convince him to not fight. And they don’t have much more time to discuss it, because right then in come the helicopters.

At Ramsey’s command, the rebels start firing with their little guns on the helicopters and their massive firepower. There are a few little triumphs for the rebels, like when Nora takes down the militiaman operating one of the machine guns. But it’s not looking good for the good guys – until Miles and Rachel come riding in with weapons taken from John (who ended up betraying them – Randall, the Department of Defense guy who’s somehow behind this whole blackout, got to John and ordered that he tie up Rachel and Miles until he got there, but they broke free – Locket of Power and stash of weapons in tow). Rachel fires up the pendant and wraps it around a shoulder-fired missile, which Miles aims at the helicopter that Rachel somehow knows is the one carrying the amplifier. But a blast from the other helicopter launches Miles backwards. He’s knocked out. Or is he dead? Is this the death that Revolution’s writers teased?

Well, no, of course it’s not. I didn’t think for a second that Revolution was about to kill off Miles – and Billy Burke and the unfinished business of Miles and Monroe along with him. But there is a death: It’s the one who makes a run for the missile launcher, picks it up, and fires at the helicopter with the amplifier. The helicopter blows up in a blaze of fire and smoke, and with the amplifier out, the other helicopter starts to spiral downward too – but before it hits the ground, a militiaman fires out one last shower of bullets. Four of them go right into the chest of our hero with the missile launcher: Danny.

It’s all slo-mo as Danny falls to the ground, and his screaming, crying family rushes toward him. Charlie tries to stop the bleeding, pressing her jacket against his chest, but her brother is already dead.

After the commercial break, we see Charlie and her mother after the battle, both sitting on the ground. “What was I thinking?” Rachel says. “I never should have let you come here, let you fight.” Her voice is cracking as she spills out apologies and regrets, while Charlie stares ahead stony-faced.  “There was nothing you could have done,” Charlie says, voice even. “Danny was set on this. You couldn’t stop him. So the only thing that matters now is to finish what he started,” and turning to look at her mother, she says, “We’re going after Monroe. We’re gonna kill him.”

Monroe, meanwhile, is at his desk in Philadelphia. Two of his men come into inform him that he has a visitor. With the news of the lost amplifier and helicopters hanging over his head, Monroe is in no mood for visitors. But his interest is piqued when he’s told that his visitor arrived in a car – yes, a fully functioning car. It’s Randall, whom Monroe asks, “How can I help you?” Randall, there with John, pointedly tells the general, “The question is how can we help you?”

NEXT: This episode’s “WTF moment”

There’s one final scene, but before I get to that, I need to backtrack a little to that first flashback: It’s the Mathesons in the hospital a year before the blackout. Little Danny is about to have a surgery, one that we learn has never been done on anyone before. He’s the first. (Hey, it’s far-fetched, but it has happened.) Ben and Rachel are freaked, worried their son is going to become a failed science project. But they’ve already tried everything else there is to try.

We don’t learn what this surgery is or what ailment Danny had. The final scene certainly seems to be alluding to whatever that procedure was, but it only serves to make things more mysterious. Rachel is alone with Danny’s body. She plants a kiss on his cold forehead and tells him one last “I love you.” Then this is where it gets weird: She pulls out a knife, and shaking and crying, she slices it into her son’s torso. She sticks her fingers into his side and pulls out an object – it’s the size and shape of a large pill, and inside it is a blinking blue light. Whaaa?

That’s it for your first Revolution episode of 2013. Now about Danny’s untimely demise: Danny never seemed to be a well-liked character. Stubborn kids never really are. But this isn’t Storybrooke, where Henry’s screentime can get cut while he’s at school and the focus gets shifted to other characters. This is post-blackout, post-Danny’s rescue America, where Danny is stuck with rest of Fellowship at all times. So maybe the Revolution writers realized it wasn’t going to work to have him around that much. Or maybe they’ve been planning this since the beginning of the series. It really is tragedy at its near-most tragic: The whole mission of the first 10 episodes is finally achieved, all that trekking and fighting over a thousand miles is worth it – and then Danny dies. I wonder when Kripke and co. decided to kill off Danny. Hopefully we’ll find out at WonderCon this weekend. That con might be Graham Rogers’ last hurrah for the show. Though there’s always the chance he’ll appear in flashbacks.

What did you think of this return episode, Revolutionaires? Are there enough new mysteries to keep things interesting as we get nearer to the real answer of why the power went out? What in the world is up with whatever Rachel pulled out of Danny’s chest? What does she plan to do with it? And how is the light still working? How do you feel about the decision to kill off Danny? Do you think Rachel and Miles had an affair? What do you think is next for Jason Neville? How long do you think it will take for Monroe to figure out Neville was lying when he said his son was dead? Did anyone else really miss the swordfights in this episode? And just how worried should we be for the resistance with Monroe and Randall now in cahoots?

I’ll leave you with those questions and a few quotables. See you next week.

Quotables:

Monroe: Is it possible there weren’t any remains to find?

Neville: It’s possible. But it’s also Miles.

“It’s all going to be the Monroe Republic – sea to shining sea.” — Monroe

Aaron: So, Rachel, it turns out you’re not the mild-mannered housewife I thought you were.

Rachel: We’ve been through a lot, Aaron. Not now.

Aaron: Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just that you’re alive, which is, you know, newsworthy.

Rachel, to Danny: I love you to the moon and back.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyNRome

Read more about Revolution:

‘Revolution’: Boss and Elizabeth Mitchell preview the second half of the season

PaleyFest 2013: 10 ‘Revolution’ revelations

‘Revolution’ scoop: ’24’ actress cast as president

‘Revolution’: The production designers on creating a world without electricity

How ‘Revolution’ landed two Led Zeppelin songs. Plus: Which Cat Stevens song almost was in the pilot

Stephen King: 10 things I know about the remake of ‘The Stand’

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