Charlie and Miles debate the right time to kill a man, and things are not quite as they seem with Rachel Matheson

By Emily Rome
September 25, 2012 at 09:35 AM EDT
John Domoney/NBC
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In the second episode of Revolution‘s freshman season, the cross-country quest continues: Charlie, Miles, Maggie and Aaron charge on ahead in search of Danny, and the viewers continue to learn more about this electricity-less world.

The episode kicked off with Miles sword-fighting a bounty hunter who had tracked him down in hopes of taking him to General Monroe. Well, consider those hopes dashed, because Miles gets the upper hand. Just as Miles’ is about to slit the man’s throat, Charlie questions whether he’d really kill a man in cold blood, and Miles concedes, deciding to instead lock up the bounty hunter in a train car.

He comes to regret that decision when the bounty hunter tracks him down again (he says he busted his way out of the boxcar for the price of a few broken bones) in a Pontiac, Illinois market. Miles has traveled there looking for a woman named Nora – and the detour away from the search for Danny isn’t making Charlie too happy. Miles, being the badass he is, manages to gain the upper hand against the bounty hunter again (even though he’s handcuffed), but this time he kills him, snapping the man’s neck, provoking a disgusted look of disapproval from Charlie.

Before Miles kills the bounty hunter, he manages to get some information out of him: Nora was arrested for stealing militia gold and was taken captive as a slave near Fort Chatsworth.

Miles parts ways with Maggie, Aaron and Charlie in search of Nora (who Miles says is good at blowing stuff up – always a skill that comes in handy). Miles tells the trio of travelers to meet him in Lowell, Indiana in two weeks.

Charlie goes after Miles the next morning, leaving a note for her companions that Aaron reads aloud in untroubled monotone: “I went after Miles. I’m sorry. Please don’t worry. – Charlie.” Aaron is pretty confident they’ll see Charlie again, while Maggie, panicking, is not so sure – more on that later.

NEXT: Charlie channels her mother to save the day

Making her way through the woods on her own, Charlie runs into that curious Nate boy again. He’s been following her, and ever the senses-tuned hunter, Charlie hears him behind her and tricks him into a trap: She handcuffs him to a highway-side call box. (Insert inevitable Charlie/Nate shippers’ kinky handcuff joke here.) His motives are still a mystery: We hear no answer when Charlie asks, “Why’d you save me?”

Charlie catches up with Miles, and they discover a bunch of Monroe’s slaves – people who didn’t pay their taxes, Miles theorizes – dragging a helicopter (yes, a helicopter) through the woods under the watch of Monroe’s men. Also under their gun, as we see when one of them shoots a weary slave who has fallen down. Among the slaves is Nora (Daniella Alonso), who tries to get the fallen slave to pick himself back up before the militiaman kills him.

At night, Miles somehow manages to slip past the guards who have such a good watchman system, and frees Nora. But she’s already picked the lock around her ankles. Once away from the chain gang, Nora tells Charlie and Miles that she got herself arrested on purpose, and she’s trying to steal the sniper rifle from the warden overseeing the helicopter transport. The weapon will sell for a good price, Nora says.

The next morning, Nora, Miles and Charlie set in motion their plan to steal the rifle (or in Charlie’s view, their plan to free the slaves). Since Nora and Miles would be immediately recognizable to Monroe’s men, Charlie plays innocent girl lost in the woods to get near the warden. Once she’s close, she shoots him with a makeshift gun Nora has made.

The moment flashes us back to the day after the blackout, when a desperate man attempts to steal the Mathesons’ red wagon full of food. With Charlie’s neck in his hands, he threatens to hurt the young girl if Rachel doesn’t give him the wagon. So the trade is made, girl for wagon of food, but not without Ben’s attempt to threaten the would-be thief with his handgun. Suddenly – bam – the wagon-toting man is shot in the back, not by the family patriarch, but by Rachel, who we see has the gun in one hand and Charlie’s head cradled in the other.

Back in the present, Miles and Nora storm in to help Charlie with the raid. They succeed in freeing the slaves and taking the gun, but not before Charlie has killed two men. The experience is deeply unsettling for her. She tells her uncle afterward, “I killed two men today. Maybe that’s not a big deal for you – maybe it’s another Monday or whatever – but it is to me. We shouldn’t have to do this.”

Then Miles discovers a tattoo of an American flag on Nora’s back – the sign of the rebels, the flag that Capt. Neville had ordered to be burnt when his men discovered one earlier in the episode. Nora reveals that she’s not after the rifle for money – it’s for the resistance against the Monroe Republic.

As for what Neville’s been up to this episode, he killed a man in the name of the Baltimore Act (which prohibits people from buying, selling, transporting and owning a firearm – on penalty of death), he gives a wounded, dying militiaman a serum to kill him quickly, and he gets some sharp words from Danny, his hothead captive: “I think the truth is you like to kill because you’re a murderer and a psycho.” Not a smart thing to say to a powerful man like Neville, but you gotta admire the kid’s nerve.

We also got a peek at General Monroe dealing with a rebel (or as Nora would say, a patriot) who has been caught attempting to attack his camp. Monroe says some nonsense about how “we’re not animals” and then goes on and acts like an animal anyway, gutting the intruder.

NEXT: J.J. and Kripke serve up a double cliffhanger

In the last minutes of the episode, we were treated to a double whammy of shockers determined to make us tune in for episode 3: Grace, the woman with the computer-like machine and a Locket of Power, finds her secret attic invaded by a man she clearly knows and is clearly afraid of. The man, whose face we don’t see, is also wearing a Locket of Power, and Grace seems to know his name too: She rushes to type to her friend on the other line, “Randall is here” before turning to see that the man is holding a Taser-like, electrically charged stick.

Part two of the double whammy: Rachel Matheson is alive! How and just what she’s been up to lately is unclear. The where is easy though: Rachel is inside Independence Hall when Sebastian Monroe comes in for a visit, delivering the news that her husband is dead. Rachel almost appears to be a prisoner here, but she’s sitting at a desk, writing, not tied up. We didn’t get a good look at what she’s writing, but it appears to be more mathematical graphs – maybe like the ones on Ben’s computer last week? Rachel interacts with Monroe with familiarity, calling him “Bas,” like Miles did pre-blackout, but also with an air of mild irritation and stubborn superiority.

It’s after Monroe tells Rachel that they have her son when things shift in their dynamic: Rachel tries to stab him with her pen, but Monroe knocks it away, clasping her neck in his arms. “If you want to see your boy again you’re gonna talk – about Ben, about the power, about everything,” he says.

Before we wrap up for the night, I have to point out the slew of Kripkeisms that popped up in this episode. Sorry, this Supernatural fan just couldn’t resist rounding up the commonalities between Eric Kripke’s two series.

Pontiac, Illinois: Does Kripke have a certain personal connection to this city? It has come up more than once at important junctures in Supernatural, and now here it is in the second episode ever of Revolution.

“Sonofabitch!”: Got to hear Dean Winchester’s most-uttered phrase from Miles in this episode.

Parent telling a child, you gotta take care of your brother. In a flashback to the day after the blackout, Rachel tells Charlie to never let go of her brother’s hand.

Kid feeling overwhelming guilt about failing to take care of brother. Charlie, determined to let Miles help her in the quest to find Danny, says to her uncle, “You need to let me help. Because it’s my fault. I took care of Danny.” She might as well be choking out, voice cracking, “I had one job, and I screwed it up.”

“Must be Thursday.” “Maybe it’s another Monday to you.” Close enough. Gotta give a shout-out to your air night.

What did you think of episode numero deux, Revolutionaries? (We’ll see if that name sticks.) What made you want to come back for another episode of Revolution? Who do you think Randall is? What’s up with Rachel Matheson – and how much did Ben know about her true whereabouts (and live/dead status)? Is anyone else getting sexual tension jellyfish vibes from Miles and Nora?

Also, I’m itching to know whether Miles or Ben is the older brother. Did I miss that in either of these episodes? The actor who plays Ben, Tim Guinee, is five years older than Billy Burke, so my guess would be Ben’s the older brother.

I leave you again with Flickers, some small illuminations of how this society works and what’s up with these characters in Revolution’s world of darkness and mysteries.

Flickers:

—Ben Matheson worked at the University of Chicago Department of Computer Science. No surprise there, but good to know.

—Ben did know Grace Beaumont, the woman with the computer-like machine in her attic.

—This episode brings our Lockets of Power count up to four: Ben’s (now Aaron’s), Grace’s, Randall’s and, presumably, whoever is communicating with Grace via her computer-like machine.

—There is a brown leather-bound book on Grace’s desk with a large black power button on it. Could this be some kind of instruction manual for everyone given a Locket of Power?

—The Locket of Power around Randall’s neck has a lit-up power sign on it, just like Grace’s does when she’s using her computer. Does the lit-up power button indicate an ability to use electricity in a certain vicinity?

—Maggie has kids. And this week’s lesson in how excessively we rely on electricity is brought to you by Maggie: She carries her iPhone around with her because somewhere in there are the only photos she has of her children – the children she hasn’t seen since before the blackout, leaving her hopeless that she and Aaron will ever see Charlie again. I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to see if they get reunited.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyNRome

Read more:

‘Revolution’: J.J. Abrams, Jon Favreau on why a future without power is ‘wish-fulfillment’

Elizabeth Mitchell talks about her ‘strong, resourceful’ character on ‘Revolution’

Ken Tucker’s ‘Revolution’ premiere review

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