Revolution recap: The Birth of a Militia
A militia attack on the rebels reunites Miles Matheson and a onetime friend, who exposes Miles’ dark past
The latest episode of Revolution supplied us with torturous near-successes to turn a bit of power back on, torturously emotion-charged revelations about a few characters’ pasts and, in the case of Danny and a few rebels, just plain torture.
Episode 3 of the series, called “No Quarter,” kicks off with Miles, Nora and Charlie on the road, heading back to the hideout of Nora’s fellow rebels a.k.a. patriots fighting to take power back from the Monroe Republic and rebuild the United States. Neither Miles nor Charlie are thrilled about this detour, and Miles still can’t understand why Nora wants to give the stolen sniper rifle to the rebels. “It’s not like you to fight for a lost cause,” he says. And then Nora all but confirms our suspicions of a romantic past between these two when she responds, “I fought for us.”
Flashback time! And now it’s Miles’ turn. No journeys back in time to illuminate Rachel and Ben’s early days of the blackout, but this episode was a revealing one for Miles. The time? Eight weeks after the blackout. The place? Right where we left them on the night of the blackout, Parris Island Marine Depot. Miles is still there – along with Bass, the soon-to-become General Monroe.
Miles, frustrated with the inaction of his fellow supposed men of action, is packing up, ready to make the long trek from Port Royal, South Carolina to Chicago. “Everyone is just sitting here, waiting for orders that aren’t going to come.” Miles wants making the journey alone, saying, “It’s my family, so it’s my problem.” Fifteen years must have changed a lot between these two, because Bass responds, “You’re my family. That makes it my problem.” And so the two set out together for the Windy City.
Back in the present, Nora, Miles and Charlie arrive at Hannigans, an abandoned restaurant where the rebels have holed up. There Nora embraces a man (Derek Webster) in a familiar hug. Cut to Miles, who might be a bit jealous. Awwwkwaaard. Nora introduces the man as Nicholas, and Miles introduces himself and Charlie as Stu Redmond and Franny. This guy is none too eager to get people keen on who he really is, and soon we find out why.
Inside the restaurant, a dozen rebels lie dead, more injured at the hands of the militia. Nora and Charlie jump right in to help patch people up. Miles, surveying the room of bloodied men, says to Charlie, “This is what being a rebel gets ya.”
Why is a man who was able to knock out a slew of militiamen single-handedly a couple episodes ago so pessimistic about standing up to the Monroe Republic? That we find out soon too.
NEXT: A Lost and Supernatural alum joins the Revolution gang
Miles urges Nicholas and Nora to get everyone in their group of rebels on the road – one of their men was captured by militia and sure to reveal the location of their hideout. Indeed, that is exactly what’s happening at that moment. The captured rebel is being harassed and questioned by a pistol-toting – played by an actor familiar with taking on the role of torturous villains, Mark Pellegrino, an alum of two shows from Revolution’s executive producers (J.J. Abrams’ Lost and Eric Kripke’s Supernatural). Pellegrino’s Jeremy does indeed suceeed in getting the rebel’s location out of the utterly frightened man he’s threatening with a gun with one bullet, also succeeding in informing the audience of how rare bullets are. But as soon as he gets the information he wants, Jeremy puts that one bullet in the rebel’s head.
It was rather fun to see Pellegrino’s unnerving, nonchalant snark on the small screen again, but at this point, I don’t find his villain quite as intriguing and intimidating as Captain Neville, who we cut to next. We didn’t see a lot of Tom Neville in this episode – just a few scenes where he’s keeping a wary eye on still-chained-up Danny Matheson. The boy gets plenty of verbal, then physical abuse this episode from a militia soldier – the best friend of the man Danny killed with a crossbow, the one who shot his father. Danny eventually gets the upper hand, faking an asthma attack and then pulling his handcuffs under the soldier’s throat, nearly strangling him to death before letting him go with the warning, “Touch me again and I’ll kill you.” Can’t say that was a smart movie, Danny. Cry wolf once and you’re gonna be outta luck when you have a real asthma attack.
Back at the rebel base,
Tarkin swoops in with the Death Star Jeremy and his men arrive and begin to fire on the restaurant, where the rebels are still trying to patch up the wounded. Quick-thinking Nora turns over tables to protect people from the rain of supposedly rare bullets, but not everyone lasts so long: A boy named Sam takes a bullet to the stomach and dies quickly, much to Charlie’s horror – she had just made a sling for his broken arm and shared a memory with him of besting the big bullies in her village by knocking out their teeth.
Nicholas – who turns out to be no romantic competition for Miles since he’s a Catholic priest – says a prayer over Sam’s body while Nora shakes Charlie out of her wide-eyed horror and back into action.
Outside the restaurant, Jeremy watches the firefight, arms crossed, a slight smug smile on his face, eyes flicking back and forth as if he’s watching a harmless boxing match. But then his expression shifts to puzzlement then shock as the rebels reveal their game-changing weapon: the sniper rifle, an M40A, that a rebel named Trevor has taken up to the roof.
There’s been a shift in power in the battle, but no one’s winning and ending this thing any time soon. Night falls, and the militia are still outside. Jeremy takes cover behind a dumpster, ordering soldier after soldier to make a run for it into the restaurant, each of them shot by Trevor. Inside, Miles and Nicholas try to dig a hole out the back through a wall (a plan hatched with a very Kripkesque, pop-culture-noun-turned-into-verb line from Miles: “We’re gonna Shawshank our asses outta here”), but when the hole caves in and Trevor runs out of bullets, they know they have to change tactics.
Flashback numero deux: Six months after the blackout, Miles and Bass are on the road. They pass an orange Marmot tent, where its former inhabitants lie murdered. “I don’t understand how things can fall apart so fast,” Miles says. But Bass understands, explaining that being hungry can make people do desperate things.
Back at the rebel vs. militia fight, Miles wearily suggests digging the hole out again, but Charlie, knowing there’s not time for that, wants to stand their ground and fight off the militia. “There’s 50 men up there. You cannot stop them,” Miles tells her. Charlie, fuming, tells her uncle, “You know that’s what my dad used to say. Every time the soldiers would come into our town and they would take our crops and our women. I bet he said it the night they came for him.” Miles fires back that his brother was right, that he was just trying to protect his family. “He was being a coward!” Charlie shouts. And that sets off Miles. Calling to mind Dean Winchester’s unwavering reverence for his dad clashing with his brother’s contempt for the man, Miles, points a furious finger at his niece and says, “Don’t ever, ever disrespect your dad.”
NEXT: The truth about the rise of the Monroe Militia
The tense exchange doesn’t last much longer because it is then that the militia blast through, turning the firefight into a militia vs. rebels swordfight. Miles manages to get his broadsword under Jeremy’s throat and ties him to a chair.
And here we get what’s becoming a regularly programmed segment in Revolution, an aim-to-shock reveal. Jeremy recognizes Miles, knows him by name – his real name, not any odd name he’s used to hide his identity. Jeremy tells Charlie, Nicholas, Nora and a room of the surviving rebels, “This is Miles Matheson, commanding general of the Monroe Militia, damn founding father of the Republic, second only to Sebastian Monroe himself. He taught me everything I know.”
Charlie, tearing up, is clearly feeling hurt and betrayed, while Nora, lips pursed, remains silent – turns out Miles former girlfriend knew. It’s a heated moment when Nicholas confronts Nora about bringing Miles into their base, and Jeremy cuts in with Pellegrino’s signature snark: “This is sooo dramatic. D’you guys remember One Life to Live?”
Charlie, struggling to understand how one of her few remaining family members was responsible for the deaths of others’ fathers and brothers and sisters, is demanding an explanation from Miles. He has this ominous response: “Now you know why the militia cannot be stopped. Because they’re mine. I trained ’em, and they are brutal and smart and vicious ’cause of me.”
But outraged as Charlie is over this revelation about her uncle, she doesn’t want to let him go, so she’s not a fan of Miles plan to get the rebels safely away from the remaining militia: Miles offers to turn himself in, in exchange for the rebels’ safety. Jeremy agrees, on the condition they throw in the sniper rifle as well.
The militia move out, Miles, in tow, hands roped together. They’re about to cross a bridge with a sign marked “Leaving St. Anne, Illinois,” when one soldier walks over a trip wire set there by the rebels. Explosives go off, while Nora and Charlie jump onto the bridge, fighting off the militiamen – Nora with her sword, Charlie with her crossbow. In the confusion, Miles yet again proves himself capable of sword fighting whilst tied up, freeing himself from Jeremy. Charlie drops a bag on the middle of the bridge, while she, Nora and Miles run for the other side. From there, she shoots a fire-tipped arrow at the explosives-filled bag, blowing a hole in the bridge with the militia stuck on the other side. Miles takes one last look at Jeremy, whose face bares an impressed and amused smirk.
The return from the final commercial break gives us another flashback to Miles and Bass, who are a little ways up the road from the orange tent. There they see two burly men beating up another man. Bass wants to stay out of it, but Miles takes his pistol out and points it at the food-scavenging bullies, who admit to killing the couple in the orange tent. So the future militia general shoots both of them in the chest. “You’re just gonna walk around wasting guys?” Bass shouts at his friend. “Somebody’s gotta do something. Or else there’s gonna be nothing left,” Miles says, first speaking aloud the ideals that would become a power-seizing militia. Then he kneels down to ask the beaten man if he’s alright – and that man is none other than Jeremy. Indeed they do go way back.
We also got a few brief scenes with Aaron and Maggie, who have made their way to Grace’s house. But Grace is gone, and she’s left behind her now bashed and broken computer. Google vet Aaron is of course ecstatic when he sees it, but he has no luck putting it together and getting it to work. Dejected, he sits in Grace’s living room, telling Maggie how the landscape of the post-blackout world is just like elementary school, where the bullies rule. But then his take on the state of the world is interrupted by Ben’s Locket of Power, sitting on a counter next to Aaron. Its power on symbol lights up, bringing to life the few electronics that remain in the room. A CD player blasts Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” Maggie grabs her iPhone, finally able to see a photo of her kids again – but only briefly, before the Locket of Power sputters off as inexplicably as it powered on.
Revolution, even though it’s holding on tight to some secrets of this world, is surprisingly generous with the reveals about these characters. In addition to learning about Miles’ past, we also learn Nora was once five months pregnant, until drunk militiamen beat her up, killing the baby, and that’s why she’s devoted to the rebel cause, win or lose. Maybe it’s a way to hook people in with shocker, dramatic moments. I have a sense there will be less and less of them in the episodes to come, otherwise J.J. will lose his reputation as a mysterious secret-guarder. Plus, the look what these people did in their dark pasts shockers will get tiresome fast – I’m eager to see the drama come from these characters’ present more than their past.
What did you think of this episode, EW readers? Does this truth about Miles’ past surprise you? Do you think Charlie has completely forgiven him for his evils? What did all the Lost and Supernatural fans out there think of Mark Pellegrino’s performance? And does anyone have any theories for caused Ben’s Locket of Power to light up?
—At the militia camp, Neville was reading the autobiography of Lee Iacocca, a pioneering businessman and engineer for Ford Motor Company. Is this nostalgic interest in a man who had great influence in an electronic-dependent world? Or could Neville be looking for clues to give his men some wheel power again?
—The Locket of Power has some kind of ability to boot up nearby electronics. Though it’s not clear yet what it takes to turn on the Locket of Power or how far its range is.
—When Miles admits to being in charge of the whole Monroe Militia, he says “it’s been a few years.” But from that we can’t really tell exactly how much of the past 15 years has been spent with Monroe and how much as a traitor to the Republic.
—Governments and military fell because no one made a move to give any orders. No action was taken to maintain political power or to guide American citizens through the world-changing crisis. It’s an interesting contract from another electricity-spare, post-apocalyptic show that features survivors trying to rebuild the United States: In Falling Skies, the aliens start off their invasion by destroying cities and military bases. I sense that a lot of viewers will complain that Revolution’s take isn’t realistic, that the American military wouldn’t stand by idly and let the world go off the rails. But it’s hard to know how people would really act in this kind of situation. It makes me wonder if militaries have protocol in place for a massive apocalyptic event like this.
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