A tornado delays Neville and his men, while an encounter with a pack of dogs turns deadly

By Emily Rome
October 09, 2012 at 05:12 PM EDT
Brownie Harris/NBC
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The promo for this newest episode of Revolution, titled “The Plague Dogs,” teased a character death. Indeed, someone didn’t make it out alive – and this wasn’t a flashback death. It was a real, in-the-present goodbye to one of the characters we’ve gotten to know over the first four episodes of Revolution. But before I get into that, let’s see how we got there.

Last week, Charlie seemed to forgive Miles pretty quickly for his part in the Monroe Militia, but the peace between them doesn’t last long. Running into militiaman after militiaman who’s petrified of Miles has gotten to her, and she begins to lash out on her uncle for his murderous past. Miles doesn’t take it too well – he yells at her, “I don’t owe you an explanation. I owe you nothing.”

In Lowell, Indiana, Aaron and Maggie wait in a storm-torn street. It’s been 15 days since Miles set the town as their rendezvous point in two weeks’ time. Aaron isn’t too worried, sure that Charlie will get to them safely, but Maggie – who was sure she’d seen Miles and Charlie for the last time when they left them – is getting anxious.

A flashback to the night of the blackout reminds us why Maggie tends to think the worst has happened when loved ones disappear from her sight. She’s in Seattle, its skyline brightly lit outside the window of her hotel room. She’s video chatting with her two boys, rushing to head out for what must be an important, special evening (she’s all dressed up). As the babysitter apologizes for not getting them to sleep yet, the boys beg their mother to read The Wizard of Oz to them, “just one chapter.” (They must have been pretty excited when she told them she was going to the Emerald City.) Maggie refuses, telling them to go to bed – and that’s her last words to them before the power cuts out, turning dark the Seattle skyline, Space Needle and all, with only the light of the setting sun left.

Aaron snaps Maggie back to the present, saying, “Maggie? Maggie? We can’t tell them, right?” He’s insisting on keeping the Locket of Power a secret, not because he doesn’t trust Charlie but because “people will kill for it… the fewer people know about it, the better.”

Then Charlie, Nora and Miles walk into town. Maggie gives Charlie a relieved hug, and introductions are made for Nora, who’s none too impressed with the heavy, bespectacled man and the small, fair woman. “This is who’s going up against the militia, really?” she snaps. I can’t quite figure Nora out – she goes back and forth between kind and cold. She warmed to Charlie last week, letting her in on her sad story, but that was only after Charlie had proven herself useful in a few missions against the militia.

Night has fallen, and the band of travelers comes across a pack of dogs, gnawing away at a dead stag. Miles knows that there’s not much they can do in the face of a bunch of hungry dogs, so he gives his companions one brief command: “Run.” So run they do, but for Aaron, not fast enough before one dog bites him in the leg. Maggie promptly shoots the dog with a crossbow.

Over at Independence Hall, Rachel is sketching something that looks an awful lot like the symbol of the Dharma Initiative. I guess Elizabeth Mitchell can’t get away from that ominous octagon. But what is this she’s drawing? Some kind of portal? A machine? Probably something to do with the power going out or how to get it back on, but why is she sketching it?

A click of keys in the door – just before Sebastian Monroe comes in, Rachel manages to tuck the sketchbook in the middle of a pile of other books. Bass pesters her again for answers about what Ben knew of the blackout, getting awfully close to that sketchbook. When Rachel continues to play dumb, Bass calls in a Sgt. Strauser, who opens up a kit full of all manner of tools clearly meant for torture. Rachel puts her hands behind the back of her chair – she knows what’s coming.

Back to Charlie and co.: While Maggie’s patching up Aaron’s leg with Charlie at their side, Nora and Miles are talking out of earshot of the rest of the group. Miles tells his ex that he’s going to leave his niece (again), says it’s better for everyone with the militia tracking him down. In Nora’s response we hear some remaining bitterness about how Miles must have left her: “You’re the same selfish dick, with the same crap excuses, and whenever you get close to anyone, you take off.”

Then we get the first hint that Miles knows at least something of what’s really happened to Rachel. He says, “It’s not my fault that her dad’s dead” – doesn’t sound like he’s following his own orders to Charlie to never disrespect Ben – “It’s not my fault what happened to her mom.”

Miles turns around, and there he sees Charlie. She’s overheard the whole conversation, all of his insistence that just because Charlie’s family, that doesn’t mean he has any commitment to her. There’s a resigned hurt on the girl’s face as Miles and Nora strut past her.

Now time for a Charlie flashback: No titlecard telling us how long it’s been since the blackout, but new, older child actors tells us it’s been a few years. On a woods-surrounded path, Rachel is saying goodbye to her family, explaining to little Charlie and Danny that she will be gone for a few months to search for supplies. But Charlie knows her mom has never been on a trip like this before, senses something else is going on. After hugs and “I love you’s,” Rachel walks away, Charlie pulled back by her dad, begging her mom not to leave. Where is she really off to? We have to wait until the end of the episode to find out.

NEXT: An illumination of Maggie’s past

Back in the present, the travelers arrive at a long-since abandoned theme park. Watch out for zombies! Oh, wait, this is Revolution, not Zombieland, not The Walking Dead. No electricity, no zombies, got it.

That same night, Neville and his soldiers, with Danny again handcuffed to a horse-drawn cart, are making their way to Noblesville, Indiana (which is about 130 miles away from Lowell – Charlie’s getting closer and closer to her brother, thanks to intel from the militiamen Miles has been questioning). A tornado is building up. At Danny’s urging, they all take shelter in a barn (though I, for one, wouldn’t feel sheltered from a tornado inside a decaying barn). Danny is taken off the cart, finally left alone as the men scramble to brace themselves and their horses against the tornado. Danny takes the opportunity to escape out of a hole in the barn’s wall. But he’s free for even less time than the last time he escaped – Danny’s not 50 yards from the barn when Neville jumps at him, punches him, and pushes him back to the barn, where they take shelter (real shelter) in an underground cellar.

It’s daylight at the amusement park, and our brave travelers are not alone – Nate is following them again, going unnoticed until Miles sneaks up behind him. The two scuffle in a flurry of punches and kicks down a set of concrete stairs. But Charlie puts an end to the fight when she pushes Nate (or at least the boy we think is called Nate) off her uncle. Nora ties his hands behind his back, and they take him with them, in hopes they’ll get some info about Danny, Neville or Monroe out of the militia spy.

Another tense moment between Charlie and Miles: When he starts to walk away from the group, Charlie snaps at him, “Where are you going?” He’s just off to grab his sword that he dropped in the fight with Nate, “if that’s OK with you,” he says to Charlie.  “Go to hell,” she mutters under her breath – but it’s loud enough for Maggie to hear, getting the British woman in a memory-recalling mood. Yes, that means it’s time for another flashback.

Maggie has made it to the lakeside docks of Buffalo, New York – she’s heard that it is there that she can find a way to the Atlantic, then a ship to England. But a fisherman tells her there are no ships left, that kind of travel is all in the past – “Getting to England is like trying to get to the moon.”

And back to the theme park: Miles and Maggie are talking about his impending departure from the group, from his niece. Charlie has told Maggie who her uncle was, so Miles says, “You understand why she’s better off without me.” Maggie says, “That’s probably true, but what makes you think you’re better off without her?” And this scene, which may be the most poignant moment of the series thus far, is when we realize how difficult, how sickening it must be for Maggie to see Miles so willing to walk away from the little family he’s got when she walked thousands of miles in an attempt to get back to hers.

So she tells him how she spent years trying to get back to her boys. We learn that she trekked up and down the East Coast, still searching for a ship to take her home, when she finally gave up, convinced her boys had died, “scared, alone, crying for their mother.” Then she wandered back west again, and in Wisconsin, Ben found her and stopped her just as she was about to poison herself. Maggie tells Miles that she became part of a new family that she came to love, a family who gave her a reason to live. Miles, who can barely meet Maggie’s eyes through all of this, appears moved but shows no definite sign of having changed his mind about leaving.

The quiet, heart-breaking moment between them ends there because the vicious dogs are after them again. They run for a diner and quickly shut the door behind them, but Maggie doesn’t make it. She’s still outside – a man, the owner of the dogs, has a knife to her throat. Maggie’s fighting him off, but she’s not strong enough – and the man stabs her in the leg, revenge for killing one of his dogs.

Miles carries Maggie to the diner, but hope for her looks dim: The man has severed an artery. “I’m bleeding out,” Maggie says.

While Nora and Miles search for the man with the knife, planning to force him to call his dogs off, Charlie apologizes for not being easy to be around and take care of, then jumps into trying to save Maggie. She grabs a whiskey from Miles’ pack to sterilize operating tools, but then a pair of arms reach out from the kitchen and drag Charlie away.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (hey, it is a barn, so I can use that literally, right?), even beneath the ground doesn’t turn out to be much safety against the tornado – Neville is trapped under a fallen beam, and “Danny boy,” as the captain calls him, is more than ready to take the opportunity to escape again. But Neville takes Danny’s morality and uses it to his own advantage – more pieces of the barn are about to fall on top of him, and Neville tells Danny that leaving him there to die is the same as murdering him. So Danny lifts the beam off his captor.

If he expected Neville to show him any kindness after saving his life, he was wrong. Neville immediately pins Danny to a wall and handcuffs him again, saying, “I’m sorry, but you’re important, kid, more important than you even know.”

NEXT: A tearful goodbye

Over at the theme park, the dog owner who has caused so much trouble has Charlie tied to a chair and a crossbow strung up to the door – she’ll be shot in the head if anyone opens it. It’s a close call, but Charlie manages to get just loose enough to sideswipe the arrow as Miles and Nate barge in, overtaking the unnamed man, who apparently only wanted to keep Charlie at his palace of a theme park, just so he could have some company aside from his dogs.

Charlie is back at her adoptive mother’s side. Aaron is stitching up her leg, but she’s fading. “You saved me, Charlie,” Maggie says, but Charlie misunderstands – they haven’t saved her here, now, but we know that years ago, Charlie, Danny and Ben saved her, gave her something to live for. Her voice quiet and weak, Maggie asks for her phone. Aaron digs it out of her pack, and we see that through her whole journey back and forth across the country, she’s kept The Wizard of Oz in her pack.

Maggie stares at her cell phone, the screen dark, but she’s smiling as if it’s lit up with the sole photos she has of her kids. In her final moments, Maggie thinks back to a moment with her children, a cherished memory of reading The Wizard of Oz to them, together in their home.

Charlie, tears streaming down her cheeks, begs, “Please don’t leave me. Everyone leaves me.”

Miles, guilt-striken, bows his head.

He goes to his niece, gently pulls her away from Maggie and into a hug, and he tells her, “I’m not going anywhere.”

And close as it gets to concluding an episode on an intimate, heart-breaking moment, Revolution goes for another shocker/cliffhanger ending. We’re back at Independence Hall, where Bass tells Rachel that her son is nearly there. But it’s not a moment for the mother to rejoice at the thought of a reunion. Bass makes it clear what Danny will be there for, and we realize that the torture is not for Rachel, not directly anyway. Why is Danny so important? Because his suffering will be the key to unlocking Rachel’s secrets about the blackout.

And we get one final flashback of Rachel, just after she’s left her family. Indeed, she wasn’t going in search of supplies. She arrives at a militia base and says to a man in the shadows, “I came, like you asked.” Out steps the man from the shadows – it’s Miles, in uniform. Rachel tells her brother-in-law, “Just promise me I see my kids again.” Miles has no response to that, only motions another soldier to handcuff Rachel. She holds out her wrists and submits herself willingly into militia captivity.

What did you think of this latest episode? What do you think is going on with Rachel? Did you see Maggie’s death coming? I have to admit, my money was on Nora, but it turns out the writers of Revolution were ballsy enough to kill off a character that was easier to develop some fondness for. Though I was surprised to see that she won’t be a regular part of the show anymore, I can see what purpose she was meant to play – Miles got the push to finally see the value in sticking with his family. Let’s hope, for Charlie’s sake and his own, that he’s here to stay.

Flickers:

—The fisherman in Buffalo tells Maggie that all of the tall ships and steamboats were destroyed in the war. Now we know that it wasn’t merely chaos after the blackout – in one way or another, a full-on war broke out.

—We, along with Danny, learn that Capt. Neville has a son.

—Rachel tells Bass that Ben was an algebra teacher – the same cover fellow Locket of Power owner Grace had. But Bass claims that Ben worked for the Department of Defense, had full SAP (special access programs) clearance and, as we know is true, called Miles mere minutes before the blackout happened, warning him of its coming. It seems to me that the algebra teacher cover isn’t all that effective.

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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