Revolution recap: Toughen Up, Son
The blackout and the years of chaos following it changed many men, Miles Matheson and Tom Neville certainly included. Revolution had begun filling us in on how Miles became a powerful militia leader, and tonight it was Neville’s turn to have his past illuminated.
The episode, called “Soul Train,” starts off with Neville duking it out with his men, throwing punches at them just for fun, easily defeating each one. When he calls forward Danny, the teen isn’t eager to get into a fist fight with the militia captain – he knows this isn’t a good idea – but after Neville has punched him in the jaw and then the nose, Danny starts fighting back. But Neville beats him too. “You gotta toughen up, son,” he says.
Flashback time! It’s the day of the blackout. Neville is in business attire, a gray tie and short-sleeved, pale blue collared shirt. He looks smaller, weaker, almost like the office chair could swallow him up, nothing like the commanding militia captain who sits tall atop horses and barks orders. Neville’s boss, who’s several years younger than he is, taps away on his Blackberry as he reprimands Neville for a wrong decision. “How many times have we had a conversation like this?” his boss says, “They’re not covered for smoke damage, so we don’t pay for smoke damage.” Neville has no response. And then comes the bad news: “You’re fired,” the boss says, then turns back to his Blackberry.
Back in the present, Aaron and Charlie are standing next to Maggie’s grave. They want some more time to say goodbye, but Miles tells Charlie they gotta move, that there’s no use saying goodbye to a body in the ground. So they get moving again, getting closer to Danny, who they know is in Noblesville, Indiana.
In the forest on the outskirts of Noblesville, they hear a sound that Miles never thought he’d hear again and that Charlie doesn’t even recognize – the whistle of a train. Peeking through the trees, they see that there is indeed a steam train in Noblesville – and that’s bad, Miles assures us. Nothing good will come of there being a train in Monroe’s possession.
In Philadelphia, Sebastian Monroe steps into Rachel’s gilded cage, telling her that her son will be on a train headed for them soon. Rachel begs Bass to let Danny go. “We used to be friends,” she says, offering to tell Bass everything she knows about the lights going out. Bass taunts her, hissing that he knows she’ll tell him everything because he has Danny.
Throughout this exchange, Bass is touching his fingertips to Rachel’s on the window seat, and their faces are growing closer together. There’s always been a weird, almost sexual vibe between these two. Maybe it’s Monroe’s way of asserting his dominance over Rachel, but I wonder if there’s some other history between them. Maybe Rachel’s saying that they used to be more than friends. Monroe has had her locked up for several years, and in all that time, he didn’t get any information about the blackout from her, and he only sent out men in search of the Mathesons pretty recently (as Neville says, he’s been away from his wife on this mission for about a year). I wonder if there was a different relationship between before. It’s unlikely that time when they were friends was before the blackout – from how little Charlie remembers her uncle, it sounds like he wasn’t around much, so there’s no reason for Rachel to have known Miles’ buddy Bass well before the blackout. Was there a time after Rachel gave herself up to the militia when there was something different going on between her and Bass? If so, what was it? And why did that change?
In Noblesville, after some eavesdropping around town, Charlie has figured out that the train is Philly-bound, scheduled to leave first thing tomorrow morning and Danny’s supposed to be on it. She brings the intel back to the rest of the gang, who’s hiding out in an abandoned garage. Miles gives instructions to everyone about the plan to safely get Danny back. Aaron stays at the garage guarding Nate, while Charlie, Nora and Miles set out for town.
NEXT: More about what Tom Neville was doing 15 years ago!
Neville sitting outside Danny’s prison – a bank vault – when Danny, sick of Neville’s “weird speeches and mind games,” confronts him about the fight the night before. “Does that make you feel tough – beating up an 18-year-old kid?”
Another flashback: Neville walks to his suburban home at the end of the day he’s been fired. His next-door neighbor, Rob, is having a party and blasting music. Neville timidly asks Rob to keep his music down at night so his son can sleep. Rob ignores him, and Neville shuffles inside. There we meet his wife, Julia (24 actress Kim Raver), and his son, Jason (newcomer Blaise Atkinson), who appears to be about nine years old. Neville goes to the basement to get in some punching bag time before dinner. When little Jason comes downstairs, his father lets him take a few swings at it too, but a very different Neville from the one we know tells him, “Remember, we only hit the bag. We never hit people.”
Charlie is walking through Noblesville – a very functional, bustling town, with shops and full of far more people than the little cul-de-sac village she grew up in – when Neville stops her, telling her it looks like she’s casing the building she’s staring at. With some quick thinking, Charlie allays his suspicions. When he introduces himself as Captain Tom Neville, Charlie tenses up a bit but manages to play it cool, and Neville doesn’t seem to suspect that the hand he’s shaking belongs to the sister of the boy he has captive.
Neville stalks off, and after taking a few deep breaths, Charlie follows him, but Neville senses her behind him and after he’s rounded a corner, he pushes her up against a wall with a knife at her throat. Miles jumps in and gets Neville off of her before he does any harm, and that’s when Neville figures out that Charlie is the sister.
Miles and Neville circle around each other, their knives clashing occasionally, but it’s an equal match; neither overpowers the other. So Miles offers a trade – the militia kid he’s keeping for Danny. When Miles describes so-called Nate to Neville – “The one who’s been tailing us, the short hair, shirt too tight,” the militia captain’s jaw become just a little tighter and his eyes just a little wider, just enough to give it away, at least to the audience who has the recent flashbacks on their mind: Nate must be Jason, Neville’s son. But Miles doesn’t pick up on it, and Neville assures that he hasn’t given anything away when he says, “You do what you gotta do” upon Miles’ threat that he’ll kill the militia boy. Miles manages to get away just before more militiamen arrive.
Over at the garage, Aaron is doing something implausibly, uncharacteristically stupid: He’s staring at Maggie’s iPhone, placing it next to his Locket of Power that sits on some pieces of wood, along with a flashlight and a wristwatch – all in plain view of
Nate Jason. Then, when you thought he couldn’t do worse, Aaron accidentally knocks over the pieces of wood, and the Locket of Power falls at Jason’s feet. He grabs it and tells Aaron, “This is an ugly necklace, my man.” Aaron tells him it was his wife’s. Jason slowly hands it back to him.
In the woods between Noblesville and the garage hiding spot, Miles rebukes Charlie for following Neville and giving them away. They’ve lost the element of surprise, and she has only herself to blame if she never sees her brother again, he tells his niece. Charlie can’t look him in the eye, and then she says, “You never used to be like this.” Turns out Charlie has one memory of her uncle before the blackout: He visited when she was four and took her for a ride in his car, where he sang along with her to some song playing on the tape deck. “What happened to that guy?” Charlie asks. And Miles says the worst thing possible to a girl whose closest family has already been killed: “He’s dead.”
Over at the bank, Neville takes Danny out of the vault and says he’s taking him to a more secure location. And in we go to another flashback: It’s six weeks after the blackout, and the Nevilles are still in their home. It’s night, and in the master bedroom, Julia and Tom argue over whether to hit the road – Julia thinks it’s safer to leave, Tom thinks it’s safer to stay. The conversation is interrupted when they hear a clatter downstairs. Tom goes to see what it is – it’s his neighbor, Rob, stealing the Nevilles’ silverware. A small voice says, “Daddy?” – it’s Jason, who’s wandering to the stairway overlooking his father and his neighbor. Rob throws a punch at Tom, and a fist fight breaks out between the two of them, all in front of the son who Tom once told to never hit people.
Rob is strangling Tom, until one more call of “Daddy!” gives Tom the push he needs to get the upper hand. He punches Rob in the face over and over again, until Julia, now holding their son in her arms on the stairs, yells her husband’s name. Tom stops. And then he punches his neighbor one last time.
Charlie and Miles are back in the garage. Charlie begs the guy she knows as Nate to tell her anything he knows about where the militia are keeping her brother. “I’m sorry. I can’t help you,” he says. So Miles comes at him with his sword, but Jason manages to escape – and away runs the young man they never knew was Neville’s son.
After the commercial break, there’s another brief scene in Independence Hall: We learn that the Georgia Federation and the Plains Nation, which both border the Monroe Republic, have formed an alliance and is sending troops to the Monroe Republic’s borders. We also learn that this doesn’t trouble Monroe much – or sway his plans to take power of all North America.
NEXT: Revolution goes Western!
Over in Noblesville, Nora has met up with a man named Ken Hutchison (Lost alum Jeff Fahey), the final remaining member of his resistance group. He and Nora conspire to blow up the train. Nora’s determined to kill the dozens of militiamen on that train no matter whether Danny’s on there with them or not. She just tells Aaron while Miles and Charlie are still out that they must make sure Danny’s not on that train, or he will die along with the militiamen. Nora makes a bomb and hides it inside a log. Disguised as one of the militia, Nora hides the log among the other firewood on the train.
But once the train leaves – early, way before the originally scheduled time the following morning – Nora sees Danny’s still on board, and she can’t do it. She begins to make a move to get the bomb off the train, but Hutch – desperate to accomplish something in resistance to the militia in the memory of his far braver wife – stops Nora. He drives a knife into her side and runs off.
Charlie, Miles and Aaron find Nora slouched along the wall of the train depot, clutching her side. With Doctor Maggie no longer there to help with any medical needs, Aaron immediately begins tending to Nora, while Charlie, hopes dashed, watches the train pull out of town.
But Miles spots some horses, and this is where Revolution gives us a true Western action sequence. Riding the galloping horses, Miles and Charlie catch up to the train. Miles makes his way to the bomb, while Charlie goes for Danny.
Neville is still keeping close watch over Danny in their private train car. Neville spots a big smile on Danny’s face – he’s seen his sister in the small window of the train car door. Charlie quickly ducks out of sight when Neville turns her way. Then she slowly peeks back into the window. While Neville’s back is turned, she gives her brother the only communication they need to get a message across: A slight nod from Charlie, a slight nod from Danny, and the younger Matheson is jumping on top of Neville, attempting to strangle him with his handcuffs.
Charlie barges in, but the two siblings are no match for Captain Tom Neville – especially when they also have Nate to get away from. Just as Miles gets the bomb off the train right before it blows up, Neville has a gun to Danny’s head, and Nate is gripping tight to Charlie. Neville gives an order to the young militiaman who we still only believe (but don’t know for sure) is his son: “Bring her to me, or I shoot him to bits.” But Nate disobeys his father: He whispers in Charlie’s ear, “shield your head” and throws her off the train out of reach of Neville. When Miles sees his niece is off the train, he jumps off too, and the two are left to do nothing but watch the train speeding away.
Back in the woods, Charlie, Miles, Nora and Aaron are regrouping. Miles crouches next to Charlie as she puts together her pack. He says to her, “That uncle you knew when you were little – he’s not dead. I just can’t be him right now. ’Cause I’m gonna have to kill Monroe. I’m gonna have to walk to Philly and kill my best friend.”
So how does Charlie respond? She repeats to Miles what he told her at the beginning of the episode: They can’t stay there moping. They have to get moving again. She takes a cold stance a lot like her uncle’s, ready to trudge forward for Danny.
The train has arrived in Philadelphia, and the episode winds down with another one-two punch of supposed shockers: When Neville reunites with his wife, she greets Nate as her son, and we know now that Nate is indeed Jason, Neville’s son.
Another flashback shows young Jason and Tom, presumably not long after his fight with Rob. Tom tells Jason that he’ll teach him how to use a knife and a gun. “I love you, Jason, but we gotta toughen up,” he says.
While Jason is reuniting with his mother, Rachel is with Bass, looking out an upper floor window at Danny being pushed along by a group of militiamen. Bass promises Rachel she can see Danny anytime she wants, as long as she tells him what Ben was working on.
So Rachel finally gives in: She pulls out a piece of paper and sketches the triangular shape we know to be a Locket of Power.
“We were both working on it,” she says. “We worked together. I don’t have all the specs, but if you want to turn the power back on, it starts with these pendants. There are 12 of them.”
Twelve Lockets of Power! Bass must rule them all, find them all, and in the darkness bind them!
Your turn to chime in, Revolution viewers. What did you think of the reveal about Neville and Nate/Jason? Did you like the episode’s Western sequence that had Miles and Charlie running across the tops of train cars? Why do you think Jason is still protecting Charlie? Are you ready for the quest for the 12 Lockets of Power?
Until Revolution comes back two weeks from now, here are some Flickers for you.
—We finally got a look at something I’ve been wanting to see since the pilot: A map of what America looks like now. The land that was once the United States has been divided into six territories: The California Commonwealth on the West Coast, the Wasteland where Arizona and New Mexico once were and stretching north a big, the Plains Nation in the upper Midwest, the Georgia Federation in the southeast, the Monroe Republic reaching from what was once Wisconsin and Illinois to the northern part of the Eastern seaboard – and Texas.
—Danny is 18-years-old, not 19 as Neville described him to Grace in the pilot.
—Philadelphia’s citizens may not have power, but they appear to somehow be living a much higher, cleaner life than the rest of the Monroe Republic. Julia Neville is wearing a nice red dress and khaki jacket, while others mingling around her wear similarly fancy dresses, suits and bow ties.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyNRome