A mission to save a child sends Charlie on another dangerous, undercover mission; flashbacks reveal an inkling of answers about what caused the blackout

By Emily Rome
November 06, 2012 at 04:36 PM EST
Brownie Harris/NBC
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The promos for this week’s Revolution, called “The Children’s Crusade,” promised us answers about the cause of the blackout. Well, we did get some answers, but nothing too surprising or shocking. And, also probably to no one’s surprise, we didn’t get the full answer – there’s plenty mystery left about why the whole world has been without electrical power for 15 years.

This episode’s cold open dropped us right in the middle of a torturous moment for Charlie: She’s in a militia uniform, about to be branded with the sharp ‘M’ of the Monroe Militia. She’s screaming – it’s clear she’s being forced to take the mark of the militia and she doesn’t want to be there. How did we get here? The show jumps back to two days earlier – we’re about to find out.

Miles, Charlie, Nora and Aaron are trekking cross-country, still Philadelphia-bound, when a milita wagon rolls by. On it is a teenage boy in shackles. Hidden, watching from between tree branches, Charlie’s about to jump out at the cart, but Miles stops her – saving him isn’t worth the risk, he says. “We can’t save everyone.”

So the gang continues on until they come across a pack of children. These kids are toting bows and arrows, living alone in the shell of a graffiti-covered brick building, with no parents. The oldest among them is Michael (Supernatural’s Colin Ford, who has sprouted up into Season 1 Sam Winchester, bangs and mop of hair, nostrils that flare when he’s emotional and all. When did that happen?), who is about to go searching for Peter, his brother – the militia’s prisoner Charlie saw earlier. There’s no John or Wendy in sight, but that’s not going to stop me from calling this bunch the Lost Boys. (Though there are girls here too.)

The Lost Boys don’t seem to know what the Monroe Militia is – “What’s militia?” Michael says when Charlie mentions them – but they know that men branded with an ‘M’ on their wrists are bad. They only are convinced that these strangers aren’t the enemy because they don’t have “burn marks,” as one kid calls them.

Michael is intent on going after Peter, but Miles won’t let them do anything until someone tells him what happened to their parents. Michael chokes out the story of how, several years ago, all of their parents were wiped out by men who could only be militia, while they took cover in the basement. Michael has never understood why this happened, but he gestures toward an American flag that hangs on the wall, ends tattered and shredded. He believes that had something to do with why the men with burn marks on their wrists killed all of their parents.

Michael starts rallying together a group of kids to rescue Peter, but Charlie tells him not to go, that they’ll go save his brother. Aaron isn’t too keen on this idea. “I hate to say this, but that is not Danny on that wagon,” he says, but Charlie still has her mind set on going after Peter – these kids have little chance of making it safely back home if they go up against the militia alone. Aaron expects Miles to back him, but much to his surprise, Miles takes Charlie’s side. “But you just said we can’t save everyone,” Aaron says. “Well,” Miles responds, “we’re saving this one.”

So Miles, Nora, Charlie and Aaron set out to track the militia wagon. Charlie tells Michael to stay where he is and stay out of trouble. Yeah right, like that’s going to last.

NEXT: Some answers, finally

The return from the commercial break takes us to Philadelphia, where Danny and Rachel are eating a fine meal – one probably much finer than Danny has had in a while – of steak and seasoned potatoes. He’s not happy about being trapped in a gilded cage, but his mother reminds him they have food and beds. “It could get a lot worse,” she says.

A militiaman walks in and takes Rachel to Monroe. The general questions her about the “seemingly magical” pendants that she’s told him about – they haven’t been able to find a single one. Monroe isn’t too pleased about this; he tells Rachel that they keep coming across abandoned houses instead of ones occupied with people who have a Locket of Power. Most of her colleagues are not where she said they’d be, key word being “most” – they did find and capture one man, Dr. Bradley Jaffen. He’s been in Philadelphia for three weeks, but he hasn’t cracked. He’s divulged nothing about a pendant or why the lights went out.

Flashback time! A very pregnant Rachel steps out of her car, a collection of files and papers in hand, and walks toward what we learn is the lab of Ben, Rachel, Bradley and Grace.

There, Ben is speaking to a Mr. Flynn, a balding G-Man type, wearing a black suit and tie. Ben explains what they were trying to do, and here’s the closest we get this episode to finding out why the blackout happened:

“My partners and I – we set out to invent a device that generates clean, low-cost electricity,” Ben says via cell phone to Mr. Flynn, who is behind a sheet of glass in a room filled with electronics. “We failed completely. It doesn’t work. In fact, it does just the opposite of what we intended. Instead of generating electricity, it in inhibits it.”

And they demonstrate: Out sputters all the electronics in the room where Mr. Flynn stands. TVs, light bulbs, a toy robot, a neon ‘open’ sign and the cell phone he’s been speaking on all fall dark and dead. Mr. Flynn and Ben exchange a few meaningful looks, then Grace and Brad turn the room’s power back on, and Ben lets his guest out of the room.

“Can this be replicated?” Mr. Flynn asks. Yes, is Ben’s answer. “On how large a scale?” Dun-dun-dunnn!

We don’t hear an answer to that question because that’s when Rachel walks in and interrupts. Ben introduces his wife to Mr. Flynn, and it turns out there’s a reason why he looks like a G-man: he’s Secretary Flynn from the Department of Defense. And he wants to offer Ben’s team a full contract.

Rachel puts on a smile, but it’s clearly put-on – she’s not too pleased about this man’s presence in her lab, so she pulls he husband aside. In private, she tells Ben how pissed she is that she wasn’t told about this earlier. Ben says he kept it from her because he knew she’d react this way, but they have to accept the government funding – their start-up isn’t going to last much longer. And then he says the irony-laced, “Another month, we won’t be able to keep the lights on.”

But that doesn’t matter to Rachel, because the DOD’s presence in their lab points to one probability: “What if they want to use it as a weapon?”

NEXT PAGE: In go children, out come soldiers

On a weed-covered path, the gang of child-savers are tracking a trail of militia wagons. A few yards behind Miles and Charlie are Nora and Aaron, who still doesn’t get why Miles is so willing to help these kids. Aaron with his lines this episode! “The guy has raised dickishness to an art form, and now he’s down to rescue some strange kid?” But Nora knows: These children’s parents were killed seven or eight years ago, when Miles was head of the militia. There’s no way he’s not going to help them when he is to blame for the events that led to their orphaning.

Then Miles senses someone following them. He steps into the bunch of evergreen trees that line the path, sword drawn. And he comes back out with none other than Michael. The kid’s a lot like Charlie – Peter is his brother, so he has to help rescue him, that’s all there is to it. “You can’t stop me,” he says.

Miles isn’t missing the similarity between his niece and this stubborn teen. “It’s irritating when a dumb kid tells you what to do, isn’t it?” he snarks at Charlie, who shoots her uncle a forced smile. So Miles and Charlie relent. They let Michael – and three younger children he’s brought with him – come along.

Over in Philadelphia, things aren’t going the way Rachel wants them to (not that they have up until now, but things are getting worse). Brad, her friend who is indeed captured in Philly too, rebukes Rachel for her betrayal, for giving him up, for telling Monroe about the pendants. He doesn’t seem to understand that Rachel felt she had no choice when Monroe started threatening to hurt Danny – that is, he doesn’t understand until a militiaman brings in a teenage girl. It’s Eve, Brad’s daughter. Rachel breaks down, stricken with guilt and helplessness as she sees her friend about to go through the same thing with his child that she went through.

Back to the band of misfits on a mission to rescue Peter Pan: When they stop for water, one kid goes digging through Aarons pack and finds the last thing Aaron wants to be found: his Locket of Power. Miles sees it and sees how nervous Aaron is when he questions him about it, but he doesn’t get any answers out of him, and when Nora calls the gang over to look at something she’s found, he lets it go.

What Nora’s found is a huge ship out on a still body of water. Standing next to a lighthouse that towers over the shore, they all stare out at the ship, as Miles ominously tells them what it is: It’s a conscription facility. In go kids, and out comes soldiers.

The gang launches a plan to get Peter back. Charlie places herself in the path of militia onshore – they capture her and put her just where she intends to be: in uniform, on that ship. With a little bit of acting, a little bit of fighting and a little bit of trickery, she manages to steal the keys from a militia soldier. But then she finds herself in the path of Lieutenant Slotnick – the lieutenant who moments ago beat a child who was feeling a little homesick.

While the rest of the gang waits in the dark lighthouse, we catch up to the moment where the episode started: The glowing red ‘M’ gets closer to Charlie’s wrist, and Slotnick presses it into her right wrist: Welcome to the Monroe Militia, Charlie.

Back at the lighthouse, Miles gathers up the group. Charlie is two hours late – time to go after her. Off go Miles and Nora, while Aaron stays back with the kids. Though Aaron couldn’t do the small (but, to be fair, futile) job of keeping Michael from leaving the lighthouse and going after his brother, he ends up being a big help in the fight against the militia on the conscription ship, though not exactly intentionally. While he’s in the lighthouse, his Locket of Power turns on (“it’s like a firefly,” says one of the kids) and turns on the lighthouse with it. Just when Miles and co. get in a tight spot on the decks of the ship, out across the water streams a flash of bright white light. It ends up being the perfect distraction the gang needs to defeat the collection of militia. They use the opportunity to pick up the weapons the militiamen have forced them to drop on the deck, and in a few moments, all the militia there are dead. And Charlie gets her payback for the still red-hot brand on her wrist – she stabs Slotnick straight through the stomach.

NEXT PAGE: Aaron’s secret uncovered, Flynn’s identity revealed

By the time there’s daylight again, all the kids on the ship have been taken safely back to shore. Miles asks Aaron what the hell happened in that lighthouse, and Aaron fesses up: He explains that the Locket of Power, the pendant Miles got a glance at the day before, can sometimes turn the power back on. Miles is surprised that Aaron got this from his brother, but he’s more furious, enraged that Aaron has had this pendant on him the whole time they’ve been on this journey. Miles demands Aaron hand it over – he wants to smash it, destroy any possibility that the militia can get its hands on it. But Aaron’s not so quick to part with a device that holds so much hope for the power coming back on.

This episode also presented us with two other flashbacks: Rachel, with Ben at her side, has an ultrasound. Things don’t look good for the baby boy that we know as Danny: There’s a blood vessel missing, so the baby isn’t getting enough circulation to the lungs and other organs. He has a low chance of survival. The news brings the Matheson couple, who had hours before been in a near-fight, into a teary embrace. Later, we see Mr. Flynn encounter Rachel outside the lab: He’s heard about the baby’s condition, and he offers to help get Rachel at the top of a long waiting list for a fetoscopic trial at Columbia University. Rachel knows this means the Department of Defense secretary wants something in return, but he’s not owning up to that – he simply says he wants Rachel to be his friend.

Rachel’s not the only person on the electrical power research team Flynn wants to befriend. Back in the present, we see a long absent Grace locked up. Much like we first see Rachel, she’s sketching (or writing?) in a notebook. Into her cage walks Randall, the man who kidnapped her several episodes ago, face still unseen. “What do you want?” Grace says. And that’s when we see his face: It’s Mr. Flynn. “Grace,” he says in a creepy, slightly raspy voice, taking a step closer to her, “I just want us to be friends.”

So people, we have two big takeaways from this episode:

Randall = Dr. Flynn

Colin Ford = Jared Padalecki

Your turn to chime in, Revolutionaries. What did you think of this episode? Did it live up to the answers-promising promo? Do you think Aaron or Miles is right about the Locket of Power – should it be sent back to the fiery chasm from whence it came or should Aaron keep his preciouuuus? How do you feel about the whole gang (and a bunch of Lost Boys, to some extent) being in on the secret of the Locket of Power? Will Charlie’s Monroe Militia brand come in handy more, or will it cause problems when she meets people like the children in this episode who search for the marks of a militia soldier? How touching were Miles’ unclely (come on, if motherly and fatherly are words, unclely has got to be a word) reflexes this episode? I loved seeing Nora have to hold him back when the militiaman punches Charlie and the pain in his face when he sees the militia brand on her wrist. How does the Locket of Power work? Aaron can’t seem to find a way to control when it turns on, but Grace had plenty of control over hers. Fingerprint recognition, perhaps? Then what’s causing Aaron’s to turn on? How long do you think Monroe will be satisfied with Rachel’s refusal to explain what caused the blackout as long as she gets the lights back on? What do you think are the dots that connect Mr. Flynn’s initial involvement with Ben and Rachel’s team and the ultimate blackout? And what do you hope to see in next week’s episode?

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyNRome

Read more:

‘Revolution’: Check out a map of North America 15 years after the blackout — EXCLUSIVE

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

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