Since its return, Revolution has been moving progressively closer to revealing exactly what it is that caused the blackout, and how, if at all, the power can be restored. Admittedly, that was the conceit of the series from the get go, but for the first 10 episodes anyway, the story was somewhat muddled due to the characters being preoccupied with rescuing Danny.
If killing Danny in ‘The Stand‘ felt like the series was intent on moving forward at a faster pace and focusing the narrative a bit more, then Rachel’s reveal to Aaron of what caused the blackout, and what they can possibly do about it, was certainly intended to help maintain that momentum.
Without getting too analytical about the science behind it all, it turns out the world’s power was turned off by a manmade techno-virus that was designed to suck up all the energy around it, and replicate. Those were its two main functions and apparently it did them better than anyone thought possible. Of course, something went wrong and now the world is covered in them, and the only way to control or turn them off has to do with the mysterious Tower that only Randall has access to.
The reveal is so low-key and vague that Rachel’s reluctance to share it with anyone is immediately clear. It’s like one of those moments where you’ve decided to tell a story, but half way through you realize it’s neither interesting or funny, but it’s too late to just stop. On the plus side, the indistinct answers do provide the opportunity for Revolution to modify things down the line without it feeling like a complete retcon, and considering Rachel and Aaron are now on a side quest to the Tower, that seems like the perfect chance for the show to make a bigger reveal.
After the nonchalant reveal of the techno-virus, ‘The Song Remains the Same’ quickly switches gears and centers on Tom Neville’s somewhat reduced role in the Monroe Republic following the arrival of Randall and the “death” of Jason. Early on in the episode, there’s an entertaining exchange between Giancarlo Esposito and Colm Feore that illustrates just how badly the series needs actors who can properly convey different levels of villainy. And while Randall appears to have earned himself a place at Monroe’s side, it looks as though Neville is now truly on his own.
Esposito starts things off on a lighter note, attempting to expound the virtues of Lionel Richie to a young soldier before the rebels intercept his caravan carrying a shipment of diamonds to an undisclosed location and Neville is taken prisoner. His arrival sets off several key moments for the episode, including an interrogation by Miles in which Neville seems to gain the psychological upper hand by asking him about burying Danny and pointing out the futility of his efforts. But more importantly, Neville’s arrival gives Rachel something to do now that the rather insignificant weight of the blackout has been lifted from her shoulders, while also helping to redefine Jason’s role in the rebellion.
Jason’s moment with his father seems to be directly related to an earlier scene in which Charlie has to talk her mother down from killing Neville while he’s bound to a chair. For all her reasons to want Neville dead Rachel ends up relenting after a load of hackneyed dialogue about how “we are at war” and how she “can’t get emotional.” On one hand, it’s good to see Charlie becoming a more pragmatic character whose role in the conflict is similar to Miles‘, but it’s an unconvincing interchange between two characters that are supposed to have a strained relationship. That being said, the scene in which Jason dupes his father into revealing the location of the diamond drop-off is handled well and actually comes off as something of a surprise.
In the end, though, ‘The Song Remains the Same’ makes the questionable decision to split the core group by sending them off on separate missions – but not before stamping a huge question mark on Miles’ relationship with Rachel. The splintering of the narrative runs the risk of undoing the renewed focus the series had been enjoying since its return, but with Miles and Charlie chasing down a nuke (because that’s the next logical step after you’ve regained power, I guess?) having Rachel and Aaron head off in search of the Tower at least gives the characters something to do other than keep secrets or demand more information.
Revolution continues next Monday with ‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia’ @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview below: