It’s kind of weird to think that in a single season (its first, no less), Revolution has made the leap from a series in which the main characters are trying to understand how the power went out across the globe, to a series in which three characters are in a race against time to stop a nuclear weapon from being detonated in Atlanta.
It’s an astounding leap to be sure, but if the series is going to open up its storytelling and expand its world for the purpose of a more interesting narrative, they have to start somewhere, right?
Aside from the clever use of the song title ‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia’ – although one can imagine the writers were quite close to choosing ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ instead – manages to be yet another quickly paced episode, despite some of the more divergent elements of the plot.
But this episode isn’t like ‘Sex and Drugs‘ or ‘The Children’s Crusade,’ which, despite having some good moments for characters like Charlie and Aaron, felt like a bit of throat clearing in an effort to stall the plot before Miles & Co. could eventually reach and rescue Danny (for about five minutes). Instead, with the newfound freedom the series gained from concluding that storyline and marching forward, ‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia’ gets to play around with the new status quo, while illustrating just how dramatically different life is in and around the other federations and territories.
As Miles points out to a wide-eyed Charlie – after delightfully calling her a “hick” – the Georgia Federation greatly benefits from the warmer climate, which has afforded them the ability to grow enough crops that they’re flush with cash and their streets are filled with all sorts of steam powered technology. Depicting the difference between the world Monroe runs and the Georgia Federation is all well and good (in fact, it opens up a lot of interesting possibilities for the series moving forward), but there’s an almost lackadaisical response from Charlie after seeing some of this stuff for the first time that’s as perplexing as the rather nonchalant attitude everyone seems to have regarding Monroe’s acquisition of power – or even Rachel’s explanation of the nanites that’ve pretty much ruined everything.
While it’s nice to see the series concentrating on moving forward and progressing the storyline as much as possible, it might also make the headway feel more significant if a character were to take some time and acknowledge the immense implications of what it would mean for the power to return. Even President Foster (Leslie Hope) just sort of shrugs when Miles asks if she knows Monroe’s managed to turn his power back on, and manages little more than that after news breaks (via fliers dropped from helicopters) that he’s placed a nuclear weapon somewhere in Atlanta.
Rather than focus on the implication of a war involving powered military hardware (nukes included, apparently), the episode wants to retread Miles’ awful past by showing how ruthless he was to his protégé Alec (played by Dayo Okeniyi from The Hunger Games), after a failed assassination attempt forced Miles to hand the young man over to Texas. Naturally, Alec has some residual anger over that incident and, through his various interactions between Miles and Charlie, it’s once again established that Miles used to be something of a prickly character who now is searching for forgiveness that even he doubts will ever come.
In a way, this is likely intended to play up the dichotomy between Miles and the increasingly unstable and paranoid Monroe, but it just comes off as lacking some of the freshness the series has had since its return, and makes the absence of Colm Feore’s far more interesting Randall felt all the more.
Still, the episode has to deal with the characters that have been separated – a fact that brings the storytelling dangerously close to the annoyingly disjointed nature that plagued the series early on. Thankfully, instead of the insufferable Danny, Revolution splits the storyline with the far more interesting Rachel and then highlights that by giving Aaron something to do.
Aside from the retread of Miles’ personality, there’re a few interesting developments such as President Foster offering Miles the means to combat Monroe with the Georgia Federation’s army, while Rachel’s trip to see scientific genius Jane Warren (Kate Burton) not only depicts some more crazy weaponry, but provides some insight into what else the nanites are capable of – e.g., mend bodies as well as they do holes in the plot.
‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia’ could have easily felt like more stalling while the season headed toward something larger, but the episode manages to overcome some weak storytelling with a few intriguing developments that help keep the plot moving forward.
Revolution continues next Monday with ‘Home’ @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview below: