One of the most peculiar things about ‘Home,’ as a late-in-the-season entry to Revolution, is that after all the fighting, the stabbing and the attempted mass murder of the people of Atlanta, it requires Monroe taking the residents of his and Miles’ hometown hostage for Miles to start taking things personally.
While it’s an understandable reaction to the events of the episode at this point in the season, dedicating a large chunk of the storyline to a relationship requiring a series of flashbacks from way before the blackout was even a possibility – just to establish context – feels like an unnecessary waste of time. Moreover, the considerable momentum the series was able to pick up following its return from a lengthy hiatus seems to be all but gone now, leaving the plot in neutral until the push toward the finale hopefully kicks it back into gear.
It seems particularly problematic for a series that frequently relies on flashbacks as a means of connecting the dots between the cause and effect of the blackout that it would have to resort to showing teenage versions of Miles and Monroe, and their shared love interest Emma, to get the point of ‘Home’ across. More troubling is the fact that even though Revolution goes to some trouble to depict young Miles and Monroe in love with the same woman, the episode never actually finds a way to justify those emotions or why either man would continue to carry such a strong bond to a place that doesn’t merit being mentioned by name in the entirety of the episode.
To that end, the romantic triangle between Miles, Monroe and Emma (Annie Wersching) may be an entirely new development, but it feels like an old hat. Much like some of the problems that existed during last week’s ‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,’ wherein the plot felt a need to retread Miles’ past misdeeds as General Matheson, ‘Home’ takes the far more interesting triangle between Miles, Nora and Rachel (you know, the one that the writers have actually invested some time in) and essentially tosses it out the window. Sure, it may pick up again at some point this season (or next, considering Revolution was handed an unsurprising season 2 renewal by NBC last week), but that fact only illustrates how hollow and inconsequential this hastily cooked-up plot will likely turn out to be.
Despite Miles never mentioning her before, it turns out he and Emma were engaged before he joined the military and, for reasons that aren’t exactly established, she also had an affair with a young, scowling Monroe that apparently resulted in a child. Naturally, the fact that Monroe’s progeny is running around somewhere isn’t revealed until he’s holding Emma at gunpoint, attempting to bait Miles into confronting him, and the end is all but inevitable. And now, after a bullet intended for Monroe strikes down Emma, the show threatens to introduce a completely unnecessary subplot in which the search for Monroe’s son is suddenly added to his “to do” list – which also includes world domination. But that’s just how the episode works: filling time with ineffectual backstory elements while hinting at larger things to come.
If we were looking for a silver lining in the episode, perhaps it comes from the evidence of just how far gone Monroe is, and the despotic lengths he’s willing to go in order to see Miles punished for abandoning him (and, you know, trying to kill him, repeatedly). But the episode feels so detached from the larger storyline that even the deterioration of Monroe’s psyche holds little value.
Strangely enough, the same can practically be said for Aaron and Rachel’s venture into the Plains Nation. While ‘Home’ offers a welcome reprieve from characters extolling the limitless virtues of the nanites in the air, it also seeks to bring Aaron’s story full circle, by reuniting him with Priscilla, the wife he abandoned shortly after the blackout because he couldn’t take care of her. Unfortunately, even though there was an episode earlier in the season detailing Aaron’s decision, he’s such an underdeveloped character that it’s hard to appreciate the emotional ramifications of this reunion between husband and wife. Moreover, because Priscilla isn’t really a character we’ve gotten to know (not that Aaron is, either) it seems like the history between them, and Aaron’s shame at having deserted someone he loved, may turn out to be a character element better left unresolved. Instead, this brief interlude manages to be an unfulfilling end to the one element that made Aaron somewhat interesting.
Ultimately, ‘Home’ is really about setting things up (other than more quests for missing children), and the end scene in which the criminally underused Giancarlo Esposito appears in President Foster’s office as the new man to accompany Miles on his mission against the militia is about all this episode has going for it.
Revolution continues next Monday with ‘The Love Boat’ @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview of the episode below: