The last few weeks have been something of a mixed bag for Revolution. In addition to coming off two less-than-stellar episodes, the news that the series had been given an order for a second season was tempered by the unveiling of NBC’s new fall schedule, which moves the show to a more uncertain spot on the network’s Wednesday night line-up.
All questions about Revolution’s ability to survive in the wilds of mid-week network television aside, the latest episode continues to bring up more questions as to whether or not most of the show’s established storyline is being thrown out in favor of the magical fix-all known as the nanomachines.
The disparity between the Tower storyline and the war between federations grew to such a degree following the scene where Rachel’s broken leg mended itself (with the help of a first-generation nanomachine) that it almost felt like the series had split into two different shows. While Miles gets back to the relatively grounded business of fighting the Monroe Militia, the nanites continue to be slathered on the series’ plot holes like some kind of sci-fi salve, building anticipation for whatever awaits Rachel and Aaron in the Tower.
And who knows, maybe whatever is lurking on the mysterious Level 12 will turn out to be the game-changer this series needs to recover some of its dwindling audience. But right now, it just feels like grasping at straws.
On the bright side, though, ‘The Longest Day’ works on an episodic level by creating an atmosphere in which it seems likely that one or more characters might suddenly be written off the show. Unlike earlier in the season, when the series surprisingly killed off Maggie Foster, or even the sudden but welcome removal of Danny Matheson, there’s a tension brought about by the devastation of Monroe’s drone strikes that permeates the episode’s atmosphere and gives the narrative some much-needed urgency.
The feeling is augmented by Nora’s remarks to Miles about how painful and unfair it would be for either of them to have to watch the other die. Even though it comes across as being more than a little telegraphed, the apprehension Nora’s comments create actually help to highlight the episode’s focus on relationships and the bonds between these characters that keep them together, sometimes despite their differing ideologies.
One of the most interesting portions of ‘The Longest Day’ deals with the strained relationship between Neville and Jason – which starts off with Giancarlo Esposito grimly challenging his traitorous son to demonstrate his mettle and follow-up on the events of ‘The Love Boat’ by executing dear old dad. Neville’s anger and disappointment toward his child is echoed through the flashbacks wherein Miles’ relationship with Rachel is fleshed out a bit more and we see a far more ruthless General Matheson who is willing to torture someone he previously cared for, in order to get exactly what he wants.
We now know that Miles eventually found a line he was unwilling to cross, which set him on his current path, and now we see Neville doing much the same. After recovering an injured Jason from the militia, Neville confesses there are plenty of horrific things he’s done in service to Monroe, but the one thing he won’t do is leave his child to die. While it’s unclear whether or not their relationship is salvageable, it feels like an indication that Tom Neville may be turning over a new leaf.
That brings us back to Rachel, who rather suddenly reveals to Aaron that she’s not interested in helping the little folks along the way; her primary objective is restoring power to everyone so that “Monroe’s enemies can wipe him off the map.” While this vendetta-driven version of Rachel seems like another quick turnaround to fix a gap in the plot, it presents an interesting dichotomy between her and Aaron in which she’s willing to do anything to achieve her goal (including abandoning him), while he’s far more concerned with the morality of their decisions. This may well lead to a conflict between the two as they approach the Tower could help make their journey a little less like stalling until the season finale.
While other characters demonstrate the ability to change given their circumstances, Monroe remains consistent in his paranoia. After an assassination attempt leads him to believe that Jeremy Baker (Mark Pellegrino) set the whole thing up, it appears as though Monroe has Baker killed. But this comes after Baker dresses him down, telling Monroe that his paranoia does not bode well for Monroe or the future of the militia. Then again, having Nora in custody probably won’t bode well for Monroe either.
Revolution continues next Monday with ‘Clue’ @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview below: