If there’s one thing that Revolution has managed to do well so far, it is in its depiction of how the consequences of the blackout have transformed people into who they are now. It’s certainly true for Miles (Billy Burke) and Monroe (David Lyons), and as we find out in ‘Soul Train,’ the blackout had a profound effect on the personality and ambition of Captain Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito), who, fifteen years prior was at the mercy of his much younger boss, his criminal-looking neighbor and, most of all, his own emotions. By the way it’s depicted by the flashbacks, the blackout was Neville’s rise to prominence and the path to becoming the man he may have always wished he could be.
However interesting the genesis of Captain Tom Neville may be for the audience, it does illustrate how the stakes of the game seem to be higher for those who lived a significant amount of time before the blackout. Beyond some generally unlikable qualities, perhaps this is why Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Danny (Graham Rogers) have not been able to strike much of a chord with the audience so far: they’re a couple of blank slates. Right now, the objective is for Charlie to rescue Danny, and that’s kept the series going up to this point, but triumph or fail, there’ll still be the issue of what their stake in all of this is once that is no longer a goal.
It’s pretty easy to see the actual revolution aspect of the show being the future of the series more so, perhaps, than the question of why or how the lights went out – and definitely more so than Miles and Charlie constantly chasing after Danny. After all, with Rachel’s (Elizabeth Mitchell) reveal of just how many pendants are out there, it’s not really the question of why, any longer; it’s the race to be first to control the power once it’s back on.
While Eric Kripke and his writers are working to define Charlie by making Danny’s abduction her trial by fire, it might be time for her to start implementing what she’s learned before it’s too late to turn back, as audience sentiment toward the character is clearly very low.
But that’s certainly not the case when it comes to Neville – being on Breaking Bad has its perks. We caught a glimpse into the life of Neville while he and Danny were waiting for a tornado to pass in last week’s ‘The Plague Dogs,’ and it seemed like Neville would largely remain an enigma, and maybe dole out bits of his past in quiet moments, or when he’s attempting to pacify a potentially explosive situation. It certainly worked on Danny last week, as he managed to manipulate the boy into saving his life. But that’s not to be the case, as the curtain is pulled back on Neville to reveal a man who clearly relishes not only violence, but also the power it grants him over those weaker, or not as skilled as he. That, of course, leads to a scene where he beats Danny up, simply to prove his power over the boy.
But, as the episode’s title suggests, there’s a train to catch. It seems the militia has itself a locomotive, and the plan is to transport Danny and several high-ranking militia officials to Philadelphia, the capital of the Monroe Republic. That makes this a target of some importance to Nora (Daniella Alonso) and her rebellion buddies – of which Jeff Fahey (Lost) is apparently one. Nora’s desire to blow up a train full of militiamen puts her at odds with Miles’ timetable in finding Danny. While he and Charlie search Noblesville, Nora prepares a bomb and manages to get it planted without being detected. Charlie, on the other hand, runs into Neville who quickly figures out just what she’s doing there. This leads to nice face-off between Miles and Neville, which, frankly didn’t seem that likely to happen this early in the season.
Miles offers not Nate (J.D. Pardo) in exchange for Danny, to which Neville scoffs, even though we’ll soon find out just how much Neville was bluffing. But for the moment, the interaction between the two speaks to the deeper implications of Miles having been the commanding general before apparently just walking away. While the circumstances of his exit remain a mystery, Miles’ reputation and mere presence is enough that Neville moves the train’s departure up considerably. And here we learn just how important Nate is. After escaping from Miles and Charlie, he’s back with Neville, in a trench coat that seems to signify he holds a high rank, and we even see him openly questioning his commanding officer. It’s clear that something is going on, and by the way the episode paints the picture of the man Neville once was, we soon learn that nepotism is a powerful force in the Monroe Militia.
Of course, ‘Soul Train’ saves the reveal that Nate is actually Nevillle’s son Jason for the end of the episode when Tom is finally reunited with his wife, but the hints – like disobeying a direct order without reprisal – were there. That’s in reference to the train sequence where Miles and Charlie split up to dispose of the bomb and rescue Danny, respectively. It’s a no win situation for Miles, as the thought of Charlie dealing with an explosive is just as bad as her pulling Danny from the clutches of Neville. Though the siblings manage to briefly gain the upper hand, the tables are turned when Jason arrives and, instead of handing Charlie over to his father, tosses her from the train.
It’s a huge setback for the group. Danny is now in the hands of Monroe, hundreds of miles away, and Jeff Fahey has stabbed Nora for having second thoughts about blowing up the train. There were several interesting possibilities a different ending could have explored, but we’ll just have to settle with Charlie developing a steely demeanor in the wake of losing her brother once more. Let’s see if this setback leads to more progression of Charlie’s character.
Revolution continues in two weeks with ‘Sex and Drugs’ @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview of the episode below: