Last fall, Revolution was a much-needed hit for ratings challenged NBC.
Now, after a lengthy four-month hiatus, the world-without-power adventure series is set to pick up right where it left off, but with a renewed focus on providing answers to the program's most pressing questions.
According to series creator and executive producer Eric Kripke, the time off granted the writers a chance to make some adjustments in regard to the pace of the storytelling. "Creatively, I think it paid off. [The] second half is better than the first." Kripke reportedly told those attending PaleyFest over the weekend that he recognized that the audience had a "certain impatience" in regard to how slowly the plot was progressing and admitted he agreed with that complaint. "We didn't move the story fast enough. We were treading water a little bit," Kripke said.
To address that issue, Kripke showed the PaleyFest audience the first 8 minutes of episode 11, which is said to have contained a good deal more action and fighting that is intended to bring a "much more epic scope" to the series, while the characters are forced to deal with "emotions [that are] more fraught." During the panel, it was also mentioned that the series will move beyond its focus on the Monroe Militia and the rebels by examining other territories and characters such as the leader of the Georgia Federation, President Foster (played by Leslie Hope of 24) – a character Kripke described as "badass, steely" and "strong."
What about the question of how and why the power was turned off?
That will be answered sooner than expected thanks to Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) joining her children and brother-in-law in their endeavor. Kripke summed it up rather simply by saying, "Rachel knows what happened and she's with the heroes."
In addition to finding out why the power was turned off, Kripke promised an answer to all of the questions posed during the first 10 episodes. That means fans will undoubtedly find out more about the characters' individual back-stories, more pressing concerns such as where the mysterious Randall (Colm Feore) took Grace (Maria Howell) and what his intentions are, and, perhaps most importantly, the question of what turned Miles (Billy Burke) against Monroe (David Lyons) will finally be dealt with.
Kripke and Burke spent some time discussing the character of Miles and the changes he's undergone prior to and after embarking on the quest to save Danny (Graham Rogers). Kripke mentioned that had the storyline of Revolution taken place five years earlier, "Miles would be the bad guy." That line of thought continued with Burke wondering whether or not his character could ever find redemption, but Kripke was quick to point out: "He's totally redeemable because he's trying. Trying is the thing. He's trying to be better."
The panel also focused on the supporting characters and their somewhat conflicted relationships, and how, according to Kripke and producer J.J. Abrams, family is ultimately the central theme of the show. "It's a family show," Kripke said. "It's a good way to ground genre television." To that end, fans can expect there to be some familial strife not only between the Mathesons, but also with Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) and his son Jason (J.D. Pardo), as they begin to experience a difference of opinion when it comes to Monroe's orders.
Of course, the midseason finale left things on a cliffhanger with Monroe gaining control of a limited power source after obtaining one of the highly prized pendants and forcing Rachel to construct him an amplifier for it. That leads to the big concern of where the pursuit for power (in both senses of the word) will push the narrative in the coming months. As Kripke puts it, technology will begin to play a larger part in the storyline, but don't expect power to be completely restored by the end of the season. "Maybe at the very, very end," he said. "If it stays on forever, [the show] just becomes a very exciting single-camera sitcom."
It sounds as though the series has put some effort into improving on a bright spot in NBC's line-up. Of course, for the beleagured network, perhaps the most pertinent question isn't when the power will come back, but after four months away, whether or not the audience will.
That answer will have to wait until Revolution returns Monday, March 25 on NBC.