In Revolution, as with most works of fiction, the disappointments handed down by family members are usually the most difficult to take, as they often begin with an unspoken (though it usually isn't) motivational trump card that displaces other loyalties and considerations with great ease. Despite a myriad of letdowns, the importance of family is the central theme – otherwise, Miles (Billy Burke) would've really ditched Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) weeks ago.
But it's not just Miles – or the Matheson clan, for that matter – everyone in Revolution manages to get in on the act at one point or another. Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) has his son Jason (J.D. Pardo) and his wife Julia (Kim Raver) to consider; Aaron (Zak Orth) left a wife behind; and the now-deceased Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips) made a coast-to-coast trek in a failed attempt to reach her children. And now, since there's been so little development on her behalf beyond proficiency with explosives and an apparent history with Miles, it's high time the program offers a little backstory on Nora (Daniella Alonso).
'Ties That Bind' has, for the most part, a very simple, and increasingly common plotline running through it where the mission to rescue Danny (Graham Rogers) hits a small speed bump, which threatens to put the kibosh on the whole operation. While it's familiar, at least it directly pertains to the quest-for-the-pendants subplot and doesn't include ham-fisted allusions to children's fiction. Early on, we learn that at a young age, Nora was forced to raise her little sister Mia following the apparent murder of their mother. After quite some time apart, the psychotic Sgt. Strausser (David Meunier) reunites the sisters by stringing Mia up as bait, in an effort to retrieve the pendant and Miles.
To the credit of Revolution, the series has managed to play off Maggie's death quite well, creating a sense that every character (Matheson family aside) may not necessarily be around for the long haul. Mia temporarily convinces Nora to leave the group by duping her sister into believing their father is still alive – thereby utilizing the aforementioned family trump card. Naturally, Mia's in cahoots with Strausser, but the betrayal goes deeper, as it's revealed she's also managed to pick Aaron's pocket and ensure the pendant ends up in the hands of Monroe (David Lyons).
Meanwhile, more familial issues arise, but with the Neville family instead. Jason has gotten himself in hot water with Monroe, and in addition to being beaten is going to be shipped off to California. Neville manages to thwart his son's reassignment by selling out his neighbor and colleague, Col. Faber, but what's most interesting is the way it hints at the growing threat of dissension inside the Monroe Republic. Revolution can choose to keep throwing stock villains at Miles and his group all it wants, but the inclusion of a talent like Giancarlo Esposito requires the series to do something more ambitious with its primary antagonist (who, let's be honest, is Tom Neville).
The Neville clan's opportunistic family dynamic adds a necessary new wrinkle to the series that could upend control of the republic and serve to create an interesting conflict when Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) inevitably supplies Monroe with some sort of technological advantage. At the very least, it would divert attention from the search for Danny, and, at long last, put all of the players on the board together.
That's the direction this show has been hinting at since 'Chained Heat,' and if Revolution is going to maintain its following after the upcoming hiatus, it needs to get there in a hurry.
Highlights from the episode:
- Randall (Colm Feore) is holding Grace (Maria Howell) in his secret lair, which sort of looks like the Large Hadron Collider. At any rate, Randall appears to be at the center of what's keeping energy from being used.
- Whoever made those pendants thought of everything. They control electricity, are impervious to damage and include a handy GPS tracking device.
- "He will turn the lights on and buy the world a Coke?" Aaron may not be able to tell a girl has her hand in his pocket, but the guy sure is quick with a snappy line.
Revolution continues next Monday with 'Kashmir' @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview of the episode below: