In the penultimate episode before the series heads off to hiatus for four months, Revolution could have gone the standard route of mixing the elements of flashbacks with the show's present-day narrative, attempting to string together a cohesive thematic structure that ties the various facets of the show together. With Miles (Billy Burke) and the rest of his group so close to Monroe (David Lyons) and Danny (Graham Rogers), it would be easy to see the episode ramp up the tension and add more sword-fighting, fisticuffs and musket action to the mix.
Instead, 'Kashmir' decides to forgo the usual structure and (mostly) take a look into the mindset of the main characters as they wander into almost certain death.
'Kashmir' stands as the build-up to a showdown between Miles and Monroe. It also places Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), Aaron (Zak Orth) and Nora (Daniella Alonso) on the precipice of completing the mission they all signed up for. Naturally, that's not going to be the case, but since they're all likely to die the next day, it does make the group a tad more introspective than usual. Helping the self-reflection along is the fact that their jaunt through the tunnels beneath Philadelphia has them deprived of oxygen and experiencing some rather poignant hallucinations. Well, unless you're Nora – in which case you think an alligator is attacking you.
Still, after the last couple weeks of watching the show drift a bit off course, 'Kashmir' puts things mostly back on track (in terms of the situation's immediacy), and offers up an interesting notion of where the series should have been focusing instead. It turns out Miles deserted the militia he helped establish after attempting to assassinate Monroe, but came up short because he couldn't pull the trigger on his best friend. Later, Miles loses himself completely to a hallucination and basically ponders what would happen if Monroe were willing to take the former commanding general back.
As far as the series is concerned, this makes rescuing Danny an objective, but puts the weight of the storyline where it should be: on Miles' shoulders. That doesn't correct what's fundamentally wrong with the series, but Miles' personal journey of redemption (and the question of whether or not he even wants it) makes for a far more interesting concept to follow.
Of course, despite the episode being filled with Aaron seeing the wife he abandoned and Charlie thinking she was back home with her family, there's still the need for a little villainy, which comes courtesy of the Ken Cosgrove doppelganger, Reed Diamond (Dollhouse, Moneyball). It turns out the group is being led into Philadelphia by a Monroe spy named Wheatley, who is posing as a rebel and believes the capture of Miles Matheson to be worth blowing his cover for. Charlie shows some nerve and disposes of Wheatley with a crossbow, and takes a glancing bullet to the head for her trouble. She recovers, but the group suffers heavy casualties, which means they will be without rebel assistance as they enter the lion's den.
'Kashmir' is not a terrible episode by Revolution standards, but it does mean there's still a lot of work ahead for the fall finale - especially if the show wants to keep its audience after the long hiatus.
Highlights from the episode:
- Aaron just now realizes he's part of the fight against the militia.
- After Dr. Jaffe (Conor O'Farrell) confirms suspicions that the amplifier she's constructing is actually a bomb, Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) kills him in order to prevent Monroe from simply disposing of her.
- Considering his ambitions, it seems Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) missed an opportunity to get Monroe out of the picture.
- Oh, and there're a few Led Zeppelin songs played during the episode. While that seems like a fairly thin reason to tune in, and NBC's marketing of it felt silly and completely out of left field, the show did manage to integrate the tunes into the episode without being completely ridiculous about it.
Revolution continues next week with the fall finale 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview of the episode below: