This weeks episode starts out with Miles, Nora, and Charlie on their way to a rebel base camp. It’s revealed to us that Miles and Nora had a romantic history that clearly didn't work out. But the whole story behind the base camp scenes reveals 12 people where severely injured by a near by faction of the Monroe Militia lead by the seemingly ruthless Jeremy (Mark Pellegrino), who gets information of from #13 and kills him anyways. Miles was careful and gave Nora’s friend, a priest named Nicholas, false names, and rightfully so, as Jeremy and his faction launch an attack on the base camp, where rebel member Trevor is able to take the majority of the faction out, and they are eventually able to capture Jeremy, who reveals Miles is a co-founder of the Monroe Republic. Miles explains that he did do horrible things, but that he has also became a traitor to the Republic. Miles decides that people will stop getting hurt if he would go with Jeremy, that he believes Jeremy to be a man of his word. Jeremy and other militia members proceed to take Miles back to Monroe until they cross a bridge , where Nora, Trevor, and Charlie stage an attack that frees Miles and blows up the bridge, separating themselves from Jeremy and his remaining surviving faction. Miles says that he is monster, and Charlie tells him that she doesn't think so, because she believes he still cares about everything.
The flashbacks further emphasize this relationship between Bass and Miles. The first part of the flashback takes place at Parris Island Military Depot 8 years after the black out, as Miles expresses his need to go and help his family, suggesting a separation from Bass, but Bass basically says that Miles family is his family and that he was going to go along with Miles. Other flashbacks featuring the pair takes place six months after the blackout where Miles and Bass keep finding groups of people brutally murdered. Miles doesn't understand how this kind of violence could happen so quickly. In the last part of these flashbacks Miles stumbles upon a man in process of these horrible murders. He quickly figures out that this guy has been running around killing lots of people and Miles decides to play law enforcement and take these hanis acts into his own hands, as he kills the man. Quickly then Miles had discovered that one man in the group was still alive, and it was Jeremy.
One of the other scenes we deal with features Captain Neville’s current camp site where an unnamed Militia member self righteously acts out in brutal violence, avenging his friend Templeton, who although is the one responsible for killing Ben, is also in return killed by Danny. Danny attempts to be respectful up until a point, but then uses his asthma as a way to catch the military member off guard, in which then Danny retaliates and chokes him death with his handcuffs, - a direct parallel back to Miles in last week’s episode, “Chained Heat”.
And one last scene we explore is Aaron and Maggie arriving at Grace’s house. It’s clear from the moment they reach the front door that there had been broken entry, Aaron sort of hysterically encourages Maggie with her knife to go in first. Aaron soon discovers Grace’s computer room, where the computer has been severely dismantled (and the note book and schematics also seem to be gone), but this gives him reassurance that there is truth in Grace having information about using electricity, which Maggie is still a bit skeptical…They continue their conversation down stairs and Aaron emotionally frustrated tells Maggie about how he was once bullied as child, only to grow up in world where he became somebody in relation to innovation of electricity, including having a wife and lots of money, all being taken away from him, as those bullies seem to have arisen again. At the moment of that emotional climax the medallion suddenly turns on and things around them begin to work! Maggie can use her phone and see the pictures of her children and they can listen to Marvin Gay’s version of “Heard it through the Grapevine”. But this moment is short lived as the medallion stops working.
My Quick Review:
I thought this weeks episode improved in a lot of ways. The acting was more natural and that led to the dialogue being less irritating, and the execution of the episode and it’s events where set up very well. It also became a lot clearer to me the way Charlie and Miles have both been written in contrast to each other, as characters full of contradictions. We can see they are a lot a like, except that Miles had already made all the wrong choices, he saved all the wrong people, and he helped a monster rise out of the ashes, not knowing that his friend was one. For him seeing Charlie is a painful reminder of all the mistakes he has made and perhaps his fear that she will go down the same path is ultimately a struggle for him. Charlie though is not yet broken and the fact that she still sees through Miles is sign of her own gift in which I suspect will be the thing that carries her and many of the other character’s of the series. For her, it seems she is still a little lost too, and her story almost seems to be about finding the right path to apply herself to.
The whole episode did seem to cater to the kinds of people who have risen up, are people we could label as “bullies”. -People who enjoy abusing others, as Bass, Neville, Jeremy, and other militia members have displayed senseless murder or dishonorable actions (hurting defenseless people) time and time again through out this first 3 episodes. It’s clear they don’t really value life, as “No Quarter” suggests taking little to no survivors, to not have or show any mercy.
One other thing that was curious was “when” the medallion turned on. On one hand we could say that it had to do with the computer maybe having some juice left some wire not fully severed, but thinking about Randall’s electric shock prod light saber, it may have nothing to do with that. I almost thought maybe it actually had to do with Aaron’s emotional state (thinking a long the lines of Fringe and Kinetics) and would mean that human electricity could be used to electrify objects, despite the fact that the each run on differently made electricity (humans use ions and objects use electrons).
Sadly there was no Rachel, Nate, or Grace, but I think Jeremy helped make up the difference and gives us something to look forward to next week.
The Stand - Interestingly Stephen King’s novel get’s referenced again in this weeks episode. (Last week there seemed to be allusions to Randall Flagg). Miles introduces himself and Charlie to the members of the Rebel Base Camp as Stu Redman and Frannie. It may be foreshadowing that there will be, or was some kind of virus that can/did kill a lot of people, and perhaps Charlie is, or will have a baby that represents the ultimate survivor of humanity has special “immunity” to something deadly. And maybe sometime, something in Texas or Colorado will become a game player in the series. Initially I thought Mark Pellegrino’s character would be Randall given his Lost character’s relationship with his Lost nemesis and twin brother called “The Man in Black”, but so far it doesn’t look plausible that Jeremy was the one to abduct Grace.
One Life To Live - Is a popular daytime soap opera airing in 1968 that has a 44 season run! The character Jeremy comments that Charlie and Miles interaction was like this never ending soap opera and gives Revolution writers some credit in not taking themselves too seriously, although One Life to Live did set out to explore socio-political issues of the times. But ironically the phrase itself also implies mortality and non multiple universe, going along the lines of “Cease the day!”, or realize where you stand, because life is short, which is something unusual for Bad Robot, but it might be statement that gets turned on it’s head down the line.
No Quarter - An old military term that means: the victor shows no clemency or mercy and refuses to spare the life in return for the surrender at discretion of a vanquished opponent. Basically no prisoners of war. Additionally this term is also the name of a very famous Led Zeppelin song appearing on the album "Houses of the Holy". Revolution continues to hint at the spiritual aspects of one's politics. Interesting that the term rings through to almost all non Monroe Public Militia members, except for the current surviving Mathesons.
St. Nicholas - One of the leaders of the rebel base camp and friend to Nora is a priest named Nicolas. The show seems to be using it’s African American cast members to emphasize American history in relation to segregation and repression and Theological influences of all of American history’s grass roots movements. St Nicholas is the really where we get all things Santa Clause related, as Sinter Caus, St. Nicholas Day, and/or Christmas all pave the way to a holidays where childhood is cherished, celebrated, and rewarded for good behavior. Charlie in scenes shine as she compassionately tries to help young boys that are dying, but more thematically to the series, this again may imply the joy that our children can bring us and remind us about what’s more important, as I think it’s clear Charlie is Miles second chance to set his wrongs right.
St. Anne - All of the scenes with the rebel base camp take place near St. Anne, Illinois. Anne (the Hebrew version of the name is Hannah) itself means “Grace”, as the patron St. is also sometimes speculated as the mother of the virgin Mary and tells the story of women who waited a very long time before she could bare children. She vowed to God that she would make her son a priest, due to the fact that her husband had died before the child was born. Ultimately she had daughter instead, who eventually conceived the Christian savior. Perhaps this alludes that Nicolas might be blood related to Grace.
Iacocca: An Autobiography - Lee Iacocca was known for his career in car industry dealing with both Chrysler and Ford. In his biography, Lee chronicles his career, but also his Immigrate Italian family’s roots, his time at Princeton, and how he couldn’t join the military during WWII because he had Rhuematic Fever as a child. We see Captain Neville reading this book towards the beginning of the episode. It’s both sentimental and a little ironic as we know cars are relics of the past, but also offers a parallel and/or juxtaposition, as Neville’s background as an insurance adjuster to an actual Captain of military almost is like Iacocca’s life he never lived, except that it is the lack of innovation that caused Neville to rise. For him, it seems a world with out much power is his Utopia, but this may enlighten viewers that paradise is different for everyone. It also parallels Aaron Pittman, who basically became the tech guy and not the soldier, like Iacocca.
I Heard It Through the Grapevine - is a Motown song written 1966 by Norman Whitfeild and Barrett Strong, but made famous in 1968 by Marvin Gaye. This song may allude to Nora and Miles relationship, but also may foreshadow that someone is leaving the show, as the lyrics for the refrain are "I heard it through the grapevine not much longer going to be mine."...
The Bad Robot Factor
I will go back to our priest Nicholas and a possible reference to St. Nicolas. As stated in the reference above, St. Nicholas paves the way for all things Christmas. Christmas and Winter related things often are woven into Bad Robots works playing to either Evolution (transformation) and/or Christian Theology in relation to humanism. From snow and ash in Felicity, to “The Snow Man” and “Project Christmas” in Alias, to The Christmas Carol and Snow Globes in Fringe and Lost, to Olivia’s ability to make it snow, use a code word “Christmas” to take down a terrorist, to an Observer named December, to Peter finding the 3 year old Olivia with her family at Christmas inside Olivia’s mindscape, and another Observer named Widmark referencing a film nior actor in a film The Kiss of Death that takes place on Christmas Eve (Fringe), to a Swan code, “What did one snowman say to another?", to Charlie Pace opening his piano on Christmas morning (Lost) all seem to beat this theme of “children” who come to save us is placed within the construct of most of their works. It's becoming clearer that Charlie will become a type of savior.
Follow the Leader - Although many of the Bad Robot works home in on people in leadership positions, none have done it to the same level as Lost did. Really from start to finish Lost emphasized what leadership is and what it should mean through the personal journey of Jack Shepperd. Jack was character who seemed to have this unknowing innate need to save people’s lives, but yet was a bit of a contradiction since he was fighting against fate, as fate was the belief system of his father Christian, and as Jack saw it, was an excuse for his father’s irresponsible behavior in making some bad choices that cost others their lives. But one of the things that Jack and Christian shared was a love for baseball. For Jack it became the symbol of there actually being a fate, as his father predicted that the Red Socks could win the World series. Additionally it is at an L.A. Stadium where Jack first meets Desmond, who becomes an important counter part in helping save the Island., but also a baseball connects Jack to two other leaders, Dogen, a temple other who came to the Island to save his son, and both by extension to Jacob, the Island protector set out to find his candidates, shown to him sometimes by his ‘magic’ mirror in The Light House. Lost then explored the purpose and even the methodology of leaders, as Ben, Charles Widmore, Jack, Dogen, and Jacob are all contrasted to each other, but in the end it is Jack’s live together or die alone that comes back to ring true, because it only ends once, and everything before that is just progress. -Humanity is never alone, -is never really dead, and can have many chances as long as people come together to save the Island. Revolution I think is sharing these ideas, but taking a closer look and attempting to find it at a lighter perspective and a very in the moment perspective. The whole episode danced around these ideas, as it became clear to me that Miles is a broken man, because he believed in the wrong person, and ultimately the wrong people. Bass was seen in the flashback holding a baseball and we know in the Pilot Charlie walked by Wringly stadium (the Cubs) only shortly after finding a post card of it near her village. Additionally Aaron tells Maggie how he was beaten up as a child, much like Jack Sheppherd was, and makes an analogy about how “the bullies” of childhood had come back to rule the world, suggesting the militias are our character’s white rabbits.
Note: Tom Brennan's signed baseball in time capsule lunch box -elements of fate - Charlie and Kate Parallels
Speaking of Jacob, it was wonderful to have Mark Pellegrino guess star, as he always plays these fun, but yet brutal, mouthy, some what antagonistic characters that are kind of hard to see through. Even though Jacob was presented being on the side of good, we can still go back to words of John Locke that go right up there with Eastern Philosophy in that perhaps Jacob was no different than the rest of our controversial lost characters and that the smoke monster was everyone’s, including Jacob’s, “proper motivation” in saving themselves. His character’s name in Revolution is Jeremy and it may mean he will share a bend back with Lost’s John Locke, who’s off Island alias is the name of a famous Utilitarian philosopher, Jeremy Bentham. The philosopher Bentham coincidentally believed in something he called “The Calculus of Felicity” about being able to mathematically measure the pain and pleasure factors of an act before it happens. Bentham also wrote a work under and alias called “Not Paul, But Jesus” seemingly denouncing the words of Paul in favor of the ten commandments, suggesting he believed Jesus to be “utilitarian”.
Note: John Locke was torn/concerned about the materialistic aspect of using the Swan or anything electronically advanced on the Island, as John himself often lost sight in his own purpose in conjunction to his beliefs being in a leadership role, which this Revolution episode highlighted that most of our militia men have similar authoritative problems.
***Spoiler Speculation: Next week we are told a character will be killed! At first I thought it would most likely be Maggie since shortly after Andrea Roth was replaced by Elisabeth Mitchell, Ana Lisa Phillips fell from series regular to reoccurring and said to be written out of the show early in the season. But with fan reception being so good towards her, and that really being written out, might not necessarily have to mean dead, I have reconsidered...
I also know that Maria Howell was cast in the sequel to The Hunger Games. Additionally we had an early casting call for Grace’s son and this episode with a photograph also alludes that she also had a daughter, but the young age of the actor cast to play her son might suggest a flashback featuring Grace and that “The Plague Dog’s” could be her departure episode.
Additionally "Heard Through the Grapevine" could be interpreted a foreshadowing that someone is leaving, as it plays on Grace's Cd player, but it's in a moment between Aaron and Maggie...
However, going back Maggie’s possible Naomi Dorrit juxtaposition through British character who carry ‘satellite’ phones, I noticed that when her phone turned on and she looked at the pictures, the time her phone said it was 6:23...23 sometimes alludes to the sacrifices of Jack Shepherd of Lost in these Bad Robot works, -another doctor character. So what do you guys think?