This week’s episode of Revolution, “No Quarter,” continued with the themes we’ve already established and filled in more of the characters’ back stories. With such a large ensemble cast and a season long mytharc to establish, I wonder if some people are becoming impatient with the show’s pacing. I’m finding that I’m liking the show more each week, however. My one real issue with the show is that I’m finding it really hard to warm up to Charlie. Viewers are supposed to identify with the earnest, yet naive, character and see the world through her eyes, so the fact that I find her somewhat irritating is not ideal. Mark Pellegrino on the other hand is a fantastic addition to the cast – I’m looking forward to much more of Jeremy.
This week’s episode was written by Monica Owusu Breen and was wonderfully structured. The story centered on Miles and Charlie with only a little time spent on the subplot with Aaron and Maggie and the subplot with Danny. The episode is interspersed with flashbacks of Miles just after the blackout. We see him decide to leave the military base eight weeks after the blackout. His major concern is that they are serving no useful purpose waiting for orders which are never going to come, and he is almost frantic to be re-united with his brother. This episode begins to show how close Miles was to Ben. He tells Sebastian that he has to leave to find his family. When Sebastian insists on going with him, he tells him it’s not his family, but Sebastian insists that Miles is his family. Once again, this episode examines what it means to be family. When Charlie calls her father a coward for not fighting back, Miles is incensed and tells her to never disrespect her father. We learn through the flashbacks that Miles might have preferred to have chosen a different path than the one he was forced to.
Nora picks up the theme of family when she explains her reason for joining the Rebels: she lost a son and wants her future child to be born in the United States, not the Republic. It’s clear that she also wants her child to be proud of the side she’s fighting on and for too. It’s also clear that the Rebels are a family of sorts as well. The element that I found most interesting and compelling in this episode is that there is no real black and white, good or bad side. In the Danny subplot, the soldier who torments him and beats him up is doing it because Danny killed his best friend, his brother of sorts. The soldier is going to have to tell his friend’s family that he wasn’t able to save him.
The flashbacks also help to clarify Miles’ motivation before we even get the big reveal that he was the co-founder of the Monroe Republic and was, in fact, its Commanding General. Miles is disturbed by the killing that he and Sebastian see as they try to make their way to Chicago in the wake of the blackout. It’s clear that societal rules have been replaced by survival of the fittest and the weak are being killed. When Jeremy reveals who Miles is, everyone, and especially Charlie, is shocked, but we, the audience, are sympathetic because we have just seen how disturbed Miles was by the violence around him, and we’ve seen that something needed to be done about that violence. I wasn’t surprised when the first person that Miles kills to protect turns out to be Jeremy. But I am excited to see how Jeremy is going to develop as he moved from a victim, to an admittedly somewhat cowardly leader.
This theme of what it means to be heroic is another one that runs throughout the episode from Charlie calling Ben a coward to Aaron telling Maggie about being the kid who was bullied in the schoolyard. Aaron explains to Maggie that he defeated the bullies by using his brain and essentially beating them at life, becoming rich and successful. The blackout took all that away from him and left him that scared kid again. It’s what motivates Aaron to say that the most important thing in the world is to turn the power back on. The end of the episode sees the mysterious amulet start glowing and seemingly turn the power on briefly to allow Maggie to see her kids on her phone again and Aaron to hear Marvin Gaye singing. Both are simple pleasures that we all take for granted.
The episode also contains some signature Kripke pop culture references. There is a shout out to the Shawshank Redemption as they try to tunnel out of the restaurant as well as a shout out to the soap opera One Life to Live. Aaron compares himself to Charlie Brown with Lucy pulling away the football. Perhaps my favorite line in tonight’s episode was when Miles questions the priest on not being forgiving. The priest responds by saying, “Christ forgives. I’m not Christ.”
I did find the bridge rescue to be a little contrived and hard to swallow. It seems difficult to believe that Jeremy would hold a reasonably high rank and be that easily outwitted by a small band of Rebels. He had to be expecting some kind of ambush after all. I also find that part of my issue with Charlie is other characters being so willing to let her take charge. She may be good with a bow, but she is lacking in experience, so it seems implausible for experienced soldiers to defer to her. I’m still hoping the character will grow on me. While I think the mother role is an important element to the family theme, I’d also like to see the women also fall into the brother-in-arms dynamic as well.
What did you think of the episode? Is Charlie your favorite character? What did you think of Mark Pellegrino’s first episode? Are you hoping for a lot more Jeremy? Sound off in the comments below...