This weeks Revolution takes us down a path of a children’s crusade, as Charlie and gang see a boy named Peter being taken by militia only to stumble upon a group of children willing to fight to get Peter back! Charlie is introduced to Michael, Peter’s brother. Charlie already mad at herself for not saving Peter when she wanted to due to Miles intervention, decides to help these children by promising to get Peter back. Aaron comes off as the odd one out in this episode, as Miles agrees and Aaron, despite being the teacher of young children in Ben’s village, doesn't trust or want to help these children, as he initially refers to them as Children of the Corn. The opening scene featured the militia branding Charlie with the Monroe republic logo. One militia member explains to the audience and Charlie their belief that militia members aren't just born, but can be made with the analogy of forging and bending iron to any shape they please. The episode uses an effect where after the opening scene we go back to earlier events and work our way up to and past the opening event.
We then also see a series of flashbacks taking place three yours before the blackout. Rachel is pregnant with Danny when her husband, Ben, sells out their technology company under contract with the United States Department of Defense (DOD). We also see that Grace Beaumont also works with Ben, Rachel and Bradley (a man who Rachel re-encounters in this episode's present), but from the start we get the impression that Rachel is not comfortable with this move, as she fears Flynn, the assistant secretary of the DOD, may use the anti-electricity tech as a weapon.
Miles, Charlie Nora, and Aaron continue to follow a series of tracks all leading to one place and although they urged the children to stay behind, they did not. Eventually they come to an old light house that is next to a body of water and some distance out contains a ship. Miles explains that these children are all taken to this place as means to condition them to be apart of the militia and believes they can’t just go in and attack it. Charlie insists that she sets herself up to be captured so she can get inside to attempt to help Peter escape. Miles agrees and plan works up until a point to where Charlie is locked up, attempts to make an escape, and fails only to be lectured and branded by the militia.
In the meantime Rachel is tasked to talk to an old acquaintance named Bradley to try and retrieve information about where his pendant is. She is unsuccessful and is accused as a traitor, but Rachel argues she had no choice, because they were going to torture her son. Neville intervenes and informs Brandon that he will be subjected to similar tactics used on Rachel, as they have Bradley's daughter, Eve, to make Brandon more persuaded to talk. Rachel cries out that she is sorry and that she didn't know they had Eve, while Neville and other militia take both Eve and Bradley away!
Charlie fails to come back on time which leads Miles to know that something went wrong. He and Nora set out to try and get Charlie and Peter, back, but again Michael also comes along for the ride and becomes the folly to another almost failed escape. Aaron awakes to the news that Nora and Miles left and in desperation he tries to use the pendant and it works. The light shines from the lighthouse onto the water and acts as a surprising distraction. Miles is able to start fighting and they are able to free the children, but back at the light house militia members look around who was there and Aaron proving himself strong and useful again, is able to beat up the militia member and take the remaining children to safety meeting up with Miles, Charlie, Nora and the other children, who are grateful that there are adults that are good. Miles then abruptly interrogates Aaron about the light house and he comes clean to both Charlie and Miles about the pendant and the task assigned to him by Ben to find Grace. Miles immediately wants to destroy it, knowing that the Militia must have something devastating they can use should the power ever come back on.
Final sections of the flashback also reveals that Rachel lacked one of two blood vessels needed to give Danny oxygen. Whether to remove Danny prematurely or for Rachel to carry through natural birth both had a low probability rates with Danny’s survival. But at a slightly later time Flynn approaches Rachel at night telling her he heard about the news with her son. He suggests a new trail that was being done, but Rachel said she couldn't get in and that the trail was full. Flynn told her in so many words, no worries, he could get her in. Basically he was invested in hers and Ben’s future at work and at home… The last scene pans to a locked up Grace who we knew before was taken by Randell, but the kicker is that Randall is none other than the former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Defense’s Randall Flynn!!!!!
The Children’s Crusade: The episode title may reference an event in European history dating 1212 where Christian’s were have said to expel Muslims from the Holy Land. From Wikipedia: The Children's Crusade is the name given to a disastrous Crusade by European Catholics to expel Muslims from the Holy Land said to have taken place in 1212. The traditional narrative is probably conflated from some factual and mythical notions of the period including visions by a French or German boy, an intention to peacefully convert Muslims in the Holy Land to Christianity, bands of children marching to Italy, and children being sold into slavery. A study published in 1977 cast doubt on the existence of these events, and many historians came to believe that they were not (or not primarily) children but multiple bands of "wandering poor" in Germany and France, some of whom tried to reach the Holy Land and others who never intended to do so. Early versions of events, of which there are many variations told over the centuries, are largely apocryphal.
Children of the Corn: Aaron skeptical of the intentions and beliefs of these children compares them to a short story written by Stephen King, also have been made into a few film adaptations, tells the horror story about Children who worship and kill for the demonic entity “The Man Behind the Rows”. It is implied that “The Man Behind the Rows” is The Stand’s and other King novels’ reappearing antagonist, Randall Flagg. There are other things in the story that also relate to The Stand. Additionally The Children of the Corn represent the idea of children following a very twisted version of Christian/Pagan Theology which may mirror the Militia turning the children into soldiers and Militia supporters. The Stand/Randall Flagg: Again Stephen King’s The Stand is referenced by a segway of Children of the Corn, but also because our character Randall is revealed to us, as man named Randall Flynn. Randell Flagg in King’s novels is often a primary antagonist and evil being that takes on many alias that often have R.F. name abbreviations and is a great sorcerer. It may suggest that Randall Flynn is a huge villain. So far supernatural things or even advanced technology and/or fringe science has been kept to minimal, but this reference might make us hope that there could be a lot more really cool/scary advanced tech or supernatural phenomenon on the horizon.
Return of the Jedi/Ewoks: Star Wars Return of the Jedi is also referenced again with Aaron commenting that the children come to follow them are like “a pack of hairless Ewoks”. Many Star Wars fans always make fun of those little furry creatures living on the moon Endor, but with out their support the Rebels could not have won. This allows us to know that the younger generation of Revolution are meant to play a big role and that, much like our gang, who had been off to a rocky start, have potential to save and free the world eventually.
Peter Pan: Many stories have been written by Scottish novelist J. M. Barrie at the turn of the 20th century about a young boy named Peter Pan and his Lost Boys who live in the magical land called Neverland, where they have many adventures and never grow old. Some of Barry’s stories include Wendy and her two brothers Michael and John being brought to Neverland from their residence in London, where Wendy assumes a mother-like role to the boys during their adventures in Neverland. They aslo battle against the older Captain Hook and his band of pirates!. In this episode we have two brothers named Peter and Michael and Charlie, as she has done with her own brother, again displays a bit of a motherly role, as like Wendy, she makes promises to help these children and believes she should fight on their behalf to save Peter who has been taken captive by militia on a ship. It is not so much of a direct reference, but allusions to it.
My Quick Review:
I thought this weeks episode to be the best episode so far! I felt all plots justified and logical, the themes shined through, our characters were finally successful, the story of the week was used very well to reflect our characters and their arcs, the cinematography done well, and the writers reminded us that this show still has sci-fi and possibly some fringe-like elements to it and they handled mysteries and reveals much better, because of the way the episode was executed and because we have enough characters on the board to be set up in interesting plots and twists. I always really like it when the writers can find a way to use one shot characters/situations to reflect our main characters. There seemed to be one child for each adult, as Nora bonded with a child who also represents minorities, Aaron battling against a non athletic boy, and Charlie and Miles both reflected through Michael and Peter, as this is Miles second chance to make up for all of his losses, including his brother’s, relying on his relationship and promise to Charlie, and Charlie, who at times is motherly, fights, protects, and stands up for the innocence and who also is on a mission to get her brother back.
The actors have now found their footing. The interactions between them only gets better. The dialogue and plot is at place where it is not always being spelled out to us, but rather done in a way where the viewer is aloud to wonder and feel for the interpretation. New characters are being introduced. Advances are being made in both flashbacks and present simultaneously, and I can finally feel hope lighting the way!
One novel I also thought of, but chose not to reference, because there was no definitive evidence to support it, was William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. There was a part of me that almost trusted Aaron’s judgment, although after seeing what he did to his wife in last week‘s flashbacks, I should have known he is in a kind hard place. I almost thought that the kids would all turn on them, but I was glad they didn't. It allowed for there to be this idea that kids, even though they may not fully understand complexities and specifics of the world, they can know the difference between right and wrong. -But like The Lord of the Flies, we also can get wind that there are things in life that can change our prospective, harden us, and be forced into beliefs by the extreme manipulations of others. We can assume there are children out there in the Revolution universe willing to hurt and die for the Monroe Republic, as their innocents is lost and their fear used, warped, and corrupted into a specific ideology.
And lastly I keep trying to think of what could be bigger than how and why the power was turned off. I keep going back to Jon Favreau's (along with Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci) adaptation of the comic book Cowboys and Aliens. The film itself has some execution problems IMO, but the cast is great and the premise are full of such interesting ideas that I could see them being reapplied here. You see when the aliens come a decade or so after the American Civil War, the film lets us view the beginnings of an alternate history being made when an outlaw, a sheriff, Native Americans and other towns folk, (along with one good alien disguised as a young women), all come together putting their differences aside. The Star Wars references also might point to this as seemingly we may consider Monroe might have a super weapon that could be like a death star. But the only way I see this getting bigger, besides expanding across the US and/or to the outside world, would be if we venture in either some kind of alternate universe (which there are many things that could support that possibility) or we deal with extra terrestrials, who maybe look like us…I could see the DOD being concerned about that.
The Bad Robot Factor:
A few things relating to Elizabeth Mitchell’s character Rachel Matheson connect us back to Lost, but also Alias. Rachel uttered the line that she was “Out of the loop.” which is an iconic phrase stated by Hugo in Lost in regards to the idea that people didn't always confide in him so he couldn't know what was going on, but loops where also metaphoric to cycles and time loops presented in Lost, as characters were time traveling and creating new branch offs of the time line as both whatever happened, happened (history repeats itself) and people are variables (cycles break into new cycles eventually) are true as this the idea behind evolution. This episode also used a loop-like timing device where we start with a later event and then we go back to earlier events working our way up to and through the opening event. Many, if not most Alias episodes where set up this way, looping around an event.
In Lost Elizabeth Mitchell’s character, Juliet Burke, was a doctor trying to help various kinds of women with reproductive problems get pregnant, including her own sister, Rachel. Her character was considered very successful in her field, which is why she get’s recruited by Mittelos Bio Science and taken to the Island where many women could not endure full term pregnancies due to the Island’s radiation. In Lost pregnant women and being able to have children on the Island was not only originally a big mystery, but also thematic to the series. In Revolution we see her character Rachel being the one pregnant with reproductive problems and possibly partaking in some experimental trail.
Additionally both Lost and Alias danced around interrogation methods and techniques where characters sometimes lied about whom they were to get sympathy from either victims or interrogators.
Going back to lost again, t
his episode featured a lighthouse. In Lost’s final season, in the episode "The Lighthouse" we learned Jacob had a lighthouse on the Island with all of his candidates names circularly listed and also had some kind of time reflecting mirrors that seemed to show various time periods in the character’s lives, including the house that Jack Shepphard grew up in. The Light House was really a symbol of hope and could also be broken down into ‘a house of light’ reflecting spiritual themes, as there was also an off Island Dharma Station called The Lamp Post which resided under a church in LA California. The Church itself could be seen as a house of light, or a house of enlightenment, as the Dharma Station helped the Ajira people get back to the Island to save it and some of the others. IMO this is also why a church is the last space we see in the flash sideways, representing commemoration people gathering remember the previous life before they move onto the next, one where they will be directly in each other’s lives and one that no longer includes going through hell and back on the Island, as the beginnings of the flash sideways began to show us. It seems in both shows the light house is symbol of hope that will light the way…
Speaking of light and hope fireflies were also mentioned, as a boy compared Aaron's pendant to the glowing in the dark insects. "The Firefly" is a well know episode of Fringe, featuring some insight into the Observers that point out that even they are still susceptible to what in physics is called, Uncertainty Principal stating that there is no way for sentinel being to ever fully know everything, because at some point, the future and/or the unfolding of events will be uncertain (too many variables, too many unknowns). The episode featured Walter Bishop’s musical icon Roscoe Joyce the piano player of Violet Sedan Chair, who’s son consequently died because while one boy was catching fireflies, a little girl didn't and went missing, and Bobby Joyce was accidentally killed by the man looking for his daughter. But Fringe also features little golden balls of light, or dots both in season 1 with a light box, M & M's, and also on the glyph letter text, and promotional art. It might be speculated that this represents soul energy and/or one’s essence. Curiously seasons 4 and 5 show us a new iteration of the season 1-3 time lines, but are referred to as the amber time line(s). The episode is also about family and the miraculous of time travel by being able to see someone you never thought you could see again, as September brings some past version Bobby Joyce to the our character's current time where his father can see him for a moment. It highlights humanity wrestling with existentialism and our mortality. Fireflies might be a good analogy for what the pendants actually do...
Also Fringe shares a bit of a more obvious sci-fi and military/war bend with Revolution. This episode brought our attention back to advanced tech and the Department of Defense. In Fringe main character Peter Bishop’s biological father, Walter[nate] Bishop, is the Secretary of Defense in the red universe. We have seen instances of the red universe characters use a lot of advanced tech and military tactics, such as memory transference,a machine or pair of machines that destroys whole universes, shapeshifters, infiltration of the other side by having one character pretend to be her other side counterpart, all apart of one man’s revenge, as Walter[nate]’s son was kidnapped and raised in the other universe. Flynn seems to give off a villainous character vibe so we might assume that Rachel was right to thinking the DOD would use their electricity tech for a weapon and may point out similar situations to come. It might also allude that we could other interesting pieces of tech down the road. On the other hand, it's seems likely that Monroe is could have been a more serious threat and that Flynn is trying to protect and hide those with the pendants from Monroe.
And lastly, one other character in Bad Robot show had the surname of Flynn. Barclay Flynn was a character who appeared and was murdered in The Pilot episode of Alcatraz. For unknown reasons, he knew Jack Sylvane and held a "special key". We could say that these 12 pendants are also like special keys, as I feel certain that little bits of Alcatraz concepts have spilled over and been reconstructed into Revolution.