This week’s episode of Revolution, “One Riot, One Ranger,” was directed by Frederick E. O. Toye and written by David Rambo and Ben Edlund. Toye and Rambo are familiar names and collaborated on season one’s penultimate episode “Children of Men.” Edlund should be a familiar name to fans who followed Eric Kripke from Supernatural as Edlund wrote some of the best episodes on that show. I watch (and review) both shows, so I was torn to see Edlund leaving Supernatural, but I’m also a fan of his, so I was glad to see him join one of the other shows I love, and I’m really excited to see what he’s going to do on Revolution. I’m sure I’ve already detected some of his distinctive style in the dialogue...
This episode advances a lot of the storylines and brings some of our characters back together. I really enjoyed the dialogue, acting, and action this week. The best running gag this week had to be all the Butch and Sundance references – and I attribute this to Kripke and Edlund being back in the same room. Miles (Billy Burke) protesting that he and Monroe (David Lyons) weren’t Butch and Sundance, just highlighted how much they were. “Who are these guys?” is a direct reference to the movie too and is a running gag in it. The fact that they are such a team was highlighted by their referencing tactics with just town names – eg Ann Arbor. Bonus? How pissed off it made Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos)! I loved her line – “You’re just saying towns!” But Miles and Monroe knew exactly what the other one was going to do.
I’m really happy to see David Lyons getting a more central storyline this season. It’s almost heartbreaking that he’s like an eager puppy wanting to be accepted back by Miles. Miles tells Monroe that he’s a black pit that he spent years crawling out of. I suspect that Miles may be putting more blame on Monroe than Monroe actually deserves out of a sense of his own guilt. On the other hand, so far this season, Monroe seems to be a changed man. He doesn’t seem quite so paranoid or vindictive. While I’m happy for the change, is it believable? I may be predisposed to simply let that inconsistency go because I like the character so much, but is it realistic that wanting revenge for what was done to Philadelphia – his city – is providing enough incentive for Miles to be such a changed man? However, as he shows by shooting John Franklin Fry (Jim Beaver), he is still definitely a bit of a loose cannon.
Is Fry dead? I thought so at first, but on reflection, I’m not sure. I sure hope not because Jim Beaver is a fantastic addition to the cast! They don’t actually say that he’s dead, and it will be a lot more difficult to arrive to see the General with Fry’s corpse than a Fry that they have “saved.” I loved Beaver’s entrance as he announces that he’s “John Franklin Fry, Secretary of the Interior of the great nation of Texas, and you’ve brought an armed force on our sovereign soil,” after scoffing at Truman’s (Steven Culp) announcing they are the US government. Fry has little use for Truman but says he’ll talk to the General. Truman calls Fry a “dick” (Edlund alert!). Miles has a more fruitful conversation with Fry even though he had tried to kill Fry in the past when he was a part of the Monroe Republic. They both realize that Truman and his army are not the “good neighbours” they are purporting to be.
Charlie has a sweet reunion with both Miles and Aaron (Zac Orth) who are both happy and relieved to see her. Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) is too distracted by Monroe’s presence and Charlie’s part in bringing him with her to be happy to see her daughter. In fact, she once again exhibits no maternal instincts whatsoever. Charlie tries to explain to her mother that she had wanted to shoot Monroe at first too. Instead of listening to Charlie’s explanation she cuts her off and says, “and you trusted him because he’s a saint? Are you really that stupid?” To which Charlie replies, “For coming back here? Yeah, think I am.” And I couldn’t blame Charlie. After all, Charlie came back to save her mother – again – and – again – gets no thanks from her mother. I really disliked Rachel again by the end of the episode. It made sense that she would be angry at Monroe – he did hold her captive, torture her, and kill her son – but that’s no excuse for being cruel to Charlie.
I loved Aaron’s response to seeing Monroe – “So... Monroe. That’s quite a twist.” Once again in this episode Orth has quite a bit to do and delivers another terrific performance. In the present, he is being torn up over his connection with the nanites. He goes to Miles and Rachel and tells them about his vision, confirming with Miles that it actually happened. Rachel wants to deny that it’s possible because the nanites would have to have been networking and they aren’t remotely designed to do what they did. Miles wants them to “dial back the crazy,” but the evidence seems clear. In flashback, we also see Aaron meeting Cynthia (Jessica Collins) when he has a job interview for the teaching position with her. She wants to turn him down, even though he’s insanely qualified, because he smells of liquor (a non-starter) and has “a sad, unmarried uncle thing.” It’s clear in the flashback that Cynthia is actually a pretty astute judge of character, with the exception, perhaps, of her husband Carl who is clearly a bully and a cheat. In the junkyard after finding Carl cheating and being threatened by him, as Aaron walks away, his fist clenched in anger, you can clearly see the lantern in the front window and a fire pop up in the back seat as Aaron causes Carl to burst into flames. In the present, Aaron confesses to Rachel that he’s running away because he’s afraid that he will hurt Cynthia because he can’t control the nanotech and he is being consumed with guilt over the people he’s killed. Rachel assures him they’ll figure it out and convinces him to come back to Cynthia; it’s while on their way back that he has the vision that leads them to the Mill at the time of the rendezvous with Fry.
Rachel has a point that so far, the nanotech really hasn’t killed anyone who wasn’t a threat – and really it’s been people who threaten those Aaron cares about. It was interesting when Rachel ran into Cynthia that she asked her if she’d seen “Miles.” Doesn’t Cynthia think his name is Stu like the rest of the town? Even if Aaron had told her that along with everything else, there was no way for Rachel to know that... perhaps a bit of a minor gaff in the episode.
Meanwhile, Tom (Giancarlo Esposito) thinks he’s made some real headway when Allenford (Nicole Ari Parker) tells him she’s taking him to the capitol with her. However, they are ambushed, and Tom finds out that she’s no longer in the administration’s good graces because she wrote a letter protesting the new reprogramming camps. It was positively chilling watching Esposito go from caring and helpful to just abandoning Allenford to her fate when he realized she could no longer help him achieve his goals. He tells her that he doesn’t want to be a fugitive, he wants to be a Patriot. She manages to secure his help when she informs him that Jason (JD Pardo) is at one of the camps. He forces her to promise to take him there. It was nice to see Tom actually put his son first for a change.
I found this a very satisfying episode. Burke should be singled out for a great performance here. We see him tender with Rachel, at his best strategically with Fry, torn over having to work with Monroe (he’s clearly finding it easy to get back into a rhythm with his old friend), tender with Charlie in a different way, and exasperated over the behavior of the group. It really felt to me like Burke was having a blast filming the episode. The fight scene between Monroe, Miles and the Patriots was fantastic – clearly demonstrating as I’ve said, how in sync the two are and demonstrating why they survived going to war both before and after the blackout.
What did you think of the episode? Is it plausible for Monroe to join Miles’ group? Do you think Fry is dead? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Just a quick note as well that my review will be delayed next week.