The flashbacks once again take us back to just after the blackout. There’s a nice bit of foreshadowing as we see Miles turn to Tom (Giancarlo Esposito) for help when Monroe’s partner, Shelley, and their baby die. This is coupled with a nice comment by Monroe that even though he hates the guy, it would be great to have Tom Neville help them fight the Patriots – we are so going there! Anybody else hoping for a cameo or two from Mark Pellegrino? I know he's too busy on The Tomorrow People, but a girl can hope. The death of Monroe's baby is clearly a turning point for Monroe. Prior to that he doesn’t agree with Miles’ plan to raid another camp for supplies, but afterwards, he has no problem slaughtering them. Miles seems a bit hypocritical to be taken aback by Monroe at this point. He has also previously been characterized as the more brutal of the two after all.
Miles excuses his working with Monroe to Rachel by explaining that he’s using Monroe to do the dirty work of torturing people. He tells her that if Monroe wasn’t doing it, he’d have to do it himself. Rachel seems not to want to believe that Miles is capable of such brutality, and he relies on her wanting to protect him to accept working with Monroe. I had to wonder how much Miles was the cause of Monroe’s decline into madness. Did he try to pull him back from the violence or encourage it to further the needs of the Republic as he seems to be doing for the resistance?
Monroe’s execution seemed very much like his paying penance for the bad things that he had done. He even acknowledges that he believes he’s going to Hell. Lyons, of course, delivers yet another stellar performance. His obvious joy in being back with Miles is barely contained at the beginning of the episode. Lyons and Burke have phenomenal chemistry – can’t get enough of their scenes together. It was interesting seeing how seamlessly the two work together to set up the Patriots over Fry’s (Jim Beaver) death. As an aside? Poor Beaver getting dragged through the water and mud in this episode! Monroe’s joy with his partner in the flashbacks is coupled with a generally more innocent and hopeful self. This contrasts with his verging on madness as he tells an obviously stunned and disturbed Miles about the raid. His anger and pain at Miles deception over his son, and finally his stoic acceptance of his own death are yet more highlights. Monroe’s disbelief that Miles can’t be unmoved by his impending execution and then his disbelief and hurt over Miles keeping his son a secret are wonderful moments. The importance of children to Monroe is seen by his violent reaction to learning that Miles not only knew about Monroe’s son but he also kept his son hidden. So, it seems like we will get an answer to that mystery fairly soon. Monroe’s final words are to apologize to Rachel. Final kudos to Lyons for a great death scene – it’s so easy for an actor to overplay, and his performance is as subtle as you’d expect. The reaction shots of Charlie and Miles are telling that they are moved by Monroe’s death and Charlie comforts Miles afterwards.
I have to admit – and I’ve said it here – that I’ve suspected Gene (Stephen Collins) was a Patriot for a long time. I have to wonder if he’s working both sides of the fence however. At least, I have to hope he is because I love his character! Interesting that he also knows Dr. Horn (Zeljko Ivanek). I wonder if Horn has an interest in Rachel because of the nanotech? He has the symbol from the Human Torch comic on his wagon when he drives in after all. Based on the scenes for next week that would be my guess. I knew there was a reason the Patriots hadn’t gone after either Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) or Miles.
I’d be freaking out pretty badly if I wasn’t sure that Rachel has somehow saved Monroe. I think she “doctored” the lethal injection to make him look dead. I wonder if Gene was in on it? I suspect not. But there’s a shot of Rachel busy with a mortar and pestle and then, of course, the episode ends with her digging up his grave. She’s also the one to load the syringe. Rachel thwarted the jail break to save Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Miles and she’s making whatever that is when Charlie explains why Monroe is important to her for saving her life. So it seems clear that Rachel had a plan before ratting out the jail break – though it’s possible it wasn’t until she loaded the syringe. I also wonder who Rachel told – did she tell Gene? He seems a little too happy to be killing Monroe... Does she now suspect him or has she all along? Have to hope that whatever she gave Monroe has kept him asleep and he hasn’t woken up buried alive....
It was interesting seeing someone else recognize Aaron (Zac Orth) for a change. It’s hard to believe that it doesn’t happen more often given how famous he was. I hope that Aaron is going to get over feeling sorry for himself and getting drunk sooner rather than later. Interesting that three major storylines on three of the series I cover have dealt with a character’s fight with alcohol: the other two being Laurel on Arrow and Bob on The Walking Dead. Was it coincidence that she walked into that bar and sat down beside Aaron? Bonnie Webster (Alanna Ubach) is a reporter even though she is largely told what to write by the state. Is she looking for a story or was she sent to find him? I wonder what she will make of that Human Torch comic he’s using for research... In the end, she warns Aaron to get out of Willoughby, so perhaps she will turn out to be a good contact for the resistance? And based on next week’s scenes, that would appear to be good advice.
It’s a nice testament to the world building that the series has done that each new government has been constructed slightly differently. Each centers around a particular set of values and has determined a hierarchy of importance to and within that society. Georgia was a model of what the corporate world might evolve into and Texas the frontier state. Possibly a bit stereotypical but still providing food for thought. We meet General Carver (Anthony Ruivivar) from Texas. As much as Carver is a threat to our heroes, I love Ruivivar (formerly of Southland, Banshee, and Third Watch among others) and hope we’ll see more of him in the future.
Tom and Allenford (Nicole Ari Parker) run into a group of re-programmed soldiers on maneuvers which luckily contains Jason (JD Pardo). Tom refers to them as “Nazi youth on meth” which is pretty close to the truth. This episode is the first in which I’ve been really impressed with Pardo: he delivers a chilling performance. The scene in which Tom vows to bring Jason back is a terrific performance by both actors. Parker also turns in an amazing performance as she relates to Tom the story of her own son. I really like the chemistry between Parker and Esposito. Now that Jason has poisoned Tom’s memory of Julia, I wonder if there is a chance he’ll be ready to move on. Certainly Parker can be a valuable addition to the resistance too. It’s going to be interesting to see if Tom can bring Jason back – how much is it the drugs talking and how much has he been reconditioned? Jason would likely have been ripe for reconditioning after having been sold out by his father (apparently) yet again.
Another great episode, which sets up some really interesting new dynamics. What did you think? Is Monroe dead? Is Gene friend or foe? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!