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Revolution - 1x02 Chained Heat - Recap/Speculation

So again we start with another flashback taking place one week after the blackout. We’re still in the former Matheson house hold, as the family starts to pack up to move elsewhere away from the city. Rachel explains to Charlie that she has to be ready and be like an explorer and that Charlie must always to take care of Danny . “Never let go of Danny’s hand.”, she makes Charlie promise. The flash back continues through out the episode, just like the Pilot’s did. Ben, who comes off exceptionally wall-flower-ish here, needs to stop by his work place, before leaving the city. We might presume that Ben works at a lab, or a technology company, but no definitive information is given by him or Rachel in the course of the flashback. Instead some man comes and is able to grab a hold of young Charlie and threatens her life for all of their food.

 Charlie is very still and exceptionally not panicing. Ben emerges from the building and aims a gun at the man. The man says that Ben won’t do it and quickly an exchange of food is made for Charlie and he starts to walk away. -The man however was only half right, as Rachel had taken the gun and shoots him dead.

 In the modern day Miles, Charlie, Aaron, and Maggie set out to Pontiac, Ill to find someone Miles knows, whom he believes can help them. They seem to be following train tracks as a navigational system. Miles walks a bit ahead of everyone else and is suddenly attacked by an bounty hunter. Miles is able to defeat the man, by the time Charlie and gang catch up, but Charlie begs Miles to spear his life, as she implies killing a man who is unconscious isn't an honorable or good thing to do. Annoyed with her, he listens and they leave bounty hunter inside a train car. They reach Pontiac, as Miles doesn’t want to listen to Charlie and tells her to shut up and stay put, while he goes to a bar to figure out where Nora Clayton is.

 Unfortunately the Bounty Hunter had escaped and it becomes clear that these two men had a history together, which included knowing Nora and that the Monroe Republic have a large bounty for Miles. They then engage in a fight, which is quickly cut short, as men come to capture Charlie, Maggie, and Aaron. The four of them are being taken presumably back to Monroe, but Miles fights handcuffs and all, and is able to strangle the bounty hunter and force information about Nora to him. He says she was taken to a prison camp not to far from here. The four leave and go make camp. Conversations ensue about Miles leaving to find Nora by himself and that the others should meet up with him in two weeks.

 Miles leaves, while Aaron muses over Maggie’s iphone. The next morning Maggie wakes up and discovers that Charlie went after Miles. Aaron tries to comfort her by telling her everything will be ok, and Maggie revolts by saying there is no possible way to really know that and she then proceeds to explain to him that she carries her iphone, because it is the only thing that contains pictures of her kids, as it seems she was stuck in the former United States when the blackout occurred and never could go home. Aaron, feeling guilty tells her about the medallion/USB device and says he has to take it to women named Grace’s house, in which the two eventually set off to do.

 Elsewhere during the episode Neville, Danny, and his faction of Militia here shots ring out. Neville goes to the house near where the gun shots came from and makes a spectacle out of a man who owns fire arms, as any ownership, sales, or trade is against The Baltimore Act, unless you are Militia. Additionally the man with the guns had an American flag, which gets burned. The man with the guns is killed, but one of Monroe’s men is severely injured in the process. Neville gives the dying man some kind of poison along with a spiritual speech about going to a better place where there is nothing, but warmth and light, implying that life “here” is the opposite. They burry the man in a sunflower field with a cross and again Neville gives a spiritual speech, but Danny snickers. Neville explains his concerns about the need to have law and order, instead of the belief that people would fall into total anarchy, and tells Danny to have the courage of his convictions, which Danny has no qualms about doing, as Danny says, no. Neville is murderer and his likes to kill. Neville grabs him by the throat for a moment and says he appreciated Danny’s honesty.

 Charlie following Miles hears someone following her in the woods. She ends up taking a bad step of off a steep heal down into something like a former road or drain, where she quickly encounters Nate and escapes him and is able to handcuff him to something. She asks him if he is Militia, but he doesn’t answer. She asks him if he even named Nate and he says no. He asks if she is going to just leave him there like that and she says, if he’s so good, then he will find away to get out of it. She soon catches up to Miles and explains her deep need to go with him. That basically she was Danny’s mother after their mother died and it’s her fault that he was taken, realizing she broke a promise. Miles is sort of forced to accept, as they stumble upon people in the prison camp hauling a helicopter across the landscape!

 At night Miles frees Nora, who explains she was caught on purpose, because she needs the warden’s riffle, so she can sell it on the black market. She refuses to help Miles until they find a way to get the gun, which could be done using a make-shift explosive devise at point range. Nora and Miles both realize they can’t, because Nora just escaped and everyone is looking for Miles. Charlie chimes in and says she’ll do it, which she does with calm and finesse, but she points out she’s disgusted that the reason is for a gun and not to free the other people.

The after math leaves two Militia dead and Miles says he is impressed and that she did a good job, but how contradictory she is, since she wouldn’t just let Miles kill the bounty hunter. Charlie says it wasn’t “good”, people shouldn’t have kill each other. Miles and Nora discuss terms and it is revealed that Nora is no longer in the black market, but has joined the resistance. Miles tells her she has to help them, because Nora owes him from something, something that isn’t revealed to the audience.

 In two last scenes we come to Bass Monroe visiting Rachel who is alive and well! Sebastian comes off civilized (even in an earlier scene where the militia is interrogating a man, Bass attempted polite conversation, before becoming violent, but he does it with less flavor than Neville does), as he engages with Rachel in a conversation about the fact that Ben is dead, which she doesn’t believe, but isn’t too terribly rattled, until Bass says that they have Danny. Rachel attempts to attack him, but Bass is able to defend himself and he lets her go.

 In the final scenes we see Grace again frantically by her computer, as someone approaches her house. There is a notebook with the power button on it and a sheet with schematics for some piece of technology!! Soon the person climbs the stairs and barges into Grace’s computer room. He was wearing his own USB device that seemed to power his own electric shock prod. Her last words on the computer screen are “Randall is here.” -Light Sabers anyone?!




References:

Chained Heat: Chained Heat is a 1983 exploitation film staring Linda Blair about woman’s experiences in prison. It follows the story of a naïve teenager who is sentenced to a women’s prison after accidentally killing a man while drunk driving. Ultimately the film is about the repression and abuse of women, in which the women rise up and revolt. Some critics of Revolution have claimed from only viewing it’s one episode, to be sexist. I generally disagree due to the array of both female and male characters and particularly due to the Bad Robot factor, as they almost always have various kinds of strong female leads,. However I have to admit that if Charlie, Maggie, and Aaron keep getting dropped on and used against Miles, will it not only make me doubt my own beliefs here, but it will get old real fast. But I will hold onto the idea that maybe this reference is really a rebuttal to the accusation, as we eventually watch some of our female characters rise to the occasion. Ultimately it seems our episode title relates to passion, or pursuits of passion being held down to people in general, but another interpretation could be to melt down and “forge” alliances and implies connectivity (chains are “linked”) and strength in numbers.

 Randall Flagg - Stephen King’s “The Stand” (and Dark Tower Series): "Randall Flagg is a fictional character created by Stephen King. Flagg has appeared in at least nine novels by King, sometimes as the main antagonist and others in a brief cameo. He often appears under different names; most are abbreviated by the initials R.F. There are exceptions to this rule; in The Dark Tower series, the name most often associated with Flagg is Walter o'Dim. Flagg is described as "an accomplished sorcerer and a devoted servant of the Outer Dark" with general supernatural abilities involving necromancy, prophecy, and unnatural influence over predatory animal and human behavior. His goals typically center on bringing down civilizations, usually through spreading destruction and sowing conflict."- Wikipedia I thought of the reference because of the man who comes to Grace so forcefully is seemingly named Randall, but also the episode featured both anti-American sentiment with the desecration of the American flag, but also the preservation of it, as it was tattooed on Nora’s back. I have speculation on whom the actor playing Randall could be, with out being directly spoilerish all I am going to say is that this actor is both a Supernatural and Bad Robot alumni, who generally as an actor, plays violent and/or antagonistic roles. If I would be right, then I will most certainly write about it in the Bad Robot section next week.

 Dora the Explorer: This is the name of modern day cartoon and character named Dora about a little girl who goes on adventuress and makes a lot of friends. To some degree this reference seemingly parallels Charlie, as her mother told her she has to be like her by putting her boots on, but really I think she also more heavily parallels Nora (rhymes with Dora), also considering that both characters are not Caucasian, and/or have Latin heritage, and one could argue that the reference in the flashback plays the idea of fate of Charlie one day meeting Nora.

Review/Speculation: I think the flashback itself was one of the most important scenes, but I think what it really means is unclear. On a glance it seems to parallel Charlie to her mother, as Rachel is able to fight and take action to protect her family, which we see Charlie stepping up to the plate to help Miles and Nora. However, the episode was also laced with contradictions, or rather a deeper look at the reasons why the characters are willing to do what they do. In that sense Charlie clearly doesn’t feel good about killing others. We get a sense that she believes that people shouldn’t live in a world where they have to do that. It is Ben then who couldn’t just kill the guy that assaulted Charlie and attempted to take her food and so it may suggest that Charlie is more like her father in wanting peace, then her mother, since one could argue that Rachel didn’t have to kill the guy, and the fact that she is alive and her children don’t know this. In fact it is pretty interesting that Rachel appears to be captive under Bass Monroe, suggesting that there was some kind of deal made, her capture for the lives of her husband and children perhaps. What’s unclear, if this is true, is why wait 15 years to go find Bena nd/or Miles? The only thing that would make any sense is perhaps that her kids have come of age as young adults, but curiously Rachel seems to have either military/law enforcement experience, as the seen where she killed the man in front of her kids shows some real back bone.

I thought the first half of the episode wasn’t as good as the second half, as the dialogue was a bit over acted and scenes turned over rather quickly. I don’t like dialogue that seems like the actors are directly talking to me, rather than each other. It makes everything feel condescending. --But I thought the second half was much stronger on all counts. The fighting was better, the acting better, and specifically Charlie rose to the occasion , as with both the fight scene against the warden and the way young Charlie behaved in the flashback scene gave Charlie an almost prophetic and mysterious element, as if something bigger than herself kicked in mode. In fact the warden himself reminded me something out of "Cool hand Luke". I thought the whole scene that involved Charlie's attack was a very beautiful scene to watch.

I felt good about the introduction Nora. The character came of strong and generally likable Last week I had thought that perhaps Rachel was on the other side of another computer screen talking with Grace, but it doesn't seem that way since we are shown Rachel casually writing letters at her desk, which begs the question, what has Rachel been doing while being a captive guest? So if not Rachel, then who is it? I am leaning now towards Maggie now an apple for an apple?!

 The best part really comes at the end of the episode with “Randall” barging in on Grace. We see he has his own USB devise and his seems to charge his electric shock rod and it made me ask if each USB device is technology specific. Can they all run anything around them that’s same size and/or energy wattage, or is every device “frequency” specific with a given electrical object? Do the devices need to be plugged in to be used??????? And if only I could get screencaps for those schematics of some machine!

 Bad Robot Factor:
There were things that surely reminded me of Lost, but in really vague ways, since the episode almost seemed like a filler episode in setting us up with bigger plots. But Nora and the pulling of helicopter specifically made me think of the Freighter crew that came to Island on behalf of Charles Widmore, specifically a mercenary team lead by Naomi Dorrit to protect a science team featuring: Daniel Faraday, Charlotte Staples Lewis, Miles Straume and a helicopter/air craft pilot, Frank Lapidus

 Taking a closer look at Miles Matheson: We can see he shares his first name with a Lost character, Miles Straume (Ken Leung--whose coincidentally guest staring on Person of Interest this Thursday in it‘s season 2 premiere episode), but there might be something similar in character in terms of that kind of jerky smart-ass, pretending I don’t care about anything “every man for himself” attitude. In the episode we get a little more acquainted with who Miles Matheson has been in these past 15 years: a man who seemingly takes chances, likes to gamble, and has built kind of a negative or fearful reputation for himself. In that sense also shares a bend with James “Sawyer” Ford. It makes me optimistic that we’re really in for a ride with Miles Matheson, as the anti-hero eventually becomes one. Additionally Miles Matheson is sarcastic and called the bounty hunter a nick name, “Chuckles”.

 Speaking of Sawyer, and maybe even “Skate” fans, Nate, like James comes off as a bad boy on the wrong side, and coincidentally goes by an alias. In a few episodes of Lost, as I said in the last recap, Charlie may share some things in common with Kate Austen due to the lunch box parallels and adventurous spirit. Kate is rather resourceful and full of contradictions! Handcuffs were often used in Lost -many times in association with Kate, playing on some of the characters criminal actions and/or factions against factions. I guess it will take some time to see if “Chate” is fate? Additionally the crazy pulling of the helicopter scene reminded me of Kate and Sawyer being in their own prison camp on behalf of Ben Linus and his faction of Others, partaking in building the runway for Ajira.



 Nora Clayton seems to me a little like Naomi Dorrit (A reference to Charles Dickens’s novel, Little Dorrit), She was a leader with military experience who jumped out of a helicopter and had a satellite phone in which she claimed if she could get reception, she would have the freighter come and rescue the plane crash survivors. But Naomi Dorrit was British and not American and lied about having a sister ,which was code, as we learned later and as Ben Linus suggested, that Naomi wasn’t who she said she was and that the mercenaries actually came to the Island to kill everyone and capture Ben. John Locke kills her to protect the Island. Our only British Revolution character is Maggie, who like Naomi, has a phone that would also have worked by satellite and additionally tells a story about her family and her reasons for carrying her iphone. Bad Robot has yet to make an eye for eye parallel with any character , but rather similar, but different idea usually gets presented. So I think this can only go one of a couple ways. 1. Maggie isn’t lying, but she’s going to be killed. 2. Maggie is lying, but she isn’t going be killed, but lives, or disappears for a while. Honestly the character has a dark underbelly and pretty resourceful skills that makes it hard for me to believe that their isn't something bigger going on with her. On the other hand it’s Aaron that caves into giving Maggie Intel leading them to their version of the radio tower, Grace’s house.

 Note: One of these characters from LOST I mentioned, will have a role on Revolution later this season.

Something else that I had thought over the summer was Bad Robot sometimes uses something like Eastern Philosophy or German Idealism when it comes to plots of violent villains who tend to have spiritual or theological pursuits. There have been a few villains that stand out like Arvin Sloane, Irina Derevko, Prophet Five (Prophecies of Milo Rambaldi), William Bell, David Robert Jones (ZFT Manifesto, The End of Dayers, First People) and even Kurt Hendricks ( Nukes-MI:4) who follow beliefs in creating a better ’brave new world’ through apocalyptic chaos and destruction (something that might be considered backwards logic). But in all of those shows, with the exception of Fringe’s current 2036 pending explanations and conclusions for the current situation, we have yet to actually see someone completely go through with it. It usually get’s averted. Even in Lost, the Island, and humanities ever lasting life (multiple universe/life extension), is saved from the Smoke Monster and Charles Widmore. So in some ways I wonder if this is then looking at something like that from an actual aftermath, and then that Bass Monroe, or someone else, intentionally created this world, for either both political or spiritual beliefs? Aaron seems to think as much! Another thing that points me in this direction , again looking at these bigger Bad Robot villains, is that they are exceptionally complex villains, because they are emotional and sentimental and tend to reflect that of elite intellectuals. At the end of the pilot, when we finally see Bass Monroe receiving Nevilles letter in the current time, his tent was adorned with elegant antiquities, suggesting a personal need to believe himself to be civilized and/or being a big part of [human] history. It’s further explored in the second episode with how Monroe deals with a man who has been captured. IMO Bad Robot has this way, where if you thought one thing was going to go one way, and didn't, then perhaps all you need to do is watch another work that ends up going there, as they continuously seem to find creative and incredibly philosophical ways to explore humanity and it’s pursuits from all sides.

With Rachel Matheson it's unclear if she going to be Irina Derevko-like, or more like Juliet Burke with kids, but I can't wait to find out!

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