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Revolution 1.16 "The Love Boat" Review: Family and Loyalty Have to Be Earned

    Tonight’s episode of Revolution, “The Love Boat,” written by Melissa Glenn and directed by Charles Beeson, features a classic seventies throw back title from Kripke to the classic television show about a cruise ship that brought couples together. While the episode only brought one couple together in that way – Miles (Billy Burke) and Nora (Daniella Alonso) – love did figure prominently in the plot. I thought tonight’s episode was the strongest one we’ve had in a few episodes, but I also found myself wondering if the pacing has felt a little off because the story arc of the series is a bit skewed from most other television series which are in their final weeks of their seasons. Revolution has four more episodes compared to only one or two, so those series are coming to a climax in their major story arcs while Revolution is just beginning to ramp up to the end.
    Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) reports to the headquarters of the Rebel-Georgia alliance, and Miles is less than happy to see him. In fact, nobody is happy to see him, not even his own son, and Nora and Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) join Miles in wanting to kill Neville. Esposito is his usual joy to watch as Neville faces off with each of the rebels. Neville is completely full of himself when he arrives in Miles’ office, but by the end of the episode, in a nicely mirrored scene, Miles has the upper hand again, and he tells Neville that Foster is more interested in wins than Neville’s hurt pride. Of course, nothing is going to make Neville more dangerous than depriving him of his pride.
    As the episode opens, Miles is drinking fairly heavily and this continues to be a theme throughout the episode. At one point, Neville passes him a flask, which Miles hesitates to take but inevitably does. It made me wonder if Miles had a drinking problem while leading the Militia and Neville knows this is a weakness he can exploit. Miles is clearly not happy about what he is being forced to do. Charlie watches the toll it is taking on Miles as he has one of his former Militia men executed at the outset of the episode. Miles also acts with Neville to bully Dr. Camp (Timothy Busfield) and kidnap his family.
    Charlie, Jason (JD Pardo), and Nora are the champions of family in this episode and are determined to reunite Dr Camp with his family. In a terrific scene, Charlie asks Miles how it’s different to hold Dr. Camp and force him to work for the Republic by threatening his family than what Monroe (David Lyons) did to her mother. Miles justifies himself by saying it’s war. Charlie says she knows what war is and she’s willing to do a lot, but not this. Miles doesn’t deny that the scenarios aren’t different, and he points out to Charlie that he ran away from the Militia to stop being “this guy.” But Miles most importantly tells Charlie that Monroe is coming for him, and he’s obviously feeling guilty about the damage that has already been done to their family.
    In contrast, Neville’s reunion with his son is not really about a loving family. Neville does reach out to offer Jason a truce. Jason knows his father too well, however, and tells him that he knows Neville doesn’t care which side he’s on as long as they are kissing his ass – something Jason clearly refuses to do anymore. Unfortunately, Neville also knows his son and knows his son’s weakness. Neville tells Jason that the only reason he’s with Georgia is because Jason was a traitor. He goes on to tell Jason that his mother almost died in the escape. Jason's weakness, that Neville is more than will to exploit, is that Jason does love his mother. Pardo does an excellent job holding his own in the glaring, intense looks between himself and Esposito.

    In the end, Miles is successful because he is backed up by the love of his family – both blood – Charlie – and ‘adopted’ – Nora and Jason. Neville is taken out by his own son in the rescue attempt. Neville’s cold approach hasn’t earned him the love, respect, or support he needs to win. Neville doesn’t seem to realize that his son turned on him because he didn’t trust or respect him. Jason tells his father that he hates him. Neville is abandoned on the boat, and Miles escapes with the support of his entire family: Charlie, Nora, and Jason, who has become a loyal brother-in-arms. Doctor Camp is only able to escape once he is reunited with his loving family.
    It was nice to see Nora finally get to do something constructive in this episode, and it opens with her getting back to her special bomb-making talent. She points out that she only came with Miles because she thought he’d changed when he came to her to help on the quest to free his nephew, Danny. She also gets Miles to stop drinking at the end of the episode in favor of making love to her. Charlie thanks Miles for letting the Doctor go, and Miles thanks her. Both Nora and Charlie have shown Miles that family can be a support system and not just a weakness to be exploited by his enemies.
    In another nice parallel between our characters, the show focuses on what creates loyalty. Flynn (Colm Feore) expresses concern that Monroe’s actions may have been a bit too extreme lately. He points out that they are trying to neutralize the threat and not create more radicals. Monroe immediately puts Flynn in his place by telling him he is easily replaceable, that he’s just his IT guy.
    Meanwhile, Aaron (Zak Orth) and Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) are struggling to make it to the Tower. Orth and Mitchell also put in outstanding performances in tonight’s episode, and we finally get to see a major indication of why Aaron is so important to the entire plot. We also get to see how far Aaron has come from the timid man in the flashbacks to being able to defend Rachel and even take out one of their attackers. Most importantly, Aaron refuses to leave Rachel after she breaks her leg, even if it puts him in great danger. His loyalty to her is built on their shared history of support not fear or coercion.
    The big reveal in this week’s episode is, of course, the fact that there is a clipping of Aaron, the brilliant MIT student, in Dr Warren’s “spell-book” on the Tower. Somehow Aaron holds the key to figuring out the Tower. Hopefully, this is how Aaron’s superior intelligence is going to come into play. We also get a glimpse of the Tower at the end of the episode when Grace (Maria Howell) finally gets the elevator working. As I suspected in a previous episode, the Tower’s elevator goes down – not up. An underground bunker like this never bodes well. Grace’s guard handcuffs her to her chair and decides to check out what is down on the 12th floor. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get past the 7th when something attacks him. We don’t see the inside of the elevator when it comes back up, but from the amount of blood, it’s clear that the guard didn’t survive the trip. I wonder if the nanites didn’t do it. I also wonder if the nanites can hold cancer at bay and were somehow keeping Danny alive, will Aaron be able to harness them in some way to keep Rachel alive? Because a compound fracture such as she sustained, where the bone is protruding should be incredibly susceptible to a major infection even under the best circumstances.
    What did you think of this week’s episode? What part do you think Aaron will play in the Tower? How long do you think Miles will be able to hold the upper hand with Neville? Is Monroe’s increasing paranoia going to be his undoing? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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