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Revolution 1.17 "The Longest Day" Review: Family is Complicated

    This week’s episode of Revolution, “The Longest Day,” was written by Anne Cofell Saunders and directed by Steve Boyum. Saunders and Boyum last collaborated on the mid-season return episode, “The Stand.” Interestingly, this episode sees the return of the device Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) removed from Danny (Graham Rogers) in that episode. This episode also features a significant firefight and the death of another moderately important character. Boyum does his usual outstanding job of helping his actors deliver emotional and nuanced performances. I did find that the characterizations felt uneven, however.
      Nora (Daniella Alonso) wakes up after sleeping with Miles (Billy Burke), which she’s been trying to do for several episodes, only to be full of regret suddenly. She tells him she sees no future for them other than watching each other die and having made the connection with each other, this will only make the death that much harder. This doesn’t seem particularly consistent with Nora’s character up until this point. It’s possible to explain her seeming change of heart based on how the war is wearing her down, but we’ve seen no evidence of it. Her leading the militia away from Miles to allow him to look for Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) feels like a suicide run – if I die first, I don’t have to watch you die. It was nice to see Alonso actually get something to do for a change.
    As the episode begins, Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) confronts Jason (JD Pardo) about leaving him for the Militia in the last episode. Jason refuses to answer so, Neville tells Jason to shoot him. Pardo and Esposito have some great scenes together in this episode. Jason trying to sacrifice himself so that Nora, Miles, and Tom can save Charlie is a great scene for Pardo, but Esposito once again has one of the most powerful scenes of the episode when he tells Jason that even the most evil person has a line they won’t cross, and his line is letting his only son die. Once again, even though we are supposed to hate Tom, you can’t help but feel sympathy for him and what he’s had to become to survive. He is clearly not the coward he was in the flashbacks to just before the blackout when in the present, he takes a bullet for Jason and barely flinches.
    Charlie and Jason grow closer in this episode, helped along by his risking his life to save hers. I liked them bonding over the shared problematic relationships with their parents. Comparing Charlie/Rachel with Jason/Tom also draws a nice parallel between Rachel and Tom. Both have had to change, adapt, and do ruthless things in order to protect themselves and their families. When Charlie and Jason share a kiss at the end of the episode, Tom sees and does not appear to be particularly happy about the budding relationship.
    I’m finding the uneven characterization of Rachel to be increasingly difficult to overlook. It’s easier to see the different facets of Tom’s character meshing due to his circumstances. The flashbacks in this episode show Rachel going to Miles in order to protect her family. We do see a very different side of both Miles and Rachel. Rachel is willing to sacrifice herself in order to save her family. Miles is a much different and more ruthless leader – Burke’s performance in contrasting what he’s willing to do to his family in the past and what he’s willing to do for his family in the present is excellent.
    Mitchell’s performance doesn’t clearly seem to define Rachel. I’m still suspicious of her, particularly when she is musing that Ben obviously knew something about Aaron’s (Zak Orth) importance. She seems angry that Ben has kept something from her – that he kept Aaron close for all the years and of all the people he could have given the pendant to, he gave it to Aaron. Of course, it makes absolute sense that she not know everything if she was turning herself in to the Militia. Rachel seems much more sympathetic when she realizes that Aaron is not going to leave her. We finally get to see some of Aaron’s mad skills as he cannibalizes some ancient computer equipment to change the programming on nanotech that he’s never even seen before. Rachel explains that the capsule was what kept Danny alive and that you can re-program it to do almost anything. Some of the best effects to date on the show were Rachel’s leg being fixed. Rachel is ruthless in not helping the man who captures them save his son. Aaron is appalled because he thinks their purpose is to help people. Rachel tells him that all she wants is power so that she can kill the man who killed her son. After all that Aaron has done for her, it is chilling as she tells him that she will leave him without hesitation. Going forward is seems likely that Aaron may refuse to help Rachel if what she wants to do is clearly going to harm more people than it will help.
    Meanwhile, David Lyons as Monroe continues to deliver a brilliant performance each week. It’s almost impossible not to feel some sympathy for him as he becomes increasingly isolated and paranoid. I was sad to see Mark Pellegrino’s character, Jeremy, killed as he is always a joy to watch. I was expecting it, of course, as Pellegrino has his own show starting in the fall. It was impossible to tell if he was sincere or not in denying having anything to do with the assassination attempt and the play between Pellegrino and Lyons really made those scenes resonate. It is possible that Jeremy isn’t dead as the gunshot took place off camera – and the age-old rule is no body/ no death – but it seems likely he is dead. Lyons plays the scene perfectly as his eyes fill with tears as he learns he’s just killed his last friend. It doesn’t bode well for Nora who lands at his feet at the end of the episode. Sebastian may have just been tipped completely over into madness.
    The episode does examine what we are willing to do for family through the multiple storylines. Monroe has lost all of his “family.” Rachel has become more ruthless to protect/avenge her family. Neville only finds the good that is left in him for his son. Miles has found his way back to his humanity through his family.
    The episode ends with Nora captured and President Foster (Leslie Hope) telling Miles that if he can’t pull a miracle out of his hat, she is going to surrender to save as many people as she can. Do you think Miles can persuade her not to surrender? Miles and Neville will both be in big trouble if she does – or they will have to escape to another part of the country. What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments below.

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