Note: Do not read on if you haven't seen Season 1, Episode 12 of NBC's "Revolution," titled "Ghosts."
In a post-apocalyptic world everything centers around ... a tower? Is this show a part of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series? "Revolution" started revealing some of its secrets this week, including the man who gave the order that triggered the blackout. That man is one Randall Flagg --er, sorry, Randall Flynn. Got Stephen King on the brain, but that's the show's fault, too. They had a blatant reference to "The Stand" -- also the name of last week's episode -- in a library scene in the episode. The horror master is clearly an influence on the series.
After the explosive confrontation with Monroe's helicopters, this week saw both sides regrouping and planning ahead. That meant Miles stepping up in a leadership role, after he basically slammed the current resistance leadership as a bunch of losers. He was so unimpressed with them in fact that he even demanded he bring in his own men to run it -- men he'd been in charge of back when he was working on Monroe's side. Unfortunately, Miles proved he could still bring chaos and ruin in his wake when he went and visited one of his soldiers.
Jim Hudson had created a new life for himself, along with a new name. He was married and shilling those Stephen King books in a town library. Everything was great, until Miles came to recruit him. A militia kill squad followed Miles and the ensuing battle outed Jim to his wife Sophie. Horrified by what he was, she rejected him. So Miles got his way because Jim had no other choice. Great recruitment technique there. Instead of "How to Make Friends and Influence People," Miles subscribes to "How to Destroy Lives and Piss People Off."
I'm not sure I buy that Jim would join up with Miles after that, though. Sure, Miles ruined his relationship with Sophie, but he had one two-sentence conversation with her. He's ready to just walk away from her after that? What about trying and fighting for the one you love? Instead, he'd abandon his life to go with the man who took it away? He must really hate Monroe! Or the writers just needed him in the resistance and didn't have any more time to waste on plausibility.
Meanwhile, Charlie spent the bulk of the hour lashing out at Rachel. She was mad that Danny was dead and that Rachel had abandoned them. She was even going out and getting recklessly violent. This isn't the doe-eyed Charlie of the first half of the season. This is badass Charlie who will stab you in the neck with an arrow. At least she cried at the end of the episode to prove that she was still a human being. I'm glad to see Charlie as an effective member of the team, but her heart and humanity was essential to the show. She represented hope in a very bleak world. Hopefully, she'll find her way out of the darkness.
Randall Flynn revealed to Monroe that he could activate the pendants and then track them, so he was able to find the two Rachel had, thus leading him to the rebel's Echo Base in an abandoned hospital. Randall even got to capture Rachel and gloat for a second before Charlie helped facilitate her mother's escape. He said he loved this post-electricity life, telling her he wants to make a better, safer world and that he wants to keep the power off.
Turns out Randall and Rachel go way back. He used to be Randall Flynn, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Defense, where Rachel worked. And it turns out Randall was the guy who gave the order to trigger the virus that shut down the power. He did so despite Rachel's protestations that they weren't ready, so presumably things didn't go quite as intended with the virus.
In this new world he created, Randall was the first person to stand up to Monroe in a long time. He told Monroe he could get him more pendants and build him more amplifiers. He chose to give Monroe this power, but he wanted to make sure his new ally knew who really had control.
"Honestly I couldn't make up my mind," Randall told Monroe. "Whether you were worthy, or had your head deep up your own ass." Monroe's wicked smile showed that he so badly wanted to kill Randall in that moment. He's definitely cut from the same cloth as both Monroe and Tom, and there's already friction between those latter two. This personality type doesn't usually play well with others.
With Randall in the picture, where does that leave poor Tom? He clearly didn't like being neutered by Monroe, and his absence only weakens the show. Randall seems to be a fine addition to the roster of evil, but I'm still rooting for Tom to kill Monroe and take over. Tom and Randall feel like a much more menacing duo to me than Monroe, who's more creepy than terrifying. I'm still haunted by that smile.
When Aaron confronted Rachel at the end of the episode, demanding to know everything she knew, it raised an interesting question: Why the hell is she still keeping all these secrets? She should be telling anyone who's against Monroe everything she knows. Does she think she needs leverage, or is she so used to keeping her mouth shut after all those years under Monroe's thumb that she's forgotten how to open up?
Rachel telling Aaron, "You don't want to know," was easily one of the stupidest lines in the episode. First of all, it's such a tired response, I actually groaned when she said it. Second, she clearly had no conviction in it as she almost immediately changed her mind. So Rachel's going to tell Aaron everything she knows. What about the rest of the group? How about us at home? We'd like to know, too.
- Giancarlo Esposito is a brilliant actor, but he was relegated to a whiny puppy dog this episode. "Why can't I go get Rachel and the medallions?" he lamented. "You never let me do anything! I'm never eating again! I hate you!" OK, maybe I'm paraphrasing a little, but he deserves better.
- Miles said, "Believe me. I know." Rachel said, "You don't want to know." Can we retire these tired phrases, please!
- Rachel clearly had no faith in their ability to escape from Randall, seeing as she destroyed the pendants. But then they escaped. What a waste. Also, wouldn't taking them apart stop Randall's ability to track them, too? Can he turn on a flash drive? Seems unlikely.
- Charlie rejects Rachel's affection, goes out and gets reckless, lashed out verbally, gets slapped, apologizes and they hug it out. This reconciliation arc was too by-the-book, much like the Danny hero arc last week. Come on, "Revolution" -- mix it up! Throw away the book and get innovative!
- "We are killers, Jim." After this line from Miles, Jim's wife said, "Who's Jim?" She never asked about the killer part. You'd think that one would at least get a question.
- Miles gets the best lines -- or is that the worst lines:
- "Look, i'm fighting for your stupid rebels. What more do you want from me?"
- "Guys like us can't have that. You care about somebody, you're just gonna let 'em down. Or worse, get 'em killed. Believe me. I know."
- "Look at me. I'm with the rebels now. God bless America."
"Revolution" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.