05/14/2013 07:43 pm ET Updated Jul 14, 2013

'Revolution' Recap: Monroe On The Cusp Of Victory


Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 1, Episode 17 of NBC's "Revolution," titled "The Longest Day."

This week, Monroe proved just how technology could turn the war around. With one air strike against the rebel base, he turned the tide of the war completely. And yet, as his last remaining friend and ally Jeremy told him, Monroe is likely to enjoy his victory alone.

We already know he's a sadistic bastard, but his paranoia truly got the best of him this week. After their victorious bombing of Miles and company, Jeremy wanted his buddy to join him and the other men for a drink. It would be a great morale boost, he figured, and he finally convinced Monroe to come along. On the way, though, they found themselves in sniper fire.

Monroe decided that it was all a little convenient, which must mean that Jeremy was behind the attack. Jeremy told Monroe that it was his paranoia that drove Miles and everyone else away. Then, Monroe proved him right by having him shot. Raise your hand if you were surprised to find out later that Jeremy was innocent. If your hand is raised, I'll assume this is your first experience with fiction?

Besides, Monroe won't be alone in the end. He'll have Randall Flynn, who we sadly didn't see this week. It doesn't seem likely Mr. Flynn will be so easily dispatched, and yet, ironically, it seems clear that Randall does have an agenda outside of just being a good soldier and falling into whatever line Monroe points to.

After a stellar outing last week that was basically a standalone episode, this week's installment turned back to the main storylines. After the bombing, Monroe sent virtually his entire army in to take out the rebels. At the end of the episode, the whole gang was regrouping in Atlanta. There, the president of Georgia told Miles that she'd lost half of her men, and unless he had a great idea up his sleeve, she was probably going to surrender. Maybe Charlie can go after Monroe with spunk. I bet he hates spunk.

Despite being a "mythology" episode, to borrow from "The X-Files," this episode wasn't as strong as last week's standalone story -- though still greatly improved on much of the mid-season installments as the show nears its season finale. Nevertheless, the characters didn't resonate quite as true this week. It's as if the writers and producers can't handle servicing the arc and the characters at the same time. Rather than let the characters breathe and live as they've developed within the show, they're stretched and pulled around to serve the narrative.

That's why Nora and Miles were suddenly more concerned about not wanting to watch each other die and their feelings for one another than doing the job of saving Charlie after the watchtower she was in collapsed. Sure they had sex, but these are professional soldiers. Would they really get all touchy-feely while under heavy fire all of a sudden? The writers knew Nora was going to get captured by Monroe's men, so they forced this deeper romantic connection to try and manipulate our emotions with their inevitable separation.

The cliche monster reared its ugly head again in the end of the episode when Jason woke up back in Atlanta in a hospital bed. Charlie was there and they kissed -- their entire relationship to this point apparently happened off-camera. The kiss, though, happened so Tom could walk up and see it. It was all a little too obvious and transparent.

Tom and Jason have a very complex relationship because they're father and son and yet, they basically hate each another. When Jason turned up missing after the attack earlier in the episode, Tom reluctantly went along to save him, citing that Jason's mother would kill him if he let anything happen to their son. Despite himself, though, it was Tom who was concerned. He may want to hate his son, but he still loves him. He proved it later when he helped save Jason's life, even taking a bullet for the badly injured young man at one point.

The final big relationship spotlight came between Rachel and Aaron. We finally learned that the device that she pulled out of Danny was powerful enough to physically repair the human body in basically any way possible. This meant it could fix her leg completely. And it was also its own power source, apparently. Using parts in a computer store, Aaron programmed it and then jammed it into her leg, where it healed her.

A desperate father watched her leg heal and took them hostage to his home in hopes they could save his son. Rachel lied and said they could, but instead knocked the father out when he took them back to the computer shop. Aaron pleaded, but Rachel proved she's just as calculating, obsessed and cold-hearted as Monroe. She's hardened beyond humanity. In fact, she never looked more like a villain than she did in that scene.

Aaron believed they could help this other man's son, and asked if Rachel was willing to let another family's son die so she could get vengeance for the death of her son. In response, she threatened to leave him there. The only difference between her and Monroe at this point is that she didn't just kill him. The difference between her and the Miles we saw holding her captive in this week's flashbacks? Well, there doesn't really appear to be one. And that makes Rachel easily one of the most compelling -- and disturbing -- characters on the show.

"What makes you think I'm in it to help people," she told Aaron while standing over the unconscious body of the desperate father. "I want to kill the man who killed my son. That's it."

Once the power comes back on -- assuming that's where we're going, and it may not be -- she'll turn her obsessive focus on killing Monroe. But where does that drive go once she takes care of Monroe? She doesn't appear to have an endgame after she gets her revenge. She already told her daughter she'd never see her again. Rachel has no intention of simply going home and getting on with her life once her mission is over. Maybe she'll decide she knows how to fix and run the world best. She's already been dismissive of Aaron's intellect and value at every turn. If she can dismiss a friend so easily, how easy would it be to dismiss the value of everyone else?

"Revolution" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.