If you haven't guessed by the number of times someone yells "Danny!" or "we have to find Danny!", sibling responsibility is a big thing for the show Revolution. And so last night's Nora-centric plot, in which we saw the lengths she'd go to honor her returned sister as well as the moment at which that ends, feels directly in line with that thematic preoccupation. Was it good? I mean… that's really a… who's to say, it's… ummm… But you have to give a show credit for attempting some thematic unity when, for the most part, each episode is just explosion of the week at different mile markers outside Philadelphia. Revolution may rarely be much more than a football player trying hard to deliver a book report, but dammit if it's not trying.
We open on a bridge in FREEPORT, PENNSYLVANIA, 290 miles outside the City of Brotherly Love. With the Monroe Militia having destroyed so many of the area's other bridges, there are few crossing options. Nora barters for their safe passage. And they nearly get it, too… until Miles, hip to the possibility of a trap, orders the gang to retreat. And sure enough, shots ring out, followed by the arrival on the scene of an evil goatee militia man. WE HAVE A NEW BAD GUY, SHEEPLE, named "Strausser" (like "mauser" and of course the Mario villain "Bowser") — the "only guy who ever scared Miles." And there's nothing scarier than being told when someone is very scary!
As the gang debates what to do, Strausser plays one of his cards — Mia, Nora's sister, who he has in captivity. That triggers a series of uninteresting flashbacks, all of which boil down to "we have to protect each other!" without offering much by way of a personalized wrinkle. It's like the producers paid crystal-clear attention to Lost and its storytelling tactics, then decided the only thing bogging it down was too much emphasis on character. Anyway, Nora uses her powers of pyromania to get Mia back, even if it means sicking Strausser (who, it must be said, bears a striking resemblance to David Fincher) on them in the process. But who cares when you're talking about FAMILY.
Mia suggests the gang enlist the help of a "coyote" to help them safely cross the river without using the bridge, which would be great if the coyote hadn't just been murdered. Best laid plans! And credit to the episode's writer(s) for dropping a subtle (enough) reference to current immigration issues, which to a certain extent is the situation our future Revolutionaries find themselves in. "What if all of us are the aliens, or something?" Heady topic to chew on.
Back in Philly, we learn that Neville's son, Jason, was caught asking a local merchant about Strausser's whereabouts. Even if it was probably just to find Charlie, Monroe doesn't take kindly to the intrusion, and has Jason beaten like crazy. Even Neville can't do much of anything to stop it. At least until he rats on a fellow officer, whose son has gotten mixed up in some REBEL stuff. Then the beatings are just shifted around! Quick thought: I understand that on a show like this, the Militia has to be bastards because they're supposed to be bastards. But logically… couldn't they be less so overtly evil? Isn't there a more interesting world to explore in which not all the Philly boys are conflict-craving sociopaths (much as this might be true in Philly). You HBO this thing a little bit, give the bad guys some shading… and Revolution INSTANTLY becomes a more engaging show to watch.
Charlie convinces Nora that she needs to go with her sister to find dad but not before Nora plants a real wet one on Miles. Will they ever see each other again? The first answer is "Yes, definitely," and the second answer is "Like, five minutes from now." Mia, little Lando Calrissian, has sold out Charlie, Miles, and Aaron with the understanding that she and Nora were now safe from Militia. But Nora's not cool with leaving her friends to die at the hands of Strausser. Nor the fact that Mia has handed over the pendant that just last week powered a lighthouse. And so Nora, Wild Card, heads for the woods…
Gunfire rains down on the gang as they're surrounded by Strausser and his men. But no one's dead yet! Having picked up a gun, Nora begins to pick off Militia members one by one. Then, with only Strausser left (wounded and headed for Philly), they all decided to head for the tempestuous rapids. HOW ARE THEY GOING TO GET OUT OF THIS SCRAPE?!
Answer: without too much trouble! Dry on land, they review their situation. The pendant is gone, sure, but they've made it across the river — no small feat. And, more importantly, they still have explosions expert Nora! Life is not so friggin' bad.
Monroe reviews the pendant Strausser hands him, making an unintentional Lord of the Rings reference in the process. "So much fuss for such a little thing," he notes as he ponders the device. You know who originally said that line? BOROMIR, the weak. Then we're off to what's either a nuclear missile silo or the Large Hadron Collider, where Grace (you know, that woman?) talks to the creepy government ops guy who once upon a time creepily talked to Rachel. Are they trying to grab the remaining pendants themselves? Is there a country-wide war for these things that we're only beginning to learn about?
Tune in next week when these answers and more might be revealed, and anyway done so against a backdrop of Led Zeppelin tunes. Forty-two minutes of STAIRWAY, bro!
[Image Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC (2)]