“Finally, an Aaron flashback episode!” is probably something no one in the country said last night or will say again, but sometimes it’s not so much giving people what they want as telling them what they need. Revolution knows what’s good for you, people, and whether you like emasculation, creepy teenage fetishization, or barely-touched subplots is immaterial. Because DAMMIT, you’re going to get all three!
Two weeks ago Nora thought about blowing up a train, then changed her mind, which resulted in her getting shivved by Frank Lapidus. NOW, in that fustercluck’s wake, she’s dying or something and desperately needs medical attention. Which is 5-6 hours away! Not 30 seconds into the journey, Charlie is already pissy because Aaron suggests “everything is going to be okay.” Nothing is going to be okay, Charlie knows, because everyone in her family is dead, presumed dead, or kidnapped. Actually she has decent reason to be pissy. Cram it, Aaron!
A quick check-in at Monroe headquarters offers the first meeting of Monroe and Danny, two dramatic titans. They have a cheekbone contest until the last two minutes of the show, when Monroe introduces Danny to his captive mother. (She’s no less beautiful, especially in the moonlight.) That’ll do it for that subplot!
Back to Miles, Charlie, et al, who manage to get Nora to her destination — what looks like a southern plantation and is definitely a heroin factory — before she bites it. But the property’s owner, Drexel, is not thrilled to see any of them. “You’ve got a lot of nerve showing your face around here,” Drexel says, showing a lot of nerve by reciting a line that is LITERALLY FROM THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Maybe it was homage? It’s impossible to tell with this show. All that we truly know is the actor playing Drexel totally commits to the role, inhabiting “creepy drug-addicted temporary obstacle” with tremendous ease. Classic unhinged drug lord!
But let’s get back to the meat of the episode, which is discovering why Aaron drinks. Fifteen years ago, the night of the blackout, Hairy Hurley was on top of the world — money AND a hot wife, driving to the airport. That is, before being sideswiped by a runaway truck. Several months later, Mrs. Aaron struggles with dysentary…and is tended to not by Aaron, but by some passerby who’s able to assess her condition with far more ease than her actual husband. Where is a computer when you need one?!
Some gratuitous (not that I’m complaining!) sideboob from Charlie as she dissolves into a warm bath at Drexel’s gives way to a conversation between Drexel and the whole Danny-loving crew. In it, he explains the way Miles’ desertion of the Monroe militia “tainted” everyone associated with the man, including Drexel, in the eyes of his superiors. One way to make it up to him? How about killing the “neighbors” who keep trying to destroy their heroin crop. And how about it being Charlie who does the killing. GASP.
That very feminine GASP came from Aaron, who for whatever reason is very against the idea of Charlie killing even though he’s aware she did it like three weeks ago to procure a gun for Nora. “The world’s not a bunch of pretty postcards,” says Charlie, who just ripped up a bunch of the them in the previous act. WRITING. Then Drexel punches Charlie in the face, which isn’t cool. Aaron gets all heated, coming dangerously close to punching Drexel back before backing down. Those of us who have never seen an episode of television before in our lives ask: At episode’s end, will Aaron ultimately be the one here to save the day? Another flashback in which ineffectual Aaron can only watch as his wife is attacked, then saved by another man is just more food for thought.
Charlie streetwalks her way down the road to the O’Halloran compound, where she is supposed to ingratiate herself before stabbing the party’s leader in the eye (very specific instructions!). Naturally she discovers the O’Hallorans are in fact sweet folk, a family of cops who love their grandkids and just want their daughter, who is now definitely one of Drexel’s prostitutes, back in their arms. They don’t even care that much about the heroin, frankly! Charlie positions herself to strike…
Back at the mansion, Miles and Aaron decide they can’t let Charlie go through with the plan. Miles takes off to stop her, while Aaron… is captured almost immediately. Crazy Drexel brings out Nora, too, and after administering a shot of pure adrenaline a là Pulp Fiction gives them both guns. Which they’re supposed to use to kill each other. Did we forget to mention Drexel is CRAZY?!? So crazy!! Another quick flashback shows Aaron at his lowest point, unable to start a fire for his (understanding, sympathetic) wife. Emasculated. Aaron asks Nora to shoot him — “I can’t help anyone.” When she refuses, he turns the gun on himself. And fires. The number of people who have been shot, killed or otherwise just very badly injured in the first few weeks of this show is frankly staggering!
Of course ensemble star Aaron ISN’T dead — he’d stashed a flask near his heart, stopping the bullet. Then he turns around and straight kills Drexel. “HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW?!” nerds everywhere scream. The best part is how little a fuss Drexel’s former employees put up when Aaron and Nora make to leave. “Dude, whatever — we really didn’t care” seems to be the consensus. Aaron and Nora find their way to Miles and Charlie, who did not kill O’Halloran. Everyone is relieved and happy.
One final flashback, however, reveals the depth of Aaron’s former cowardice. His wife wakes up to husband nowhere beside her. Nearby, a note: “Sorry I couldn’t provide for you.” A wedding ring. Dude…. really, Aaron? You could never figure out how to open a tight jar, or at least nod politely while your wife complains about her friends? Real men the world over have learned to do these things. On the other hand, dramatically speaking, we finally have a subplot worth caring about heading into the second half of the season. “Find Danny” only holds so much interest.
NEXT WEEK: the electricity is back on, looks like. Bizarrely premature series finale? We’ll find out! See you then.
[Image Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC]
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