SPOILERS follow. Don’t read if you don’t want to know.
In the tradition of insane megalomaniacs everywhere, Monroe (David Lyons) inexplicably gives the captive Nora (Daniella Alonso) something pretty to wear just before starting in on her heavy-duty torture. After 21 days of nonstop physical and chemical abuse at the hands of the Militia inquisitors, she reveals everything she knows: that Miles (Billy Burke) is in Atlanta, Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) is working with the Rebels, and Rachel is out looking for the Tower in Colorado.
Monroe is understandably miffed that his techie frenemy Randall Flynn (Colm Feore) has never told him anything whatsoever about this Tower of Power, and threatens to pump him full of lead. Flynn quickly bargains for his life by revealing that the Tower holds far greater possibilities for power than what Monroe currently controls. Apparently the Tower has “things that make choppers look like Model-Ts” and “things that the President never even knew about,” and soon Monroe is flitting off to grab all the goodies for himself.
While Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Jason (JD Pardo) discuss leaving Atlanta, he spots an old Militia associate in the crowd and slips off to find out what this guy Billings is doing there. (Is this Monroe’s secret son? Only time will tell. He certainly has the crazy eyes resemblance in his favor.)
Nora is improbably rescued by John Sanborn (ER alum Leland Orser), the scientist/doctor who had been assisting with her torture. Sanborn transports her to the rebel camp, where Nora agonizes over having broken under torture and talked about the Tower. While Charlie and the gang prepare to fly off to find Rachel before Monroe does, Nora insists upon accompanying them, despite the fact that she is suffering from occasional drug-induced hallucinations. Neville also joins Miles, Hudson (Alphas alum Malik Yoba), Jason and Charlie on the mission.
Out in Colorado, Aaron (Zak Orth) and Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) spy upon a newly arrived Monroe and debate what to do next. Rachel gives Aaron the codebook and announces that she plans to kill Monroe, and hopes that Aaron can gain access to the Tower in the ensuing confusion.
Meanwhile, the rebel helicopter lands at an abandoned airfield for refueling, and later the group finds the engine has been disabled and their pilot has had his throat cut. Miles goes looking for what the killer whom he assumes is a local, but later when another red shirt in the party ends up dead, Charlie suspects that it is one of their own doing the killing.
Nora wonders if she has been doing the murders unawares in her drug-addled state, but when Miles finds a knife on Jason their suspicions turn to him. Charlie questions his earlier conversation with that mysterious stranger back in Atlanta, and Jason reveals that Billings made him an offer (that he refused): if he killed Miles he could have anything he wanted. Of course no one believes him, not even Charlie, so Jason flees in the face of Miles’ accusations and threats of harm.
The killer is later revealed to be Hudson, who had agreed to murder the entire rebel rescue party in exchange for the release of his wife now being held hostage by the Militia. (By the way, it really was Miles’ fault that Hudson’s wife was put in danger and became a pawn in all of this. If Miles hadn’t shown up and dragged Hudson off to assist the rebels, then he and his wife would most probably still be living happily ever after.) He and Miles fight, and it is the wrongly accused Jason who ends up shooting Hudson in the back and saving the day. Nora then repairs the helicopter so they can leave.
Now almost as insane as Monroe, Rachel strangles a Militia soldier for his uniform and walks into Monroe’s tent with a live grenade as the episode ends.
Things that didn’t work in this episode:
- Good thing Nora brought her makeup artist, hairdresser and dry cleaner along for touchups between torture sessions, wasn’t it?
- An abandoned airfield with plenty of gasoline just sitting around in tanks after 15 years? I think not.
- Killing off Hudson was just another waste of an excellent actor’s talent. Of course, if they tried killing off the less interesting characters there would be precious few regulars left.
Things that did work in this episode:
- Monroe is getting twitchier, which helps to make him look even crazier. And it distracts from his too-boyish appearance.
- There are many mysterious new characters in the Tower watching Flynn’s failed efforts to gain access. All we see is the backs of their heads for about seven seconds, yet this is still far more interesting than what happens in the entire rest of the episode.
My take: Sometimes I think that Aaron is the only sane one left on his show, because he is the only character who reacts with a normal sense of horror and disgust at Rachel’s increasingly cold-blooded behavior and her tendency to kill whoever stands in her way.
The way this show repeatedly goes off the rails both plot- and logic-wise is like watching a train wreck in slow motion, it’s both painful and fascinating for its unbelievability. I’m still hoping for some sort of epic confrontation once everyone gets to that blasted Tower, but I fear the chances of that are slim.
NBC has announced that Revolution will start airing on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. during its second season, to be followed by Law & Order: SVU and the new Ironside, a reboot of the 1960s detective show. Revolution is being booted off of Mondays by NBC’s latest favorite new pilot, The Blacklist, a crime drama starring James Spader.