Episode 1.07 Writer: Matt Pitts Director: Charles Beeson
THE ONE WHERE Ambushed by a bunch of children, the Matheson gang helps rescue the leader’s kidnapped brother who’s being held aboard a old ship converted into a militia soldier factory.
VERDICT Plenty of plot bombs dropping this episode and some welcome screen time for Elizabeth Mitchell as Charlie and Danny’s mother, Rachel. Miles finds out about the pendant Aaron’s been carrying around and a new character enters looking pretty pivotal to the electricity situation, as we finally get a reveal of the nature of the blackout.
Dodging some militia and running to the aid of a fallen child, Charlie falls for the oldest trick in the book and the gang is ambushed. What initially looks like Revolution’s take on Lord Of The Flies soon becomes a mirror to Charlie’s own plight. The leader of the pointy stick-waving kids has had his brother kidnapped by the militia, and the gang – even Miles – offers to help.
The trail quickly leads them to a “soldier factory” on an old ship converted into a conditioning facility for new recruits in Monroe’s army. Children go in; soldiers come out. It’s a nice touch, using an old ship as a makeshift fortress: sitting bleak and motionless on the horizon it’s an evocative reminder of the need for resourcefulness in the harsh new post electric world.
Randall Flynn of the Department of Defence is a new face, but we have seen his feet before, paying a visit to pendant-carrying computer user Grace before she disappeared. Flashback to a small research unit where Flynn is introduced, talking to now-dead Ben Matheson and his team, including Grace and Rachel. Ben reveals his new invention: a device intended to create clean electricity, but which instead inhibits it, turning it off. Flynn smiles a big evil corporate smile asking if the device can be up-scaled.
“What if they turn it into a weapon?” asks Rachel. After two series of V, Elizabeth Mitchell has burned a lot of television screen time as a character forced to use deceit to survive, and she’s great as Rachel, until now merely popping up at the end of an episode to reveal a twist or just look sad. Here her moral conflicts are played out both in present day and in flashback as Flynn offers a solution to painful pregnancy complications, for high price, which in turn provides insight into her current predicament as hostage to quasi-Nazi Sebastian “Bass” Monroe. It’s a credit to Mitchell that she manages to add variation to Rachel, and play to the strengths of a character who’s constantly manipulated.
Revolution has its wholesome share of angry violent men in uniform and it’s nice to see both Sebastian Monroe and right-hand man Tom Neville in the same room for once. Bass is mad, Tom is scary, and their combined evil stare could break safety glass, but Tom wins with a sinister moment of staring at Rachel while he slowly closes a door behind him, like he’s Dracula’s butler. However he’s not the maddest militant in town this week: that award goes to the amusingly-named Lieutenant Slotnick. A grinning, grimacing sadistic performance by Joshua Cox, who wastes no time in getting down to business, beating up a young boy on a staircase until you can hear the sound of someone eating celery and then branding Charlie with a cattle iron, giving her the Monroe Militia mark. How this will effect her in future episodes, I’m sure we’ll find out. He’s an enjoyably evil character, but there’s only room for two proper mad bastards on this show, so Charlie dispenses him with a sword in the guts.
A cracking episode with a bit of everything. The gang get plenty to do, some of the bigger questions are also answered, which is satisfying but still leaves some plot threads dangling (such as the pendant mysteriously switching a lighthouse on). No Danny or Nate this week, but they aren’t really missed as we head towards a stand-off in Monroeville.
UNFORTUNATE VICTIM OF THE WEEK The unnamed boy and soldier fodder. He only wanted to leave the ship go home, and if he’d run up the stairs and jumped overboard he might have had a chance, but no. He just stood and stared into the sky and got Slotnicked.
MILITIA MOVES The Tom Neville shoulder shift. Militia man Tom likes to show authority with his shoulders. Watch as he addresses people in a threatening way, then keeps his head still, but moves his body to a different position in one smooth motion. It does look cool, but reminds me a bit of RoboCop.
IT’S WOSSISNAME Lieutenant Slotnick is not the only lieutenant to be played by Joshua Cox. He was nice boy Lieutenant Corwin aboard Babylon 5.
BEST LINE: Nora: “They’re just children.” Aaron: “Children of the Corn. What did they do with their parents? Kids freak me out.” Nora: “But in your village weren’t you the teacher?” Aaron:“There weren’t many employment opportunities post blackout.”