Monday, May 27, 2013

Episode Review: 1x19 "Children of Men"

Episode Review: 1x19 "Children of Men"

Review of Episode 19: "Children of Men"

by SpoilerTV

This week’s episode of Revolution, “Children of Men,” was written by David Rambo and Jim Barnes and directed by Frederick E. O. Toye. This is the second last episode of the season and things are starting to build to a climax. This episode featured some great lines and action sequences. We also see the world of Revolution expand a bit more through the introduction of some new characters.

This episode felt a bit stronger than some of the recent episodes and had a few really great moments for me. Miles’ (Billy Burke) declaration that it was “Just another Monday” is a typical Kripke shout out to the fact that the show airs on Mondays. My favorite exchange of dialogue was Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) calling Aaron (Zak Orth) “Chubs” and Aaron responding by calling Neville a “Dick.” The blood explosions in the fight in the Tower are a Kripke signature. I also loved the Star Wars: Return of the Jedi shout out as Aaron and company are trying to break into the Tower under a hail of enemy fire. Watching Dr Warren’s book burn, which is also reflected in Aaron’s glasses is a wonderful visual echo of Grace’s (Maria Howell) revelation that turning the power on could result in setting the world on fire and a powerful image to end the episode wit.

Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) once again fails to kill Monroe (David Lyons). The scene with her pulling the pin on the grenade and then letting the soldier wrestle it away from her was bordering on the ridiculous. The show redeemed itself somewhat through Monroe’s insight that she didn’t really want to commit suicide even if she did want him dead. This does make sense. Rachel is a fighter – she’s been fighting for her kids since Danny was born after all. I’ll admit to rolling my eyes when Monroe started confessing to Rachel that he’d just learned he had a son, so now he understood her anger over Danny’s death. Mitchell does a credible job conveying Rachel’s reluctant sympathy for him. In fact, both Mitchell and Lyons deliver powerful performances in the scene. The flashback to Rachel and Ben (Tim Guinee) after the blackout and the parallel of Monroe’s and Rachel’s comments on needing redemption for the blood on their hands – especially from their children is very effective. We see Rachel at her weakest in the flashback and Ben using the children to give her strength – the very thing she is continuing to draw strength from. It’s hard to believe, however, that after years of ruthlessness, Monroe is suddenly going to have a change of heart and overcome his paranoia for a son he’s never seen. Rachel puts Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) ahead of Miles (Billy Burke) when she gives Monroe the gun and trusts him to help save Charlie. He does save Charlie even if Rachel immediately gets Charlie and Aaron captured.

Giancarlo Epsosito delivers yet another great performance. Neville keeps his cool even through getting captured and manipulates the dynamic of fear and suspicion that is festering in the Monroe militia. It’s surprising when Jason (J.D. Pardo) jumps in to support Neville’s bid to win Riley’s (Omid Abtahi) trust. I’d be surprised if Jason is really interested in taking over the Monroe militia, but I’d also be surprised if Neville isn’t going to make a legitimate bid to become the head of the Militia and usurp Monroe’s power if he can. It’s likely that Franklin’s (Ramon Fernandez) grasp on command is weak due to his quick promotion and general distrust of Monroe’s irratic behavior. The question is whether either of them still feels any loyalty to Miles and the Rebels.

The other great villain, Randall Flynn’s (Colm Feore) fate is uncertain. I’ll be really disappointed if they’ve killed off Feore. Feore is a delight to watch as he reacts to Rachel’s gaining access to the Tower when he couldn’t. Randall, of course, knew Rachel before the blackout, which is telling as he says to her, “You never had much self-preservation.” The flashback with Ben and the discussion with Monroe demonstrate that her self-preservation is all about protecting her children – something Randall doesn’t understand. Randall did know about a stairwell at the end of the hall on Level 11, so I’m hoping he made it to the stairwell.

Miles and Nora (Daniella Alonso) have relatively little to do in this episode. We do get to see Nora bring out her mad knife skills again, and once more save Miles’ life. I was once more rolling my eyes as we are left with yet another standoff between Miles and Monroe, however. Upcoming promotional photos would suggest that neither of them is about to pay the price but will leave collateral damage in their wake yet again. With both Miles and Monroe having major plot lines revolving around them, it’s hard to feel a sense of impending doom for either of them which serves to lessen the tension for me.

The last scene of the episode is one of the most powerful. We finally discover who has been using those electromagnetic coil guns to essentially explode people. It was great to see Glenn Morshower join the cast as Dan. His screen credits are too numerous to list, but my favorite roles of his include runs on 24 and The West Wing. Rachel recognizes him immediately, and it quickly becomes clear that the only reason they are still alive is because of Rachel. The flashbacks tell us that Randall had planned a “launch” of some kind and there was some kind of resistance planned for it as Ben and Rachel fight about the pendant. We also see in the flashbacks that Rachel and Ben had been having some difficulties in their relationship. Randall tells Monroe that the Tower is the crown jewel of the US military. In the fifteen years since the blackout, the people in the Tower have dedicated their lives to protecting the Tower from anyone trying to use it because it is too powerful to be in anyone’s hands. Being sequestered and giving up just being able to enjoy the sun would have to make them zealots if they hadn’t started out that way. I suspect their very sacrifice is going to make it difficult for anyone to gain control over the power, even if all they want to do, like Aaron, is some good. The flashbacks and comments by both Dan and Grace indicate that shutting down the power actually saved lives.

Next week marks the season finale. I’m anticipating a fairly major cliffhanger – or two – as Kripke is known for them. He’s put a lot of balls in the air so far this season, but he’s also answered a lot of the questions that were asked at the beginning of the season. It will be interesting to see what Neville does once he has Monroe’s militia at his disposal – and how Monroe responds. Will Monroe join back up with Miles? Will he go looking for his son? What’s the likelihood of Miles and company abandoning their quest to turn the power back on? How likely is it that Dan and company will let them? Lots to look forward to in the upcoming episode. What do you think will happen in the season finale? Let me know in the comments below.