Despite a thoroughly weak season overall, the final ten minutes of Revolution‘s uneven season finale offered hope that the second season will be, if not better, then at least stronger and more intriguing. I’m going to talk about why in a moment, but I’m going to get the beginning half hour out of the way first.
After a strange, somewhat nonsensical music video-like “Previously on…”, the episode picked up right where we last saw Miles and Monroe: aiming guns at one another. The two spend a brief moment debating whether or not to attack the other before the tower inhabitants arrive and start attacking. After some eye action from Miles and affirming head noddage from Monroe, the two team up and begin to shoot at their mutual enemies. The two plus Nora run, and, despite being tortured and almost killed at his hands for a month, Nora makes absolutely no argument or move against Monroe. You’d think she’d take advantage of such an opportunity, but no. The trio wide up at the tower’s water supply and end up getting separated in the water after the tower inhabitants shoot down their exit bridge.
Meanwhile, Aaron, Charlie and Rachel are still with Grace and the man whose name I’ve already forgotten. Grace still refuses to allow Rachel to turn the power back on, because a “one in a billion” chance of the world exploding is just too dangerous. Not kidding. There is literally a ONE IN A BILLION CHANCE of, as Aaron calls them, the “machines sucking up energy” destroying the planet. Way to dumb down the science while simultaneously removing all stakes, Revolution. The man in charge proceeds to inform Rachel and co. that Miles has left the building and threaten to murder Aaron, Rachel and Charlie if they go anywhere near level 12.
Back at Camp Militia, Neville approaches the reluctant major who refuses to turn on Monroe. After informing the major that, unlike Monroe, Neville is neither “brutal nor capricious” (both of which are so, so untrue), Neville tells the man he’ll set him free. I’m not sure why Neville even wasted his time with this little spiel, because he immediately picks up the man’s gun, shoots a few bullets through the tent, and then shoots the major. When Neville’s son (whose name I still can’t remember after 20 episodes) rushes in, Neville informs him that he shot the man in self-defense.
Miles wakes up on a beach with Monroe hovering over him. The two resume their feud and fistfight on the beach until a turned militiaman attacks them. After ignoring Monroe’s orders to stand down, the militiaman runs and Miles escapes.
Cue a flashback that’s slightly-less worthless than usual: Ten years post-blackout, Miles and Monroe are celebrating Miles’s birthday by reminiscing about past birthdays involving one-legged strippers and dodge ball when a rebel bomb goes off and knocks the pair to the ground.
Present day, Aaron is snooping on Grace’s computer when he discovers code he wrote as a student at MIT. Grace informs him that he wrote the tower’s operating system and asks, “Why do you think Ben found you in the first place?”
Neville wants to storm the tower, but his rightfully-suspicious son confronts him about how quickly he changes sides. Neville side-steps this by telling his son he needs his help and promising to keep Charlie and Rachel alive. Their tense conversation is interrupted by a sentry arriving with news of Monroe’s location.
After telling Grace about Danny’s birth in an attempt to bring Grace to her side, Rachel attacks an unmoving Grace with chloroform and steals her key card. Speaking of key cards, earlier in the episode Randall retrieved a spare key card hidden behind a photograph of President Bush. This will be important later.
As Miles wanders through the woods, we get our second flashback of the episode. Nora sits at an injured Miles’s beside and Monroe comes in. The trio watch from the window as five caskets are loaded onto a truck, and Miles is surprised by how many rebels attacked them. Monroe is quick to correct him: only one bomber attacked, and the remaining four caskets contain the rebel’s wife and children. Monroe plans to use the bomber as an example, and his brutality clearly shocks both Nora and Miles.
Monroe finds Miles in the woods and attacks him. Miles simply knocks Monroe to the ground and continues walking. Honestly, I am so sick of this feud. Kiss and make up already, or kill each other and be done with it. I don’t care, I just want them to MOVE ON. Thankfully, a helicopter arrives and shoots at the pair.
After Aaron revealed a backdoor he’d written into the code, he, Rachel, Charlie and Nora head to level 12. Nora and Rachel share a conversation in the hallway about Miles, and how he’s still in love with Rachel, etc., etc. I’d write more about this conversation, but I zoned out during almost all of it. Wasn’t Rachel and Miles’s past relationship only briefly established and touched upon a few episodes ago? Are we really supposed to care about this?
Anyway, a handcuffed Monroe is brought to Neville’s tent and dropped at his feet. Neville smugly greets Monroe by saying, “General. There’s been a change in management.” Snort. Monroe stupidly threatens Neville whilst handcuffed, but Neville only laughs at him and mentions Monroe’s strange fixation with Miles. Then Neville refuses Monroe’s pleas to simply kill him. He wants to have at least a semblance of a fair trial before Monroe’s execution, because he’d like to inspire the troops rather than frighten them, as Monroe did. Good luck, Neville.
Inside the tower, Nora attacks approaching tower inhabitants by tossing a fire extinguisher at them. The extinguisher is hit by gunfire and explodes, which somehow successfully cleared the hallway. Unfortunately, Nora took a fatal bullet to the gut.
After stabbing the tent’s guard, Miles approaches Monroe and cuts him free. He then tells Monroe he can’t kill him because they’re “still brothers.” Seriously, Miles? MONROE IS A MONSTER AND A VILLAIN. And not even a good one! Ugh, anyway. Miles tells Monroe to run and proceeds to call the guards. He uses the diversion to slip into the tower via the hole the militia had blown into the tower’s side.
While Charlie and Aaron frantically try to help a dying Nora, Rachel wants to abandon her and keep heading for level 12. Charlie tries to stop her mother and appeal to her humanity, but Rachel doesn’t really give a damn about Nora and ignores her daughter. She wants to turn the power on for Danny, so his life and death will have meant something. Rachel grabs Aaron and the two leave.
After hearing Nora cry out in the pain, a guard easily bursts down the door Charlie had locked and attacks. Miles arrives just in time and stabs the guard in the neck. It’s nice to see Charlie, who the show has been trying and failing spectacularly to turn into a badass, still needs saving. Charlie, you’re hopeless. Please change. Nora tells Miles to go after Rachel, but he refuses to leave Nora. However, Nora dies in Miles’s arms as the trio try to get her to safety. Bye, Nora. I guess it was nice knowing you? I don’t know. I had no particular feelings about her death.
The militia meet Rachel and Aaron on the way to level 12, and Neville makes good on his promise not to kill Rachel. However, their hostile meeting is quickly cut short by Charlie and Miles’s arrival. Gunfire ensues, and the four escape inside level 12.
Neville wants the militia to blow down the door and kill everyone inside despite the promise he made to his son (God, what is his name? I could look it up, but I just don’t care enough). Aaron types in his backdoor code, but hesitates before hitting the key to authorize. Seriously, zero stakes here. A one in a billion chance is so absurdly ridiculous–couldn’t Revolution have made the threat a little more, I don’t know, threatening? Actually, I still wouldn’t have believed them, because a show threatening to destroy the whole planet along with its entire cast is no threat whatsoever (unless we’re talking Game of Thrones, but unfortunately we’re not). Aaron hits the authorization key, and the screen goes black.
At first, I thought this would’ve been a great place to end the season. It would’ve been reminiscent of Lost‘s fifth season finale, when (incoming Lost spoilers) Juliet detonated the bomb and everything went white, leaving the fate of the castaways up in the air. However, after seeing the final 8 or so minutes, I was glad they chose not to.
We got a shot of lights flickering on around the planet, and then brief glimpses of past character’s reactions to the lights returning, including Neville’s wife and the current president, who immediately commanded her men their machinery for war. The fleeing Monroe paused in the middle of a field to watch a sudden, furious lightning storm, which, I can’t lie, made for a pretty visual. But the best part happened back at level 12. Randall, who spent the whole season being sidelined by Monroe, revealed himself to be a far-cleverer character than any one else on the show. While everyone else wasted their energy attacking each other, Randall quietly initiated his own undercover plan. He locked Aaron, Charlie, Miles and Rachel in one of level 12’s rooms, away from the computers, and proceeded to override the system and launch missiles at Atlanta and Philadelphia while our heroes watched helplessly behind bullet-proof glass. As the missiles sped toward their targets, Randall informed Rachel that all he wanted to do was expedite the war and join what remained of the country together. He was a patriot, after all, and wanted peace. Just as I was marveling about how genuinely intriguing a villain Randall would be, he shot himself in the head. The last scene of the season took place on Guantanamo Bay, where the actual president from before the blackout (!!!) was hiding out. One of his men informed him that Randall had been successful in his mission, and the president (whose face we never saw) told his man to prepare for their return to the U.S.
Honestly, I planned on dropping Revolution from my viewing schedule next season, but I can’t lie–after that last scene, I’m interested enough to at least watch the season 2 premiere. Who knows, maybe season 2 will actually be good! (I’m not getting my hopes up.)