Revolution, Ep 1.08: “Ties that Bind” gives some much needed backstory to a major character
Revolution, Season 1, Episode 8: “Ties That Bind”
Written by David Rambo and Melissa Glenn
Directed by Guy Norman Bee
Airs Mondays at 10 pm (ET) on NBC
Since Rachel told Monroe about the pendants that turn the power back on, the latter has been on an active hunt to find them. With his seemingly feared yet trusted Sergeant Strausser on the hunt for Miles and Charlie, it seemed inevitable that the travelling group looking for Danny would run into the militia once again, and this time on the militia’s terms, something made more ominously clear by the fact that only one of Rachel’s leads panned out. The anticipated showdown between Strausser and Miles took center stage in this week’s episode, providing a thrilling episode that further develops a new enemy, and shifts a significant amount of power from one group to another.
It was good to see Nora get a flashback of her own this week. Her character development this week has largely been by way of telling rather than showing, with a few notable exceptions where her prowess with explosives has been on display. Meeting her sister and seeing how the aftermath of the blackout shaped Nora, however, provides much better insight into who she is and what drives her. Seeing Nora interact with her sister, both in the show’s present day and following the flashback, also provides some much-needed clarification on why she agreed to go on this trip with Charlie and Miles. Nora’s continued presence had previously seemed tenuous, especially considering her allegiance to the Resistance, as well as her rocky relationship with Miles, but the knowledge of her younger sister sheds a significant amount of light on her loyalty to Charlie. It will be interesting to see if Mia Clayton makes a return appearance later in the show’s run, and which side she’s on at that point, as the character shows promise as a wild card in the fight against the miltia.
The Neville plan to overthrow Sebastian and take over the Monroe Republic is also interesting. The supporting cast of the Monroe Militia is populated by actors who have very effectively taken on villainous roles in other shows (Giancarlo Esposito on Breaking Bad, Mark Pellegrino on Supernatural, and David Meunier on Justified) and that has translated into a lot of Monroe’s underlings coming off as more intimidating than Sebastian himself. It will be interesting to see how a power struggle manifests itself, as Neville will undoubtedly face opposition from soldiers loyal to Monroe, as well as those who will challenge him for the top spot as well, such as Strausser and Baker, the latter of whom may lay claim simply due to seniority. Randall Flynn is also a looming threat that nobody in the army is currently aware of, and the concern that a toppling of the regime will cause troops controlling other parts of the US to storm in in an attempt to capture the Monroe Republic’s geographical area for themselves is one that hasn’t been voiced on the show, but nonetheless remains an option that will need to be addressed at some point.
Overall, this was a strong episode, and the best example of a standalone episode in the show’s run to date. Getting a better sense of Nora as a person was something that was overdue, and getting a glimpse of her backstory in an episode where she didn’t die is a good sign with regards to her longevity on the show. Neville continues to be a compelling character despite being back at the Militia headquarters, and David Meunier manages to infuse the character of Strausser with an effective amount of menace despite little in the way of onscreen acts to back up his reputation. Having Aaron lose Ben’s pendant to Monroe is a very interesting shift, as not only does it add power to Monroe, it also forces Aaron to re-align himself with the group in terms of what his new role will be, and how his previously explored insecurities bubble back to the surface in light of his failure can reveal a lot about him as an individual ad the group as a whole. What angle the show pursues with him now, as well as how Flynn and Monroe end up clashing, is enough reason to tune in next week.