Revolution, Season 1, Episode 10: “Nobody’s Fault but Mine”
Written by Monic Owusu-Breen and Matt Pitts
Directed by Frederick E.O. Toye
Airs Mondays at 10 pm (ET) on NBC
Midseason finales are always tricky for a show to pull off. If there’s too much of a reveal, audiences may not be motivated to return when the show makes its comeback, but if the season’s buildup to date doesn’t yield some kind of payoff, audiences may also choose to leave out of frustration. These problems are magnified for rookie shows like Revolution, as well as shows that go for extended midseason breaks, as this show will be back on the air 4 months into the new year. Thus, there was a lot of pressure on the tenth episode to ensure viewers would stay engaged, without giving them too much. Fortunately, the writers delivered, with a thrilling episode that took on many of the show’s strengths and built upon them.
The most fascinating aspect of the episode was the further exploration of the relationship between Miles Matheson and Sebastian Monroe. While the writers have previously given some hints as to how Monroe and Matheson were close prior to, and even following, the blackout, this episode dives a lot deeper into how the two related to each other before Matheson’s assassination attempt. This manages to retroactively add a significant amount of emotional stakes to Miles’ journey this season, as well as providing a better understanding of Monroe’s mental unravelling. It will be interesting to see how much this is pursued down the road, as it’s clear that the dichotomy between Matheson and Monroe is a driving force behind the show. Whether Monroe convinces Matheson to return, or whether Matheson convinces Monroe to turn to the side of good once again, will heavily dictate what direction the show goes in in the future.
It was also nice to see Rachel Matheson get extended scenes. Elizabeth Mitchell more than rose to the occasion, making the reunion scene between Rachel and Charlie an effectively poignant moment. While some episodes earlier in the season fell flat due to their reliance on character moments despite managing to build a proper investment in their plights, Rachel’s reunion with Charlie, and the subsequent agony at being forced to choose between her children manages to be emotionally affecting, and credit for that goes largely to Mitchell. With her escape having been properly executed this episode, the prospect of seeing more of Rachel Matheson is an exciting one, particularly in how she interacts with Mile and Aaron, both of whom she seems to have some prior history with, as well as Nora and the resistance.
Seeing all the major generals of the Monroe Militia once again was also fun. While Neville has been the most prominent so far, Strausser and Jeremy have also been fun to watch, and seeing all of them together in one episode indicated the type of show Revolution could be with time; either a fun look at a conglomeration of villains, or a chilling look at what makes an effective militia, both of which sound like appealing choices. With Strausser’s exit this episode, in a scene which effectively harkened back to Rachel’s shooting of the looter earlier in the season, it will be interesting to see what type of soldier takes his place in the cast, or whether this allows for an increased role for Mark Pellegrino as Jeremy.
However, one major issue with this episode is that the stakes didn’t feel high enough. Despite the fact that this was the first major confrontation between Miles and Monroe, the first time Charlie and Nora attacked the Philadelphia base, and the much-touted electricity amplifier finally being built, there wasn’t much in the way of long-term consequences, outside of Strausser’s death. The entire rebel team escaped relatively unscathed, the fight between Miles and Monroe left neither one severely injured, and Neville, his wife, and Jeremy all escaped relatively unharmed, with Nate/Jason nowhere to be seen. The end result is that the massive buildup felt like it petered out, with a single loss occurring that could have happened in a lesser fight as well. Other than Monroe finally being able to use a helicopter, which was unrelated to the confrontation, there is no indication that either side suffered as a result of this first clash.
Overall, however, this was a solid episode to go into the midseason hiatus with. Neville’s speech to Aaron was an interesting turn on Aaron’s speech to Maggie earlier this season. With Rachel and Aaron’s recognition of each other, the latter’s importance to the show has been effectively recalibrated, as the loss of the pendant had made Aaron’s usefulness to the group somewhat questionable. The story over the past 10 episodes has moved at an unexpectedly brisk pace, with Monroe already having a helicopter in working condition this week, just 10 episodes into the show, which means Revolution has gone from Ben handing the mysterious pendant to Aaron to Monroe harnessing and amplifying its power by the midseason break, which is a commendably quick turn of events that hasn’t felt forced or rushed. How the show fares once it returns from the 4-month hiatus remains to be seen, but there is a lot of promise in the back half of the season, especially with Rachel’s increased role, the potential for more Flynn, and the Monroe Militia helicopters, to eagerly anticipate what the writers have in store.
P.S: Stepping into Revolution’s Mondays at 10 pm timeslot on January 7 will be the Meagan Good and Laz Alonso starring Deception.