Revolution, Season 1, Episode 11: “The Stand”
Written by Anne Cofell Saunders and Paul Grellong
Directed by Steve Boyum
Airs Mondays at 10 pm (ET) on NBC
Coming back from a four-month hiatus is not easy for any show, and is doubly difficult for a first-season show that has yet to develop a strong loyal following. The chances of people having lost interest in the ensuing months is high, as are the chances that viewers may have simply forgotten running storylines. Such is the dilemma Revolution faced upon its return this week; with the collision of the two primary storylines as Charlie and Miles caught up to Monroe’s camp and were reunited with Rachel and Danny, however, the show’s dynamic promised a change, and the closing moments, showing a helicopter lifting off for the first time in 15 years, further promised a radically different show at the end of the hiatus it was embarking on. This week’s return picks up right where the show left off, managing to deliver a gripping episode that reconfigures the show’s major alliances while offering a glimpse of where things will go from here.
Danny’s death is a very interesting and unexpected turn for the show to take this early. With the first half of the season focused on Charlie’s search for Danny, as well as how he and Neville interacted, the stage was set for the younger Matheson sibling to become an integral part of the show, and a key member for the rebels. Killing him off, however, in such a decisive manner (with the show taking the time to display his dead body to squash any potential “he’s not really dead” rumours as well) further enhances the danger inherent in the world that Revolution has created. One of the show’s strengths has been its ability to stress that no character is really safe, with Danny’s death marking three seemingly major characters taken out abruptly, with only Ben Matheson’s death being marked as possibly predictable out of the three. How the show chooses to maintain this atmosphere of unexpected mortality as it progresses is something worth looking out for.
Jason’s change of heart in light of the Monroe Militia’s harnessing of electricity and the massive advantage it gives them is also a fascinating development. As previous episodes have shown, the idea behind the militia was to restore order to a world that had fallen to chaos after the blackout; however, Monroe’s newfound hunger for power is wildly divergent from the initial goal, and that is bound to cause discomfort among some members of the militia, with Jason being the first clear indication of this source of dissent. Coupled with Miles’ public feud with the group he once ran, there are now two lines of thought that run counter to blind obedience to Monroe, and how this affects his soldiers, as well as Monroe’s leadership style itself, as well as Tom Neville’s quest for power, could end up being a compelling aspect of the show.
Monroe’s alliance with Randall Flynn also holds some promise, as it brings together the two primary antagonists of the show. Flynn’s post-blackout motivations continue to remain murky, and while his reason for isolating Grace and going after all the scientists who worked on the pendants gains some clarity this episode, having him join ranks with Monroe proves he has a longer con in mind, which requires Monroe’s resources. What his endgame is, how Monroe reacts if and when he finds out Flynn’s real story, as well as how the other power-hungry factions of the Monroe Militia react to Flynn’s presence could be engaging.
Overall, this was a solid episode, and a strong return for the show. Re-aligning the chess pieces and redefining the primary purpose of the main characters in terms more concrete than simply taking down an autocratic leader puts this show on a fascinating path. Not having Monroe lose electricity right away also adds to the show’s shifted dynamic, and propels events forward a lot faster than expected by bringing in a clear winner to the show’s primary conflict. How the Matheson family proceeds from here, as well as what Flynn’s ultimate purpose is, where Jason goes from here, and how the other militia leaders, and Monroe’s own soldiers, react to Monroe’s newfound power, are all points worth tuning in for next week.
– Deepayan Sengupta