Revolution, Season 2, Episode 16: “Exposition Boulevard”
Written by David Rambo & Trey Callaway
Directed by Nick Copus
Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on NBC
Children are the key to the future, so it makes complete sense for the Patriots to get every teen in the land through their boot camps and brainwash them into fighting for the United States. It’s both a form of population control and a way to bolster the ranks.
Charlie and the Monroes are back in the Willoughby area with Charlie’s new gang in tow. While taking down the Patriots is a major goal, there are more pressing concerns. Namely, the Nevilles coming for Bass’s head and the threat of the boot camp and he soldiers it may produce. The bulk of the story focuses on the latter, with Bass and Miles ensnaring a couple of would-be teen trackers trying to hunt them down.
It’s surprising to find that the teens willingly enlisted for the Patriots cause, and there’s a mild shock moment when the female recruit blasts a hole in her dad’s torso. The eyelid tattoos are a neat trigger for the young combatants: it’s on their person at all times and all a superior officer needs to do is to read out the number to have them under command. It’s a terrifying prospect, and one that Jason is about to suffer through.
Survival is the domain of the young. The fit and the strong will survive more easily than the old and weak. It could be that the teens who are joining the Patriots are doing so to ensure their own survival, but there’s a terrible price to pay, both in terms of their own wellbeing and for that of the rest of the post-blackout world.
What the youngsters who are fighting for the United States probably don’t realize is that they’re not fighting for the land of hope and glory their parents knew. Instead, they’re battling to reshape the continent under the oppressive values of the Patriots. We learn through the exposition of the flashback that President Davis came to power (albeit in absentia) through a coup. It’s been clear for a while the the Patriots are no good, but the pugnacious president is perhaps even more devious than we might have imagined.
Back in Willoughby, there’s plenty of friction between the alpha males, with Monroe having no problem killing kids if necessary and Miles not quite so sure that’s the best approach. Rachel admits it would be smarter to kill the children than let them go, so it raises some interesting questions about the morality of war. Do you kill brainwashed teens to maintain a tactical advantage? Miles is on the fence, and lack of direction this season finally comes to a head as he can’t honestly answer a straightforward question about what he wants. The character has a little more added complexity: between his deepening feelings toward Rachel and Charlie and his impulse to fight, he’s not sure what he wants.
Lastly, the final scene clears up makes it clear life is murkier than Aaron might have hoped coming out of last week’s barnstormer episode. Just when he thought his marriage was working again and he was merrily on his way back to see his friends, we find out that the nanotach has its hooks in Priscilla. Is she alive? Is she real? Is everything we’ve seen with Aaron since he left Willoughby actually happening? What might seem real to Aaron may prove to be the nanites infecting his mind and keeping him trapped in his head from the moment he left Miles et al. Just what is his actual reality?
It’s a solid episode that falls back into old routines after last week’s out-of-the-box extravaganza. Thankfully, there’s almost a moratorium on characters being in custody (not counting the kids). The road ahead is clearly paved with blood, but it remains to be seen whether the kids will be in the firing line.