Revolution, Season 2, Episode 22: “Declaration of Independence”
Written by Rockne S. O’Bannon & Paul Grellong
Directed by Charles Beeson
Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on NBC
So much for our heroes getting stranded miles away from the scene of a genocide then. Despite our belief that Miles and the gang were far away from the room where Truman is about to pour mustard gas onto unwitting Willoughby residents and the Texas president, the crew uses its cunning (and a steam train, presumably) to make it back and derail Truman’s plan. This gives us one of the best one-two punches of the finale: Miles throwing down the very last spit of swordplay we’ll get from this series, and one more classic, resigned Milesism: “Run, you idiots,” he implores to the masses gathered to hear from the Texas and U.S. presidents, while firing a rifle in the air.
Billy Burke getting another showcase for his wonderful charisma is one of the high points of this decent conclusion to an up-and-down series. The big set piece with the Matheson crew fending off Patriots on horseback is a neat visual, and the tense showdown between Monroe and Connor adds a dollop of pathos (David Lyons, in particular, plays some excellent beats as he speaks of Miles regaining his faith in Monroe). Not much is horribly wrong with this conclusion, merely a sense that matters might have turned out a touch more exciting.
The aforementioned mustard-gas-genocide-avoiding operation is pretty much for nothing, as Truman kills the Texas president and the Texas Rangers (the last of whom hilariously stand around and let him execute their cohorts one at a time) before wounding himself and President Davis and pinning the blame on Miles, Monroe, and California. That pushes Texas into a war with California, with the aim of the Patriots storming in to clean up what’s left of the troops on either side and assuming control of the country once more.
The climactic showdown between the Mathesons and President Jack Davis plays out rather drably, with a supposed Patriot rescue operation giving Davis enough confidence to voice some of his dastardly plans, with the Texas Rangers General within earshot. It’s a lazy, clunky conclusion to the season-long tussle that falls completely flat, aside from the subtext of the national security versus truth debate that pervades the political conscience today.
As for Priscilla shaking out of her nano-induced waking coma and returning to the real world? Well, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Using electricity as a weapon against a technology that stores all of the planet’s electricity seems somewhat moot. It’s like a Pokemon using an electrical attack against Pikachu. It’s highly ineffective! Secondly, it’s incredibly dull to have one character scream “Wake up! Wake up!” over and over to a loved one absent from their own consciousness. The Power of Aaron’s Voice is strong enough to let Priscilla shake off the nano that’s controlled her for weeks now, but it’s woefully uninteresting and gives Aaron a disappointing resolution to his story.
We also learn from Priscilla what the nano’s plans are, which is exactly what we learned last week, albeit with the twist of the nano moving on to new human partners to achieve its goals: Truman, Davis, and Neville. How exactly Neville would work with Davis will have to remain a curiosity, since we’ll never get to find out. It’s slightly worrying that our final moments with Revolution lie in the Idaho town the nano is sending those three men towards. It points to a hypothetical season 3 where the show would get its wish of becoming what it wanted to be all along: a network version of The Walking Dead, albeit with mindless “zombies” controlled by the nano, bright lights, and an ice cream store with a neon clown sign.
The future that we’ll never see also promises a war between Texas and the Patriots that Texas will win easily, because its army outnumbers the Patriots four-to-one (which is maddening, because if that was the case all along, Texas could easily have snuffed the Patriots out of existence). Monroe and Connor remain apart, broken by their disagreement on how to reform the Republic. Charlie is… Charlie, and will likely be moping around for eternity. And then there’s Miles and Rachel, who have Charlie’s blessing to give their relationship a real shot while dancing all over Charlie’s father’s grave.
And so we bid adieu to a largely enjoyable, frequently maddening show. Revolution had a fantastic premise and a launching pad to tell all manner of fascinating stories, but frequently found itself mired in family melodrama. It never got better than Aaron destroying people with fire using his mind, but the second season is far superior to the first. It’s sad that the show is ending in the midst of an overall upswing, but if it frees up the likes of Giancarlo Esposito to move to a less restricting role on another show, then at least there’s a silver lining to this grey, electricity-free cloud.