Full spoilers in the review below.
It's time for a full on road trip this week, as all three of our groups converge on Colorado for an inevitable showdown at the Tower! Of course before Monroe and his shock troops can pack up their camping gear for a fun weekend jaunt at the old Department of Defense stronghold, they need to torture the information out of Nora over the course of several brutal weeks. In almost Rocky montage fashion (without the 80's power workout music), the breaking of Nora quickly escalates to include mind altering drugs. And we need have no misconceptions, her reluctant surrender of information is inevitable, given the unrestrained methodology of Monroe's men.
Before all of this though, Monroe breaks out the formal wear of civility, attempting to ply the information from Nora using heavy handed kindness. Since this is such a break from his style, I have to imagine that this is in reaction to Jeremy's accusations of violent paranoia. The surface veneer doesn't hold up as Nora spits in Bass' face and he growls in her ear that he gave her the chance to play it easy. This is classic Monroe shifting the blame for his brutality onto others and it shows that he truly hasn't learned anything in murdering his last friend. He thinks he has, but every fool believes himself a genius too.
I'm not surprised, nor disappointed, that Jim turned out to be the traitor. His character has been nothing more than an after thought since the episode they found him in. No emotional investment or bond has been created for the show to shake to the core with this revelation. I even understand and sympathize with his plight. What I am disappointed with is the mishandling of Jason's character. It is true that a full understanding of him is a bit impossible since we've gotten so little of him, but his reactions and behavior during the accusation scene are jarring. I get the impression that he was used as a blank canvas by the writers, who changed him to suit the mystery building needs of this episode. In a successful character driven series this can never work since, by definition, we know and should understand these characters. A great example of it failing spectacularly is the much maligned Black Market episode of Battlestar Galactica, which saw well established series mainstay Apollo acting well outside of what had come before. It fails here too, but at least it's likely out the kibosh on having to watch more teen romance drama between Jason and Charlie.
The abandoned military base which Miles' group is forced to land at had awesome atmosphere. As an abandoned structure in a desert environment, it strongly recalled classic Fallout. Still it was odd for Charlie to be the character to chime in about the land's inability to support life; she's never been out of the east/north east before.
At the Tower itself Randall has been locked out of his own clubhouse. By whom we aren't quite certain. There was a very creepy Children of the Corn vibe running through the quick shot of mysterious people staring at the security camera monitors. Zombies seem less likely now; perhaps they're the children of Tower survivors and they murdered all of the adults. A Lord of the Flies scenario would be most likely if that happened. I'm not going to lie, I'm still hoping for nano zombies that Aaron can reprogram into his own army (though with his morals he likely wouldn't).
Only a character on Revolution could walk into Monroe's tent with a hand grenade and yet fail to assassinate him. Lucky for Monroe that he just happened to be meeting with his beefiest meat shield of a secondary. The preview for next week spoiled that he survives (and that Beef McManshield likely took the brunt of the blast). We don't know what happens to Rachel and I'm anxious to see if she truly does have Wolverine levels of healing ability thanks to the nanites. Thematically that may not completely fit this setting, and it turns her into a terminator- an unstoppable killing machine sworn to vengeance.
Overall this was a decent but not good or great episode. A compellingly choreographed fist fit between Miles and Jim would have gone a long way toward improving its score, but alas it was a dizzying mess of seizure inducing camera cuts. I would have awarded bonus points if Neville has made them listen to more Lionel Richie during the chopper ride, but no such luck. Having burned their only spare episode before the end of the season, I have to imagine that the remaining ones will be dynamite, but you never can tell with Revolution.
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.