It's rather fitting that one week after I asked in a poll who your favorite Revolution
character was, we'd get an entire episode basically dedicated to the life and crimes of who I found to be the surprising runaway winner.
Sebastian Monroe garnered 43% of the total vote, with Miles Matheson coming in a distant second at 30%. It's strange that we would be rooting for the most ruthless killer on the show, but then again, even I find myself hoping something or someone will interfere after Dr. Gene Porter says it's an honor to be the executioner.
Still, "Dead Man Walking" is easily the best episode of the season thus far, and even though it's a bit shocking to see Monroe actually "die" (more on that later), his character is quite underrated in its unexpected depth.
The Evolution of a Raging Despotic Murderer
I feel like it's important to give actor David Lyons props here for his portrayal of Monroe, who, despite the fact that he is a vicious, heartless and wanting killer, still somehow maintains a thread of humanity that makes him somehow likable. I mean, from everything we've seen of him in 26 episodes, he's done very little outside of saving Charlie (which served his own self-interest) that could be considered noble.
But yet we're still behind him, hoping for a redemption that he's probably not capable of. Personally, I think it's the steel blue eyes and rugged facial hair. I'm assuming showers aren't as important in a post-apocalyptic electric-less future, and women appreciate that "man" smell. Not the kind Aaron produces, though. No one likes funky beard with bits of leftovers. Sorry, new Jesus.
As for the plot points, Monroe is captured by a combination of Patriots and Rangers despite his and Miles' best efforts to blame the murder of Texas Secretary of the Interior John Franklin Fry on the Pats.
And just to show how much of an effing lunatic Monroe actually is, he fights back against seven shotguns to the face, even though he's dazed from a grenade blast and armed only with the knife he was using to help cook the rat or bird or whatever he rustled up outside his hiding place.
They could have just shot him, but Texas loves its public spectacles of justice, so it's execution time!
Join the Dark Side
It's amazing what a man thinks about when he's sitting inside a box about to be put to death, and for Monroe, it's all about self-reflection. We flash back to three years after the blackout, when Miles is apparently the do-what-it-takes-to-survive lunatic pressing to raid a nearby camp to steal food, cattle and supplies. But Monroe is happily in love and an expecting father, so he tells Miles to find himself a woman and get over his rage.
All is well in Monroeville, until of course his wife/girlfriend suffers complications during birth. Miles and camp stranger Tom Neville rush to get water and towels, but they are too late and both mom and newborn are lost. A despondent Monroe reacts by raiding the village, murdering everyone and stealing everything not tied down. Though I expect, with a lack of survivors, they actually could have taken the time to untie and steal those things too. Like the Grinch stealing the last piece of tinsel.
Thus the transformation from loving and rational partner to dead-inside murderer is set in motion, much to Miles' chagrin. You're a mean one, Mr. Monroe.
The Bank Vault to the Past
Miles has a plan with Charlie to break Monroe out of jail, because with "the Rangers dry-humping the Patriots," they need him now more than ever. But Rachel's love of her daughter prompts her to interfere, and she tips off the US government about a possible jailbreak. Monroe is moved to a vault inside the bank, and Miles realizes the rescue is a fool's errand and backs off.
That is, of course, until Monroe uses his last dying wish to summon Miles.
Monroe has two deathbed requests. The first is an easy handshake and hearty goodbye, because at the end of the day, they are still and always will be besties. The second is a bit trickier. Monroe wants Miles to track down and raise the son he had with Miles' first love, Emma, who I vaguely remember was in one or two episodes before meeting an untimely crossfire demise last season.
Some research reminds me that she was Miles' high school sweetheart, but that Monroe was also obsessed with her.
So Monroe thinks he's dropping a bombshell, but it turns out Miles knew all along and hid the boy from Monroe because, you know, you can't trust a dictator.
Monroe is somehow enraged that his ex-best friend hid this knowledge from him, but c'mon, bro. You banged your best friend's woman, knocked her up and then asked him to take care of the kid. You're surprised that didn't sit well with him?
At least in Pearl Harbor, Josh Harnett's character died, which made Kate Beckinsale's relationship with Ben Affleck somehow seem honorable.
Dead Man Walked
While Miles tosses back shots alone in a bar, Monroe is walked to his final execution table. It seems rather strange that Rachel would be the one mixing the death cocktail, because even though her father is the town doctor, she's also more or less a fugitive herself. But, hey, if someone has to save Monroe, it might as well be the only other person we know of on the US government's most wanted list.
Monroe tells Dr. Porter that he's sorry, takes the injection and stops his heart palpitations. He's put in a box, dropped rather awkwardly into a deep grave and buried. I would say he will rise again, but we already have our Jesus.
Charlie visits Miles in the bar and tells him that she's there for him, and he sheds a single tear for his friend. Then Rachel starts digging Monroe up under a painfully large fake moon.
And, oh yeah, it turns out Rachel's dad was the one who tipped the Patriots off about Monroe's whereabouts. It avoided a war with the Texas Rangers and led to a treaty recognizing the partnership and allowing the new USA to set up a Texas Gitmo, so everyone is advised to get out of dodge. But he did it all to protect Rachel and Miles, so Reverend Camden's allegiance is unclear at this point.
Major (Tom) Side Plot
The main side plot revolves around Major Tom teaming up with the now-wanted US secretary to find Jason at the reprogramming camp. Apparently, the trainees become savages who butcher everyone they find, and that includes dear old dad.
After a shootout, Tom and the secretary hole up inside a building, and the three cadets enter through a backdoor with guns and torches.
Tom kills two, then puts a gun to Jason's head and orders him to drop his weapon. The younger Neville fights back and damn near beats the life out of his father before the secretary, who lost her own now-officer son to the same type of reprogramming camp, smashes him with a pipe.
Jason wakes up and taunts Tom with statements about his precious and innocent mom sleeping with a colonial. I don't remember if that's true or not, but Tom vows to save the only family he has left. We'll see what happens when the drugs wear off.
Other Side Plot Notes
Aaron is sketching a symbol on a Human Torch comic book (which easily ruins its mint condition value) that turns out to be the same one that is printed on the side of a wagon that the mysterious Dr. Horn rides into town on. Rachel's dad mentions his name to the US Army captain who grilled him about Miles' and Rachel's intentions -- Dr. Porter says, "What would Dr. Horn think?"
I can only assume we'll find out.
The random female journalist (Bonnie Webster) who recognizes Aaron from her days at Forbes, when he was on the cover, seems like she will play a more prominent role (I thought she was going to be the one to dig up Monroe) until she just exists to warn Aaron to leave town over the signed treaty.
Preview alert: next week is all about Aaron.
Rachel and Charlie are bickering like most moms do with their teenage daughters, over albeit much more violent than normal circumstances. Charlie is pissed that Rachel didn't respect her partnership with Monroe, conveniently forgetting he killed her brother, and she confronts her about not asking how she's been since they reunited.
Monroe saved her life, but Rachel doesn't want to hear that because she's always the smartest person in the room and never listens and -- blah, blah, blah -- go to your room, I hate you.
So did Rachel realize that her dad was the mole? Someone had to tell him about Monroe's involvement, and I can't imagine it was Charlie. So she must know he is untrustworthy, but does that mean she slipped a temporary heart-stopper to Monroe? Will he wake up on his own, or will she have to administer whatever drug they gave Jack Bauer, like, 20 times to restart his heart?
And is Willoughby, Texas, really going to be the entire battleground for season 2? Will the fight expand? Or is this the winnable fight before things really get crazy in season 3?
What did you think of "Dead Man Walking"? Do you think Monroe is really dead (ha!)? Would Revolution really kill off its apparently most popular character? Tune in next week to find out.
You can watch Revolution every Wednesday at 8pm on NBC.