After a three-week hiatus and an episode that had me touting season two’s at least partial redemption with Jason’s epic death, Revolution returned Wednesday night and immediately hit the ground running. It was almost as if they needed to make up for nearly a month without post-apocalyptic murder and mayhem, so right off the bat, Miles single-handedly takes out seven Texas rangers. And that’s when things start to go bad for him.
The episode was called “S#!& Happens,” but it really should have just been called “S#!&.” That’s probably overly harsh, but I can’t pass up an opportunity to be clever, and outside of a moment here or there, not much really happened that affected the overall story. Maybe they need to stretch things out to cover the full arc of a 22-episode season, but most of what we just watched could be skipped without taking away from the overall experience.
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I guess the point of it all is to offer some of the characters a second chance that changes his or her focus, but with such a lack of true depth in anyone, alterations can be made on the surface level without having a deeper emotive impact on the viewer. But let’s dive in, nonetheless.
The gun/sword fight that opens the show serves as the catalyst for all the events that follow, so let’s start there. After Charlie killed Jason and Miles took out Kyle before he assassinated the Texas president, they returned to their wagon, reunited with Monroe and Connor and quietly rolled out of Austin without anyone noticing.
That in and of itself seems unlikely, as there were soldiers and rangers everywhere, but let’s ignore that. A group of seven rangers on horseback finally catches up to them, so Miles tells everyone else to make a run for it while he leads them on a wagon goose chase. Instead, he hits a car (sporting the classic “S#!& Happens” bumper sticker) and flips the wagon.
Miles tries to talk to the captain, but the Texans don’t know Miles was shooting at a Patriot spy, instead thinking he was responsible for the attempt on the president’s life. So they surround him, and despite being outflanked on all possible angles, Miles kills six rangers with six bullets. Then it’s time for a sword battle with el capitan, which Miles wins, but not without a slash to the stomach.
Miles ditches his bloody jacket and finds a crumbling shack, complete with first-aid kit. But as he reaches for it, the floor gives way and he tumbles into a basement. The kit falls as well, but it has a single Band-Aid inside. Then a wall gives way and collapses on top of the hole Miles just fell through, trapping him.
The Search Begins
Back in Willoughby, Charlie, Monroe and Rachel set out to find Miles, despite Connor’s complaints that, you know, it’s just Miles. The three of them split up at a fork in the road, and the stage is set for motivational redirection.
The sort-of-related side plot swirls around Aaron’s interactions with Nano Priscilla, which is trying to learn all about human behavior by listening to Starship and eating pizza. He begs them to find Miles, urging that being human is about feelings and not just food, music and sex. But the nanites respond that they’ve already checked out Miles once (more on that later) and decided he’s not worth saving, and if Aaron asks again, they’ll kill Priscilla and everyone else. Now where’s that pizza?
Meanwhile, Miles continues his sad-sack streak of bad luck, finding only empty cans in the fridge and bleeding so much he has to start a fire and cauterize his wound with his sword. But then he falls off his makeshift fort of chairs while trying to move the collapsed wall with a shovel, and he starts bleeding again. At least the “hang in there” cat poster on the wall has survived the test of time.
Monroe and Rachel Have it Out
It’s no secret that Rachel and Monroe have been at odds, and I’m sure Rachel took a lot of pleasure in pretend executing him earlier this season. But really, it all comes from a shared love of Miles and for wanting what’s best for him, murderous psychopath or not. So after Monroe hits a dead end, he and Rachel reunite at the site where Miles took out the six rangers.
They track him to the seventh, arguing over who knows him better and what his favorite color is. They even walk right over the wall that is keeping him captive, but he’s unconscious and bleeding and can’t hear their calls. Then it gets weird. Like gross, uncomfortable, criminal weird. Monroe calls Rachel the girlfriend from hell, among other things, and she responds that Miles is a good man, but Monroe is both a poison and the devil on his back. So he reminds her that she once had sex with him, and then he kiss-rapes her. She says to leave her alone forever.
But then they stumble across Miles’ bloody jacket, and all the sudden they are comforting besties. Monroe assures her that if anyone would refuse to die, it’d be Miles. That guy gets kicked in the teeth, and then gets back up hitting twice as hard.
Major Tom and Charlie’s Regret
While Charlie hunts her path for Miles, still traumatized by the fact she had to kill a guy she cared about, she just happens to stumble across Tom Neville. In the middle of Texas. Randomly. He demands to know where Jason is, assuming that his weakling son ran right into her arms and her “ass made of candy.” He orders her to lead him to the camp or die.
What follows is probably the most emotional aspect of the show, which could only be pulled off by the superior acting of Giancarlo Esposito. He is way too qualified to be yukking it up with these goobers. Gus Fring and his half a face are spinning in their grave.
After a failed sabotage attempt, Tom gets it out of Charlie that Jason is dead and unloads his clip into the wall. He intends to use her as bait to lure Miles or whoever shot Jason to their death, and she comes clean that she was responsible. He puts the gun to her head and, overwhelmed by her guilt, she tells him to pull the trigger. He does, but there aren’t any bullets left. He breaks down in grief and tears, and she sneaks out.
A New Hope and the Guitar Pick of Redemption
It’s now two days later, and Monroe and Rachel are heading back out to search. Connor questions why Charlie keeps looking, and she opens up about how having a gun pressed against her head and facing certain death made her realize that she wants to live. She’s been resigned to her death and in a hopeless state all season, but now she appreciates a second chance. And if she’s lucky enough to experience a tomorrow, that’s a tomorrow she wants Miles to be a part of.
Back in his enclosure, without food or water, Miles is on the verge of death. He has one bullet left, and he scribbles “I’m sorry” on the wall and contemplates ending it all, never to be found. Then he flashes back to six months ago, when he’s sitting in a bar, drunk, and thinks he sees his dead brother walk by. So he follows him out to a shack in the middle of the woods, with fireflies bristling past.
This is the shack we saw burning in the season 2 premiere allllllll the way back on September 25. Maybe it looked a little familiar, but if you remembered exactly where you saw it before, you’re better than me. And I’ve been writing about this show for awhile. Inside the shack, Miles finds Nanite Ben, who rails on him for banging Ben’s wife and warns him to just leave Charlie and Rachel alone before he gets them both killed. Damn, these nanites are mean. And why they would care about any of that stuff is beyond me, especially since they struggle to understand human emotion.
Anyway, Miles punches a mirror that is showing him Rachel and Charlie with their throats slit, hence the blood. Then he pulls a Milton and sets the building on fire. Back in the present, he is about to go through with the suicide when he spots a guitar pick on the ground that changes everything.
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Not Ready Yet
Pick in hand, Miles flashes back to playing a guitar for Rachel, and he is suddenly filled with the urge to live. It doesn’t matter that he’s killed hundreds or thousands of people, is dating his brother’s wife who also slept with his best friend or is bleeding profusely for three days without food or water. He wants to live! And he doesn’t even know it was all likely drunk nanites messing with him that put him in his funk!
He sprays a surprisingly still-usable aerosol can around the edges of the collapsed wall, sprinkles gunpowder from the lone bullet onto the cat poster and lights it. The explosion and ensuing flames eventually burn through the wall, and flaming debris rains down around him. Smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning be damned, Miles begins his climb to freedom and his 29th or 30th second chance. Ooook.
So now that THAT’S all settled, what next? There was nary a Patriot in this episode, and now it would appear the rebels are also the sworn enemies of Texas. So even if I knew what the goal of all this was, it seems highly unlikely they’d have a chance in hell of achieving it. As I said, nothing in this episode furthers the plot much, outside of Tom learning that Jason is dead. I get that Charlie and Miles both have a new appreciation for life, but the fact that they didn’t previously didn’t really bother me that much. I didn’t need a whole episode dedicated to them regaining their respective focuses.
What did you think of “S#!& Happens”? Were you at least entertained? Or after the first action-packed five minutes, were you waiting for something more tangible to happen? Do you like Miles and Rachel together? And how will Charlie’s newfound optimism affect her ability to be a cold-blooded killer when necessary? And what’s going to happen with Tom? Are you looking forward to the end of season 2, and if so, is it only because it will be over? Here’s to hoping Revolution can regain its momentum headed into the finale. Otherwise, it might be curtains for this on-the-bubble series.
You can watch Revolution every Wednesday at 8pm on NBC.
(Image courtesy of NBC)