‘Revolution’ Episode 19 review: ‘Children of Men’

Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie Matheson and Zak Orth as Aaron in Revolution. Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC

Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie Matheson and Zak Orth as Aaron in “Revolution.” Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC

REVOLUTION “Children of Men”
Season 1 Episode 19
Executive Producer: J.J. Abrams
Creator: Eric Kripke
Writers: David Rambo & Jim Barnes
Director: Frederick E.O. Toye

SPOILERS follow. Don’t read if you don’t want to know.

Monroe

Monroe (David Lyons) and Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) are surprised when they gain access to the Tower. Credit: NBC

Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) gets tackled by one of Monroe’s bodyguards and the live grenade she brought to execute him with gets chucked outside, so that instead of the General only a few Militia soldiers get killed. Aaron (Zak Orth) fearfully watches the explosion from a distance and later sees Rachel being marched off to the Tower.

Monroe (David Lyons) demands that Rachel open the Tower’s electronic doors. She is just as surprised as he is that her handprint works as a key. Flynn (Colm Feore) assumes that Grace Beaumont (Maria Howell) reprogrammed the system to allow access.

Two Militia officers left outside by Monroe to guard the entrance discuss the General’s decisions, with one expressing a growing dissatisfaction with his leadership. They watch helplessly as the Tower’s doors automatically close behind Monroe’s group.

The residents of the Tower watch Monroe and his forces arrive. Credit: NBC

The residents of the Tower watch with trepidation as Monroe and his forces arrive. Credit: NBC

Watching on monitors from the safety of a control room, the mysterious Tower People grab some big guns and prepare to face down the intruders. Now inside, Flynn tells Monroe about the amazing resources available within the Tower, the “crown jewel” of the US Military,” and reveals that any person in the world can be spied upon or killed with just the push of a button. (Shades of the Tantalus Field weapon in the “Star Trek” TOS episode “Mirror, Mirror.”) But he adds that they have to get to Level 12 to access all of that good stuff.

They soon find that the elevators will only descend as far as Level 11, and when exiting Monroe and his group are attacked by the Tower People using powerful “coilgun” weaponry that uses electromagnets instead of gunpowder and can apparently fire grenades. (See and read about the real technology behind this type of gun here.) All of the non-credited bodyguards are immediately annihilated, but Rachel manages to flee to safety inside a shielded bunker and Monroe follows her. Flynn vanishes.

Arriving via helicopter about four miles from the Tower, Miles (Billy Burke), Nora (Daniella Alonso), Jason (JD Pardo), Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) stumble across Aaron in the woods. He thinks they can get into the Tower using the Big Book of Secrets.

Hope you looked quickly, because this was your only chance. Credit: NBC

Hope you looked fast at that 32-character access code, because that was your only chance. Credit: NBC

As a diversion, Neville and Jason sneak into Monroe’s camp and blow up the power source, while the rest of the gang fights their way to the Tower entrance. Amidst the intense firefight, Aaron enters the override code gleaned from Warren’s Big Book of Secrets and opens the doors so that they can slip inside. However, during the fighting Neville and Jason get left outside and are surrounded by enemy troops.

Now held captive in the Militia camp, Neville tries to foment revolt by taunting the two soldiers holding him and pointing out the fact that Monroe is acting increasingly paranoid and erratic and must eventually turn on his own men as he has done so many times before. The dissatisfied soldier from earlier returns and releases the prisoners, saying that 12 of the men are now ready to take down Monroe and that the others will follow if they take out Franklin.

Rachel refuses to tell Monroe anything about the Tower or how to access the heavy-duty weaponry he discovers inside a gun locker within the bunker because she blames him for her son Danny’s murder. He reveals that he has a son, too.

Tim Guinee in his thankless role as Ben Matheson in Revolution. Credit: NBC

Tim Guinee in his thankless role as Ben Matheson in “Revolution.” Credit: NBC

In a flashback to four months after the blackout, we see Ben (Tim Guinee) using a power amulet and a computer to try to contact others. Grace Beaumont is the person who replies. Rachel is whining about the downfall of civilization being all their fault (well, it is) and how she wants to just give up, but Ben tells her that they must survive for Charlie and Danny’s sake.

Back in the Tower, Aaron, Miles and Charlie run from Tower People who pursue them and enter an abandoned lab, where Aaron way too conveniently discovers a scrap of blueprint with the location of an armory (it’s a trap, people!), but they find it is empty. In the ensuing fight with the Tower People Miles gains some of their fancy coilgun weaponry.

Monroe (David Lyons) gets to use the big guns at last. Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC

Monroe (David Lyons) gets to use the big guns at last in “Revolution.” Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC

Rachel catches a glimpse of Charlie on a security monitor and makes yet another bad decision by agreeing to give Monroe access to the gun locker. She and Monroe then rescue Charlie, Nora and Aaron, but Monroe slips off when more Tower People appear. They are taken to meet the group of survivors who have been living underground guarding the Tower and preventing anyone from getting to level 12 and its secrets. Grace is there and steps forward to welcome Aaron as a still-unexplained “big deal” to the Tower dwellers.

Fearing what might happen if they turn the power back on, a former associate of Rachel and Ben’s named Dan wants to burn Dr. Warren’s Big Book of Secrets. Aaron argues that a return to civilized life would be the best thing for everyone, but Grace warns that flipping the switch might do more than turn the lights back on, it might also set the world on fire.

Things that didn’t work in this episode:

  • Just like all of the bad guys in previous episodes, Monroe’s handpicked security personnel appear to have attended Stormtrooper School, where being able to hit the broad side of a barn is not considered an essential skill.
  • Why does it take an entire book to hold the secret of getting into the Tower, when all they needed was one 32-character override code? Dr. Warren couldn’t have scribbled this on the back of an envelope or something? And why hadn’t the Tower People just changed it during the last 15 years?
  • How do the satellites work without any power existing on most of the earth to send them guidance signals?
  • Why is it that only the dead female soldier has an open uniform top that reveals an abundance of sexy tank top cleavage as she is turned over? Were the powerful coil weapons set on “unbutton jackets” as well?

Things that did work in this episode:

  • Less banal dialogue, more ‘splosions. (It might help if they didn’t talk at all, really.)
  • The sets and cinematography, most especially the lighting and use of color inside the Tower, were again outstanding. I certainly hope they are paying Production Designer Doug Meerdink and Director of Photography David Stockton the big bucks, because their hard work is what is keeping “Revolution” watchable.

My take: Getting into the Tower at last is hopefully a good thing. With the season finale next week, there exists the possibility of new characters, new stories and new challenges emerging in season two. (And more former “24” cast members will undoubtedly show up only to be killed off after only one or two episodes, so at least somebody is getting some part time work out of this.)

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