‘Revolution’ Series Premiere Review & Recap: All the lights went out

By | Posted on 18 September 2012

Tonight was the premiere of NBC’s ambitious new post-apocalyptic: Revolution. So in case you missed it (or DVR’d it and just want spoilers), let’s recap!

The series opens with a young Charlotte “Charlie” Matheson watching cartoons as her mother (Elizabeth Mitchell) talks on the phone. Charlie’s father, Ben (Tim Guinee), bursts into the home in a frenzy, warning that “it’s happening.”

Meanwhile, Ben’s brother Miles (Billy Burke) and his friend are driving down the highway when they get a call from Ben, warning that “it’s all going to turn off.” The call is cut off abruptly as the technology suddenly stops working. Cars stop, TVs and phones go dead, and perhaps most hauntingly: airplanes fall from the sky. The world slowly goes dark.

Skip ahead fifteen years and we find Aaron (Zak Orth) narrating what happened in the interim. The world is overgrown. Governments have toppled and militia groups have risen in their place. The setting is a quaint, pastoral village that looks an awful lot like Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Only much dustier. With hybrid cars being used for planters.

A grown-up Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and her younger brother Danny (Graham Rogers) are out hunting in the woods. They stumble across an overturned Winnebago. Despite Danny’s reservations, Charlie climbs inside to search for supplies but finds nothing of use. Danny begins rummaging through cupboards but the dust causes him to have an asthma attack.

Back in the village, Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips)–the town doctor–gives Danny a tonic to treat his asthma. Ben chastises Charlie for being careless and putting the two of them in danger. Ben draws a comparison between Charlie and her mother, who we now learn is dead. Maggie has now become Ben’s new lover, much to Charlie’s disgust.

Needing to clear her mind, Charlie wanders off on her own. In the meantime, a group of imposing militia led by Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) arrive in the village. Ben seems to be nervous about something and hands an item off to Aaron. Neville says he is under command of Sebastian Monroe, leader of the ‘Monroe Republic’ and that he has been ordered to take Ben and his brother Miles into custody. Danny steps forward with a crossbow, pleading with Neville not to take his father. This stirs up some of the other locals, all dissatisfied with Monroe’s army taking advantage of them. The tension comes to a head and shots are fired. Ben is hit and a full-on firefight ensues. Neville ruthlessly cuts down civilians and grabs Danny. Charlie returns just in time to find her dad dying on the ground, Maggie brooding over him.

Ben instructs his daughter to go after his brother Miles in Chicago, claiming he can help them get Danny back. He then dies. Maggie and Aaron join the Matheson girl on her quest as she sets out to find her uncle. After a night of camping, Charlie goes in search of water and ends up stumbling across Nate (JD Pardo). At the same time, Aaron examines what Ben gave him–some sort of device attached to a necklace. The group sets out again, this time stumbling across an old airport runway. They plot to recover supplies from inside a plane but are ambushed by a group of thugs. One attempts to rape Charlie but they are saved when Nate, who apparently tailed them, kills the guy.

Danny, meanwhile, has escaped from Neville. He doesn’t get far, suffering an asthma attack in a field shortly after. He is discovered by Grace (Maria Howell), who gives him an inhaler and hides him in her home. Danny’s sister and her team–which now includes Nate–arrive in Chicago and seek out Miles at a local bar. The barkeep is initially wary of them but, after learning that Charlie is a Matheson, reveals that he himself is her uncle.

Miles is initially refuses to help Charlie. He says Ben may have known why the power went out (and subsequently how to turn it back on), and that Danny was taken as bait. Monroe seeks to turn the power back on in order to mass produce weaponry and take over the continent and hopes Ben may have shared the secret with his brother. As Charlie bitterly prepares to leave, Miles spots a mlitia tattoo on Nate’s arm. Caught red-handed, the man flees. Charlie is visibly betrayed. With Miles’ position compromised, the group tries to convince him to flee but he refuses. Shortly thereafter, Nate returns with an army. Miles engages them in a vicious fight. Apparently, the militia has been trained at the Imperial Storm Trooper Academy because they are unable to hit the one man (armed with a sword and a small crossbow-type weapon) but he is easily able to cut them down.

Even with his fighting prowess, he is nearly overrun until Charlie and her crusaders reappear to save the day. While fighting with one of the militia, Charlie herself is nearly killed but Nate, apparently enamored with her, betrays his own man to allow her to escape before fleeing himself. After the battle, Miles agrees to join Charlie’s group and go recover Danny. In a flashback sequence, we learn that the friend in the car with him the night the power went out was actually Sebastian Monroe (David Lyons). They were both US Marines.

Danny has been recaptured. Neville showed up at Grace’s house and, with the evidence stacked against her, she was forced to give him up. The episode concludes with Grace unlocking a well-secured door in her home. Inside, she has a computer bank. She plugs in a device that looks identical to the necklace Ben gave to Aaron. The computer powers up and she sends a message to an unknown recipient. They are communicating via computer and it appears that Monroe’s Republic has an underground resistance movement spreading.


All-in-all, a strong and climactic start to the series. But will the writers keep the action going, or will it drop off into a lull? What do you guys think? What’s with the necklace thing? Who was Grace talking to? Is Nate really all that he appears to be? Weigh in with a comment down below and don’t forget to watch Revolution, Monday nights at 10/9c on NBC. Then, check back here for my recap. ‘Til next week!

Justin Mathai

I am a high school student journalist from the grand old state of New Jersey and a complete geek when it comes to sci-fi television and film. I'm also an aspiring writer and occasionally-published poet, as well as a contributing writer to the Falling Skies Blog. I'm a fan of TNT's Falling Skies, I was a fan of FOX's Terra Nova until its cancellation, and I enjoy sci-fi films like Avatar, the Star Wars saga, Star Trek, etc. Sometimes sarcastic, often optimistic, aiming to bring you news and reviews!


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