Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Revolution Season 1, Episode 19: Children of Men

Big standoff with Rachel staring at Monroe, holding a grenade without the pin. Monroe’s guard points a gun at her, because that’ll help.

She releases it.

The guard jumps on Monroe hauling him to the floor to cover him. Another leaps on Rachel, wrestling with her. She doesn’t hold onto it very well and the guard manages to take it from her and throw it outside the tent where it explodes. Monroe is unharmed. Rachel is unharmed. But Aaron sees the explosion through a pair of binoculars.

Y’know rather than dramatically stand there with a grenade in your hand, Rachel, you could have stood outside his tent, pulled the pin and rolled the grenade inside, there’d be a good chance they wouldn’t have even noticed it.

The dream team lands their helicopter, Charlie randomly thanking Jason; Jason and Neville have a bonding moment over “women” (or Neville tries to anyway) and Miles checks on Nora (apparently ready). To the camp

Aaron continues to watch the camp and sees Rachel and Monroe are still alive, probably concluding that Rachel is officially the most inept suicide bomber ever. Rachel is being lead to the entrance to the tower where they use her hand print to open the door.

Yes, Rachel not only failed to kill Monroe, but handed him the key he was looking for. I hereby grant her the Catelyn Stark Award for Sabotaging One’s Own Side.

Into the Tower, which is most certainly working and powered up and full of shiny toys. Rachel chews out Randall for bringing Monroe but he claims it’s for self-preservation – which doesn’t explain why the man went to Monroe in the first place anyway. Someone else looking for a Catelyn Stark Award. Anyway, it seems Rachel doesn’t have security clearance so shouldn’t have been able to get the door open – so Randall assumes Grace has been fiddling with things

And the door shuts behind them – apparently prompted by a new man watching through the monitors.  He tells the room full of people with him that it’s time to go say “hello”. Why do I think a more appropriate greeting would be “let the games begin!” Certainly since “hello” involves the big big guns.

Outside, the dream team watches the tower, Neville pokes Miles for having a crush on Rachel and they find Aaron whose stealth skills don’t expand to “don’t use lights to read during the night.”

Rendall shows Monroe some of the shinies in the Tower, including the satellites which are still operational and showing scenes from cities around the world – including the ruins of London and Paris. It apparently also comes with the tech to spy on and kill anyone in the world – so long as you reach level 12 in the tower. Rachel protests which helps confirm what Randall’s saying is true. She’s really working that Catelyn Award.

Except the tower has other ideas and the lift stop at floor 11. Then the explosions and the gunfire start, slaughtering Mornoe’s guards pretty easily especially the big impressive guns. Monroe ducks to cover and Rachel ducks into a side door. Monroe managing to force his way in behind her. She tries to stab him with a pair of scissors but he takes them off her.

Back outside and everyone plays catch up including Miles blaming Aaron for letting Rachel play inept suicide bomber – though Aaron points out that Miles isn’t exactly good at stopping Rachel doing whatever the hell she wants either. Neville cuts through Miles’s whining about Rachel to demand if Aaron can get them in – with the book her can (Neville calls Aaron “chubs” so Aaron responds by calling him a dick. Such happy togetherness).

They infiltrate the camp and Neville and Nate, working together, blow up the amplifier (which apparently is quite explosive). Nora takes out the guards at the tower with throwing knives and she, Miles, Aaron and Charlie head for the door. Aaron enters the 62 character override code into the door while Miles holes off the militia. Once the door is open they run inside – but Neville and Nate are both pinned and Miles tells Aaron to shut the door. (Miles has to hold back Charlie and Neville has to hold back Nate. I had to hold back rolling my eyes).

In their little hiding place (which seems to be a prudential bunker), Monroe has many many questions for Rachel who only has “I don’t know” as a response in that utterly calm voice that convinces me she’s managed to find some happy pills in the dystopian future. He angrily declares she needs to work with him if they both want to live. Since she’s the woman who was willing to blow herself up to kill him, it’s pretty clear that them both dying is quite acceptable to her. He dismisses this because all suicides regret it really and she wants to live – and asks if she knows how to open the gun cabinet

Uh-huh, because polling suicides on their opinion is just that easy to do

Time for a flashback a week before the blackout with Rachel having second thoughts about the whole thing and Ben insisting that it’ll all be fine and the weapons will never ever be used. He won’t listen to her, is condescending as hell and they argue. Apparently one of many arguments that ends with Rachel wanting to spend time apart.

Back to the present and Jason and Neville are prisoners of the militia and Neville gets to meet his old comrades who have some questions for him. But he wants to talk about Monroe’s instability and killing his friends and biggest supporters. For some reason Jason finds this behaviour confusing. Sorry Neville, the lad just isn’t that bright.

Miles, Charlie, Aaron and Nora have got in the lift and down to the 11th floor with its new decoration of wall to wall blood and brains. Which is when the lift fires up behind them again – they run through the corridors and find a room to barricade themselves in before hurrying into the ventilation ducts ahead of someone breaking the door down.

Monroe has the brilliant idea of smacking the super secure cabinet with a metal bar. It doesn’t work. Rachel is amused. Rachel reveals it was the Vice President’s bunker – Cheney’s to be exact.  And yes, actually, she can open the cabinet. And yes she wants to live to see her daughter again. But he killed her son which is kind of a no-going-back-from line to cross. Monroe has a mini-tantrum about how he never meant any of this to happen and reveals he has a son and doesn’t even know where he is (why tell Rachel? Is it like some kind of peace offering? “I have a son you can murder!”) He wonders what that son would think of him and how much blood is on his hands. She looks scared by this revelation – personally I’d be grabbing an improvised weapon and making with the stabbing again.

Another flashback – 4 months after the blackout now, with Ben fixing a computer and using an amulet to make it work – and ask if there’s anyone out there. Rachel comes in, shaken. She went to the town for supplies and the dead are just piling up in the street. She collapses into tearful guilt because it’s all their fault, they caused all this death. He desperately tries to reassure her, telling her she has to hold on for the sake of the kids. And on the computer, Grace responds to his message.

 Back to the future with Miles et al, and Aaron telling them about the nifty magnet guns. Aaron, having snagged a map, directs them to an armoury. Miles decides to go off alone to the armoury because he’s a big damn hero – but it has already been emptied.

Out in the tents, Neville continues to undermine the youngest officer, claiming to be a loyal citizen of the Monroe republic and the only thing wrong with aid republic is Monroe himself. Jason joins in on holding up his father as a man of integrity who was so loyal to Monroe – but Monroe has lost his way. All of the Monroe loyalists have been killed or driven off by his own paranoia. Whatever progress they make is hit back because their target knows they’re just trying to save themselves.

In the tower, Miles attacks one of the guards chasing the other three, they wrestle around a while until Nora stabs him – they now have a shiny gun. These actions are seen on the CCTV by Rachel who instantly gasps to draw attention to it from Monroe. She really really wants that Catelyn Stark Award. Monroe asks her to unlock the guns so he can help Charlie.

No. Absolutely not. I refuse to believe this woman, this hard edged cynical woman we have seen make so many hard choices in the past and face up to the evil of the new reality, on top of her being an apparently brilliant scientist – is THIS SILLY! No, no no. No way.

More firefights and… Monroe joins in shooting someone about to shoot Charlie. Yes she opened the cabinet. Yes she gave him the gun. Yes she is a muppet.

Charlie Rachel and Aaron end up being held at gunpoint by the people of the tower – and Miles and Monroe have their showdown.

The people of the tower have their own little underground community – and Grace is among them. Aaron introduces himself to Grace since he’s been looking for her for a while (since the beginning of the season) and Grace tells him he’s a big deal in the Tower. And they meet Dan, apparently their leader and someone Rachel remembers. She thought he died long ago when he disappeared but they’ve been guarding the Tower; and their children and children’s children will continue to defend it. They are determined to stop people reaching level 12 – it’s too dangerous. To do that they sealed themselves in, disabling the elevators – apparently they haven’t been above ground for a very long time. And yes he deliberately opened the door to slaughter Monroe’s troops. Why Rachel finds that upsetting I’m not sure. Probably because it reduced her chances of sabotaging them even more.

Back to the tents and the young captain returns to Neville. “Taking down Monroe won’t be easy.” “I never said it would be, but it’s right.” Neville reiterates he means every word – it’s not just a ploy to get free. And the captain releases his cuffs and Jason’s. He tells them he has 12 people – but Franklin is still against. He hands Neville a gun and expects him to deal with that little problem.

Down in the tower, Dan prepares to burn the big book – he doesn’t want the power back on, they have enough blood on their hands without giving everyone weapons. Rachel protests it would let people defend themselves but Aaron has the bigger response – it’s not just weapons. It’s clean water, it’s medicine, it’s order, it’s having a society where he doesn’t have to worry about people coming for him or his wife. Dan burns the book.

Aaron doesn’t understand why and asks Grace – she says to ask Rachel. If they flip the switch the lights will come on… or…. Yes, there’s an “or.” Rachel insists it’s a very unlikely “or”. But that “or” is the world being set on fire.

I liked Aaron’s speech on bringing technology back for the good it can bring. But I think there’s a leap between high technology and a civilised, ordered, fair and just society – we know the two don’t always go hand in hand, certainly not for all members of society and the things he mentioned – not having to worry about people coming for him – is not something everyone in those societies enjoys. Of course, that’s a reasonable representation of the views of a man in his position. A straight, white man who was very very rich before the power went out and reduced to a world where his talents weren’t appreciated and his money is worthless. Look at it this way and it’s an interesting reference to Aaron’s own personal dynamic and fall from the very pinnacle of power.

Rachel, for an intelligent woman, makes some very very dubious decisions at times – she has little in the way of long term thinking and frustrated me more than a little this episode

I think Neville and Jason may have the most compelling storylines at the moment – completely outside of the Tower.