It is with great relief that I would like to report that last night's Revolution was actually kind of awesome. With family drama at a minimum, we got a taste of creepy high-tech, post-tech fascist terrorism.
With Gramps and Charlie sucked into taking care of the typhus victims, we actually get a "solve that medical mystery" episode, which is kind of awesome in this half-Victorian, half-posthuman world. Rachel joins the gang, grudgingly admitting that they are on the same side as evil Patriot occupation force leader Truman when it comes to saving the town. It's fun to see Rachel being a mad scientist, concocting an impromptu lab and testing blood samples to figure out more about he pathogen.
She quickly figures out that the typhus is actually an engineered strain, "which isn't even communicable." Things get extra creepy when Rachel realizes that the only people stricken with the "epidemic" are ill or disabled in some way. The Patriots are trying to "purify" the town, leaving only the strongest alive. The implication is clear, albeit slightly clunkily presented: the Patriots are eugenics-style fascists, with advanced biotech capabilities.
At that moment, Gramps is stricken with the plague, so Rachel calls in Miles, Monroe and Doughboy to kidnap Truman. They've got a handy syringe of sim-typhus microbes and jam it into his neck — and now, like magic, Truman is willing to get some antidote for everybody. Unfortunately, Doughboy is tasked with going to the antidote stash, and the Patriots catch them. There's a big standoff, and we can all hope that somehow Doughboy will die heroically delivering the antidote before he helps to found the New Charloe Republic.
We've never really seen this side of the Patriots, and it does feel a bit left-field. At the same time, we know the Patriots are obsessed with the nano as well as other biomed tech from the Time Before. They are definitely authoritarians, too. So why not give them a master race fixation? Works for me.
Meanwhile, it was fun to see Julia and Neville's plan get borked when Chief figured out that they were brewing secret plans — you know, because he had a guy tailing Julia in the most basic form of security imaginable. All those brains they talked about having in their yucky backwoods rape/kill flashback sequences? Not so brainy, I guess. Now the entire Neville clan is being tortured by the Patriots.
And in Google town, the nano are getting even more horrible, putting on the body of his dead girlfriend Cynthia and telling him to go to Lubbock, Texas. When Priscilla tries to back out of the whole walk to Texas thing, the nano turn into angry fireflies again and try to smash her by knocking over a huge tree. So the nano are basically competing with the Patriots to be the most powerful fascist regime on Earth.
Please stop giving me that look, Google, or I really will spank you.
Luckily, the nano are also kind of insane and only a few years old. So many they'll grow out of the whole "We are everywhere and will light fire anytime we want" attitude. To return to the point I began with, this was an example of what this show can be when it's not mired in patriarchy melodrama. It was a great worldbuilding and character-developing episode, where we saw the Patriots' plan unfolding in an interesting way — and realized that the science in this future is getting weirder.
More of this, please — thanks!