Revolution is quickly becoming a show about regret — perhaps as a consequence of focusing on the older generation, after Charlie and Danny failed to hold anyone's interest. And nothing says "regret" like a reunion with your ex. Nothing, perhaps, except for hilarious teenage flashbacks! Spoilers ahead...
In any case, if someone holds your ex at gunpoint, you should probably let them pull the trigger, judging from last night's episode. Save yourself some drama.
Seriously, though — what is Revolution about? It was originally a show about a world where nothing technological works any longer, and thus everybody is reduced to vaguely 19th century levels of tech. And in this world, there are petty dictators and militias, but also people who are starting over and building their own communities. This seemed pretty interesting — and then General Monroe got power back, and it became more of a show about asymmetrical power, where one side has helicopters and nobody else does.
Now, we're apparently watching the show turn into a full-fledged war narrative, where despite all the helicopters and things, Monroe still faces overwhelming opposition from the rebels and the GeorgiaRepublic, largely thanks to "Magic" Miles Matheson.
All of this has a certain amount of potential, honestly — and this show has the unique ability to ask the sort of questions 1960s Star Trek used to ask about power. Who has it, who deserves it, how to use it ethically, and so on. Is the world actually better off if only a few strongmen have access to high technology, versus if everybody has it? Would that result in a less violent, more sustainable world?
And Revolution can ask some really cool questions about what sort of society we want to live in, through the topic of rebuilding in the ashes of the old world. When people are left to their own devices, without the kind of "global village" that the internet and telecommunications give us today, do they create better or worse communities? Do racism and homophobia make a raging comeback, once small communities are left to their own devices? Do people feel more license to misbehave without worrying they'll wind up on television?
I'm spitballing here. But whether you buy the "nanotech" origins, the setup of Revolution seems like it has a lot of great potential.
In any case, what we're getting is a show about regret, in which the main characters are all haunted by bad decisions they made in the past — this time around, it's mostly Miles, Google and The Cape. Miles feels bad because when he was a soldier before he was a total dick, and now he's a soldier again. Google feels bad because he abandoned his wife, which he SHOULD FEEL BAD ABOUT. The Cape feels bad because the old Rob Lowe-in-The-Outsiders version of him is dead, and he can't be that guy any more.
So here's the actual plot of last night's episode: in the "A" story, Monroe takes his old hometown hostage, including the girl that both he and Miles loved in high school, to try and lure Miles to his death. But Monroe is reminded of his past when he was less of a psychopath, and finds out he has a kid somewhere. (And we learn something bad happened to Monroe's family in 2010.) Meanwhile, in the "B" story, Google runs into his ex-wife, and helps her get away from a bounty hunter because she's a fugitive now.
The flashbacks are the best part of this episode, because they're screamingly funny in their teen-movie earnestness. The rest of the episode is melodramatic, but ultimately kind of forgettable, I guess.
The thing about building a show like Revolution around regret, though, is that it's at odds with the most interesting questions that a post-electricity world raises, which are all fundamentally about the future. Given that the central axis of the show, for now, appears to be the relationship between Miles Matheson and Sebastian Monroe, it would be neat to get some hint as to what the two of them disagree about. What are their contrasting visions for the future? Or failing that, what was it about Sebastian's leadership that Miles objected to so violently?