Revolution 1.19 "Children Of Men ” TV REVIEW(opens in new tab)
Writers: David Rambo, Jim Barnes
Director: Frederick EO Toye
THE ONE WHERE Everyone converges on the tower for a fight and a chat.
VERDICT Rachel's attempt to kill Bass by walking into his base camp tent with a live grenade fails which is fortunate in dramatic terms, as it would have made it a lot harder to fill the next 40 minutes if it had worked. There is, however, a genuine sense of tension in this episode as all forces converge on the tower and the doors open. As noted last week, it's not a tower that goes up, but more accurately a bunker that goes down into the bowels of the earth, and there's something on level twelve.
Randall Flynn might not be able to get Bass into the tower, but Rachel can without even realising she has access. Randall surmises it must be Grace, whom he left in the tower after her capture some while back. The tower is indeed a mighty installation; as Flynn explains to Bass it has facilities to spy on anyone in the world, and there's a large super collider installed on the off-chance they need to collide some particles. Like you do.
Randall tries to lure Bass down to level twelve but on the way down all hell breaks loose. They are attacked and militia red-shirts start exploding in great plumes of blood left, right and centre.
We got a brief glimpse last week suggesting the tower was inhabited, and the locals aren't letting just anyone walk in through the door. The militia is decimated. Randall makes for cover and so does Rachel, ducking into a presidential panic room (complete with an oddly appropriate George W Bush portrait) chased by Bass who forces his way in.
It's a neat trick forcing Rachel and Bass together with nowhere to run and it's a highlight of this episode as an angry-but-tired Rachel vocalises her hatred for Bass to his face. It's this stiff talking to that Bass has needed for weeks, and for a moment we see him not as sociopathic leader, but a broken, tragic individual who has a rough idea how bad things have become while he's been in charge, but can't see that he's the root of the problem.(opens in new tab)
Miles, Charlie, Tom and Jason finally arrive at the bunker and stumble across Aaron who brings them all up to speed. The gang heads after Rachel, fighting its way past the guards outside the bunker. Aaron continues to be useful by hacking the door code with Doctor Warren’s journal. Entering the Tower, the gang comes under fire. Miles, Charlie and Aaron make it inside, but Tom and Jason Neville are pinned down. Miles signals Aaron to close the door, leaving them stranded and you can see in his eyes it’s a statement of intent, making good on his vow to kill Tom, albeit by proxy. Tom and Jason are outnumbered and shot dead. Well, actually, no they aren't, but probably should be. Instead both are captured. It's a turn of events that should feel unlikely, but thanks to the pace of the episode and sterling work again by Giancarlo Esposito, it becomes an opportunity for character. Tied to a post and questioned, Tom plays mind games with the militia soldiers, and he's good at it. Influencing events with lines like, “The only thing wrong with the Monroe militia is Monroe himself,” he's got a point. Pulling Jason in on his plan, it's not long before Tom's instigating full-blooded mutiny. Could Tom usurp Bass as the new leader of the Monroe militia?
As the gang descends into the tower, things all go a bit clusterpants. They are also attacked by the Tower natives. Miles makes a break to the armoury and gets the drop on some guards. Rachel opens a weapons locker in the panic room so she and Bass can defend themselves, and before you know it everyone is wielding a “coil gun” – the big grenade launcher-type weapons seen earlier which look really cool, use electricity and make folk explode in a shower of their own blood. Nice.
With this many characters and promises of who’s going to kill who, it's hard to keep track of everyone's motives. In among the gun fighting, a trapped Charlie is saved by Bass, who then runs off, but she's prevented from going after him by mum Rachel, who feels guilt over being instrumental in the research that caused the blackout. Lots of promises to kill, but not much actual killing, made more evident by Bass and Miles, picking up where they left of ten episodes back with another Mexican stand off.
The Tower inhabitants finally show themselves, not as killer but more accurately guardians. The scientists and military families who bedded down in the tower after the blackout and have trained themselves to defend any attackers from the secrets on level twelve. Grace is here, and she's safe.
So these guys are nothing to do with Randall Flynn? In fact, they've been defending the place from Randall Flynn who, it would appear, has been trying to get access to the secrets down below himself, and has now gone AWOL. With Bass having been dealt with by Miles, Rachel turns her attention to Grace and the other reason they've made the journey: turning the lights back on.
As the penultimate episode of the season, it's dense and satisfying, though it does feel like a bit of a retread of previous finale events in Monroeville, but with higher stakes.(opens in new tab)
The final resolution presents a bit of a conundrum, as Grace and Rachel discuss the coin flip outcome of turning the lights back on. If they turn the lights on one of two things can happen: a) the lights come on, or b) the world burns. The stakes clearly couldn't be higher for the characters but for the show itself continuing into a second season, both options signal 'the end'. Let hope Aarons secret purpose or the alien killer robots* on level twelve stop that from happening.
* May not contain alien killer robots.
Bass: “I didn't mean for any of this to happen. It just got so out of control. I have a son.”
Bass: “I don't know where he is, but I've been looking for him. Makes you wonder if he saw me, if he knew all the thing that I've done, what would he think of me? You're right Rachel. I'm sorry.”
UNFORTUNATE VICTIMS OF THE WEEK Who'd be in the Monroe militia with their morality rate? Rachel is wrestled to the ground with the live grenade by Monroe's bodyguard, who does a marvellous job of disarming her, but who then throws it roughly a metre away outside the tent. The tent canvas must be blast proof, as it saves everyone, except the two poor chaps just outside the tent who are blissfully unaware of what's going on inside… and who, come to think of it, didn't seem to notice Rachel walk into the tent in the first place. They probably deserved it.
John Cooper @JohnCooper_uk
UK airing information: New episodes of Revolution air on Sky1 on Fridays at 9pm
Read our other Revolution reviews