[Warning: The following contains major spoilers from Revolution's Season 2 premiere. Read at your own risk.]
Even though Revolution has moved to a more family-friendly timeslot, the Season 2 premiere proves the series is darker than ever. With the entire East Coast devastated by the Atlanta and Philadelphia bombings, the U.S. is left in total chaos, with its remaining citizens looking for someone to save them and someone to blame. Unfortunately for one unlucky soul, the resulting anarchy is fatal.
Revolution creator Eric Kripke promises a much-improved Season 2
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1. Is Charlie actually likable now? It's a miracle! Gone is the pouty child of Season 1 and here stands before us a grown-ass woman. Six months after the bombs drop, we find a much more confident Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) picking up some bartender (all set to a great folksy cover of "Crazy Train," no less). Turns out, the bartender she banged was a former Monroe soldier who mentioned he'd seen the General only a few weeks back. Charlie takes in this info like she's Stains seeing a cupcake, so it's clear her priorities have shifted from sex to murder.
2. Can Rachel be fixed? Following the most recent apocalypse, Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) has begun assisting her father Gene (Stephen Collins) at his local clinic in Texas. But when a survivor of the Atlanta bomb comes in, Rachel's guilt resurfaces. This is a precarious place for her to be since, after the bombs, Rachel went completely catatonic. Fortunately, she has since recovered enough to keep a manic journal detailing all her self-loathing and conspiracy theories. Oddly enough, that journal is the one glimmer of hope that the old Rachel is there somewhere, because it proves she's still 10 times smarter than everyone around her. Though Rachel might not know who Randall was working for (yet), she's at least figured out he wasn't just one lone "Tim McVeigh wackjob."
3. Where did all the TRESemmé go? Speaking of Charlie and Rachel, these women got dirrrty this season! Their formerly perfect beach waves now actually look like real people hair (there goes the #RachelsHair game). But in all seriousness, it's nice to see creator Eric Kripke paying more attention to these little details which can help Revolution feel like a grounded mystery series rather than the over-the-top action-soap it bordered on last season.
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4. Can the real Tom Neville please stand up?
With Julia (Kim Raver) missing in the post-bomb aftermath, Jason (JD Pardo) has finally found a common cause with his father. Wait, is that really his father, though? It's definitely Giancarlo Espositio, but the Tom Neville we know and love was a confident, powerful man with enough id to make Donald Trump balk at his inflated hubris. Apparently, carrying the weight of Julia's death — if she is even really dead — has taken a serious toll on Neville, turning him into a depressed, bearded mess. (Love the beard, could lose the broken spirit). In fact, Neville is so shattered, he even contemplates suicide "like a little bitch," according to Jason, until his son somehow manages to talk him out of it.
5. What is Miles' big secret? Something shady is going on with our man Miles (Billy Burke). Or should I call him Stu? The former general emerges from a shed with a bloody hand before burning down the building and whatever — or whoever — he left inside. So what's he hiding? And is that — not Rachel — the real reason he insists on leaving town?
6. So is Miles Charlie's father or what? Gene doesn't mince words when lecturing Miles on his relationship with Rachel, clearly saying the pair had an affair while she was married to Ben. So, will we ever learn who Charlie's father was with any certainty? And speaking of mysterious parenthood, whatever happened to Monroe's secret son?
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7. Who's after Monroe?
The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is you must apparently fight shirtless. And thank God because Monroe (David Lyons) has been hiding that stone-cold perfection under his military uniform for far too long. Charlie manages to track down Monroe in New Vegas (where David Schwimmer is now apparently performing some version of Ross Gellar: The One Man Show). There she learns that the hated general has shed his former identity and is now a fight tent badass named Jimmy. (Such a better fake name than Stu, right?) Charlie bribes some local to bring "Jimmy" to her, but she isn't the only one with her sights set on Monroe. A mysterious hot man was giving the general some serious eyes, and just when Charlie goes for the kill shot, the MHM and his equally mysterious but less hot partner knock Monroe unconscious and race away with the general in tow.
8. What's the deal with those fireflies? Much like Kripke warned, what Aaron and Rachel pulled at The Tower has had much larger consequences than anyone ever dreamed. They seem to have somehow changed nature itself, evidenced when a hoard of fireflies swarming together in what looked like an outtake from The Mummy. As Aaron explains, the fireflies aren't the only creatures that have been acting strange, but Rachel shrugs off Aaron's concerns, preferring to focus on her own internal guilt. Who's betting that decision will come back to bite her?
9. What do The Patriots really want? There was no way the premiere wasn't going to feature the new Big Bad a.k.a. the ominous evil introduced in the finale. When a large ship sails to Neville's refugee camp, a crowd gathers to meet its travelers, all whom claim to be members of the U.S. government previously living in Cuba. After receiving proof that Monroe and Foster were behind the missiles (yeah, right), they say they were inspired to return stateside and help. In fact, even the president himself is on his way to reclaim the White House (Note: The person The Patriots call "president" is not whoever was in office when the bombs dropped because that would mean Obama would be Season 2's Big Bad. And yeah... not touching that). "We're patriots," Secretary Justine Allenford claims, much to Neville's chagrin. Silver living: Neville is so upset at The Patriot's faux altruism, he sheds his sadness (and beard) and returns to being the schemer we all love to hate. "Man just needed purpose is all," he tells Jason with a wry smile. "I am going to rip them apart from the inside until they are begging me to die." Well, that's descriptive now, isn't it? And definitely not good news for The Patriots.
10. Who is Titus Andover? Miles' attempts to leave Willoughby are sidelined when he witnesses an attack by a war tribe. He rushes back to town warning that a gang from the Plains Nation will soon be setting their sights on the town. Unfortunately for him, Sheriff Mason (Adam Beach) isn't too keen to take "Stu" seriously since he has no known military background and Miles isn't ready to divulge his true identity. Of course, Miles was correct and the tribe descends violently on Willoughby (shocker!). Miles and Mason work together to fight off a few of the bandits, but right when everything seems OK, a dozen more surround them. The pair is then dragged captive to the tribe's eerily peppy leader, Titus Andover, who bears offers of sweet tea and probable death. The question remains: Is the Andover clan tied to The Patriots, or are they independently evil?
11. What the @#!%$ just happened to Aaron? I don't' even know where to start with this. First, Aaron's (Zak Orth) new — and frustratingly optimistic — lady love Cynthia is attacked in their bedroom, only to be saved by Aaron. Unfortunately, Google Boy gets his chest sliced open in the process. Rachel and Gene do everything they can to save him, but Aaron's body becomes still and the beloved nerd is no more. That is until when he magically pops back awake and gasps for air. In the words of the great Liz Lemon: WHAT THE WHAT? There's no way the nanotech wasn't involved in this. Could the people behind The Tower and blackout somehow have secretly implanted the same device Danny had to keep Aaron alive? And if so, why?
What did you think of the Revolution premiere?