Welcome back Revolution lovers,
Many, including myself had waited to learn more about what the motivating factors for key characters are and have been, why several were at, or have been at each others throats for the past twenty-five episodes.
Beautifully written by Paul Grellong and Trey Callaway, the back story of several of our key characters is finally and eloquently revealed. The story arc was met with a delighted Revolution audience that went literally wild on Twitter and Facebook last week during the broadcast of “Dead Man Walking”!
Last week the Twitter chatter was so intense, it was hard not to enjoy the complete glee when we learned about how Miles (Billy Burke), Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) and Monroe (David Lyons) fates had been interwoven some three years after the blackout in a refugee encampment.
Not one who is affected by spoilers, which were many during the east coast broadcast, and although we do not do so on the main WormholeRiders News Agency Twitter feed, only on our clearly posted Revolution series account Revolution_WHR, the episode excitement was beyond palpable. When NBC added the #SaveMonroe hash tag to the mix for “Dead Man Walking” one could almost hear the screams of yes, NO, SAVE MONROE echoing across the Internet!
The viewers were treated to the early days of the Monroe Republic when Miles Matheson was still in charge, well before the rise to power of General Sebastian “Bass” Monroe and how the infamous “Monroe Republic” came into existence.
It is within these scenes that we find out Miles Matheson was not the murderous and ruthless leader some have thought he was. Instead, Miles did only what was required to protect and feed his clan of survivors, often at the expense of others.
What Miles did not desire was the wholesale slaughter that Monroe engaged in. No doubt this flashback to three years subsequent to the blackout is where Miles began to separate himself spiritually from the likes of his friend and former military subordinate “Bass”.
I would like to reiterate, as I expounded on last week in my analysis of “One Riot, One Ranger”, that the creators of Revolution have deliberately “shone a spotlight” on the subject of heavy drinking, drug taking and general substance abuse, reflecting the society within the United States today. Far beyond recreational imbibing for a celebration two or three times a year, many in the USA are “hiding in the bottle” (booze or prescription drugs), rather than deal with reality.
Worse are the effects of substance abuse which any sane person knows adversely affects the chemical balance of the human brain, and therefore warps behavior against other human beings, including friends and family in an often detrimental fashion destructive to existing relationships.
We also learn that Bass was to be a father, not once but twice in two scenes that play out rather poignantly during the course of the episode that drives him to become an alcoholic like Aaron (Zak Orth).
One in fact is heartbreaking which was clearly designed to invoke sympathy for the misguided miscreant that Monroe became as his quest for power turned into a blood lust of killing upon more than one occasion over the course of the past years since the power was knocked out.
Prior to these revelations, Gene is delighted that his granddaughter Charlie (Tracy Spiradakos) has arrived in Willoughby safely after the harrowing incidents from last episode “One Riot, One Ranger” in which Charlie and Rachel differed vehemently over the fact that Monroe, at the heart of killing of Texas Ranger John Franklin Fry (Jim Beaver) to further their mutual aims, had also saved Charlie from being raped and murdered when she was away from her mother.
Gene Porter plays a critical role in his downfall, ultimately contributing more than his role as Willoughby’s sole medical doctor, that is until the arrival of the nefarious Patriot, Doctor Horn portrayed by the excellent actor Zeljko Ivanek who I enjoyed in the NBC science fiction series The Event!
Dead Man Walking:
They are cleaning up the mill location, planting blood stained evidence to make it look like The Patriot’s under Director Truman (Steven Culp) are responsible for the murder.
The second scene of the opening montage brings us to the local saloon in Willoughy. Here the Texas Rangers (Paul Nye) and (Craig Nigh) under the command of Malcolm Dove (Barry Tubb) are tipped off that John Franklin Fry has gone Missing In Action (MIA) that evening.
Supernatural guest star Jim Beaver receives opening credits, although in “Dead Man Walking” all we see of him is Monroe and Miles tying a concrete block to his body and throwing him in the river next to the mill where Monroe shot and murdered him.
However, much of the back story about Texas Ranger John Fry remains a mystery. Therefore, this reviewer anticipates we may see more of the character in flashbacks, much as we have seen Tim Guinee return as the Ben Matheson character.
Guinee has appeared in many episodes downstream from his death in the pilot episode. In fact, even in “Dead Man Walking” we are treated to a picture of Ben Matheson with his wife Rachel, and their family from pre-apocalypse times on a table in Gene Porter’s living room.
I am therefore hopeful that we will see more of the famed character actor Jim Beaver as Texas Ranger John Fry in Revolution a few more times over the course of season two, at least in said flashback sequences as mentioned above.
Doing so will do much to help fill in the missing pieces of the back story about Texas Ranger Fry’s past relationship with not only Miles Matheson, but perhaps Sebastian Monroe and Tom Neville as well.
Malcolm Dove and his band of loyal Texas Rangers leave the saloon bar passing Aaron (Zak Orth), Charlie and Rachel in the street.
Aaron thanks the women for “a truly horrific evening” and heads home to Cynthia (Jessica Collins) just as the Rangers mount up and head out of Willoughby to ascertain John Fry’s whereabouts.
Expert trackers that they are, the Texas Rangers follow Fry’s horse trail to the mill. They find the planted evidence, blood stains, and a Patriot rifle cartridge shell that was left there by Miles and Monroe who are hiding in the bushes nearby.
Rachel and Charlie head home only to be greeted by “Grandpa Gene Porter” who has been waiting up for them with a suspcious look on his face when Rachel and Charlie are greeted by Gene.
Here we begin to suspect that Gene is up to something and hiding a secret of some sort.
A number of days pass since Charlie and Rachel have returned to Willoughby. “Grandpa” Gene, as Charlie refers to him, becomes justifiably suspicious when, observing Rachel and Charlie acting overly polite to each other in the kitchen.
Gene demands to know what is going on, to which Charlie says “I have to go”. This only further serves to stimulate Gene’s curious nature. It is clear the two women are hiding something and Gene knows it! It is also clear at this juncture that Doctor Porter is hiding something himself which we will learn about at the end of the episode.
Why? Because Gene Porter is simply to calm about all that is transpiring in Willoughby. He has been this way since we first were introduced to his character. Moreover, Gene is constantly grilling Rachel for information, questioning Miles about his motives, but yields to Rachel when he knows that she truly is happy with Miles Matheson now that her former husband Ben was confirmed as killed by Tom Neville’s men in the pilot.
Ordered to lay low by Miles, Monroe goes rogue as usual, kidnaps, tortures and murders one of Director Truman’s Patriot minions for tactical information. Miles is livid until he learns that Monroe has extracted a considerable amount of information about local Patriot resources that he and Rachel need for “the war”.
Monroe also says although he hates him, he wishes Tom Neville was around to help out, to which Miles raises an eyebrow dropping a clear clue the three knew each other in the past.
Segue to Tom Neville and Secretary Allenford (Nicole Ari Parker). As readers will recall, Tom saved Allenford’s life after she was shot by Patriot’s in exchange for her taking him to find his son Jason who has been kidnapped and taken a Patriot drug brainwashing reprogramming center.
Allenford says “its only a couple of miles in that direction” and turns to leave Neville to find his son Jason on his own accord.
Neville refuses, informing Allenford she will only be able to leave after he “lays eyes on his son which is to happen sooner either realize. As they proceed, they find two dead people rotting inside a tent. With a look of shock, Allenford knows Patriot drug induced zombie cadets are conducting a field exercise telling Neville her own son was once so programmed.
Miles leaves Monroe in a hiding place away from the mill returning to Willoughby with the information about the Patriots tactical status to inform Rachel. Rachel is entirely displeased stating “there is a monster in our backyard”, referring to Monroe. Miles thinks Monroe can assist their cause against the Patriots, but Rachel says to Miles “you are full of crap”.
Before Miles can return to check up on Monroe, we find the former ‘General” inside when a “flash bang” grenade is tossed through a window and goes off. Stunned, Monroe staggers outside to be confronted by a combined force of Texas Rangers and Patriots who wrestle him to the ground and handcuff him for transport back to Willoughby!
We must take a moment to consider what has just happened. How was Monroe located? No doubt someone inside Willoughby who is either close to or spying on Rachel, Miles and or Charlie has obviously turned traitor on the three, four when Monroe is considered.
I thought for a moment about Aaron and Cynthia, but my mind turned instead towards who was working in close proximity to Charlie, Miles and Rachel! The only logical answer must be Doctor Gene Porter who lives a rather comfy and carefree existence in Willoughby in a very nice home.
Switch back to Secretary Allenford and Tom Neville. They are near an abandoned factory of some sort. Suddenly, bullets are being fired at them as Neville and Allenford duck for cover. Neville fires at the Patriot zombies to slow them down flabbergasted to see his son is one of the group of drug crazed Patriot zombies!
Jason flinches for a moment but then fires on his father! Neville and Allenford take cover behind a steel factory door as bullets make dents in the metal.
Allenford tells Neville it is no longer his son as Neville rests. He understands that his drug crazed son wants to kill him, but yells at Allenford that he is going to capture his son alive!
Subsequent to being arrested by the Texas Rangers and Patriots, General Carver (Anthony Ruivivar) and Malcolm Dove are making a speech about the “most wanted man” they have captured, Sebastian Monroe.
They tell a jubilant group of citizens that Monroe will be tried, and if convicted under Texas law, “will not live to see another sunrise”. Monroe, dejected and thinking of his past can hear all of this in the Willoughby jail cell.
Monroe knows he will be convicted and executed before dawn by General Carver the leader of Texas.
We are led to believe that this refugee camp was ultimately the birthplace of the Monroe Republic, rather humble beginnings in a roughshod settlement encampment as we witness Miles and Monroe as friends walking together through the tents.
Despite their military training Monroe and Miles were obviously somewhat inexperienced, in fact struggling to survive as any group of people would be once the veneer of civilization has been erased by the loss of industrial power sources.
Neville is seen working close by as they chat. Miles briefs Monroe on a mission to raid a nearby settlement with little regard to the lives there.
She chides Monroe about Miles while he tells her that he wants to talk about anything but Miles Matheson. The two kiss while Monroe gently rubs the abdomen of her bulging belly, obviously soon to give birth. She asks Monroe what they should call “it”.
After recently arriving in the Willoughby area, a member of Patriot Press Corps goes to the saloon bar have a drink after writing up stories about General Carver and Director Truman capturing villains and making themselves heroes like any politician.
The Patriot Press Corps reporter is named Bonnie Webster (Alanna Ubach). While Webster is having a drink, she takes notice of Aaron who is also at the saloon.
Webster approaches Aaron who is drawing the “Patriot Eye of Providence” symbol on a comic book aptly named the Human Torch for his own pyrotechnic abilities observed in previous episodes.
We must assume that Aaron has experienced more visions overnight, each of which as we have observed is related to things he encounters in the future.
Aaron does not recognize Bonnie Webster until she informs him that she used to work at Forbes Magazine, remembering him gracing the front cover of their “30 Under 30” issue back in 2009. She works for the Patriot Press Corps.
Bonnie Webster’s job is not to tell the truth. Her job is to create heroes and villains out of the news for her employer. Webster notes that she is “definitely making them today on account of Monroe’s arrest”.
Meanwhile, Neville takes out (kills) two of the drugged Patriot recruits and lays in wait for Jason. When Jason sees one of his fellow recruits is dead, he is distracted. Neville jumps Jason with a gun to his head and tells him to give up. Jason with superhuman drug induced strength is winning as a fight breaks out.
Suddenly, Allenford swings a galvanized pipe and knocks him out, saving Neville’s life. When Jason regains consciousness, father Tom tells him that he will save him so matter what. A still drug afflicted Jason, handcuffed to a chair, writhes in agony of a narcotic withdrawal in a sequence that reminded of an episode of Little House on the Prairie when Charles Ingalls nursed his heroin addicted son Albert back to health in a heart breaking series of episodes called “Home Again – part 2” and “Home Again – part 2” (1983).
It turns out that Rachel has tipped off the Patriots about Miles and Charlie trying to break Monroe out of jail. Monroe is promptly moved to a secure location inside the nearby town bank vault. Miles confronts Rachel about her actions who is in apparent complete denial about what she has done.
She tells Miles that if Charlie had been captured with Monroe, they would have executed her right next to him and she will not lose two of her children to Monroe!
Charlie tells a smug Rachel once again that Monroe actually saved her life and that her (Rachel’s) “biggest problem has always been that she sees herself as smarter than everybody else and never listens”.
Quick segue on a walk to to the “courtroom” as the entire town of Willoughby gathered in the street gleefully ponders the death on former General Sebastian “Bass” Monroe. It appears that no one except Charlie and Miles have any sympathy for the “Dead Man Walking”!
We learn that Monroe is to be sentenced to death by lethal injection to be executed at midnight as General Carver and Patriot Director Truman sit in the audience grinning at their triumph over Sebastian Monroe.
In a telling flashback, we learn about how Monroe became a sociopath. As he, Miles and Neville run for water and towels, his wife and baby perish during childbirth. This was the day Monroe changed into a killer with a heartless soul.
Monroe is granted a final wish before execution. He wants to see Miles. The two reminisce about the good old days before Monroe asks Miles for a favor. He confesses that had another son with Emma (Annie Wersching), and that he wants Miles to take care of him.
Knowing that Monroe is about to be executed, Miles admits he knows about his other son. The look on Monroe’s face go incredulous when Miles further states “I hid him from you” Monroe because you were a danger to him. As Miles walks away, Monroe screams and must be restrained by the guards.
Monroe’s “time has come. Doctor Porter is there in the courtroom/execution chamber. Gene tells Monroe that he thinks it is an honor to be the one lethally injecting Monroe.
In the final flashback of the episode, Monroe remembers after his wife and first child died, where he turned to the evil side somewhat like Anakin Skywalker who became Darth Vader in the Star Wars saga. In another analog to when Anakin Skywalker turned to the “Dark Side”, murdering those who had killed his mother.
Similarly, Monroe, subsequent to losing his wife and child, not only robbed the nearby settlement of all their supplies as Miles had asked, he murdered all of the people telling Miles “bad things happen.” As the flashback fades, Rachel administers the supposed lethal injection. Monroe is apparently executed as Gene Porter closes Monroe’s eyelids, allegedly for the last time.
Nearby, Aaron sees the pain Miles is in. He asks Bonnie Webster if she is leaving town? She tells him that he might want leave town also since it appears The Patriots and Texas Rangers signed a peace treaty joining forces.
Bonnie goes further indicating to Aaron that Willoughby is now officially part of the new United States, referring to it as “a little Guantanamo Bay” outpost in the heart of Texas and will no longer be safe.
As Monroe’s dead body is buried in an unmarked field by a group of Texas Ranger’s, we move to a shocker. Patriot Director Truman is with Doctor Gene Porter informing him that Rachel and her “boy toy” Miles have become a “pain in the ass”.
Porter, who I suspected was a Patriot because of his fine home, plenty of food, powerfully threatens Truman never to touch Rachel, or Miles. We hear a foreboding name mentioned when Gene says “what would Doctor Horn (Zeljko Ivanek) say?”.
Truman shrinks in abject fear under the verbal tongue lashing from Gene Porter. The scene clearly reinforces the fact the Gene Porter has amassed a considerable amount of political power and influence within The Patriot organiation!
Aaron gets a look of terror on his face when he see the “good” Doctor Horn is entering Willoughby in a wagon emblazoned with the “Patriot Eye of Providence” and a Patriot flag just like his vision had foretold! Doctor Horn sees Aaron and says “good evening friend”; which only serves to further terrify poor Aaron!
In the very finale sequence, under a full moon, Rachel, who actually is the one who gave Monroe his injection, is digging up his grave leading up all to believe this has been an elaborate ruse to trick the Patriots, link up with the Texas Ranger’s and take back Willoughby from Director Truman!
My grade for “Dead Man Walking” is a solid “A PLUS” that revealed a tremendous amount of series back story to fill a lot of what has transpired to date.
The episode featured superb cinematography including a gritty feeling in and around the execution of Sebastian Monroe, great acting by all the cast, wonderful costumes and excellent makeup, including making the characters look realistically younger in the flashbacks, cool location shooting, and an intense fast moving story arc, including the peril’s of substance abuse and the incredible reveal about Monroe’s living son!
We welcome you back to our dedicated Revolution series review site and hope you enjoy our analysis of the second season of this outstanding science fiction drama program!
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