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Revolution Recap: A Little Less Conversation

REVOLUTION -- "Nobody's Fault But Mine" Episode 110 -- Pictured: Billy Burke as Miles Matheson

Screw it: Let’s just swordfight. For all its grand ideas and heavy-handed themes, Revolution is a silly sci-fi soap opera that works best when no one is talking. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is a series high point because it’s mostly a lot of action sequences, with minimal breaks for self-reflection and serious conversations about What It All Means. When people do speak, it’s just the right level of absurd. As Miles tells Charlie, “Your head’s bleeding again.”

Because it’s the fall finale, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is the climax to the crap we’ve been enduring throughout the first half of the season. As such, it’s actually pretty effective: All of the characters reunite, Danny is finally rescued, and Miles and Monroe whip ‘em out and see whose is longer. Swords, you perverts.

But that’s jumping ahead to the big finish. The episode begins with the gang arriving in Philadelphia. Miles seeks refuge with Major Kipling, one of the few friends he has left in the city. Kip asks what Miles is going to do when he faces Monroe. Miles says he’ll kill him, but of course we know it won’t be as easy as that. Remember that Miles botched the last assassination attempt — and just in case you do forget, Revolution repeatedly reminds you that these two have a hard time killing one another. It’s actually kind of annoying.

Neville very quickly figures out that Miles is staying with Kip, but by the time he shows up with his Militia goons, Miles is elsewhere. No matter — Neville drugs Charlie and throws her into a cell with Rachel. You might expect Charlie to be overjoyed when she learns that her mother is actually alive, but instead she pouts a lot and says she just wants to find Danny. Get a new mantra, girl.

Where’s Miles, anyway? If you guessed he’s hiding out in Neville’s house with a sword to Julia’s throat, you’d be right and eerily good at guessing. Despite being explosion-free, this scene is one of the most exciting, with Miles offering to trade Neville’s wife for the return of Charlie, Nora, and Aaron. That’s mostly a credit to Giancarlo Esposito, who is great in everything always, but also to Julia, quickly emerging as a standout character. She pleads with Neville to let her die for the cause, and says to Miles, “You think I’m some hysterical bitch? Sorry. I’m not the beg-for-your-life type.” Badass alert!

Back at the power plant where Monroe is keeping the rest of the white hats, Charlie and Danny are finally reunited. Their happy moment is short-lived, however: Monroe demands that Rachel finish building the amplifier Dr. Jaffe was working on. If she refuses, he’ll kill one of her kids. But she gets to choose, so, you know, thank God for small favors. Naturally, Charlie volunteers, and naturally, Rachel steps in before Strausser can pull the trigger on everyone’s least favorite heroine. You didn’t really think Revolution would off her, did you? (No, but I kept hope alive.)

It is a little disappointing that the big fall finale doesn’t kill any major characters. (Strausser hardly counts.) Maggie’s death so early on seemed to signal that this was a high-risk show in which casualties would be the norm. And yet, for all the promos suggesting nothing would ever be the same again, everything progresses basically as you’d expect. Yeah, Danny gets rescued and Monroe gets power, but could you really imagine any other outcome? Outside of a very ambitious premise, Revolution strikes me as a show that’s afraid to take chances, and that’s kind of a bummer.

And yet, for all its predictability, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is at least entertaining, which is more than can be said for so many of the episodes that preceded it. Plus, Charlie is not entirely awful — like when she knocks out a Militia guard and grabs a huge gun. Or maybe it’s just that Danny is back in the picture, and he’s dreadful enough to make her look better by comparison. Note his delivery on “You’re Uncle Miles?” It’s maybe the funniest line yet.

While Charlie and Danny are making their escape, Rachel is facing off against Strausser. She dispatches him pretty easily — and really, after the “peaches” line, it’s hard to think of him as a worthy adversary — just as Miles is making his entrance. The two attempt to flee the power plant, but it’s not long before they’re intercepted by Monroe. Rachel runs off, because the episode has obviously been building to a Miles-Monroe showdown, and damn it, we’re going to get a Miles-Monroe showdown.

Again, no one dies, so apologies if you imagined anything too exciting. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is peppered with flashbacks to Monroe and Miles as kids and, later, fighting alongside each other in the post-blackout Trenton Campaign. So, yeah, they have a history, but we knew that already. Miles finally decides that Monroe is a changed man and thus way easier to kill. Instead of killing him, however, Miles stands around talking about it, until both men are able to escape unharmed. Classic Bond villain mistake.

All the good guys are together, and it looks like an almost happy ending. Except, oops, Rachel finished building that amplifier, which means Monroe now has power, and a whole arsenal of military helicopters. I’m not sure how this will play out, but the promo for the next episode — not airing until March — promises that nothing will ever be the same. Seriously, they’re trying to fool us with this crap again.

It’s nice that Revolution went out on a relatively high note before an extended hiatus: Once again, I’m reminded that the series can and should be a lot of fun. At the same time, it all feels like too little, too late. Without a major overhaul, Revolution will return in 2013 with the same awkward pacing, logic flaws, and unbearable protagonist. And given the show’s ratings, I guess there’s no real reason to listen to my complaints. Against my better judgment, I’ll continue to watch Revolution until I simply can’t bear it any longer — or when the power finally disappears, putting us all out of our misery.

Photo: Brownie Harris/NBC