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Steven Culp on "Revolution"

Episode: 2.16 - Exposition Boulevard

"REVOLUTION" - "EXPOSITION BOULEVARD" - 03/12/2014 (08:00PM - 09:00PM) (Wednesday): THE PATRIOTS STEP UP THEIR REEDUCATION INITIATIVE IN WILLOUGHBY - Monroe (David Lyons), Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Connor (Mat Vairo) make their way back to Willoughby, where they find that the Patriots' reeducation center is up and running. An encounter with two of the center's young cadets leaves Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Miles (Billy Burke) divided on the lengths they are willing to go in order to take down the Patriots. As Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) and Jason (JD Pardo) find a new ally for their mission, more about the history of the Patriots is revealed. Also starring Stephen Collins, Christopher Cousins, *Steven Culp*, David Aaron Baker, Cotter Smith and Julius Washington.

"Revolution" Information Page
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Detailed summary:

As Aaron and Priscilla rekindle their relationship on the road home, the action picks up in the middle of the Matheson/Neville standoff. Neville wants to know whether Miles is willing to lay his life on the line for Monroe. That's when a twig snaps, giving Miles and Rachel the opportunity to run off. Neville and Jason are left to confront Doyle and a squad of Truman's Patriots, who pursue Miles, only to wind up dead. The next day, a contemptuous Neville demands more men and a free hand, but Doyle refuses. Booting Truman out of his own office, Doyle lays into Neville: even though the president spared him and Julia, Doyle will have their heads as soon as he finds Monroe.

A week later, Miles and Rachel catch up with Monroe, Connor, Charlie and Duncan's soldiers and retreat to an abandoned hydro plant. Miles fills Monroe in on Neville's quest to save his wife, then takes him to check out a new development: while stockpiling weapons, the Patriots have recruited all of Willoughby's youth for cadet training. Hearing a twig snap, the two men quickly flush two terrified escapees from the brush, Kim Carson and Dillon Matthews. Back at the safe house, Porter quickly recognizes the kids and knows something's wrong with them. Miles and Monroe discuss hitting the munitions dump, which will likely involve collateral damage - the town's children. Rather than allow Monroe to interrogate their captives, Rachel and Porter eventually coax out some information. Kim claims all Willoughby's kids enlisted under their own volition. When Rachel and Porter arm themselves and prepare to take the kids home, Monroe gets feisty. Claiming he'll handle it, Miles puts Monroe off and heads out after the group. Little does everyone know, Neville and Jason are spying on the camp and scheming how to use trouble in paradise to their advantage.

In the Oval Office, Roger Allenford tells President Davis that Willoughby's Reeducation Center is up and running. Mincing no words, the president orders Allenford to take out Monroe and the Mathesons so the cadets' mission can begin. It's time to overthrow the Commander of Texas, General Carver. And if Allenford isn't with the program, the president is perfectly happy to shoot him, Doyle and both their families. Meanwhile, Neville pays Truman a visit. Doyle is sending men after Monroe, but only Neville knows where he is. If Truman will give Neville the men needed to capture Monroe, Neville will back his play to control Willoughby. Truman flashes back to his time as a Guantanamo prison guard in the days after the Blackout. Just when things seem like they can't get any worse, the remnants of the U.S. government appear in the harbor in the form of a ragtag flotilla.

Kim's dad, Grant, aims his rifle at Rachel et al. when they show up at his door. Porter tries to explain something is very wrong with the training camp, but Grant believes Miles and his crew are terrorists, per the Patriots' propaganda. That's when Kim spills her guts: the Patriots blindfold the kids every night and when they wake up in the morning... none of them can remember what happened. In fact, Kim's black eye came from her time in camp. Grant takes a closer look, only to find a number tattooed inside her eyelid. When he repeats the number, Kim grabs a shotgun and shoots him in the back without blinking, then slits her own throat.

Back at the hydro plant, Rachel examines Dillon, who also has a number tattooed in his eye socket, which sets everyone to arguing over what to do with him. It's just the opportunity Neville needs to attack, during which Charlie comes face-to-face with Jason for the first time in months. Without hesitating, she knocks him out. During the chaos, Rachel unties Dillon and tells him to run, begging Miles not to shoot him. After beating on Neville, Monroe runs after Connor, who's being trounced by Jason. In the end, it's Miles who covers everyone's escape. The next morning, Doyle rips into Neville and Truman for their failure. It takes Truman back to Guantanamo when he stood next to Allenford while Jack Davis proposed a coup to kill the Vice President, the only senior U.S. official left alive after the Blackout. They'll build a new America with new ideals - a new order for the ages! Davis introduces DOD consultant Victor Doyle, who makes a scary promise to win hearts and minds.

At a new safe house, Monroe scolds Miles for sparing Dillon. Monroe admits to wanting revenge for the destruction of Philadelphia, but Miles isn't clear on Monroe's bottom line. Isn't all this because Monroe wants his Republic back - a sort of new family business? Monroe doesn't deny it. He knows what he's fighting for, but does Miles? Back in Willoughby, Doyle orders Jason into his office. Pulling down his eyelid, Doyle invokes the power of the number tattooed there, then asks a zombified Jason to tell him everything about his father. (c)

Detailed summary:

This week's episode of Revolution, "Exposition Boulevard," was written by the team of David Rambo and Trey Callaway and directed by Nick Copus. Rambo and Callaway last collaborated on "Happy Endings." Both titles sound like they could be references to the structure of a narrative, but this week's seems to be at least partially a dig at itself for the amount of exposition taking place in the episode. Characters reunite and have to tell their stories to each other and we also get a nice juicy flashback in this episode – something we haven't had a lot of this season.

The episode begins right where several storylines left off. Most importantly, we are right back in the middle of the Mexican standoff between Miles (Billy Burke), Tom (Giancarlo Esposito), Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell), and Jason (JD Pardo). Tom is using every angle to try to convince Miles to give up Monroe (David Lyons). Just as Miles seems to be weakening, the Patriots, lead by Doyle (Christopher Cousins) arrive and allow Rachel and Miles to escape and find Monroe and company.

The episode has two main themes running through it. The first is the power of suggestion and the art of manipulation. The most obvious example is Kim (Jaz Sinclair) and Dillon (John Omohundro), the soldiers that Miles and Monroe find spying on them. They have been indoctrinated by the re-education camp. They have numbers tattooed inside their eyelids that act as activation codes to make them do whatever the activator wants or to kill. This is beautifully shot with close-ups of their eye and the mouth of the speaker. This is a good way to de-humanize them. We also learn that Jason has a code too that Doyle is going to exploit against Tom. Sinclair does a really terrific job at playing the various incarnations of Kim – soldier, scared teenager, killer. I was sad to see the end of her character when she kills her father and slits her own throat.

Tom is also a master of manipulation. He starts the episode by creating doubts in both Rachel and Miles' alliances. Rachel worries that Miles is too much like Monroe, and Miles begins to doubt Monroe's motivation. Tom is not able to manipulate Doyle for two reasons. First, the both hate each other with a passion. Doyle tells Tom that he considers it a personal affront that Tom and Julia (Kim Raver) are still alive. Secondly, as we learn from the flashback, Doyle is himself a master manipulator. Doyle was the re-education consultant to the DOD, and he is the one behind the re-education camps.

However, Tom sees that Doyle has completely alienated Truman (Steven Culp) and is quick to exploit it. The flashbacks finally give us some insight into Truman. When the blackout occurred he was a prison guard at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It's six months after the blackout and the guards are mindlessly following their last orders to feed the prisoners. Truman is starting to question what they are doing when Jack Davis (Cotter Smith) then Secretary of Defense, now President, arrives with Doyle and Roger Allenford (David Aaron Baker) in tow. Davis's plan now that the real President and Speaker are dead is to get rid of the Vice President to open the way for him to take over. Davis comes across like a zealot as he tells the assembled that they were being destroyed from within by parasites and perverts and the blackout is their chance to atone. Only the strong will survive in this new America. Doyle then tells them that they will be the new founding fathers. Truman is happy to have the responsibility taken off his shoulders and looks on eagerly.

In the present, however, Doyle's brow-beating and demeaning comments are starting to have an adverse effect on Truman's loyalty, so he agrees to help Tom capture Monroe without Doyle's knowledge. When that plan fails, Doyle calls Truman a "feeble-minded child." Truman laments that he didn't sign on for this. Tom is quick to exploit his advantage and suggests that "It's all on Doyle – someone should do something about him..." And clearly, Truman is starting to think about doing it.

In the present, we also see President Davis brow-beating and threatening Allenford. He tells him that the bootcamp is extremely important for taking Texas, and that if Allenford can't get the cadets in the field, he'll have Allenford, Doyle, and their families shot. I have to wonder if Davis isn't pushing Allenford to the point where he will have had enough. I somehow also think that if Davis went too far against Doyle, he would regret it.

Meanwhile the nanotech continues to manipulate Aaron (Zak Orth). He and Priscilla (Maureen Sebastian) continue on their way 'home' to Texas and stop for the night. Aaron remarks on how happy Priscilla seems and she acknowledges that she is. She attributes it to them having been through hell but still being alive and together. She continues to get closer to him and finally suggests they sleep together. Aaron is quite ok with it. At the end of the episode, however, Priscilla walks out into the woods alone at night where she seems to be communing with the firefly nanotech – they swarm around her happily. Have they made a baby nanotech and really expanded their family? Has she been being influenced by them all along or just since they left Lubbock? Given that she didn't want Aaron to save them, I'm assuming it's only since Aaron fixed the code.

The second main theme is family. Families are used against each other – Priscilla's promise of a reuniting of family with Aaron is a strong motivator for him. Davis uses threats against the families of Allenford and Doyle even while spending the day with his grandson. Doyle is controlling Tom through Julia. Monroe wants to re-establish the republic for Connor (Mat Vairo).

The episode begins with a reuniting and blending of families. Monroe is giving Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) a hard time about sleeping with Connor just as she is reunited with her mother and Monroe is reunited with his brother-in-arms, Miles. Miles tells Monroe about Tom and is even sympathetic to some extent because the Patriots have Julia, forcing Tom to work for them. Monroe has no sympathy, but is full of pride for his own son. Miles expresses surprise that Monroe is happy his kid's a killer. Monroe answers – "family business." For those familiar with Supernatural, you will have recognized that as a signature line from that series too.

When they re-group with Gene (Stephen Collins), he tells Rachel that Connor and Charlie are sleeping together because he knows the signs because he already raised a wild daughter. They are certainly setting them up as the Romeo and Juliet of the series. Of course, Jason makes an interesting addition to the equation, and he is certainly not happy about Charlie's new boyfriend.

The group splits on how to handle the child soldiers. Gene won't allow them to be killed and Rachel sides with him. Miles defends them against Monroe even while Miles remains somewhat ambivalent. Monroe is the most pragmatic of the group, pointing out that everyone is someone's kid. Using children really is a clever idea as most people would hesitate to hurt a child or believe that child could be bad or a threat, resulting in them letting their guard down as Gene does. Monroe continues to chafe at not being in charge.

Ultimately, Gene insists on returning the children to their families which turns out to be the wrong decision as both Kim and her father end up dead. Monroe wants to kill Gene before he gets them all killed by being too empathetic in a war situation. Miles urges Rachel to be realistic and acknowledge that there will inevitably be collateral damage. Rachel goes back to family when she says she can't let them kill someone else's son.

They are still faced with the problem of Dillon. Gene maintains that he's a good kid, but Miles insists he's a problem that they have to take care of. Miles tells Rachel to be smart, but she insists that she's been smart, and she's tired of doing the smart thing and having everyone die – she'd rather do the right thing. Rachel cuts Dillon loose and ultimately Miles can't shoot him. I can't help but think that this kid is going to come back and kill Gene for their stupidity. Rachel praises Miles for not taking the shot, but he's not so sure it was the right thing.

Meanwhile, there is an epic fight when Tom and Truman's men attack. There's a great shootout, during which Charlie comes face to face with Jason and knocks him out. There is a terrific sequence that cuts back and forth between Tom fighting Monroe and Jason fighting Connor. Connor sees Tom beating the crap out of Monroe and goes to help him, and when Monroe sees Jason beating the crap out of Connor, he also goes to help him. It seems that father and son have bonded!

The final scene between Monroe and Miles is a powerful one. Miles knows Monroe like a brother and realizes that Monroe is lying about why he wants to win this fight. Monroe is angry that Miles didn't kill Dillon. Miles realizes that Monroe wants the republic back so that he can rule with Connor – Miles disgustedly calls it the family business – the second time the phrase is used in the episode. Monroe turns the tables and asks Miles what he is fighting for. Monroe presses and asks what Miles is going to do – retire? Play house with his girls? Is there, in fact, no possibility of these men ever having a normal family life? In the end, Miles is unable to tell Monroe what he's fighting for. (c) Lisa Macklem

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