As Revolution rolled through its early episodes, it was easy to feel a bit of Lost-ispired deja vu. With a huge mystery at its core — why did every electronic device stop working 15 years before? — it was easy to assume that, if it lasted longer than a season, the show would keep kicking that question further down the line, holding any definitive answers back for the final season. Instead, creator Eric Kripke promised what caused the blackout would be revealed sooner rather than later. And sure enough, we got the answer shortly after the show returned from a mid-season hiatus. In its second half, the big quest became to find a way to “turn the lights back on,” and they did precisely that in the finale. But with season 2 set to premiere tonight, Kripke says Revolution’s characters are going to have too many other problems on their hands to be worrying much about electricity this year.
SPOILERS FOR SEASON 2 BELOW!
There were strong hints in the final scenes of the show’s first season finale that things weren’t going to be nearly as easy as “flip a switch, everything’s fixed.” In fact, the power pretty much only stays on long enough to do one thing: get a pair of nuclear missiles in the air and on the way to Atlanta and Philadelphia. I’m betting the show will eventually restore the power permanently in whatever becomes the show’s final season, but it’s not going to be a primary focus in season 2. Kripke tells TV Guide:
We never had any intention of keeping the power on, because the show would very quickly lose any semblance of what it was about. The power was always on as a misdirect, just long enough to get these nuclear missiles in the air. As we begin Season 2, it’s just a worst-case scenario, which is: Bombs are in the air, the power is off. The power’s going to stay off. The pendants are not working.
We can just push through to another layer of character and storytelling, because the quest to turn the power on and the quest to turn the power off is both limiting and it’s not what the show’s about, in my mind. It’s about these characters and all the different facets of what it’s like to live in this modern, primitive world, and those were the stories we were interested in exploring.
So the power was always a red herring? That’s potentially a good thing, simply because when a show becomes only about its mysteries, it’s almost always doomed to disappoint a segment of its viewers. Fans will have formed their own theories over the years, and if the truth proves to be less interesting to them than their own ideas, you’ll be left with a show that becomes more about its ending than anything that came before — witness Lost and Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica.
Kripke’s comments also call attention to something that’s been in plain sight from the get-go. The show isn’t called Blackout; it’s called Revolution. And with the reveal that some elements of the U.S. government have survived in secret in Cuba for all the post-blackout years, we can see the hints of how that revolution will manifest. Therein lies the crux of the show’s new direction, according to Kripke.
With the show continuing to expand its to focus on the broader state of the post-blackout world, the core group of characters will be split up, and several new ones will enter the stage. Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) has basically had a nervous breakdown after her attempts to save the day backfired so drastically, so Miles takes her back to her hometown of Willoughby, Texas (a lovely Twilight Zone reference, I must say). There we’ll be introduced to one of the new characters, Rachel’s father, Dr. Gene Porter (Star Trek: The Motion Picture’s Stephen Collins). Aaron accompanies the pair to Willoughby, and soon meets a new love interest (played by Jessica Collins, no relation). Kripke explains that this new character is “intelligent and funny and also devoutly religious. There’s a lot of people who have a real, reasonable point of view on God, and we thought it was interesting to explore that — especially in this world, where they’ve returned, in so many ways, to a simpler time.”
Meanwhile, Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) and Jason (JD Pardo) will travel back to the East Coast, which is in sorry shape after the dual nuclear attack on two of its most important surviving cities. Kripke says:
They meet the character that Nicole Ari Parker (Soul Food) plays, which is really one of the first of these Patriots who we get to know, who oversees a refugee camp. Her name is Secretary Allenford. She starts, like all of the Patriots [do], with this very benign mask, but there’s something much darker beneath it.
Monroe (David Lyons), as you might imagine, is not taking his fall from power terribly well, and is dealing with his pain just as you might expect. Kripke says:
He’s indulging in women and alcohol and trying to drink and screw away the pain. We find him in a really surprising and fun place, and that’s very much the opposite of the guy sitting in a giant office in Independence Hall. He’s in a much grungier, grimier place, as are all our characters.
Finally, Charlie will set off on her own andzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…
Revolution returns for its second season tonight at 8/7c on NBC.