The biggest question at the center of NBC’s new hit drama Revolution is, “Why did the lights go out?” This one element informs everything else in the show, because none of the action would take place without this one catastrophic event. Many of us figured Revolution would dance around this issue, dropping hints, letting characters get close, but then would ultimately pull the carpet out from under us and not answer a damn thing.
Now it looks like we may get an answer much sooner than anticipated.
If you don’t like things spoiled for you, for the love of god, stop reading now.
Revolution creator Eric Kripke (Supernatural) has this to say about what caused the global blackout:
The longer answer is, there was a phenomenon that we have up our sleeve as to what caused the blackout, and what you saw in that globe shot is an accurate representation of what we are working on. Right now we’re currently in the writers’ room. We’re talking dangerously about revealing that secret before the end of the first season. So again, it’s my philosophy of not being too precious with anything. So, we may reveal the secret sooner than later. … Yeah, the secret of what caused the lights to go out.
That’s big news. Few, if any of us expected the mystery to be revealed so soon. That’s actually kind of nice. How often have you watched a show with a big secret, only to have the program cancelled before it is revealed, and been left with a feeling of incompletion?
And from a strategy perspective this might not hamper Revolution as much as it initially appears. Sure, the characters may know what caused the blackout, but that leads to another big question the show will have to solve, will they be able to turn the lights back on?
About this decision, Kripke adds that answering the blackout question leads to “a bigger and scarier mystery.” His main concern is maintaining a quick, steady pace in the story rather than “dragging anything out too much.”
Again, as a fan of the show, this is somewhat welcomed. Mystery is nice, it creates tension, and the search for answers can propel the narrative forward. But at the same time, mystery for mystery’s sake can be frustrating to watch (cough, cough, Lost, cough). It is a pain in the ass to tune in week after week, knowing that a show will tease answers, but that you’ll always be left hanging.
So, now that we’ve thoroughly danced around the issue of what may have actually caused the power outage, here is what Kripke has to say on the matter. Again, if you don’t want to know, stop reading.
We did some research. [What we found was] electric magnetic storms, solar flares … have the possibility to knock out the National Grid. And what we found, they were saying, at least in some of the articles I read that because we’re entering a period of increased solar activity, there’s this insane statistic, which is the likelihood of … a storm being generated that’s big enough to potentially do this over the next ten years is a crazy percentage. It’s like 10%. That’s not to say that it actually will do it, but they’re saying that the potential exists, which for me is terrifying.
He continues to say that there was a recent solar storm that caused the power grid to fail in a major Canadian city, though he was unable to recall which one. After only a few days without electricity, the authorities were having trouble maintaining social order. In short, it was like a miniature test run for Revolution.
Do you think this is the actual reason for the blackout, or just a tease? It could be, but at the same time, the way Ben Matheson (Tim Guinee) reacts to the flip of the switch, how he knows it’s coming, seems to indicate that there was a human component to the equation. Perhaps solar storms are a piece of a larger puzzle, one that includes people poking around where maybe they shouldn’t.
For all the hints, we’re not actually any closer to knowing. We’ll just have to keep tuning into Revolution on Monday nights to find out what really happened.