I had high hopes for Revolution first premiered, primarily owing to showrunner Eric Kripke, whose Supernatural run was stellar. Sadly, a potentially interesting concept spent half a season mired in a road trip to rescue a character we didn’t care about, largely dancing around the elements that could have taken the show up a notch. It improved significantly during the second half of the season, but many thought it was too little, too late. Going into season two I was again in a hopeful place, this time because Farscape’s Rockne O’Bannon was joining as co-showrunner. Now we’re at the midpoint of Revolution’s second season, and while it was definitely more consistent than the first year, it still hadn’t really done anything that made it must-see TV. The events of the final episode before the hiatus were easily the best the show has been yet…but will it be able to follow up on that, or dwindle back into a show that’s mostly just forgettable.
Talking to TV Line, O’Bannon provided a few hints as to what’s to come, and more perspective on exactly what happened in “Everyone Says I Love You.”
After teasing the mystery of the power-eating nanobots and their mysterious connection to Aaron, the show served up definitive answers in the form of a childhood friend and lots of people bursting into flames. More specifically, the nanobots finally decided to show up and introduce themselves to Aaron, in the form of a childhood friend he barely remembers. As many had already guessed, the nanobots have been watching Aaron’s back because his attempts to stop the nuke launch in last season’s finale somehow “woke them up.” So now all those trillions of nanobots are conscious and curious. Unfortunately, Aaron only confuses them. In spite of them having saved his life, Aaron says he doesn’t want them watching over him and orders them to leave. Then, a few minutes later, he asks them to kill all the Patriot soldiers who want to dissect him to figure out his connection to the ‘bots. And if they could also heal his mortally wounded girlfriend, too, that’d be great. They take care of the former request, but then get tired of his back-and-forth nonsense, meaning he’s left with a whole lot of flaming soldiers and one very dead lover.
And while the nanobots seem to abandon Aaron in the mid-season finale, it sounds like they won’t be gone for long. In fact, O’Bannon says the nanobot twist “is something that really launches us into how we’re viewing the latter half of the season, which is kind of its own standalone event.”
O’Bannon is quick to clarify that the all the nanobots around the world were “awakened” by Aaron’s actions, not just the ones hanging out in his general vicinity/body. And while his actions were one reason for the nanotech’s interest in him, O’Bannon says they weren’t the only one. “It was Aaron’s actions at the tower that initially signaled him to be special. And then there’s other things that we’ll discover. There are other reasons why Aaron has been singled out by the nano.” Of course, it’s been hinted that the design of the nanobots themselves was somehow tied to Aaron’s past work, although he has yet to understand how.
As for what the nanotech’s intentions are, toward Aaron and humanity in general, O’Bannon hints that will be a big narrative push in the second half of the season.
it’s still out there. Another potential takeaway from [this episode] is: We want to go away and think about what we’ve just experienced. [We’re] not sure how we feel about Aaron’s individual actions, but also what that means in terms of how human beings act and react to things. There’s a potential for an uncertain, possibly judgmental nanotech that’s out there, and the danger is, it’s literally everywhere.
…It would do [Aaron’s] bidding because it chose to help him and do what he wanted it to. But now, at least as of the climax of [Episode] 9, it’s not going to do that for him anymore, at least in the short term — which is a huge relief for Aaron, obviously, but also a very scary proposition. If it’s not relating to him in any way, what is it thinking? What is it doing?
It all sounds like one more reinvention for a show that’s already tried to reinvent itself multiple times. Thankfully the notion of sentient, nigh-omnipotent nanotech with unclear motivations is easily the most interesting idea the show has put forward so far, so hopefully this reinvention will stick. Revolution will return to NBC on Wednesday, January 8 at 8/7c.