Revolution S1, Ep5 – “Soul Train”

Meet Commander Neville and learn his backstory on this week's Revolution
Meet Commander Neville and learn his backstory on this week's Revolution

We’re back to the night of the blackout to learn Commander Neville and his family’s story – and it’s a doozy.


Welcome to the latest episode of Revolution – the aftermath of Maggie’s death, the quest to rescue Danny, Miles’ continued conflict over staying with Charlie.  It’s all here, along with a twist so surprising I literally said, “Oh my gosh!” out loud.  This show hasn’t stopped with the amazing reveals and jaw-droppers, that’s for sure.

We open on a truly disturbing sight: Neville and his men entertaining themselves with some bare knuckle brawling.  A shirtless Neville taunts Danny into fighting him with some verbal barbs and two shots tot he face.  Danny doesn’t want to fight, right up until he punches the militia commander in the stomach.  Tom is impressed, and clearly enjoys the answering blows as well as the knock out to the face.  Yikes.

Flashback to Tom Neville, the day of the blackout.  Been waiting for this one!

Tom Neville is an insurance adjuster with a slight stutter and thick glasses, miles away from the angry and ruthless man in the future.  He’s apparently let a claim be filled even though the family didn’t have a specific policy and as this has happened before, his disinterested boss fires him.

On our heroic trek, the group – Charlie, Nora and Aaron – stand sadly around Maggie’s grave.  Everyone is deeply upset, save Miles, who wants them to get moving.  Even Nora is disturbed by his insistence they keep moving , but Miles says he’s given them enough time to stand over a dead body.  Time to go.

The four move through the woods and hear a shocking sound.  A train whistle.

They rush forward and find a bustling little town in the middle of the woods and… a train.  A working steam engine and workers swarming to finish building the tracks.

Neville argues with the engineer.  They’re scheduled to leave tomorrow and he’ll hear no excuses about why that won’t be happening.

Monroe tells Rachel that Danny will be reuniting with her shortly.  She appeals for him to let Danny go; he has her.  She’ll tell him everything if she lets him go.  But Monroe isn’t interested in this deal; because he knows that torturing Danny guarantees her cooperation.

Charlie wanders around the town, trying to get information about the train.  It leaves for Philadelphia tomorrow and Miles is sure that Danny will be on that train.  He asks NotNate for information but their captive says nothing, even as he shares a long look with Charlie.  Miles knows if they don’t get Danny now, he’s gone.

Charlie tries to find information on her brother in "Soul Train"

Try to blend, Charlie.  At least a little.

They’re all going into town with the purpose of finding out more information.  Aaron is left in charge of NotNate.

Neville and Danny enough some nice accommodations: an old bank.  Tom is in a chatty mood; he talks about his past working like crazy for money but Danny has had enough.  He hates the weird speeches, the mind games, the general level of “huh” with Tom’s interactions (preach Danny).  He asks the other man if he gets off on beating up an 18 year old kid.  “And what does that say about you?” he asks.  Excellent point.

Back to blackout night; quiet and meek Tom returns home to his modest house.  His neighbor Rob is throwing a party – a regular occurrence since Tom asks him to keep it down.  Rob doesn’t seem interested.  Inside, his mood changes because here’s his sweet little boy, Jason, and his wife, Julia.  He clearly loves them both dearly and wants to protect them, so he puts on a huge smile and doesn’t mention the firing.

With a little time before dinner, he goes to the basement and the Tom of today can be seen as he viciously pummels a punching  bag, unleashing some of his pent-up anger.  This is a man with issues and rage and… his adorable son watching from the stairs.  He tells Jason, “you only hit the bag, never people” as they throw a punch.  Then, the world changes as the power goes out…

At the train station, Nora sees them loading wood onto the train.  She walks into a book store and speaks with the owner Hutch (guest star Jeff Fahey, bringing the total of Lost alum to “almost everyone”).  Does he have an autobiography of Joe Biden?  Hutch brings her to the back room where he immediately pulls a knife on her. S he shows her tattoo, he shows his and boom: they’re Rebel friends!  Interesting code you people have worked out!

Hutch and Nora prove they're who they say they are

A secret handshake might be a tad easier.

Hutch, apparently, is the only Rebel left in town.  The militia killed their whole cell, including his wife.  No fear, says Nora.  He’s not alone anymore.  They’re going to blow up that train.

Charlie walks through town, catching the eye of one Commander Tom Neville.  He wants to know why she’s casing the joint, but Charlie just smiles. It’s true, she’s spying.  On her boyfriend, who she suspects of cheating.  She introduces herself as Sarah and they shake hands, recognition dawning on her face when he says her name.  After exchanging guarded pleasantries, he takes off with a shaken Charlie in pursuit.

Except as good as she is, she’s not the militia commander.  He grabs her and demands to know who she is – only to be rescued by Miles.  Oh right, they know each other.  Which means Neville now knows who Charlie is.

Miles and Neville fight it out in the alleyway as Charlie runs.  Thank goodness.  I thought we might go a whole episode where Miles didn’t kick somebody’s butt!  It’s knives and fists this time, as they exchange pleasantries (“How’s the wife?).  Miles offers a trade: Danny for his hostage.  Short hair, shirt too tight.  The guy who has been tailing them.  Neville doesn’t blink.  He tells Miles to kill the guy because right now, Danny is the priority.  Neville asks why he left, but Miles doesn’t answer.

Miles and Neville go head to head on "Soul Train"

I’d call this a pretty equal match-up.  Miles versus Neville, each with a big knife.

Milita dudes show up and after getting in one good punch, Miles gets away.

Aaron is guarding NotNate.  He’s looking at Maggie’s iPhone and the pendant… which he nervously drops.  It ends up near the cage and Nate picks it up.  Aaron claims it was his wife’s.  He gets it back, as Nora and Hutch return much to Aaron’s confusion.  She tells him she’s putting a bomb on the train.  Sorry for Danny but she’s got to blow the train and kill some officers.  Miles will just have to find Danny first.

Miles berates Charlie for giving away their position.  She got emotional, panicked and screwed up.  He tells her she has no one to blame but herself if they don’t get Danny back.  Charlie doesn’t understand why he’s like that; she remembers him when she was little, coming to visit.  Carefree Uncle Miles, singing along as they drove around.  What happened to that guy?

Miles says he’s dead.

Neville drags Danny to a more secure location.  Danny mouths off and Neville strangles him a little.  Yeah, the bloom is definitely off the rose of that relationship.

Six weeks after the blackout, Julia tells Tom they should leave.  It’s dangerous out there is his argument but hers is that staying is just as bad.  Which is on target because they hear glass shattering downstairs.  Someone is breaking in.

Tom goes downstairs with a golf club to find Rob, his neighbor, stealing the silver.  Jason watches from the staircase as Rob begins to beat Tom on the floor.  As Rob is winning the fight, something unleashes in Tom and he begins to beat Rob.  To death.   As he stands, bloody and fierce, he faces his shocked wife and child.  Tom the meek adjuster has started down the road to become militia bad ass Neville.

By the way, great performance by Giancarlo Esposito.  We can see the transition between who he was before the blackout and what it turned him into.

Charlie and Miles are shocked to hear Nora’s plan.  They have to save Danny; because urgent just got even more so.

Miles looks at Nate: time to get serious.  With that, Charlie resorts to begging.  Please, if he knows anything, he has to tell them.  Nate is conflicted, clearly.  He says:  No, sorry.  He can’t tell her anything.  Face hardening, Charlie says she’s sorry as well – for not stopping Miles from killing him.

Well, that doesn’t go as planned as Nate performs some kick ass acrobatics and jumps through a hole in the ceiling.  He disappears into the brush, much to Miles and Charlie’s irritation.

At Monroe Headquarters, Sebastian is receiving some bad news.  Other republics have joined forces and amassed troops on their border – and they’re doing pretty well in engaging the militia.  In fact, they’ve wiped out a few hundred of his men.  Bas is annoyed.  How dare they?  His officer points out they must’ve heard about the Rebels and how they’re becoming a problem.  Is Monroe vulnerable?  Even more reason for Monroe to find the power source.  If he finds it and restores the power – controls the power – he will be a god.

Nora and Hutch are building a bomb.  Explosives in a hollowed out log, thrown into the pile.  The train will blow itself up without them having to worry about a trigger.  Hutch wants to make his wife proud.  She was the fighter, he was the bookworm.  Now this destruction of the train will be his way of doing something for her.

After dropping the bomb/log in the pile, Nora takes off.

Nate is now at Neville’s side; the commander wants to leave now and blows off the train engineer’s protests.  When Nate throws his own opinion in (why the rush?), Neville doesn’t even respond.  He just boards the train.  Hey Nate, watch it.  Miles isn’t the only one capable of killing you.

The train is preparing to leave!

Miles and Charlie race to the station as they hear the whistle.  Nora watches it go and spies Neville in a car with a blond kid.  She realizes Danny is definitely on that train; she can’t do it.  She made a promise and she’s not going to let Danny die.  Hutch made a promise too: he’s blowing up that damn train.  He stabs Nora in the side, leaving her in a heap.

A second later, Miles, Charlie and Aaron arrive.  Nora tells them Danny is on the train.  And oh right, there’s a bomb.

Miles isn’t giving up.  He spies some horses and Charlie joins him to chase after the speeding train.  They jump on in true Western hero fashion.  Miles is going to find the bomb, Charlie needs to find Danny.

Train surfing ahoy!

Danny spots Charlie clinging to the side of the train.  They share a tender smile; Neville turns his back and Danny attacks, knocking him to the ground.  They struggle as Charlie tries desperately to get into the car.

Meanwhile, Miles and a militia officer fight in the front of the train.  The bomb-log has been thrown into the fire and Miles – after he kicks the dude’s ass – tries to get it out before the thing explodes.

Neville is knocked out as Charlie tries to escape with Danny.  She’s grabbed by Nate as Neville pulls a gun on Danny.

It’s a stand off.  Neville orders Nate to give him the girl or he’ll shoot Danny.  There’s a tense, scary pause.  Nate leans down and whispers, “shield your head” before throwing Charlie off the train!  He watches to make sure she’s okay then runs to the other end of the car.  Nate and Miles share a long and knowing stare before Miles jumps from the train.

Neville, meantime, does not look happy.  He reminds Nate about his order: bring him the girl.  Nate doesn’t even blink in response, nor does he offer an explanation.  Damn, he’s got some stones!

Charlie and Miles are reunited as they watch the train disappear.  She’s heartbroken.  With Nora and Aaron, they prepare their next move.  Nora apologizes for the bomb as Miles attempts to comfort Charlie.  He tells her that uncle she remembers is not really dead.  He just can’t be “him” right now.  Because Miles now has to walk to Philadelphia and kill Sebastian Monroe, his best friend. Charlie, at this juncture, doesn’t really care.

Like Tom became Neville in the face of the blackout, Charlie has become someone else as well.  She stands up, hard-hearted and cold.  No more moping or whining.  They probably won’t survive and hey, Aaron, Nora?  You guys coming on the suicide mission?

Everyone looks sad about Charlie’s new attitude, but none more than Miles.

In Philadelphia, Neville, Nate and the crew enter the train station.  They are greeted by Julia, looking beautiful and fabulous as she lovingly embraces her husband.  Stepping back she casts a look over at Nate.  They share a little smile, then a bigger one.

Julia Neville reunites with her husband in "Soul Train"

She doesn’t look like an insurance adjuster’s wife anymore…

“Hello Jason.”

“Hello Mother, it’s good to be home.”

Boom.  And I mean… boom.

Yep, that’s right.  Charlie’s potential love interest is Jason Neville, Tom and Julia’s sweet-faced little boy.  All grown up into a skilled fighter and militia member – who has now betrayed not only his allegiance but also his father by not doing his Charlie-related job.  At least we know why Neville didn’t just pop him when he disobeyed a pretty big order!

As his parents walk off, Jason (NotNate!) has a flashback of his own.

His father, handing him a knife, telling he’s going to teach him how to use it.  And a gun.  Little Jason says he’s scared and Tom tells him that they have to toughen up.  If they’re weak or scared, then they’re dead.  In present day, a pensive Jason watches Neville and Julia, clearly deep in thought.

Do his feelings for Charlie make him weak?

The prize captive arrives in Philadelphia.

Welcome to the Lion’s Den Danny. I suspect you’re going to miss being on the road with Neville.

Rachel watches from a window as Danny is dragged from the train.  Bas says he’ll help her if she helps him.  What was Ben working on?  At the end of her rope, Rachel goes to the desk.  She begins sketching the pendant – they were both working on it.  She doesn’t have all the specs but to turn the power back on, he needs the pendants.

All twelve of them. And… scene.

Okay, this show is getting better and better every week.  What’s interesting is that “getting the power restored” is not as urgent as the individual character stories and that, I think, is the show’s strength.  I care about these people, and their interpersonal struggles are as important as the overreaching mythology.  That is how you build a solid show.

The reveal of Nate being Jason is huge.  Huge.  Because Neville doesn’t like weakness, and he clearly relishes his job.  He isn’t going to jeopardize his position, or allow himself to be weak ever again.  Will he sacrifice his son?  And will Jason continue to stay at his father’s side or will he reach out to Charlie and company once again.





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