Leading up to this week’s Revolution, we were teased about a significant death that would not only act as a game changer but that would also shake up the lives of our ragtag colonial crew. Killing off a main character less than five episodes into the series? It’s a risky move even for an established television show and I’m going to be honest: while I may have predicted Maggie’s demise, I’m not entirely happy about it. My apathy towards the character in the last few episodes was largely based on the fact that aside from a few emotional moments, Anna Lise Phillips’ talent seemed wasted and overlooked – and to be honest, I had hoped that as the show moved forward, we would see her become integrated in a more prominent way.
But sadly, that hope will never come to fruition. Because this is a dystopian world where anyone can die at any time from the Militia, from the Resistance, or from being stabbed while running from wild dogs. And I suppose that’s the one of the main themes Revolution was choosing to drive home in this hour, especially since this episode was most likely filmed at a time when the creators didn’t know if they would have a larger story to tell. So it was to be Maggie’s fate that she was attacked by a crazed dog owner and despite the best surgical efforts of Aaron and Nora, left to bleed out while the group watched in horror and sadness.
We did at least get some insight into Maggie’s life via flashback before she died, learning that the last time she saw her kids was during a Skype conversation while she was working in the States. They were begging for a story, but she was getting ready to go out and couldn’t spare the time. Of course, that’s the exact moment the power went out, leaving a guilt-ridden and depressed Maggie to wander all the way to Buffalo in search of a boat that would help her return to her family. She didn’t find a boat, but she did find Ben – who in a chance meeting, happened to cross her path just as she was about to kill herself. The whole scene was a nice way to show Maggie’s history with Ben and explain how she came to the camp – and quite honestly, I’m happy anytime I get to see a flashback scene involving Tim Guinee, who I can’t get enough of.
For all my griping about Maggie’s demise, “The Plague Dogs” was actually a fantastic episode and one that I really enjoyed. Tracy Spiridakos has grown leaps and bounds since the pilot, and watching her emotional goodbye scene with Maggie hit home for me in a way I’m not sure it would have a month ago. As for Anna Lise Phillips, even in the smallest of scenes, she always managed to find the perfect nuances of emotion that helped us to connect with her character – and nowhere was that more evident than in this episode, particularly during her death scene when she asked for her phone so she could imagine seeing her kids one last time. Although I’m looking forward to seeing how her death shapes Charlie and the rest of the group, I’ll certainly miss seeing her on the show.
While Maggie was busy dying and Charlie was busy getting captured (and nearly cross-bowed), the Militia was forced to stop their journey to hide out from a nasty storm – one that ended up trapping Danny and Captain Neville in a cellar after Danny’s attempt at escape was once again thwarted. Although I was well aware the show was not going to go so far as to kill off one of their notable main players, I did like the scene of Neville being trapped under the collapsed roof and Danny having to save him, as it allowed us to see more of Giancarlo Esposito’s fine acting. I would make a note about how we haven’t seen much development in the way of his character if I didn’t know we were going to get more history on him in the next few weeks. Nonetheless, it was interesting to learn he had a son and a family and I have a feeling we’ll see that he has more humanity to him than we’ve been led to believe. After all (as he reminded Danny), the kid had no idea what it was like after the blackout or what happened to the world. I like a lot of things in Revolution, but it’s this kind of stuff – relationships and the nature of human change in life-altering situations – that I’m really looking forward to exploring, and that I’m hopeful we’ll get when we finally see Captain Neville’s back story.
In an episode that centered on family and belonging, it wasn’t entirely surprising that the other emotional moments of the night belonged to Elizabeth Mitchell, who continues to steal her scenes by impressively conveying more about her character with one look than most actresses can do with full dialogue. Only two episodes ago, we were teased regarding the whereabouts and involvements of Rachel, whom we last saw locked away in rather comfortable quarters under the strict command of Monroe. This week, we learned what seemed to be suspected – that Monroe wants information about Ben, about why he warned Miles and how he knew the blackout happening. In a flashback, we were shown how Rachel left her family to “get supplies” with a promise to be back in a few months. At the end of the episode, we saw her arriving at Miles’ camp, where she was immediately cuffed after telling him “I came, just like you asked.” In addition to the many questions this brings up, one of the biggest ones is the question of whether or not Miles knows she’s alive (I’m still trying to piece together the timing of the flashbacks, as it’s entirely possible Miles might truly think she’s dead.) Even so, I can’t imagine how Charlie – just now getting over the fact that Miles was once involved in the Militia – would feel knowing that he was keeping a secret like that from her. I couldn’t help but get emotionally invested in the final moments of the episode, both when Rachel was walking away from her children and when Monroe was guilt-tripping her about it, and it’s a testament to Mitchell’s talent that without fail, I find her scenes to be the most layered and interesting, no matter how much she’s on screen. Next week promises to bring us even more from Rachel, and to say I’m excited about that fact would be an understatement.
- It would be remiss of me to not mention the Wizard of Oz parallels – the book that Maggie loved to read to her children and the crazy tornado weather that stranded Neville and Danny in the cellar. One could even go so far as to relate the entire premise of Revolution to Frank Baum’s work – after all, this is a show primarily focused on finding the way home.
- During Miles’ argument with Nora, he tells her that this “is not about us,” leaving me to again wonder about the history between them. Did Miles abandon her at a point when he was supposed to stand by her? Or is it possible that he was a part of the situation that caused her to lose her child, and that’s why she has such strong feelings over his intent to abandon Charlie?
- One might say that the overall theme of being “left behind’ was slightly overt, but I actually liked the way the story was structured. It fit with Miles’ character that he would want to distance himself knowing everyone’s awareness of his murky past, and that an emotional circumstance such as Charlie losing yet another family member would lead him to realize he couldn’t just walk away from her.
- It appears that Nate (if that’s really his name) has been following the crew for some time – but why? Other than being a potential love interest for Charlie, his place in the story feels unclear to me at this point and it’s something I hope the writers choose to explore.
What did you think of the episode? Were you as sad as I was when Maggie died? Weigh in below!
Photo Courtesy of NBC