Revolution series premiere recap: Let There Be Darkness

Electricity the world over ceases to work, a quest begins, and mysteries abound
Ep. 01 | Aired Sep 17, 2012

IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY Adventure-hungry Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos) keeps her postcards from far-off cities in a tin Return of the Jedi lunchbox. Wouldn't you?

Bob Mahoney/NBC

The wait is over: After months of promos and steadily building hype, the new event series of Fall 2012 has premiered.

This high-concept show poses a big “What if?” Revolution asks, what if all sources of electrical power ceased working all over the world? And it looks like we’ve got a whole series of mystery-filled television to tell us the story of what that electricity-stripped world looks like.

Full disclosure: I am coming at this as a fan of J.J. Abrams’ and Eric Kripke’s past work – especially Supernatural – so excuse me if I find myself drawing comparisons between Revolution and these geek gurus’ past successes (plus everything fellow executive producer Jon Favreau brings to the table). I’m trying to see this as a fresh, new show, but let’s be real here – Lost, Fringe and Winchester Brothers devotees know the creative minds behind Revolution have a lot to live up to. Go ahead, don’t be shy, head on down to the comments section and give us a shout-out to the show you’re hooked on that made you want to check out Revolution. And those of you who don’t come with allegiances to anyone in the Abrams-Kripke-Favreau trifecta, tell us what got you interested the show.

Now, onto business. Let’s walk back through all that was packed into this first episode (and there was a lot packed into this ambitious pilot). Anyone who didn’t watch the pilot, here’s your chance to find out what you missed. (But really, people, there’s no excuse – it's been online for a week – just go watch it. We’ll wait.)

Revolution kicks off back in the good ol’ days when we had electricity. In Chicago, young Charlie is watching Looney Tunes, little Danny is playing with an iPad, while their mother, Rachel (Lost alum Elizabeth Mitchell) chats on the phone. When the patriarch of the family, collared shirt- and tie-wearing, clearly desk-job man Ben Matheson, bursts in, he says, “We don’t have much time,” and Rachel knows: “It’s happening, isn’t it?”

Cut to: dudes in a muscle car rocking out to AC/DC on a Port Royal, South Carolina highway. Enjoy it while it lasts, Supernatural fans – this is the one Sam-and-Dean-in-the-Impala-like scene you’re gonna get before the lights go out. In the car is Ben’s brother, Miles, and… a mysterious friend whose name we don’t know – yet. Miles (stony-faced Billy Burke) gets a call on his cell from Ben, who frantically tells him, “It’s all gonna turn off. It’s gonna turn off, and it will never, ever turn back on.”

The connection cuts out, but we know this isn’t just any dropped call. As lights begin to flicker out, Ben checks a laptop computer sitting on his kitchen counter. On its screen is a window labeled ‘Downloading Files.’ Just in time, it hits 100 percent, and Ben pulls a USB plug out of the computer and slips it into a metallic, triangular, locket-like thing. I’m going to call it the Locket of Power.

Now let the over-thinking begin. (This is a J.J. Abrams show, though, so that’s encouraged, right?) Power across the world doesn’t turn off all at once. On the South Carolina highway, Miles steps out of his stalled car to see a stream of headlights flicker off, one car at a time. Zoom out just a little bit wider and we get a look at the lights going off over the whole world: It starts in the northeast corner of the U.S. and spreads west and southward. So was the origin/cause of the blackout in New York or thereabouts? Or did Kripke and co. just think a spread of darkness over the Western Hemisphere just looked cool?

Back to Chicago: Planes crash, transformers explode, Sears Tower goes dark. Let the revolution begin.

NEXT: Charlie's whole world changes. Twice.

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