‘Revolution’ 1.20 Episode Recap and Review: The Dark Tower

We begin the season finale of Revolution with a viewer discretion on the violent content of the episode; a warning of things to come. We then are shown various clips from previous episodes, flashes of each of our main characters: Miles, Danny, Monroe, Rachel, Neville, Nora, Jason. We hear Ben’s voice from the first episode, telling Rachel of the imminent blackout, and watch again as a highway full of vehicles goes dark. Aaron and his wife, Priscilla, sit in their limousine just before it dies. A young Jason stands on the basement steps with his father. Ben and Rachel sit in the dining room as the lights flicker. And then the Earth is seen from space, as portions of the country go dark. We move forward, to after the blackout, and see the desolate, abandoned cities, watch Neville again appear in the small village where Charlie, Danny, Ben, and Aaron live. See Ben’s death unfold, the beginning of the quest to rescue Danny, the first introduction of Miles showing us his fighting prowess. We watch, again, the standoff between Miles and Monroe during Rachel and Danny’s rescue, as well as a few poignant scenes depicting how their friendship started, strained, and tore apart. We revisit Danny’s painful death, and the journey of Aaron and Rachel toward the Tower. The entire season, broken down to a few vivid recollections of each episode, culminating to where we left off: Aaron, Rachel, and Charlie within the Tower command room with the inhabitants. Neville and Jason, freed from their bonds, and planning to take over the Monroe camp outside the Tower. And Miles and Monroe, once again facing one another with weapons drawn, while Nora hides nearby.

The standoff is interrupted by the arrival of Tower inhabitants. In a sudden, unexpected turn of events, Miles, Monroe, and Nora become allies and defend one another against the Tower fighters. The three manage to escape out a side door, and enter another room full of running water. They creep across an aqueduct, and are driven into the deluge when the Tower group discovers them and opens fire. The people see them appear to be swept away, and leave the room, thinking them dead. Nora surfaces, however, and calls out to Miles, but receives no answer.

In last week’s episode, it appeared that Randall was killed when he stepped out of the elevator with Monroe and Monroe’s soldiers; this turns out to not be the case, as we see him enter the room that Rachel and Monroe had recently vacated. Randall crosses the room, observing the open gun case that Rachel had opened for Monroe. He proceeds to the wall of framed pictures of United States Presidents, and lifts the picture of George W. Bush from the wall. He shatters the picture frame, revealing a keycard hidden behind the picture.

One of the members of Tower unit that observed Nora, Monroe, and Miles fall into the water uses a similar keycard to access the command center. As Grace explains to Aaron that Rachel’s plan to turn the power back on is fraught with too many dangers, the fighter walks over to Dan and whispers in his ear. Dan then proceeds to tell Charlie, Rachel, and Aaron that Miles, Monroe, and Nora are “gone,” telling them that they are no longer in the Tower, but not explaining the details of how they left. He informs Rachel that she, Aaron, and Charlie are guests, but if they make any attempt to access Level 12, they will be killed.

Outside, Neville enters the tent where he and Jason had recently been freed, and where Major Mark Franklin now sits, guarded by a former Monroe soldier. As gunfire echoes outside, Neville approaches Franklin, ignoring the man’s taunts that Neville’s takeover of the hundred soldiers there will not stop Monroe from retaliating and regaining power. Neville smirks at his statements, and then tells Franklin that, unlike Monroe, he is neither brutal nor capricious, and that Franklin was free to leave. While a stunned Franklin watches, Neville turns and orders the militia man to saddle a horse for Franklin.

As the soldier leaves the tent, Neville picks up Franklin’s sidearm, telling him that he will have to leave without the weapon. Neville suddenly draws the weapon, firing it at the tent wall behind him, and then pulling his own weapon and aiming it at Franklin. He kills Franklin, and as shouts arise outside, he hurries forward and places Franklin’s gun in his hand. He then points his weapon at Franklin, and as Jason runs into the tent with another soldier, Neville tells him that Franklin took a shot at him, forcing Neville to kill him. As Neville leaves the tent, trailed by the soldier, Jason walks over to Franklin and stares down at the dead man, before glancing over his shoulder toward where Neville had gone, his expression troubled.

Two drainage tunnels jut out of the side of a mountain, pouring water into a ravine. Miles lies unconscious against a nearby bank, apparently having been carried with the current out of the Tower and dumped into the ravine. He starts to wake up, and looks up to see Monroe standing over him. Before he is fully coherent, Monroe punches him, and Miles scrambles to gain his feet and defend himself. The two struggle, exchanging blows, and are interrupted when a Monroe soldier fires at them. They both take cover, but when Monroe realizes that the man is one of his soldiers, he steps out from hiding with his arms raised, calling to the man to hold his fire, identifying himself. To his disbelief, this actually causes the soldier to fire at him once more. Before he can say anything more, the soldier runs off. Monroe scrambles to where he saw Miles take cover, and discovers that Miles has managed to sneak off. He yells after the man in anger and frustration.

We are then taken to the first flashback of the night, a memory providing more insight into Miles and Monroe’s relationship. Ten years after the blackout, Miles and Monroe sit in a diner, celebrating Miles’s birthday. They reminisce about prior celebrations, laughing at the memories, going back as far as Monroe’s ninth birthday. Suddenly, an explosion rocks the building, and they both are flung from their seats in a hail of glass and debris. As Monroe rolls on the ground, disoriented, he stares over at Miles, who lies nearby, unconscious.

Back within the Tower, Aaron messes with a computer in the command room. He makes an unsettling discovery, and goes in search of Grace. He pulls her aside, admitting that he was snooping on the computer system, telling her that he found a code that looked like something he created while he was a student at MIT. Grace confirms that it actually is his code, and that the D.O.D. had purchased it from MIT, unbeknownst to him or even Rachel. Grace goes on to say that Aaron was the one who wrote the Tower’s operating system. She also tells him that it was for this reason that Ben sought him out. Aaron tries to deny that there was any motive behind Ben’s invitation for Aaron to join him, Charlie, and Danny all those years back, saying that they just stumbled across each other in the woods, and that, if anything, Aaron found Ben. Grace simply smiles and nods at this, alluding that the meeting was more than happenstance.

Outside, at the Tower entrance, Neville stands watching while soldiers stack explosives against the Tower doors. Jason walks up, asking his father what is going on, and Neville tells him “a little demolition project,” saying that they have no idea what was going on inside the Tower and that Rachel had to be stopped at all costs. He tells Jason that the power should not be turned back on, and when Jason questions this, Neville conveys that Georgia, as well as the other Republics, should not be handed that kind of power. His words stun Jason, who questions his father’s ability to change sides. Neville interrupts Jason, telling him that he needs to stop. He goes on to say that he needs Jason’s help, that Jason was the only one he could trust. He admits that he has done wrong to Jason in the past, and that Jason’s hatred of him is valid, but that they have to put that behind them. Jason appears to struggle with what he hears, finally telling Neville that no matter what happened below, he wanted Charlie and Rachel to live. Before Neville can respond, a soldier runs up, informing him that he had spotted Monroe in the woods.

Grace walks into what appears to be a hospital room, where Rachel awaits her. As she draws near, Rachel asks her if she ever told Grace about the day that Danny was born. She proceeds to tell her about how Danny was three months early; that his lungs weren’t formed, and he barely weighed two pounds. Even so, his birth was the best day of her life, and she fell head-over-heels in love with him the moment she saw him. His odds of survival were less than 50/50, and the entire time he was in the NICU, she terrorized the doctors and staff, fighting hard to help him survive. Even now, after his death, she hasn’t stopped fighting. Rachel then urges Grace to help her stop the militia and set things right for Danny, to have his death be meaningful by returning power to the world. Grace responds that the risks involved were too dangerous, refusing to believe Rachel’s statement that the chances of mass destruction of the world were one in a billion. She apologizes to Rachel, and after Rachel also apologizes, Grace turns to leave. She is grabbed by Rachel, who presses a clothe over Grace’s nose and mouth, causing Grace to lose consciousness. Aaron and Charlie step out of where they had been hiding as Rachel reaches into Grace’s pocket and pulls out a keycard similar to the one that Randall had earlier acquired.

As Miles walks through a forested area, we are given our second flashback of the evening: ten years after the blackout, after the explosion that knocked Miles out, he awakens in bed, with Nora sitting beside him, and Monroe standing nearby. Monroe informs him that U.S. Rebels were to blame for the bombing; that an American flag was found on the man who created the blast. He then goes over to Miles, helping him from the bed and telling him to look outside the window. Miles does so, and sees several wooden coffins being loaded into a wagon bed. He wonders aloud that five men bombed the restaurant, and is stunned when Monroe states that only one man did the actual bombing – and that the other coffins were the man’s wife and children. As Monroe continues, stating that if the Rebels mess with his family, he will mess with theirs, Nora looks aside with a conflicted expression. She glances over at Miles, who also appears stunned at Monroe’s actions. As Monroe leaves the room, Miles watches him go, and then stares back down as the coffins are pushed along on the wagon bed, one of them noticeably smaller than the others and covered with an American flag.

Inside the Tower, Rachel, Charlie, and Aaron hide behind a stairwell as a group led by Dan go in search of them. Aaron calls Rachel’s attention to the electronic tablet he is carrying, telling her that he had been reviewing his coding that was used to create the Tower operating system. When he designed the code, he built an electronic back door, something that only he was supposed to be able to use, but which was currently open and being used by someone. This discovery makes him think that when the blackout spread worldwide, he didn’t think it was an accident; he thinks the back door was used to deliberately cause the blackout. Before they can discuss it further, they hear someone coming; to everyone’s relief, that person is Nora. After she and Charlie hug, Rachel asks Nora where Miles is.

Still in the forest, Miles walks along as if oblivious to his surroundings. Monroe suddenly appears and jumps him, but Miles was anticipating this, and he quickly subdues the man, pounding him to the ground and then walking away. When Monroe cries after him, wondering why he is leaving, Miles calls back that he has more important things to do. Monroe taunts him, but Miles brushes him off, telling Monroe that he has bigger problems apparently, since his own men seem intent on killing him. Again, Monroe screams after him, ordering Miles not to walk away, and then adding that Miles was the one that started their fight by trying to kill him. This finally makes Miles stop and turn back. Monroe starts walking toward him, telling him about how he never saw it coming, that when he woke up and discovered Miles in his room, he had no idea that Miles was planning to kill him. He tells Miles that he never understood what it was that caused Miles to turn on him. Miles responds that it was a lot of things, beginning with the killing of the Rebel children as seen in the earlier flashback. Monroe retorts that he did that for Miles, going on to say that everything he ever did was for Miles. That while Miles cared for the Republic, Monroe really didn’t; he only cared about watching Miles’s back, and that was the only reason he ever followed Miles into creating the Republic…and Miles tried to kill him for it. The two men stare at each other after that revelation, and the silence is suddenly filled by the sound of a helicopter approaching. It appears overhead, and Miles and Monroe take off in different directions. The helicopter follows Monroe, and one of his own soldiers steps in his path, punching him in the face and knocking him down.

As Nora, Rachel, Charlie, and Aaron head toward the elevators, Nora explains how she and Miles got separated, and he ended up being pushed through the pipes and carried downstream. She admits that she doesn’t know if he’s even alive, and as she watches Rachel react, she realizes that Rachel loves him. Rachel tries to refute her statement, saying that Miles is Ben’s brother, just family, but Nora isn’t convinced. She tells Rachel that Miles loves her in return, also pretending otherwise, but that saving Rachel was the only thing on his mind and he would choose her every time. They reach the stairwell door down to Level 12, and see Dan and some Tower citizens standing there. Nora tells the others that she has an idea on how to get past them.

Night has fallen outside, as Monroe is led into a tent. He is thrown to the ground, handcuffed, and as he gets to his knees, he looks up into Neville’s smirking face as the man tells him that there has been a change in management. After being tied to the post that Neville recently occupied, Monroe demands to know how Neville got there, to which Neville responds that he actually came with Miles. Monroe tries to threaten Neville, stating that he will have him killed, along with his wife. Neville sneers at this, mockingly telling Monroe that he is foolish and deranged, and that he has a borderline erotic fixation on Miles Matheson. Monroe urges Neville to shoot him, but Neville responds that he can’t just shoot people in the face like Monroe, that he has to at least have an appearance of a trial. With a self-depreciating grin, he says that Monroe frightens, whereas he inspires. Monroe can only look at him in disgust. They are interrupted when Jason arrives, informing his father that the explosives worked and they can now enter the Tower. The two depart, leaving Monroe alone in the tent.

Near the elevator, Dan hears a door click open. As he and his Tower members start walking slowly down the hall, he happens to look down and see a trip wire strung across the way. He calls down the hall to Rachel, and she and the others, hiding at the end of the hall, realize that their trap has been discovered. Nora makes a sudden decision, darting into the open and grabbing a fire extinguisher from the wall. As she tosses it at the Tower group, one of them manages to fire his weapon, before the fire extinguisher triggers the wire and the entire hall is engulfed in flames, killing the group. Aaron, Charlie, and Rachel share a look of triumph, before realizing that Nora has been grievously injured.

In the tent, Monroe hears the guard outside his tent being killed. To his utter amazement, Miles appears, and frees him from his bonds. Miles tells him that he’s been asking the wrong question: instead of asking why Miles tried to kill him, Monroe really needed to ask why Miles couldn’t kill him. He then proceeds to tell Monroe that they were still brothers, and that no matter how much Miles hated that fact, it was never going to change. He then urges Monroe to run, while simultaneously shouting that the man was escaping. As Monroe flees under a hail of bullets, Miles returns to the Tower, sneaking into the tunnel that Neville’s bomb had created.

Grace awakens, and while searching the halls for others, runs into Neville, Jason, and their soldiers.

Aaron and Charlie frantically press their hands against Nora’s wound, but are unable to staunch the flow of blood. Charlie reminds them about the infirmary where they left Grace, but Rachel comes over stating that the militia was now walking the halls of the Tower. She tells them that if they go back to the infirmary, they might not make it back, and their main objective is to get to Level 12 and turn the power back on. Charlie argues that Nora will bleed out if they don’t go back to the infirmary, and when Rachel tells her to remain there while Rachel goes below, Charlie jumps to her feet and confronts Rachel. She tells her mother that their first priority should be to save Nora’s life, and only after that should they worry about turning the power back on. Nora sides with Rachel, but Charlie ignores her, attempting to grab the keycard from Rachel. Rachel tells Charlie that they were doing this for Danny, and Charlie counters bluntly that Danny was dead, but that she, Charlie, was still alive, and standing there before Rachel asking for her help to save Nora. In reply, Rachel tells her to lock the door, promising to return. As Charlie backs away in stunned disbelief, Rachel looks over at Aaron and informs him that he needs to come with her, since he knows the code and can work the computers. Nora again sides with Rachel, also telling Aaron to leave so that they could accomplish what they came there to do. Aaron reluctantly agrees, saying goodbye to Nora before joining Rachel. When Nora tries to convince Charlie to also leave, Charlie refuses.

Overcome with pain, Nora lets out an involuntary cry, accidently drawing the attention of a militia soldier. Charlie tries to overpower the soldier, but he gets the upper hand and starts choking her. Miles shows up, killing the soldier, and after confirming that Charlie is okay, he rushes over to Nora to assess her injury. Nora tells him where Rachel and Aaron have gone, urging him to take Charlie and go help them. Miles refuses, looking into Nora’s eyes and saying that he will not leave her. He gathers her in his arms, and he and Charlie head back towards the infirmary. They are nearly there when Nora dies.

It becomes a race to see who can reach Level 12 first. Neville, Jason, Grace, and the soldiers reach the level via the elevator. Aaron and Rachel hurry down a hallway. Charlie and Miles dash down a stairwell. As Rachel and Aaron turn a corner, they run into Neville’s group. Neville tells Rachel not to run away, saying that he’d hate to shoot her after promising Jason that he wouldn’t kill her. He waves some of his men forward to take hold of Aaron and Rachel. Before they can be taken, Miles and Charlie appear and open fire. In the ensuing chaos, Grace sneaks away, and Aaron, Rachel, Charlie, and Miles manage to gain access to the Level 12 control room.

Aaron seats himself before a computer, and Rachel starts walking him through the commands needed to get the power back on, while outside, Neville fruitlessly pounds on the door. He orders his men to go back and get all of their remaining explosives, instructing them to kill everyone inside once they gain access.

Aaron reaches the point of execution, and hesitates, asking Rachel if she is sure that Grace’s warnings about the dangers are false, and that they will not end the world by trying to turn the power back on. Rachel assures him that what they are doing is right, and Aaron draws a breath before hitting the ‘enter’ button on the keyboard, initiating the program to turn the power back on.

We see the Earth as we did at the beginning of the episode, only now the darkened planet shows areas of light. Around the world, the power starts returning to devices left on years ago. In a living room, Neville’s wife, Julia, sits reading a book, and looks up in amazement as lamps flicker to life around her and the ceiling fan starts revolving overhead. Aaron’s wife, Priscilla, stands washing dishes in a tub, smiling at her daughter, when she hears the static of a radio. In Georgia, President Foster stands at the window of her office, watching as the lights go on in nearby buildings. As she realizes what has happened, she turns and issues orders for tanks and helicopters to be deployed against Philadelphia. And near the Tower, Monroe pauses in his flight as the night sky is filled with wild, pulsing lightning.

Down in Level 12, Aaron tentatively acknowledges that their mission succeeded. Rachel tries to apologize to Charlie over Nora’s death, but Charlie turns away, unable to acknowledge Rachel’s words. Suddenly, they hear a gunshot, and in an adjoining room, Randall turns away from the entry keypad he just destroyed. Rachel, Miles, Charlie, and Aaron run over to an observation area overlooking the room that Randall is in. They watch as Randall turns a dial, and as a large monitor powers up, showing a map of the United States, Randall turns and acknowledges them. He thanks Aaron for turning the power back on, something that he did not have the knowledge to do himself. As Rachel questions him, confused, Miles tries hitting the window with his weapon, but the glass appears to be shatterproof. Randall tells them that he had a specific reason for wanting the power back on, and he starts flipping switches and punches in a pass code. Rachel seems to understand what he is doing, and she starts frantically pounding on the window and shouting for him to stop. Miles tries to shoot the window, but the glass proves to be resilient to gunfire. Randall sneers at them, and hits a red button.

Outside, sirens start blaring, and the sound of mechanical whirring fills the air as underground silos crank open.

Rachel asks Randall what he is doing, and he informs her that he is launching I.C.B.M.s (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) at Atlanta and Philadelphia. He then destroys the red button, telling them there is no turning back.

Outside, missiles flare to life, exploding up into the air and starting a slow arch in the sky.

On the large monitor depicting the United States, Rachel and the others watch in stunned disbelief as the map shows the missiles deploying and starting their trajectory to their specific targets. Randall explains that he aligned himself with Monroe because he thought that Monroe would wipe out Georgia, and then Randall in turn meant to wipe out Monroe, which would leave the East Coast wide open. He goes on to say that their great nation must be united, and that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Rachel asks Randall what, exactly, he means by those words, and Randall responds that he is a patriot. He then points his gun at his head and pulls the trigger. Frozen, unable to figure out a way to access the room, Miles, Rachel, Aaron, and Charlie can only stare helplessly as the missiles track along their path to Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Our season finale draws to a close with a man sitting in a darkened room. He pulls the chain on a nearby lamp, turning it on. He does this several times, turning the light on and off, finally leaving the light on as another man enters the room. The man tells him that Randall Flynn succeeded, and is addressed as the President as the man states that it was time to go home. The President then stands, going to a nearby window, and we see a canal full of ships and a United States flag fluttering in the breeze. The episode ends with the discovery that this location is the United States Colony in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Thoughts on Revolution Episode 1.20: The Dark Tower

So! What did everyone think about what was revealed in our season finale? Are Atlanta and Philadelphia doomed? Sure looks like it!! What do you think about the conflicted relationship between Miles and Monroe? How about Randall’s actions in the end? What will this bring in Season 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!


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  1. Looks like this was a wipe the slate clean episode and start all over again. Atlanta and Philadelphia are toast.

    As for the Miles and Monroe relationship, I think Miles should’ve taken him out long ago. There needs to be a serious flashback episode to explain why Miles can’t pull the trigger.

    Overall I’d give this episode a B. Revolution is a mediocre show but every now and then has a compelling episode which brings me back. Hope Season 2 is more consistent.