Revolution Set Visit: The Cast Teases Tense Dynamics, Love Triangles and the Fight for Surivalby Clarissa / February 26, 2014
As anyone who has survived a near-apocalypse will tell you, a post-apocalyptic world is not a fun scenario. On this season of Revolution, we’ve seen new enemies emerge with a quest for power, we’ve seen people do some pretty horrific (or heroic) things to advance their goals, and we’ve seen alliances shift at the drop of a hat. Tenuous relationships, romantic entanglements and common enemies will continue to play a part as season 2 of Revolution unfolds. During a recent visit to the set in Austin, Texas**, we spoke to stars JD Pardo (Jason Neville), David Lyons (Sebastian Monroe), Tracy Spiridakos (Charlie Matheson), Billy Burke (Miles Matheson), Elizabeth Mitchell (Rachel Matheson) and Mat Vairo (Connor) about what’s coming next for their characters and the show.
Fathers and Sons: The Monroes. Connor and Monroe’s relationship may be new, but it’s very tenuous. And it’s going to get more so in the first episode back from the hiatus tonight. We’re going to see father and son captured and forced into a position where they must fight to the death, and only one can emerge victorious. And while Monroe is not an ideal father by any means, you’re going to see him willing to make a sacrifice for his son. “As long as he knows that that flame has been passed to Connor, he’s willing to bow out, because the Monroe name lives on,” Lyons said. “A lot of people have suggested might [he might have a] megalomaniacal quest for power, [but] I think at the end of that is a kind of very lonely ‘who am I and what am I’ in regards to his world and ‘what am I leaving behind?’ [questions] in a character like Monroe. I think Connor represents that and I think that fight represents that as well.” But in order to make this sacrifice, Monroe delivers some crushing news to his son, and this has ramifications going forward for Revolution. Vairo explains that what Monroe tells Conno is “a betrayal of trust because that was at a point where I felt Connor was really starting to warm up to Monroe after what had happened in the previous episode, really accepting him as his father. So hearing [this news] was him just getting burned again. Seeing as Monroe is the only person that Connor has at this point — is the only sure thing in his life — [this is] definitely a heartbreaking blow.”
The Ever-Changing Monroe. “I think he’s a different guy [this season],” says Lyons. “In terms of what was there last year in terms of his motivations, it became pretty clear to me that the main aspect of that character was this driving force of ‘I need to be needed and I need to understand why I’m not. I’ve lost my family, I’ve lost my friends, I’ve lost everything’ and Monroe’s constantly pushing around other people saying ‘it’s your fault, it’s your fault’. And I think that the character that you start to see this season is very much underlying what we saw last season but it’s a little bit closer to a human response, in my mind. He’s still a little snarky. There’s a lightness to him that probably wasn’t there last year and I like it because I think he has that ability to switch into that darkness like that. But whilst he’s got his pseudo-friends around he doesn’t feel the need to go into that very, very rich and dark emotional place. He’s still got it in him though.” Meanwhile, Monroe and his son will continue to bond over Monroe’s goal to revive his former republic, says Vairo, although “I think they have two different ideas of what the Monroe Republic is. I don’t think that either one of them knows what they are [thinking]. But it’s bringing them together so I think he’s encouraged by it just because he’s getting that love from his father within that idea. That’s how they’re bonding at this point. I think parts of him [are looking to that for the future].”
Fathers and Sons: The Nevilles. We’ve seen the contentious relationship between Jason and Tom Neville since the beginning of Revolution, but now they are joined together in a common goal to kill Monroe in order to save Julia’s life. Pardo said that even though they’re working together, don’t be fooled that their problems have been solved. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: “You really don’t forget the past, it’s just that we’re bonded right now with a common goal and that’s to rescue mom. I think that we’re obviously not a family that really talks about it and deals with those issues even though I think it’s something that Jason would really love to move on from, but until there’s a resolution there it sticks. Which makes it interesting at the same time because they can explode with each other at any minute. Both characters…I think Jason is kind of getting to his breaking point a bit and Neville is a little psychotic.” In addition, the show hasn’t necessarily forgotten about the horrific mind manipulation that Jason suffered at the hands of the patriots. “It’s still there. It definitely plays its part. It’s a part of him now, which makes it interesting as well. I try to approach it as kind of a post-traumatic stress element to him. He’s been messed with. And not by just dad, but also by something bigger. And that’s scary. It’s almost like Frankenstein’s story, in a way. He’s been manipulated by his father and then fighting for what he believes is good and being the morality of the situation and of that dynamic and then to be completely broken down by the government and reassembled…where’s his identity? And I think that that’s where his questions come to play about himself and at some point you have to take a stand. And that creates more conflict with the father, but he’s definitely reassembled.”
The Love Triangle. Now that Charlie and Connor have slept together, the two of them will soon come face-to-face with one of Charlie’s former “boyfriends”. Pardo hints that “It’s like a little bit of a love triangle and [there’s] obviously jealousy, but it’s all fun. One of the things that I really liked about [Charlie and Jason] was, they kind of liked each other with a look, as cheesy as that sounds. So I think that, whatever goes on between them and the trust issues that are there, it’s like when they see each other it just kind of takes you right back there again.” Spiridakos hinted that Charlie was prepared to treat her relationship with Connor as a fun fling, but “then all of a sudden this bomb comes and she sees Jason and there’s a lot of anger there for her. He’s tried to kill them a couple times. She’s mad but he’s still her first love and he’s still kind of that person for her.” Meanwhile, there are many people who aren’t supportive of any of these relationships, particularly one between Charlie and Connor. Monroe has made a point to express how against it he is to his son and will do so again tonight. Why does he feel this way? Lyons said that “I think that there is an element of jealousy there [about Charlie and Connor]. And the jealousy comes not only in regards to Charlie, but also in regards to his son being able to do that, to give himself over to someone, to be loved and to love. I don’t think that [Connor] would ever feel it with Charlie given her relationship with Miles, with Rachel, with everything. He just won’t be accepted into that group. And I think that in the paternal sense he’s saying ‘go and find something, go and find something that I never had and don’t find it in her’.”
Charlie Continues to Be Empowered. As Revolution has progressed, we’ve seen Charlie transform a great deal. “I really wanted to see Charlie grow and show the other side of her. I had a lot of fun in year 1 playing her total vulnerable side and getting with the audience to watch her grow from being who she was to where she is now,” said Spiridakos. “And I wanted to take all that and incorporate it and use it for season 2. It’s just, you know, after you go through something really traumatic, everybody grieves differently and goes through their stages in so many different ways. And so with Charlie she’s at the bottling it stage. At the beginning of the season it’s more she’s trying to feel. She wants to see what she can feel again because she’s so disengaged from so many things. And kind of just learns how to check herself, how to put her emotions to a different place because she needs to get certain things done.”
Getting the Band Back Together. While the various Revolution characters are off pursuing separate agendas, we’ll be seeing them coalesce into one area soon enough. “It’s exciting to get the band back together,” Pardo said. “That’s always fun. Not just for the characters but for us actors on set. We all enjoy each other and just have a great time. Just [with] the different personalities, the different characters, there ends up a lot of conflict. We’re friends but we’re not afraid to fight each other. So it’s it’s unpredictable, which is kind of cool.” What’s interesting is that several actors stressed how little trust there is between these various members. Pardo hinted that Jason just “kind of [has] to trust himself”, given how many psychopaths and traitors he’s surrounded by, while Spiridakos indicates that the only person who Charlie fully trusts is Miles because “he’s been the one person that’s the most upfront with her about everything.” Vairo notes that in a group full of leaders, Connor attempting to become one as well can lead to clashes, although there seems to be a silent respect growing between Connor and Miles. And yet, with the group having a common goal and fighting for the same thing, that makes for interesting drama.
The Angel and Devil on Miles’ Shoulder. Bringing the whole group together again has an unexpected side-effect: putting Miles in a real position of soul searching. While everyone seems to agree that they hate Monroe, “in the latter half of this season you start to see [Monroe] just get a little bit closer in those moments of Miles’ vulnerability,” Lyons explained. “He’ll just say a couple of things which will align himself with Miles and be, like ‘what are you doing? What are you doing with these guys? You say you want to take down the patriots…why? Why are you living this heroic lifestyle? What’s the endgame?’ I think that is one of the great things between that relationship, is that Miles is uncertain of really where this is all leading, whereas Monroe is a little more clear. It’s leading, probably, back to a Monroe Republic and he can see it. Maybe it’s going to be better this time, but he needs Miles to do it. I think in terms of [Miles’] relationship with that group, Rachel pulls him this way, Charlie pulls him [that way], [but] Monroe gets in close and starts to pull him in a different direction.” Burke acknowledged that Miles has been more dialed-down or domesticated this season, but “that is mostly due to him contemplating what it is he actually wants in the end.” The truth is, says Burke, Miles loves having Monroe around, but will that convince him to rejoin his friend in their former dictatorship? Or does he just want to lead the rebels against the patriots and save as many people as he can? “That’s his big question: you got into this fight, now you’re in it and in order to make things happen the way you want to, he’s kind of a my way or the highway guy. I don’t think that he necessarily likes that side of himself, but out of necessity — which is what a lot of things in the show have been out of — he might have to assume that role [of leader] again. And I think it scares him to death.”
Rachel’s Journey. ” It’s an interesting thing, her mindset,” Mitchelle said. “Because I think it’s this season has been a challenge for me because I was curious about the same thing: where is her mindset? And I think that what’s happened is she started to regain a conscience and she started to regain who she was and she’s stopped reacting like a cornered animal and is starting to try and be a human being again. Along the lines of the way that she was, the values that she had, the morality that she had. Given the people that she plays with, this is very difficult and she’s not very popular and she continues to not be very popular. But I do feel like we’re seeing a reemergence of kind of the Rachel before everything and it’s nice.” In addition to rediscovering her inner morality, Mitchell said that Rachel will go back to being “a genius” and will show her mental strength a bit more again.
Rachel and Miles’ Relationship. While the pair are really growing closer together, Burke warns that “I don’t really think that anything is firm on this show. It’s there for a second but you can always expect things to change very quickly just when you think that you’re comfortable with them. We have solidified it somewhat this season, at long last. But I think now that that’s happened, I think we’re moving on to an arena that might be less comfortable and a little bit more sticky and it’s almost like there’s a love triangle between he and Monroe and Rachel [laughs] because there’s this dynamic ‘will he/won’t he with her’ and ‘will he/won’t he get back with him to do their business’. ” Mitchell said that “What I’ve come to kind of understand about Rachel and Miles is that they’re just a force. They’ve been deeply in love with each other for a very long time. And I think that they’re drawn to each other through — there’s no thought of this is a bad idea, why would we even do this, this doesn’t make any sense. I think that she is in love with him. I think that he is in love with her. I think that they give each other strength, but I don’t know that anybody sees a future in anything so it’s more about grabbing what they have where they are. But Rachel does start to wake up throughout this season too and you can see her starting to really look around her and say ‘this is crazy, we can’t do this about any of it’. But the love for Miles seems to be very pure and true.”
The Patriot Enemy. Pardo said that the group wouldn’t necessarily find strong, permanent allies, but “I think it’s more of as the story progresses you get to go further down the rabbit hole. As we make our way through the states or through the republics you’re going to see just where the patriots have touched, their influence all over the country, so to speak. We do find allies along the way, characters that help us fight, but at the same time the devil’s everywhere.” Mitchell went on to hint that “I think that right now Rachel and her group are mainly operating on the defensive. So what I think is going to be really interesting is when they start to be on the offensive. Because you can’t really accomplish anything defensively. Throughout any kind of war that’s all they’re doing is fighting back. And I think that Rachel is coming to and saying ‘we can’t just do this’. So there’s enough of a brain trust, enough muscle there that something should be able to be accomplished. [The writers] have told me that Rachel’s quest is to kind of get things on the straight and narrow is not completely unheeded. It could be an interesting little war between everybody.:
Don’t miss the return of Revolution tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
**Travel and accommodations provided by Warner Bros. Television.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Felicia Graham