Since NBC’s “Revolution” has emerged as one of the few true hits of the new season, creator/showrunner Eric Kripke realizes the pressure is on to keep his audience hooked.
During a conference call to discuss the season so far and what’s ahead in the remaining 18 episodes, Kripke revealed he has no intention of frustrating viewers by making them wait for answers. He’s got a plan. Even when it comes to the show’s central mystery: what caused the worldwide blackout?
“You should look for clues everywhere,” Kripke teases. “There was a phenomenon that we have up our sleeves as to what caused the blackout. What you see in that globe shot [of the blackout creeping across the Earth] is an accurate representation of what we’re working on. Currently, in the writers room, we’re talking dangerously about revealing that secret before the end of the first season.”
That decision wouldn’t be made simply to satisfy viewer curiosity, it’s about what’s best for the long term value of the show. “The longer you drag out an answer the more pressure there is that it’s the greatest answer given in the history of man,” Kripke explains. “Frankly, I’m not that smart. I’d rather answer a question and open a door to a bigger room. Even if we do answer the question of what caused the blackout it leads directly to a bigger and scarier mystery.”
And there will be plenty of little payoffs on the way to discovering what happened with the blackout. For example, the search for Danny won’t last all season. “We can keep that quest going until episode 10,” Kripke reveals. “And then we shake things up! This is absolutely my M.O. of showrunning. We never had any intention of keeping the search for Danny going forever, it was only a way to bring the audience into the world and introduce them to the characters. It’s time for the audience to find out why the show is called ‘Revolution.'”
The full truth about Rachel’s past will also be revealed at some point this season (“I think it will be pretty explosive for Charlie to hear,” Kripke says) and Miles’ relationship with Monroe will be fleshed out in a “tragic, emotional, Cain and Abel kind of way.” Plus, Miles and Monroe will inevitably meet again: “When they see each other they’re not sure if they’re gonna hug each other or kill each other. We think it’s interesting that the hero of the show and the Big Bad have such a close relationship.”
We also haven’t seen the last of Grace (Maria Howell), the mysterious woman who still has access to some form of electricity. “She’s right in the dead center of where the mythology is,” Kripke says. “I think the next time we see her is episode 7. We see who Randall is, this person who kidnapped her in episode 2. We start to expand it because she is under duress with Randall. She’s in a dangerous position right now and we start to tease that out. What’s happening with their storyline begins to play a huge, huge part in the main storyline of the show.”
But we have said goodbye to Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips). Kripke said her shocking death in Monday’s episode was a tough but important choice to make in these early episodes. “Anna Lise is a wonderful actress and I love that character. I sort of have a bad habit in the shows that I run of killing off the people that I love,” Kripke jokes (though anyone familiar with his work on “Supernatural” may not be laughing). “We decided internally very early on that it was important to show that this world had real stakes and was truly dangerous — you’re not close to hospitals, paramedics, help. We realized the scariest thing we could do was to kill the doctor among them. It was purely a creative decision about giving the world a real charge of danger. As we move forward in the series we want the audience to understand no one is safe, including the main characters.”
Monday’s episode, “Soul Train,” will introduce a new character played by “Grey’s Anatomy” and “24” veteran Kim Raver. She’s the wife of villainous Captain Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) and will be key to revealing more about the dastardly commander in the Monroe Militia. “We’re planting Kim [in the flashbacks during episode 5],” Kripke says. “We’ll meet her in the present day a couple episodes down the line, and we’ll see how a normal suburban housewife transformed into basically Lady Macbeth.”
“What’s interesting about the blackout in the show is what a transformative experience it was for so many people,” Kripke continues. “Who they were in the old world had nothing to do with who they are now. There’s a bit of that in the pilot, we were always amused by the idea that [Neville] is this violent strongman post-blackout but pre-blackout he was an insurance adjuster. We’re interested in exploring more how his character before the blackout was mild-mannered and maybe a little submissive. How did he transform into the violent psychopath he is today?”
That’s one more question “Revolution” fans should expect an answer for soon.