“Revolution” begins the second half of its season Wednesday night (Jan. 8) — and continues the ongoing transition of Sebastian Monroe from megalomaniacal dictator to, dare we say it, almost likable freedom fighter.
The “megalomaniacal” descriptor comes from the man who plays Monroe, David Lyons. He’s not entirely sure about the “likable” part yet, but he has been enjoying playing the version of Monroe viewers have seen thus far in Season 2.
“I wouldn’t say that he’s been redeemed,” Lyons tells Zap2it. “I think what you’re starting to see in Monroe is more aspects of his former humanity and his former self, intertwined with that megalomaniacal aspect of his nature. … At the moment he’s like this weird cross-pollination of two different creatures — one that’s trying to do the right thing but has this propensity to turn his back on people and go down that selfish road. …
“But I like where [the writers have] gone with him to put a little more spark in him, a little bit more physicality and a little more snarky humor in there. I really enjoy that — I find it a little bit easier to get my talons into the character now that I know he has these other sides to him.”
Indeed, the revelation that Monroe has a sense of humor — see his deadpan “I’m Batman” in the show’s last episode of the fall — may be the biggest surprise of all, given the character’s perpetual scowl last season.
“It was all this incredibly obsessive, verging on erotic fixation [with power], as Neville [Giancarlo Esposito] so finely put it,” Lyons says. “In the darkness he couldn’t see any aspect of humor whatsoever. Now that he’s had that huge weight of responsibility lifted from his shoulders, I think he’s able to start to function much more as an everyday human and someone who can use humor and that sort of snarkiness to get things done. It’s not all about crushing people with your fists and so on — it can be a tete-a-tete with words.”
The A-story in Wednesday’s “Revolution,” titled “Three Amigos,” involves Monroe, Miles (Billy Burke) and Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) heading south to Mexico to look for Monroe’s son, whom Miles hid from Monroe years earlier. It’s a much smaller-scale and more personal mission than what Monroe might have taken on a year ago, but Lyons says that’s in keeping with the ongoing shift in his character.
“What they did in the writers’ room, which I thought was great, was to recalibrate the nature of the world, due to the fact that the East Coast had been reduced to rubble. Rachel obviously took the burden of that very personally, as did Miles and Aaron and all of them,” he says. “You start to see in some cases very subtle and in some cases not so subtle shifts in characters as a result of that.
“I think Monroe’s shift has been not so subtle, from an uber-possessive and single-minded character to someone who’s a little bit more lost in his environment and is still searching to find his little scrap of land or little piece of purpose for his life. His son represents that, very much so. In fact, he represents the only facet of purpose that Monroe has. We learn at the end of the first episode that perhaps there’s a little bit more to that.”
“Revolution” airs at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday on NBC.