In just its second episode, NBC’s Revolution this Monday night answered a huge question that was on many a fan’s mind: Why would you hire the always awesome Elizabeth Mitchell to appear only in flashbacks?
Answer: You don’t, because Charlie’s mother, Rachel Matheson, is in fact alive and well. Or at least alive, based on a reveal that capped Week 2 of the adventure drama.
And yet with that not-entirely-surprising twist comes new questions, such as: Where and for how long has Rachel been held captive? What does General Monroe (played by David Lyons) want with her? And what has she been doing to stay alive? Mitchell shared with TVLine a peek at some of those answers.
TVLINE | Welcome to the living!
I’m so excited because it’s the first time I’ve been able to talk about it. I think I did 20 interviews [last week] and I wasn’t allowed to say once what was actually happening, and that kind of makes people a little frustrated, which I completely understand.
TVLINE | The reveal that Rachel is alive played out differently than what was in the original pilot (with Andrea Roth in the role). What can you say about the situation she’s in at Monroe’s camp?
Well, Rachel is a hostage, and has been for four years. She has basically been kept to get information. I would imagine that at first it was the information as to where [her since-deceased husband] Ben is, then it slowly shifted to what does Ben know, which I think is really interesting.
TVLINE | They’re not keeping her hostage in the most uncomfortable of confines, though.
It’s really palatial — this gorgeous, blue room with high ceilings and everything she could possibly want — but as we will find out, things are not what they seem. So, Rachel is not having a good time.
TVLINE | “…she said, ominously.”
She’s having a very, very, very, very bad time. She gets beautiful silk shirts, she has delicious food delivered to her, there’s always brandy in her room…. It’s very civilized but beneath that it is absolutely decayed and rotten.
TVLINE | Knowing what’s to come for the character, how would you describe her?
I would describe her as oddly resilient and strong but stuck. I mean, truly, truly, truly stuck. She is in full survival mode, and she will do anything she can to stay alive at this point in time. As the episodes go on, you kind of wonder to yourself, Why would she do that? Then you realize her main objective is to protect her family.
TVLINE | Why do you say she’s “oddly resilient”?
In our lives, we see heroines rise up and they win. But what if you’re in a situation that you simply can’t win? What do you do? Who do you become?
TVLINE | “How do you not let the situation itself defeat you?”
Yes. How do you keep going and keep even a core of who you are? I’ve been fascinated by that, I really have. She hasn’t killed herself, which I find pretty amazing given the day in, day out reality she faces. But what she has to do to stay alive is pretty horrible throughout. It’ll inspire some arguments, I’m sure.
TVLINE | You said Monroe’s been using her for information. Do you think he also sees her as his “ace in the hole”? If push comes to shove, he’s got “the mother card” to play?
I can’t really speak for him but I think he doesn’t quite know what he has in her. He feels that she’s important for some reason — but after Ben dies the importance of her is at risk. I think that’s fascinating, to go from someone who was valued, because they’re after Ben, to someone they’re not quite sure about. How do you convince people to keep you alive? What do you use? Do you manipulate them in such a way that they feel like they need you? That’s what we’ve been at play with for the past six episodes. David [Lyons] is a peach and we have great conversations about what to do here. We’ve had a lot of fun that we didn’t think we’d be allowed to have.
TVLINE | Should we pencil her in for an eventual romance with either Monroe or Miles?
Wouldn’t that be lucky for me! [Laughs]
TVLINE | At some point. Maybe Season 2.
I always think it’s a fantastic idea, but [with regards to Monroe] I don’t know if I could justify it for the character. I don’t know how far she’s willing to go. As far as Miles, I’m very interested to see how those two characters will interact.
TVLINE | What were you looking for after Lost and V? Were you trying not to do genre-TV again, or just seeking a completely different type of character?
I’m always looking for slight differences. I mean I’m always me — I’m almost six feet tall, so you’re going to notice if I’m there. I can’t really disappear. [Laughs] But I’m always looking for a certain kind of strength. I look for different ways of scaring myself, so that when I walk on stage my heart is beating faster. You can’t just want to be good; you have to go out there and do it and see what happens, which I find really fun.
TVLINE | I must tell you, every few months or so I watch the Sawyer/Juliet vending machine scene from the Lost finale. It’s just so great.
It’s so uplifting, isn’t it?! I remember reading that script and thinking what a truly, all-the-way-down-to-the-bones romantic scene it is. I was so excited to just get out of the way of what the writers had written and play it as purely as possible. It’s like you’re being given a gift with good writing. Then you see how it touches people in the way that it touched me when I read it.
TVLINE | Circling back to Revolution, I’m probably obligated to ask: What would scare you most about having no electricity?
Not being able to be in touch with my son [Christopher, age 7] if I were far away from him, absolutely. I mean I would get to him however I had to, but that would terrify me.