Exclusive: Elizabeth Mitchell Talks Revolution's Revelation, Says 'Things Aren't What They Seem'

The following contains spoilers from this Monday’s episode of NBC’s Revolution.

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.

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  1. Joe says:

    I mean come on, was anyone really surprised by that?

  2. lydiakj says:

    I don’t care if it was totally predictable and a little too soon, I’m just glad it happened.

  3. James says:

    I enjoyed the 2nd episode more

  4. I agree that this needed to happen and since it occurred so early I actually have hope for the series. I enjoyed the 2nd episode much more than the pilot!

  5. My brother’s exact words were: “If she isn’t alive, they would have hired a cheaper actress.” Pretty much, yeah.

  6. Patrick Maloney says:

    Definitely enjoyed every aspect this episode, like the bounty hunters and the slavers, and Elizabeth Mitchell brings a fresh aspect to the show.

  7. The Kaibosh says:

    Elizabeth Mitchell is one of the marquee actors of the show so it should come as no surprise to anybody that her character is alive during the present day narrative of the show. The reveal isn’t much of a reveal but its good that its happening as early as it is. It can then propel the plot forward. What I hope they don’t do is take all season to release her from the camp or drag out her reunion with her kids too long. Yes the family reunion is an important and dramatic plot milestone but it shouldn’t have to wait until November or February sweeps because the reunion shouldn’t be the dramatic focus; it should be result of the main plot moving forward.

  8. Bob says:

    Of course things aren’t what they seem. Look who created the show. I sincerely hope this doesn’t devolve into a “Lost” rehash.

    • Matty says:

      It doesn’t seem that people get what the show is about. IT ISN’T LOST. It has nothing to do with Lost.

      The show is written by Eric Kripke. His thems are: Roadtrip and Family and good against bad.

      I wish people would quit comparing it to Lost.

      Eric Kripke has so many fans thanks to his previous show Supernatural. A lot of them will follow him to this new one. Most people in the buisness know, that those Supernatural fans are a force you can not fight. It all depends now on the actors. Are they able to connect with those fans and are they able to pull over some new ones. That might be the reason, why the show will get a second season. And if it is for the sole reason to give those fans time to work their magic.

      My complain about Revolution so far is that it has to many comparisons with Supernatural. Starting out with a young child being told early on that it is her/his responsibility to watch out for the younger sibling and that child takes that on as a live long agenda. Other people who will teach those kids how to fight the bad ones. Then the search for a missing family member. The importance of an amulett.

      I was hoping Kripke was more resorceful.

  9. Ace says:

    She is so wonderful. I can’t wait to see what this show has in store for her. Thanks for the interview, Matt. :-)

  10. Martin says:

    I loved the second episode, i just remember thinking when watching the scene where she shoots the guy – IT WAS THE MOTHER WHO SHOT HIM??!! Badass Mom. Judging just from that scene, her character is going to be really cool.

    Only bad thing though, i can see them dragging out the reveal, I’d say midseason finale – Moms’ alive, season finale – i get to see Mom.

    Also, if this show continues to be succesful and levels out, what will NBC do come midseason, will they move Revolution to try and permanently fix the problem slot of Thursdays at 10 or will they move Smash there, Smash is indeed more compatible with The Voice but Revolution is way more higher rated and i don’t know if they would risk moving it cos it could fail somewhere else.

  11. Teléfila says:

    It is great to see her in the second episode. It was really obvious her character was alive but hey I also thought we would going to discover it later. I’m glad my thought was wrong because I think Elizabeth Mitchell is a brillian actress and it is always great to see her.

    By the way… Like Matt does, I watch the vending machine scene (or the chocolate bar scene as I call it) from “Lost” from time to time. Great memories!

  12. Dee Kottkamp says:

    I was hoping that Rachel would be alive. I kept thinking they wouldn’t really hire Elizabeth Mitchell and not use her. Did I or did I not see Mark Pelligrino in the preview for next week? I am excited about that!!! He has to be one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood. He is everywhere!

  13. Anna says:

    Pretty good show, but it’s seems to be “Falling Skies” without the aliens.

  14. Jeff says:

    Stupid Show,

    My first question from week one is why does not anyone have Steam Engines?

    Say the Electrical Magnetic effect of turning a Magnet through a wire is somehow disabled, which is run by STEAM ENGINES in 99% of all Electricity Production upon the Earth, all Oil, Coal, Gas, Nuclear Power Plants ARE STEAM ENGINES,

    Would not Actual Steam Engines themselves be brought to the task of being an Engine?

    Heck, we just set a Nuclear Steam Engine down upon the surface of Mars.

    No Steam Engines.
    Not a single Electrical part in a Steam Engine, although 99% of all electrical energy is produced by steam in as I said Gas, Coal, Oil, Nuclear, and many Solar Power plants,

    Even a Nuclear Power Plant on Mars in the latest rover is a STEAM ENGINE.

    The Nuclear heats the water to Steam which turns a turbine which creates Electricity.

    Or without Electricity creates POWER,

    as the blind Force of steam, lifting the ponderous iron arms and turning
    the large wheels, is made to bore and rifle the cannon and to weave the
    most delicate lace.

    • 1strangebird says:

      I know, I know. It seems you have to disconnect from reality when watching this type of show. “Why” is not good question and will only frustrate you more. Can you name any sci-fi/fantasy that doesn’t contradict itself continually? Actually it’s not just these types of television shows-almost all tv has to be watched with “how or why” questions in check.

  15. revolution 21-23 for her