Revolution is getting a makeover, but things are only getting dirtier — in every sense of the word.
When the NBC drama returns for Season 2 on Wednesday at 8/7c, the characters will find themselves in dark (power’s out again, sorry), desperate (Rachel’s lost it, yikes) and grimy (hello, underworld) situations. But instead of trying to turn the lights back on, their mission shifts to battling a new, so-called patriotic enemy, executive producer Eric Kripke tells TVLine.
And there’s even more change ahead: With the Matheson clan splintered, Charlie takes off on her own — and gets a bit of a personality makeover! Read on for all the details.
TVLINE | At the end of last season, you turned the power back on. Are the power and the pendants all 100 percent behind us already?
We never had any intention of keeping the power on, because the show would very quickly lose any semblance of what it was about. The power was always on as a misdirect, just long enough to get these nuclear missiles in the air. As we begin Season 2, it’s just a worst-case scenario, which is: Bombs are in the air, the power is off. The power’s going to stay off. The pendants are not working.
We can just push through to another layer of character and storytelling, because the quest to turn the power on and the quest to turn the power off is both limiting and it’s not what the show’s about, in my mind. It’s about these characters and all the different facets of what it’s like to live in this modern, primitive world, and those were the stories we were interested in exploring.
TVLINE | For most of the first season, that goal of turning the power on, figuring this all out, drove the characters. Is that still their main motivation?
No, we wanted to get off it. It was inevitable, because so many of the characters were such a ground zero of why the power went off in the first place. So we dove with both feet into that mythology, and we took it to its logical end… Their driving impulse is these new bad guys that we have in Season 2 called the Patriots, this insidious conspiracy of people who are draping themselves in the American flag, but they’re not America. They’re planting their tentacles in all sorts of different storylines, and our heroes have to realize what they’re up to and stop them. The character Randall in Season 1 was the first of them, but he was just a vanguard of a thousand more of them that are out from Cuba. It becomes a more interesting story of trying to uncover the mystery and conspiracy of what this dark force is up to.
TVLINE | How are the dynamics different among Rachel, Miles and Charlie in the new season?
They’re shattered. We really play the reality that the season finale was a disaster for our heroes. They weren’t able to stop the nuclear missiles. They weren’t able to get the power on. It just resulted in the deaths of a lot more people, not the least of which was Nora. So they have been completely fractured. They have a very realistic reaction to how bad everything went. Charlie splits from the family. So a character who spent Season 1 doing nothing but trying to get her family together finds herself unable to be with them, and she peels off on her own.
Rachel has a complete and total nervous breakdown. We pick up Season 2 three months after the events of Season 1, and Rachel is just coming out of what was a very serious, occasionally catatonic state, and [she] is fragile as she has to face this new threat.
TVLINE | Not to make light of Nora’s death, but now that she’s gone… One of the things you tantalizingly hinted at last season was Rachel and Miles. What can we expect on that front?
[Laughs] Yeah. The chemistry between them is undeniable. Though there are great obstacles to their relationship — not the least of which is Nora, but also all the torture we’re about to put them through as Season 2 begins — they do have this pull towards each other. They have a really painful, fraught history that involves cheating on Miles’s brother, and we’re pretty sure there was at least an extended period of torture somewhere in there. And yet, they still find themselves drawn together. So we’ll continue to play that out.
TVLINE | You have a bevy of new faces coming in this season. Can you talk about these new characters and how they fit into the group?
A few of them are from this Texas town called Willoughby, which is a Twilight Zone reference. Willoughby is Rachel’s hometown, and it’s where Miles brings her in the aftermath of her nervous breakdown. They take her to her father, Dr. Gene Porter, played by Stephen Collins (7th Heaven).
Aaron, who also settles in this town, finds himself a love interest, who’s played by Jessica Collins (Rubicon). She’s a really interesting character, because she’s intelligent and funny and also devoutly religious. There’s a lot of people who have a real, reasonable point of view on God, and we thought it was interesting to explore that — especially in this world, where they’ve returned, in so many ways, to a simpler time.
Then on Neville and Jason’s side, they do head back to the East Coast to try to find Neville’s wife, and it’s through their eyes that we really see the devastation and the chaos that the East Coast has descended into since they lost the cities of Atlanta and Philadelphia. They meet the character that Nicole Ari Parker (Soul Food) plays, which is really one of the first of these Patriots who we get to know, who oversees a refugee camp. Her name is Secretary Allenford. She starts, like all of the Patriots [do], with this very benign mask, but there’s something much darker beneath it.
TVLINE | Since Charlie’s on her own, I’m guessing there’s not a whole lot of hope for her and Jason.
They’re about 1,000 miles apart from each other. We spent time in Season 1 taking Charlie from an adolescent to an adult, and then we really felt that the final step of that is she had to step out from her parents’ shadow, which was Rachel, and then Miles as her de facto father. So she had to go off on her own and be her own person and grow up and have sex and just be an adult. So she’s both a more wounded Charlie and a cooler and more comfortable-in-her-own-skin Charlie. It’s been fun for Tracy [Spiridakos] to play because I think she was chomping at the bit for the character to not be so young anymore.
TVLINE | When we last we saw Bass, he was all on his own in the middle of this field. How is he faring?
Not well. He basically loses his kingdom. His forces are in disarray, his city is gone. He is ambivalent about whether he would ever want to lead them anyway, and so when we find him, we find a man who’s really brought low. He’s indulging in women and alcohol and trying to drink and screw away the pain. We find him in a really surprising and fun place, and that’s very much the opposite of the guy sitting in a giant office in Independence Hall. He’s in a much grungier, grimier place, as are all our characters.