The blackout was a traumatic event. Governments fell, society in general fell. Good men became bad men. Bad men became monsters. Idealist stopped being idealists. It’s also probably stunted the social growth of a whole group of teenagers. “Longest Day” takes a step back from the larger Monroe conflict and examines the trauma inflicted on the relationships of every character in the show.
Is there any kind of better healing than sexual healing? For a short respite Miles and Nora appeared to be on the track to normality and perhaps getting over their sociopathic tendencies. There isn’t any time for quests for normality in war. Nora is write sooner or later it’ll just end with one of them watching the other die so why make that moment any harder? The blackout initially drove everyone apart but as time passed society returned to a more collective/agrarian style. Miles and Nora never really got to that second step. Miles was on the frontiers building himself an empire, becoming the “Butcher of Baltimore” at some point. Nora lost her child. In a completely unrelated scene Charlie admits to thinking it would be better to just be alone, given her own messed up relationships. It’s certainly something both Miles and Nora have tried but “Longest Day” is proof that you can’t do that. You need to surround yourself with friends and family to achieve that pre-blackout idea of normalcy. Just look at what happens to the people who have turned themselves into recluses.
Good job on the show actually getting me to believe Nora was going to die when she ran out in Miles place. They can’t kill Billy Burke at this point but Daniella Alonso is far less important and was constantly reminding everyone about their ultimate fate. That just might come next week.
Since the show came back from midseason it has been pounded into your heads that Miles Mathison is a stone cold killer and apparently history's greatest monster. Now on a quest to atone for his sins, of which are many and chances of real absolution are slim. But all of this past stuff was just implied by Miles just looking away and not wanting to talk about it. Which is the answer most of the shows mythology. “Longest Day” sheds some light as we get to see Miles in flashback in military dress and be very threatening to Rachel. Also on how to know Miles is evil front his hair is too well kept, good rebel miles has flowing locks like a hippie. His relationship with Rachel has been only hinted at but it continues the motif of having every character relationship be tortured and complicated. They had a fling once and then she ended up with his brother and then the blackout happened and he became the “Butcher of Baltimore”.
The new context for why Miles is history's greatest monster is appreciated but it is just a snippet of a much larger tale that still affects Miles. He is now tied to Charlie on multiple levels and this new information didn’t do anything to emphasize or heighten his search for Charlie this episode.
Giancarlo Esposito can make anything work. Even hissing lines to his onscreen son egging him on to shoot him. Tom and Jason never got to have a normal father-son relationship it has always been the military power dynamic between them. The power structure might be institutionalized but at the end of the day Jason is still his son. So when Tom admits to being a bad man but not bad enough to leave his son or let him die alone, because everyone has to draw a line it works. Esposito’s delivery of corny dialog is apporpratly hamfisted but heartfelt. With that put to bed hopefully we get less everyone distrusting Tom because that’s been the dynamic of the entire show and it’s overplayed at this point. Seeing Tom actually act like a conflicted father could be fun as the show heads to it’s first season finale.
Turning yourself into a loner is not the right thing to do in this post-blackout world. Look at what has happened to Monroe. In his paranoia he murders his lone remaining friend. An act that was inevitable after Monroe witnesses Jeremy stand untouched after a sniper takes out his guard. The zinger though is Monroe hearing that the real culprit did act alone and the realization that he is truly alone.
Another example would be Rachel Matheson. She has left her sole remaining family member into the care of the man who may have raped her (he at least tortures her). Rachel and Aaron’s quest to the Tower has been portrayed as noble. Except Rachel isn’t in it for the nobel cause of restoring the world. She just wants to give Monroe’s enemies the power to destroy him. Aaron wonders about not attempting to use the power they have to try and help people. Helping people is utterly lost on Rachel now all that matters is revenge.
The description for this episode made it sound like an episode all about progressing romantic relationships. Thankfully that wasn’t the choice, I hate blatant examples of just focusing on the romance. It always comes off as forced. Thankfully we only get the kiss between Charlie and Jason. Everything else was just the realization that everyones relationships are just totally fucked.
You can follow Mike Mazzacane on Twitter @MaZZM or at mazzz.net. In both places he wonders about the best ways to research 90’s cinema? Preparing to write extended stuff looking at reality TV. And mocking all the networks fall schedules because he's and elitist jerk (insert smiley).