Toward the end of the second season, it develops into a full-blown A God Am I situation, promising to "upgrade" and "fix" humanity, complete with a whole house full of crazy, with people posed to look like advertisement, a woman brushing the same spot over and over until her hair is gone... and her scalp, and "a rat room".
Nuclear weapons are pre-programmed with their mission profiles, and cannot usually be reprogrammed immediately. It seems unlikely in the extreme that American nuclear missiles were targeted on Philadelphia and Atlanta just prior to the blackout (although the possibility exists that the rump US government could blame the strikes on a third party).
Which they did come Season 2. No word yet on how they explain that the nukes went off in the very cities that the Monroe Republic and Georgia Federation were supposed to be launching to other places.
Nuclear missiles require constant maintenance; nuclear warheads do degrade over time; and land-based nuclear missile silos tend to flood in rainstorms unless continuously pumped out.
Nuclear missiles are subject to dual-key control at the silo (assuming the problems with a loss of contact with squadron command have been resolved). Even if a missile was still functional after 15+ years of abandonment, and targeted on the appropriate city, there would be no way to fire it without manually turning the keys.
It should be noted however that it was planned all along to launch nukes at Philadelphia and Atlanta. So who is to say that the US government in exile did not sneak in teams to repair and rearm the nukes in preparation for the attack? That would solve the problems of the missiles needing maintenance and the keys. Targeting the missiles at the cities may have been a problem though, since that would require access to the computers and power. Possibly the exile government has access to their own pendants since as of the end of Season 1 not all have been accounted for.
Given the reveals in Season 2 that the Patriots based out of Guantanamo have been "preparing the ground" for at least a decade prior to the events of the series, it is becoming a lot more reasonable to suppose that they did have teams going around to the extant nuclear silos and doing everything short of actually firing them off (since as discussed in the WMG page the triggers they use are not mechanical in nature and have to be fired electronically) so all Randall has to do is literally push a button.
Ambiguously Bi: There is a lot of Ho Yay between Miles and General Monroe, although they could just be Heterosexual Life-Partners, since it was later revealed that Monroe was in love with two different women, both of whom he got pregnant. Tom Neville even lampshaded his Ambiguously Gay behavior towards Miles:
Neville: ... and you have a borderline erotic fixation on Miles Matheson. There, I said it.
(several episodes later)
Neville: (to Miles, about Bass) Are you that blinded by your man-love for that son of a bitch?
Anachronism Stew: Not so much with the gear, which is par for the course considering the apocalypse, but the combination of a pre-industrial, feudal agrarian society and industrialized armies seems unlikely and ultimately unsustainable. Surprisingly Truth in Television; many societies had this kind of imbalance.
Charlie persuades Miles to spare a bounty hunter who later on hands them over to the militia.
Danny manages to save Tom Neville from certain death and still ends up being rearrested.
Anyone Can Die: There's a generally tall body count in this show, but from the main cast alone 5 characters, (Ben, Maggie, Danny, Nora, Jason) have died, and we're not even at the end of the second season yet.
Apocalypse Anarchy: Kind of the entire point. Flashbacks show the immediate breakdown of law and order. The series proper shows that, fifteen years later, the world has achieved a new (albeit unpleasant) kind of order.
Apocalyptic Logistics: When the Blackout stops electricity from working civilization collapses and millions die. Fifteen years later, the Monroe Republic has serious logistical issues and can't even mass produce bullets and has just managed to get a steam train working again. However, when electricity is brought back, various vehicles and even helicopters are quickly made operational even though their systems must have degraded a great deal during the intervening period and any replacement parts would be in similar condition. There is also enough gasoline and aviation fuel to operate them.
Applied Phlebotinum: The nanites have the ability to reproduce infinitely without any noticeable consumption of mass; absorb electricity; emit electricity—both alternating and direct current—in quantities large enough to power anything from an iPhone to a major city; instantaneously heal compound fractures; partially cure asthma; suppress the spread of cancer; and (as of the Season 2 opener) apparently revive the dead.
Artistic License - Chemistry: In Episode 12, sulfuric acid is shown being dispensed from a plastic bottle. Sulfuric acid at a concentration high enough to accomplish what Rachel is attempting would oxidize the carbon in the plastic and should only be stored in glass or ceramic containers.
Artistic License - Economics: The lack of an even small scale industrialized economy notwithstanding, the Monroe Republic doesn't even seem to have an official currency. However, we've only seen how the lower classes live; there may be currency in use by the elites. Medieval societies (and even pre-modern or modern societies experiencing an economic downturnnote including the United States during the Great Depression) often used this system, with barter for goods and services being the main form of exchange for the masses. But then, there have been several references to gold and diamonds being valuable commodities and presumably mediums of exchange. Supplementary canon material indicates the existence of "Militia Trade Dollars" at a rather hefty exchange rate to actual gold.
Vehicles such as helicopters and missiles show no sign of deterioration despite having been abandoned in place for 15+ years. Once the power is back on, they work just as well as before.
No consideration is given to the deterioration of fuel over the years. Automobile-grade gasoline gums up after about 6 months; aviation fuel gums up after about one year—yet somehow useable fuel is always readily available.
In the season one finale, the power gets turned back on - people are surprised to see their lights and radios coming on. However one would assume there would have to be a generator still turning to supply power to the Atlanta skyline.
Though with the concurrent lightning storms, and the worries about the nanites killing the people that they are in (as they are everywhere), it is possible that the nanites were somehow expelling electricity.
Artistic License - Geography: When the blackout comes, Maggie is Skyping with her kids in England from Seattle. She comments that it is past their bedtime. A quick glance at the window shows that it is dark outside in Seattle as well. There is a nine hour time difference between England and Seattle. Stayed up past bedtime? Heck, it's almost time to get up!
Or else it's just winter in Seattle.
Artistic Licence Medicine: Okay, let's gloss over the miraculous medicine of the nanites. That's obviously crap. Let's go to the "fatal" injury Aaron receives in the season two opener. A sword slash to the chest won't be rapidly fatal. It will be painful, debilitating, and probably permanently cripple you, but it doesn't have a major artery, as the chest isn't on the path to any limbs, and it certainly won't make you cough up blood, unless the slash across the chest also slashes most of the way through the chest and hits a lung.
Artistic License - Military: A flashback scene shows Miles in Marine uniform, but with a haircut that is decidedly non-regulation and in desperate need of a shave.
Artistic License - Pharmacology: It's highly unlikely that the asthma inhaler Grace uses to treat Danny has a shelf life anywhere near 15 years, especially without temperature controls. Of course, Grace does appear to have access to some high technology and a larger conspiracy, so it's possible new medications are being manufactured somewhere.
Naturally the show hasn't gotten around to explaining how electricity got "turned off", but an Acceptable Break from Reality is needed to accept the series. At least it's lampshaded by Aaron in his opening lesson that physics shouldn't have caused batteries and other such things to stop working. According to writer/producer/creator Eric Kripke, the cause of the blackout was revealed to a physicist who said it was plausible.
Episode 7 ("The Children's Crusade") has started the slow process of revealing the cause of the blackout. Ben and Rachel, along with Grace Beaumont, were trying to develop a new form of clean power - only for it to wipe out all electricity in the general area. This was later revealed in episode 13 to be a bunch of nanobots that absorb electricity and replicate themselves. The Defense Department wanted to get their hands on it, naturally. And they still need to explain how they developed the pendant things to counteract their device...
Drexel the druglord, who is introduced to the audience by threatening to kill Miles in cold blood just for showing up on his property—only for him to reveal that his gun isn't loaded and laugh his head off. He doesn't get any saner.
And then there's Titus Andover.
Back from the Dead: Aaron. And Bass is, to all appearances, apparently dead, only for Rachel to revive him in secret later on.
Bare Your Midriff: Charlie's clothes reveal her lower belly almost all the time. This seems to have gone to a whole new level in the second half of the first season (which was entirely shot after the first half during the break).
Batman Gambit: Rachel & co. manage to sucker an ex-military man into a trap by making the trap obvious. Then when they're all clustered around the explosive, Nora throws a fire extinguisher down the hall, which trips the wire and explodes, killing most of the people.
Battle Couple: Tom and Julia Neville become this after the Blackout.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Despite living dangerous lifestyles with a minimum of medicine, no one has significant scars (unless important to the plot). Numerous stab, slice, and gunshot wounds... but never to the face.
BFG: The rail guns used by the inhabitants of the Tower.
Big Bad: General Monroe, initially. However, it gets more complicated as the first season goes on. First, it becomes a Big Bad Ensemble when Randall is introduced running his own scheme, becomes a loose Big Bad Duumvirate when they team up halfway through the season, and goes back to being an Ensemble in the season finale as Neville starts a coup against Monroe, while Randall commits suicide... only to turn out to have been working for the in-exile US President.
The Ensemble gets streamlined in Season 2, as the Patriots and their leader President Davis proves to be Eviler than Thou on a massive scale, leading to them becoming the dominant threat. Though that said, Monroe and Neville are both running their own schemes, and then there's the ultimate Wild Card that is the now-sentient nanotech.
Big Damn Heroes: Miles and Rachel's appearance in Annapolis - with a laser-guided missile launcher - in "The Stand." One almost expects Rachel to invoke this trope, and Miles to declare, "Ain't we just!"
Blatant Lies: The US government official's statements blaming the Monroe Republic and the Georgia Federation for the nukes.
Body Horror: The heat-ray weapon used by Jan, Rachel's friend in "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia." Basically, it's a tightly-focused microwave-y beam that cooks the target. Alive, if need be. And when she uses it on two militia soldiers...hoo boy, is it nasty.
Bolivian Army Ending: Due to the series' cancellation, it ends on a massive cliffhanger, as the nanites recruits President Davis, Colonel Truman, Neville, and many others, as part of a plan to eliminate The Evils of Free Will.
Bottomless Magazines: Sometimes averted, depending on whether it is dramatically required for a character to run out of ammo; see for example the moment in Season 2 when Tom is pinned down by enemy fire, with Jason a few yards away, and all Tom can do is gesture to his Beretta's locked-back (i.e. empty) slide and hope his son will rescue him. During the big firefights, however, this trope is invoked for all it's worth.
Call Forward: In a flashback to the Trenton Campaign (that happened 10 years ago) Monroe jokes that they will run out of bullets and will have to use swords like pirates. He was right.
Came Back Wrong: Aaron seriously thinks he has considering his new "ability."
Canada Does Not Exist: Played entirely straight. In the map of North America shown in the early first season, the USA is split into six different nations; meanwhile, apart from a couple of small pieces of British Columbia, southern Manitoba and the Maritimes included on the fringes of three of the American states, Canada is a complete blank. It's particularly jarring when the Monroe Republic surrounds the Great Lakes on the American side but does not incorporate southern Ontario at all.
Flyover Country: Related to the above neglect of Canada, the nation's midsection is divided into two sections: the Plains Nation (not so much a 'nation' as a collection of throwback nomadic tribes in a half-nod to the Braids, Beads and Buckskins model) and the Wasteland (most of the Rockies) despite the people in these regions arguably being more prepared for an emergency of this nature than most and several centers of organization that could serve as the nuclei of successor states.
Celebrity Paradox: Numerous references to works by Stephen King are dropped by the main characters without the slightest hint of irony. Miles frequently uses 'Stu Redman' as an alias, although The Stand was written in the show's universe (a copy is seen in one episode; King is listed as author so he exists, or did exist, in this universe as well). Apparently either very few people who read Stephen King's books survived the blackout and events afterward (unlikely given the ubiquity of his work) or the books themselves are different in this universe.
It's implied that one of the Affleck brothers is governor of what once was California. However, it's later revealed that "Governor Affleck" is a woman, meaning it could well be Jennifer Garner.
In season 2, David Schwimmer is apparently the last cast member of Friends still alive and works at a side show attraction in New Las Vegas.
In-universe, former wealthy Google executive Aaron counts. Several survivors, including Tom Neville, remember him from various TV appearances and business publications.
Brett Michaels is Shown singing 'Every Rose Has It's Thorns', one of the characters remarking "In a Nuclear Holocaust, Brett Michaels and the Cockroaches will be all that's left." or something around those lines.
Averted with Steven Tyler, whose mummified body is at the same sideshow as Schwimmer.
Character Development: Charlie has slowly and surely undergone this. The end of episode 11 has her becoming the hero that the setting needs.
Characters Dropping Like Flies: Within the first season itself, lots of named characters end up as dead as a door nail. By the first season finale, Charlie Matheson, Rachel Matheson, Miles Matheson, Aaron Pittman, Priscilla, Priscilla's daughter, Tom Neville, Jason Neville, Julia Neville, Kelly Foster, Grace Beaumont, and Sebastian Monroe are the only big characters still alive. Not only that, but trailers for the second season have made it very plain that a number of those characters still alive are going to end up as dead as a door nail too.
Character Shilling: Done by Nora on behalf of Charlie, just in case we had forgotten how "special" she is. In fact, Miles can't ever seem to call her out on being an Idiot Hero without being seen as a bastard.
The car bumper with the sticker "$#!& Happens" seen at the beginning the episode of the same title later causes Miles to wreck his wagon, kicking off the From Bad to Worse chain of events of that episode.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Neville, who defects from Monroe to Georgia out of self-preservation, but later betrays them to start a coup against Monroe and take over the Republic himself. Lampshaded by Jason.
It's not entirely clear that Neville actually betrayed Georgia. He may simply have seized an opportunity with the intention of calling off hostilities with Georgia at least long enough to consolidate his own power base within the Monroe Republic.
And then he joins the Patriots in Season 2. He does this by hiring a rebel to assassinate a high ranking Patriot, and then killing the rebel in the middle of the attempt. His true intention is to kill the Patriot leadership in revenge for killing his wife.
Every episode it seems like he switches sides more often than he changes his underwear. As of the latest episode he's now conspiring with Truman to bump off Doyle.
And then when Doyle has him, he immediately tries blaming Truman. Doyle doesn't fall for it and informs Neville he will kill both men just to be on the safe side. However, the attack on the Patriot camp interrupts this, and Neville manages to kill Doyle, once again keeping his alliance with Truman for the time being.
As of the Season 2 finale, the Patriots have finally had enough of Neville, who once again enters into an alliance of convenience with Bass Monroe to kill Davis. But then, the nano steps in for him, and allies him once more with the Patriots in their kick-off attempt to control all of humanity.
Cliffhanger: Episode 10, the midseason finale, ends with Monroe using the locket to restore power to a fleet of attack helicopters and going after the heroes.
The season finale ends with the power being restored, only for Randall to use it to launch nukes at Philadelphia and Atlanta and commit suicide... at point it's revealed he's been working for the US Government in Exile.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Played totally straight when Miles fights off an entire militia in the pilot. As promised, he's "good at killing".
Cosmic Plaything: It's hard to think anything apart from that the universe wants to fuck with Miles when he leads some Texas Rangers on a chase, only for his cart to flip over a bumper with a "shit happens" sticker. :( Then he manages to kill off the Rangers! :) But gets a bad slash to the gut. :( Wanders to a fallen, abandoned home, sees a first aid kit! :) Then the floor collapses under him, dropping him in a cellar. :( With the first aid kit! :) Which is empty.note To add insult to injury, the only thing in it is a dirty band-aid. :( Then the house's remaining wall falls, trapping him in the cellar.
Miles: Yeah. Very bad day.
Cozy Catastrophe: Despite collapse of modern civilization, things don't look that bad.
Crapsack World: The post-blackout world of the show. Especially the Monroe Republic, judging from the fact that the Plains Nation people go in for very colorful clothing and arts and crafts, while the Georgia Federation's technological lead is clearly farther advanced and can provide a high enough standard of living that even relatively ordinary people can dress like only the wealthiest people of the Monroe Republic can. Texas seems to be secure within its own borders, if not terribly wealthy, while Mexico is securely sitting on prime agricultural land that can keep people fed (and even get them high if they happen to want that kind of crop), while California, not at war with any nation, must surely have enough control over its territory to be essentially a network of self-sufficient communes or small villages (as judged from the pejorative comments made about it from Monroe Republic and Patriot officials).
Cryptic Background Reference: Despite being one of the major players in North America and referred to frequently by a number of characters, California was never visited, nor were any Californian characters seen, during the series.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Episode 11 demonstrates this quite graphically with Monroe's helicopters slaughtering an entire rebel camp while the camp had no time to react.
Cutting the Knot: In the second season, Miles finds himself stuck in a cellar, seriously injured. How does he get out? Lights it on fire.
Darker and Edgier: Episode 11, "The Stand" (the first episode after the show's four-month hiatus), starts the second half of Season 1 in this direction, with enough graphic war violence that NBC slapped the episode with a Viewer Discretion Advised warning.
Dawson Casting: Inverted; Given the 15 years that have passed since The Blackout, many of the cast are rather younger than their characters should be. The main cast are in their early 40s, which means they were in their mid-20s back then; so they were either uniformly young geniuses (Invoked in Aaron's case) or had very lucky rises to positions of power before the Blackout. Then again, this trope gets played straight in the flashbacks, when the characters generally look the exact same age as they do in "present day" scenes; so the actor is playing a character 20 or more years younger.
Death by Childbirth: A flashback in "Dead Man Walking" reveals that this happened to Monroe's wife and child.
Ditto in both directions. Though Nate/Jason may end up subverting the shallow part, now that he's revealed to be Tom Neville's son.
Divided States of America: The series takes place in the 'Monroe Republic,' which, along with the other powers in what used to be the US (along with parts of Canada and Mexico) is portrayed here, as well as on-screen in episode 5. In the pilot, Miles ( formerly The Dragon for the series' Big Bad, who would know) specifically mentions that Monroe wants the secret to the blackout so he can have factories turning out military hardware so that he can "butcher the other republics." For those of you keeping track at home, the Republics seem to be:
The Monroe Republic: Northeast and the Great Lakes area as well as Canada's Maritime Provinces
The Georgia Federation: The Southeast. Apparently the major rival to the Monroe Republic, and possibly allying with the Plains Nation to eliminate it
Texas: Texas, with what appears to be parts at least of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana, as well as a sizable chunk of Mexico
The Plains Nation: the Midwest from Minnesota to Montana
Wasteland: Utah and the Rockies
The California Commonwealth: The West Coast including a sizable chunk of British Columbia. Considered to be "heathens" by at least one high-level Monroe Militia officer (Neville)
United States of America Colony: Revealed in the first season finale, a Government in Exile being run out of Cuba.
Mexico, with competing claims to the chunk of Mexico claimed by Texas.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: In "Captain Trips", Rachel realizes the Patriots are purposely killing off people with "undesirable" physical or mental disorders. She all but lampshades the connection by saying, "They're trying to make the town pure."
And it's further elaborated on in "Exposition Boulevard" when the usurper-President Davis insists that the population loss and subsequent wars and conflicts are "natural selection". It's pretty obvious that the Patriots embody a "survival of the fittest" ideology, as evidenced by Davis speaking of the inscription under the Pyramid: "A new order for the ages." The Founders of the USA likely didn't mean the same kind of new order that Davis means, though.
Don't Go in the Woods: Charlie and her brother have been repeatedly told not to go wandering because "it's not safe out there", despite being in their late teens/early 20's and obviously able to handle themselves. Justified in that we don't know whether or not bandits or wild animals beyond the capability of Charlie's crossbow to take down are in the woods. And the militia appears to be just as bad of a threat, if not worse. The militia may have also imposed restrictions on how far ordinary citizens are allowed to range from their homesteads, just as medieval serfs (and plantation slaves in the pre-Civil War South) were bound to the estates of their masters. Get caught without a pass and you may wish the bear had eaten you first...
The Dragon: Captain (later Major) Tom Neville. While not Monroe's actual second in command, he appears to be part of Monroe's inner circle, and is the most recognizable villain after the General himself.
After Neville defects, Captain Baker takes on the role until Monroe has him killed in a fit of paranoia.
Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: Most episodes focus on helping the Victim of the Week rather than the overall goal of rescuing Danny. That changed due to Danny being rescued in episode 10 and then Danny getting killed off at the end of episode 11.
Easy Logistics: The military success of the Monroe Republic is entirely dependent upon this. They seem to have little problem moving troops and materiel wherever needed, even before they got electricity. Now that the power is on, they always have enough helicopters to do whatever job needs doing, and always have enough fuel to get where they're going. Georgia has operated under fewer constraints all along but at least is more conscious of those constraints that do exist.
The Empire: Monroe's ironically named "Republic". With a heavy dose of pious religion to make it that much more oppressive.
As of episode 14, the Resistance and the Georgia Federation have allied to open a two front war against Monroe.
As of Season 2, Monroe has allied himself with Miles and the gang to take on the Patriots.
Engineered Heroics: The plan, on both large and small scales, of the US government in the second season. Blame the final event of the first season on the Divided States of America in the large scale. Small scale, hire intermediaries to put a location in danger, then ride in to save the day at the last minute.
Engineered Public Confession: How the heroes finally take down the Patriots: after kidnapping President Davis, they're ambushed by Patriot soldiers. When Davis gets free, he flies into a rant about how he represents the true America, and how he's going to get Texas and California to wipe each other out for him. However, when he gives the order to have the heroes shot, it turns out that the "Patriots" are Texas Rangers, and the de facto leader of Texas is in the other room — this whole scenario was a setup to provide Texas with undeniable proof that the Patriots were playing them, and results in Davis' arrest and Texas declaring war on the outnumbered Patriots. For added symbolism, the confession takes place in a church!
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Miles is able to use this against Titus Andover by kidnapping his wife. As a hiccup, while Titus may love his wife, she is terrified of him, and commits suicide to prevent being sent back to him.
Everyone Has Standards: In episode 11, Jason Neville decides that slaughtering groups of people with air strikes is completely unacceptable. His father does not react well to his son taking a stand.
Everything Is Big in Texas: One thing most characters can agree on is that you do not want to mess with Texas. It's also big enough that you can hide out there and no one will mess with you as long as you keep your head down.
Bass describing how he'd use a working Blackhawk helicopter against the other republics is pure ham.
Expy: Aaron seems to be this to Hurley, but with a Race Lift. Rich guy whose money is now worthless? Check. Big guy who is a vast source of comic relief? Check. Apparent aversion to physical tasks (at least partially due to his size)? Check. Sees people from his past that no-one else can see, and thinks he's losing his mind? Big ol' check.
The Faceless: Randall in his first appearance in episode 2. Then, in episode 7, he's actually seen. Turns out he's the same Department of Defense guy who offered to help Rachel and Ben with their project.
False Flag Operation: Pretty much a staple of Season 2. The "Patriots" are killing off Andover's clan and making it look like they're still active. Meanwhile, Bass has impulsively gone in for a frame-up of the Patriots by murdering a high Texas official.
The Patriot team sent to assassinate the president of Texas has California identity papers; Bass makes the connection and speculates that the Patriots are trying to maneuver California and Texas into a war which will weaken both of them (and probably did the same with the Monroe Republic and Georgia as well).
Fan Disservice / Ms. Fanservice: Seeing Frank in his underwear in the episode "Austin City Limits", in combination with the lingerie-clad young ladie in the same scene.
Frank: I should probably go put some pants on, huh?
Most civilians carry low-tech weapons like swords and crossbows even though cartridge firearms were invented before electricity was harnessed. This is explained as guns being illegal for civilians to own. However, that doesn't explain why militia members, who are allowed to have guns, only use muskets. Could be explained by most of the modern ammunition being used up during the intervening 15 years. Musketballs are probably easier to manufacture with primitive technology. This theory is verified by Episode 3, with Jeremy mentioning that pre-blackout ammunition was a rare commodity and that copper jackets and smokeless powder were beyond at least the Monroe Republic's manufacturing capabilities.
The intro sequence suggests that more advanced firearms were stockpiled in droves. It's likely that to conserve on ammo and supplies, only the front line and combat militia would be handed AK-47s and the like, while the rest are given muskets. This is confirmed in later episodes: as the group gets closer to Philadelphia, they encounter more and more squads of soldiers with semi-automatic rifles, such as Sgt. Strausser's squad and the soldiers guarding the power plant.
Season 2 seemingly abandons this trope: everybody (and their mother) has an M-4 Carbine, a Beretta, and possibly a grenade launcher; and they use ammo like they can pick up another 1000 rounds at the corner store any time they want, with no mention of where it's all coming from. Possibly justified in that the main characters haven't returned to the Monroe Republic (which both banned modern weapons for civilians and was having trouble manufacturing new ammunition) and the other republics along with the Patriots and now Mexico may have been more successful in rebuilding their industrial complexes.
Fatal Family Photo: Maggie would've been fine if she had just ditched her cell phone containing a picture of her children.
Faux Action Girl: Charlie could be this. As one previous entry mentioned, she's incompetent. On top of that, she usually ends up being saved. However, she managed to not screw up in episode 2 by tricking Nate and succeeded in killing the warden and another man. It may be because she isn't good with close-range or unarmed combat; she is a good shot with her crossbow, but since crossbows can't fire as quick as a real bow after a single shot she tends to be helpless. Which may be why her father warned her notto go into the woods. Too many people in the village have gotten hurt or killed trying to save her ass. She's gotten measurably better since levelling up, but still needs rescuing far too often.
Faux Death: Monroe, courtesy of Rachel, surprisingly.
Five-Man Band: For episodes 2-4, Charlie was The Hero, Miles was The Lancer, Nora was The Big Guy, Aaron was The Smart Guy, and Maggie was The Chick.
Ho Yay: Miles and Bass. Neville calls the attempts to catch Miles "a borderline homoerotic obsession", and, boy, is he right.
For Want of a Nail: "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" reveals that the Georgia Federation not only still has a trading fleet of tall ships, but is in regular communication (and possibly a military alliance) with England. If only Maggie had travelled there instead of the Monroe Republic, she might have made it home to her kids after all...
At the end of episode 3 ("No Quarter"), Maggie's iPhone reactivates thanks to the power-activating pendant, and the lock screen shows the date as Monday, September 17 - the date of the show's premiere in 2012.
In episode 5 ("Soul Train"), Hutch is seen with a Harry Potter manuscript.
From Bad to Worse: As if getting a nasty sword cut in a fight wasn't bad enough for Miles, he falls through a rotten floor of what used to be a house or gazebo, and then the wall falls over, collapsing on top of the hole made when he fell through. And the first-aid kit has one lousy bandage in it.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Prior to the blackout, Monroe was a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. Now, he's the warlord of a large chunk of what used to be America. Likewise Captain Neville used to be an insurance adjustor (but, as the Flashback in episode 5 reveals, he was fired on the day of the blackout).
Played with by Aaron, who was most definitely "somebody" prior to the blackout but was rendered just another faceless refugee afterward, only to have his role in building the nanites—and his haphazard control over them—make him a nightmare for the Monroe Militia and later the Patriots.
Future Imperfect: It's only 15 years after the Blackout but already the younger generation is developing a distorted view of pre-Blackout history. In a humorous example, a local sheriff recounts how he was inspired to become a lawman by the stories about famous lawman Walker, Texas Ranger.
Government in Exile: The season finale reveals that the US President's been running one out of Cuba since the Blackout.
Genre Shift: The show started off as a semi-western, post-apocalyptic survival show. By season 2, it's that with a nice sci-fi twist. Lampshaded by Aaron.
Happily Married: Aaron and his wife before the blackout. He was a rich tech mogul who desired nothing more than giving his wife everything she could possibly want, unaware all she wanted was him. After the blackout, she proved this wasn't just an act by staying with him. But since he had no useful skills in a world without electricity, he left her behind with a group of survivors so he wouldn't hold her back.
In "Home", we discover that 15 years later, Priscilla has found someone else and is living in Texas.
Hard Head: Charlie must have a bionic skull. In Episode 9, not only does she survive getting shot in said noggin - a grazing wound only, but she then hits her head on concrete steps hard enough to cause bleeding and a near-death experience, yet she eventually wakes up and shrugs it off, even though in real life (as has been proven in the sad case of actress Natasha Richardson and many other cases) a head wound of that nature has the potential to be fatal.
Hollywood Tactics: The restaurant fight in episode 3 had a lot of poor tactical decisions all around.
Hope Spot: In episode 11, Danny dies taking out Monroe's only power amplifier with him. By doing this, he effectively brought Monroe back to square one. Randall shows up on Monroe's doorstep not too long after, and not only offers him more power amplifiers but soldiers, weapons, and a full team of scientists.
In the first season finale, they manage to turn the power back on, only for Randall to immediately launch nukes on Philadelphia and Atlanta on behalf of the US-in-exile.
Hypocrite: The preacher in episode 3, for all his preaching, condemns Miles to death the instant he finds out that Miles is one of the founders of the Monroe Republic. This could be taken as an indication of the Crapsack World the characters live in, because anybody who tries to be a good person in such a world is doomed to be this. Charlie, ironically enough, proved to be more forgiving than the preacher on the matter!
Considering everything Rachel is guilty of including killing men in cold blood and helping to bring about the apocalypse in the first place; she apparently does not see the irony in condemning Miles and Monroes increasingly violent tactics against the Patriots towards the latter half of season 2 even after it is pointed out to her.
When a storm drops a huge pile of rubble on Captain Neville, Danny has the perfect chance to escape, and let a dangling stove kill him...so naturally, he turns around and digs him out. He actually seems surprised about being handcuffed...
Captain Tom Neville in episode 5. He has Danny sitting in a chair, and he thinks it's a good idea to not tie him to the chair and to turn his back on him. And this is after Danny has openly shown himself to be a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, The Dog Bites Back, and showing a refusal to be intimidated or impressed by Neville, and just giving him Shut Up, Hannibal! responses.
Charlie runs with it in "Sex and Drugs" when she agrees to assassinate O'Halloran for Drexler in exchange for saving Nora. She learns that unlike The Sociopath drug lord Drexler, O'Halloran is a former police officer and family man—and yet attempts to go through with the plan anyway. Yes, Charlie, kill off a potential ally who has a strong enough force at his disposal to destroy Drexler's fields, rather than have him help to destroy Drexler's operation and save your friends.
I Have No Son: Jason Neville went against his father's orders, and as a result, Tom Neville considers his son dead to him.
Danny's asthma causes some characters to perceive him as weak - to this day Charlie is constantly worrying about him and trying to keep her promise to watch over him. Justified given that this is a lawless, unforgiving Crapsack World and other than plant-based medicines there's not a lot that can restore his breathing if he has an attack.
Danny also uses this to his advantage, to get the drop on a mook who's been harassing him.
The Resistance is supposedly causing a lot of problems for the Monroe Republic but beside Nora, none of the rebels the protagonists meet seem competent enough to cause that much trouble. It's possible that the resistance groups in other areas of the Republic are much more competent or maybe the strength of the Monroe Republic is also exaggerated.
Likewise, the Monroe Militia makes numerous tactical mistakes and neglects technology that would give it an edge even under the constraints the program has imposed (no bayonets for muskets, no body armor, etc.) Truth in Television, as military dictatorships usually don't have very good militaries.
Instant A.I., Just Add Water: When Aaron inputs the code to turn the lights back on, this accidentally "wakes up" the nanites and causes them to become sentient (and to think of him as their father, since he wrote their code). The working theory is that the trillions of nanites in the world are all interconnected like the neurons in the brain, so while each one individually isn't impressive, as a group, they're able to Grow Beyond Their Programming.
Irish Cop: The O'Hallorans, the neighboring family that is burning Drexler's poppy fields, are a long line of such, although the father's primary motivation is personal—Drexler killed his daughter with a heroin overdose.
Ironic Echo: What Rachel says to Aaron, in "Home", after Aaron found his ex-wife, Priscilla:
Rachel: You think that you'll apologize, and everything will be okay.
It Gets Easier: Both Charlie and Aaron have demonstrated this, from being hesitant to use deadly force in the pilot to both becoming efficient killers by episode 5 (with Charlie killing ''in cold blood' on at least one occasion and agreeing to do so, though she ultimately doesn't go through with it, on another).
Neville seems to be the end result of the process, going from his pre-blackout life as a man who lacked the courage to confront his Bad Boss and asshole neighbor to a man who not only is willing to slaughter an entire rebel encampment (including noncombatants) but is excited at the prospect of doing so.
It's Personal: Rachel is now fully dedicated to return power to the world. Not because it would be better for everyone. It's only to allow Monroe's ennemies to have occasions to kill him. Never get a mom angry.
Revealed in episode 2 ("Chained Heat"). Creatively called The Resistance, they use the regular American flag as their symbol, and identify each other by requesting biographies of Joe Biden. Unfortunately, they keep getting killed off and on the run.
Miles, Rachel and Charlie form the nucleus of the resistance against the Patriots. They finally win out at the Season 2 finale, exposing the crimes and lies of the usurper-President Davis.
Legally Dead: Rachel. Episode 2 reveals us she had been kept prisoner by Monroe. The fall finale reveals that even Miles, who personally processed her when she turned herself in to the Monroe Militia, assumed that she had since died.
Lens Flare: In episode 7, the pendant randomly turns on and activates the lighthouse in the middle of the big fight sequence.
The Load: Aaron sees himself as such which is why he abandoned his wife—he felt he was only hindering her chances for survival post-blackout.He got better.
Long Game: Rachel has apparently been doing this for almost 15 years, keeping Bass from being able to master the secret of electricity. She discovers it's become a bit of a Deal with the Devil by the time the series starts.
The Patriots have been running a scheme to take over North America since the Blackout, with the present day events of the series only being the latest moves.
Grace, the woman who helped Danny, has one as well, and it seems capable of restoring power (in a limited area, at least). Grace and at least one other party also have a primitive (early 1980's level) computer with acoustic modem capability—implying telephone service as well as electricity—and appear to be coordinating some larger agenda.
As of episode 5, Rachel has revealed the existence of 12 pendants. Three have been accounted for, and the whereabouts of the remaining nine have yet to be revealed.
To be true, we have seen three of them and the action of a fourth (the one used by Grace's correspondent.
Episode 8's map shows seven in the former borders of the USA. Presumably the other five are either "dead" or are in other places besides North America.
Episode 9 reveals that the pendant has an approximate range of 9-10 feet when active. They can apparently be activated if you touch the flash drive part a particular way.
Episode 12: Rachel removes the flash drives from two pendants and drops them in tubs of chemicals to destroy them. This might help explain the other five missing pendants, except it's pretty strongly implied they can only be tracked when active anyway - except when Randall's remotely pinging them.
After Danny's death in "The Stand," the episode ends with Rachel cutting a small capsule out of his side. And it's blinking. Hmm...
Made of Iron: Charlie, in episode 7 where she literally shrugs off being beaten into unconsciousness twice and getting branded, to boot and comes back swinging.
Miles also has taken several nasty injuries, any one of which would have either killed or crippled for life most ordinary men.
Manchurian Agent: The people "recruited" by the Patriots and stuck in their reeducation camps are brainwashed, to be activated and turned into loyal soldiers whenever they hear their individual number, which is tattooed on their inner eyelid. Monroe even refers to them as "Manchurian Candidates".
The Man Behind the Man: Randall turns out to have been taking orders from the usurper US President, who has been living in effective exile in Cuba against the day Randall succeeds.
However, it's played with later. Texas may have taken parts of Mexico, but they're constantly in a border war with them (which is part of the reason why Texas isn't interested in tangoing with the Monroe Republic or the US Patriots), and people are shown to line up along the border hoping to go down to Mexico to work as day laborers and perhaps sneak off to a new life.
Miles: You know, in Mexico, they just call this a standoff.
Mind Screw: The Season 2 episode "Dreamcatcher" takes place almost entirely in Aaron's mind, as the nanites manipulate him via dreams of a life without the blackout in order to repair their faulty programming.
Any named militia officer other than Monroe or Neville (i.e. Strausser and Jeremy)
Strausser is more of an Elite Mook in that he's the lowest-ranking member of the Monroe Militia to merit a name so far, yet has highly-specialized skills that Bass relies upon to get certain dirty jobs done.
Motive Decay: Charlie's search for Danny. She says she needs to get to him as soon as possible so as to avoid him being in danger too long, but sees it necessary to save literally every person they come across along the way who isn't with the militia, putting herself and her group in danger every time for people who they'll most likely never see again. This would be an In-Universe trope, but, over time, the rest of the cast doesn't even call her out on it. Rendered moot as of episode 10, due to Team Matheson rescuing Danny. Episode 11 ends with Danny getting killed off.
My God, What Have I Done?: Monroe actually looks pretty shocked after he realizes that he had Jeremy, his only trustworthy ally, and the last person he considered a friend, wrongfully shot to death. It makes his final words to him that much more caustic.
Nanomachines: The cause of the blackout. For as yet unknown reasons, electricity-draining nanomachines created by the Defense Department replicated out of control.
Never Forgotten Skill: Exemplified, where the world has suffered an electricity blackout for 15-and-change years, but all of the soldiers have more or less retained all of their smooth skills behind the fighter stick of a Huey helicopter.
Never Trust a Title: "When the Lights Went Out in Georgia". The title implies we'll see events during the Blackout, but the episode proves to be anything but.
The trailer for the sixth episode, "Sex and Drugs," suggested that the price to heal Nora's infection was Charlie's freedom, and Drexler would make her a sex slave—at least for one night. That was only the editing, though. While he was clearly attracted to her, when he said, "I want her," he did want her - to kill his neighbor who's been torching his opium poppy garden.
"Kashmir". Monroe's meeting with Miles exists only in Miles's mind.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Rachel's initial confession about the pendant ends up with a succession of Oh Crap moments for her as she discovers just how single-mindedly obsessive Bass Monroe is. She could be considered directly responsible for the capture and torture of Dr. Jaffe and indirectly responsible for the capture of his daughter, since Bass apparently got the idea from capturing Rachel's family and thus spotting her weakness.
In the season one finale, the protagonists succeed in turning the power back on globally... enabling Randall to launch nukes at Philadelphia and Atlanta. This is confirmed as of the season two opener, and Rachel is nearly catatonic at realizing her single-minded drive to turn the power back on meant the deaths of millions more to add to the ones she already blames herself for on the advent of the Blackout.
At least not in the pilot - odd considering that bicycles predate electricity.
Averted in Episode 2, a woman and child are briefly seen riding one in flashback, one week after the blackout. Later on, bikes are seen for sale on a market.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Jason Neville warns Charlie about the air strike coming in 12 hours, and this is when he lost everything. Charlie thanks him for the information, but refuses to take him in, because he's part of the militia.
No New Fashions in the Future: Justified. No electricity means no factories, and thus no mass production of clothes. Whatever the characters are wearing was either manufactured before the blackout in 2012, or stitched/sewn by hand after the fact, which makes wardrobes an odd combination of early 21st century and a few centuries prior.
No Sell: When Bass agrees to one more fight in New Vegas, he gets put up against a man at least a head taller than he is. When Bass tries a surprise attack, the fellow just stands there, impassive.
Subverted, it turns out Monroe was just playing along, the guy beating him down was just him giving Charlie and Connor more time for a distraction. When it becomes clear this has expired, Monroe stops fooling around and proceeds to beat down the much bigger man in under a minute flat.
Nuke 'em: After allying with Randall and gaining a permanent source of power, Monroe manages to build a nuclear bomb and attempts to use it to destroy Atlanta and cripple the Georgia Federation. Fortunately, the protagonists stop this just in time.
As soon as the power's restored worldwide, Randall launches nukes at Philadelphia and Atlanta in order to cripple the East Coast republics and open them for invasion... by the United States Government in Exile in Cuba.
Again in Episode 10 when Monroe manages to get several helicopters equipped with miniguns flying.
Topped off in Episode 13 when Miles and the rebels learn that Monroe has obtained a nuclear weapon.
And then the Season 1 finale when Randall gloats to Rachel that her work enabled him to launch a nuclear attack on Philadelphia and Atlanta.
Offscreen Teleportation: The Militia marches away in episode three, yet the off screen protagonists manage to figure out where the militia is going, get ahead of them and set up a trap at a bridge - all on foot.
Only the Chosen May Wield: Miles' "lucky" Bowie knife, which proved to be less-than-lucky for Alec (to whom Miles had gifted it some years earlier). So far it's credited with having saved the lives of three generations of Mathesons over a 75-year period. What are the odds Charlie will end up with it?
Parental Abandonment: As far as Charlie and Danny are (initially) aware, their father died in the first episode, and their biological mother abandoned them sometime after the blackout and is presumably dead. As the story progresses, we learn that their birth mother is still alive, however, a fact that, so far, is known only to Danny and later Charlie Miles and Aaron.
People's Republic of Tyranny: The Monroe Republic is implied to be this, considering that their military force consist of militias who force their citizens to pay taxes with food. Given this throwback to feudalism, and with Monroe leading what appears to be nothing more than a military dictatorship, it's a republic in name only. We can only guess if any of the other "republics" are so in more than their names.
Miles confirms as much in "The Song Remains The Same" when he tells Rachel that while the Monroe Republic having the power back on is a bad idea especially since they seem to have obtained a nuclear weapon, none of the other American successor states are any better (and Miles seems to think Texas is a good deal worse). Somewhat contra-indicated by the same episode, however — at the very least, the Georgia Federation is more competent (having evidently higher standards of living than the Monroe Republic).
Pet the Dog: Captain Tom Neville has been shown to do this towards Danny a time or two. The same goes for his son, Nate/Jason Neville.
Police Are Useless: Exaggerated in Season 2 for Willoughby. First, Sheriff Mason is anticlimactically shot to death in the second episode. In the very next episode, Riley, the only competent authority figure who could take his place, gets an arrow to the chest. Then a bunch of Texas Rangers show up led by a man named John Fry. However, Fry gets abruptly shot in the back by Monroe. Just when things couldn't possibly get worse, it's revealed that the Texas Rangers were Evil All Along and were working with the Patriots.
Averted by the O'Hallorans in Season 1 episode "Sex and Drugs". A long line of Irish cops, they're still giving Drexler's heroin operation trouble despite the collapse of society, although the grudge is becoming personal. Still, they seem more well-adjusted than any other large survivor group we've seen thus far.
Product Placement: Not a smartphone, but "You still carry around an iPhone?". Made a little funny when you realize that Aaron used to work for Google - makers of the Android smartphone OS. Not that it works, anyway. Maggie only carries the phone around for sentimental value.
Monroe is notified that a visitor drove to see him in a "Cutlass Sierra". Admittedly the Cutlass Sierra was a 1982-1996 era Oldsmobile, but with it being 15 years after the apocalypse (and all cars - even the 2012 models - would have been rusted out), General Motors may have paid a little for a specific brand and make.
Unless a Nostalgia Filter is involved, GM isn't exactly making the best use of its money: the Oldsmobile division was shut entirely in 2003. They'd be paying to market a brand that no longer exists.
Subtle, but a guard stands under a sign that reads, "One Nation, One People, Indivisible." Given what The Patriots have been up to, one gets the definite impression they're playing very fast and loose with what the slogans actually stand for.
Made more blatant when we later see some american flags on armbands now on Patriot uniforms. Miles lampshades this as he snarks, "Great. We just crashed a Nazi dance party."
On showing up at Guantanamo Bay, President Jackson Davis... now that's not at all a direct reference to Confederate President Jefferson Davis... anyway, Davis says the blackout was caused by "parasites" and "perverts", Shout Outs to right-wing religion and Ayn Rand, respectively.
Rank Up: Upon returning to Philadelphia with Danny, Neville is promoted to Major.
Reality Ensues/Always a Bigger Fish: Tom and Julia Neville may have been able to scam Monroe, Foster, and any number of other people before them, but they're now shown to be out of their league with the Patriots—who mastermineded the fall of the United States government (and, coincidentally, modern civilization as well).
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jeremy, attempting to be an Honest Advisor, delivers one to Bass, telling him that he was the one who drove Miles and Neville away with his paranoid behavior. Bass then has him shot.
Tom Neville also gets to deliver a brief one when he has Bass in custody; see Ambiguously Bi above.
Reassigned to Antarctica: Seems when Monroe wants to punish someone without outright killing them, he sends them on expeditions to California — Neville comments on how "those heathens" tend to send their people back "in a box".
Then again, Neville shows signs of being The Fundamentalist, so likely anyone who doesn't think exactly as he does would be regarded as a heathen. More than likely California is sending back Monroe's people dead to send a message to Monroe not to get any ideas.
Religious Bruiser: Neville and his men stop to pray while taking Danny to the prison camp.
The guy who gives up Miles and Nora's ultimate destination in "Ghosts" gets the same treatment. The Monroe Militia for all of its other deficiencies seems to be Dangerously Genre Savvy when it comes to dealing with defectors and informants.
Averted with Mia, Nora's sister, by Strausser, of all people. In exchange for the power pendant, he spares both their lives.
Strausser tries to force one on Rachel when he asks her which of her children she wants to die. Rachel, Mama Bear that she is, Took a Third Option and stabbed Strausser.
Sanity Slippage: It's suggested by several characters involved in the militia that Monroe's been suffering from this somewhat ever since Miles defected.
Randall may have undergone one triggered by the death of his son, resulting in him co-opting the Mathesons' research to produce a superweapon—initially to end the war in Afghanistan but ultimately to destroy the world order and start anew.
Self-Deprecation: In "Dreamcatcher", 2x15, when Aaron (in the dream of the past) tells Priscilla about the post-blackout world, he mentions the people he'd seen on TV, plus "some chick in a belly shirt".
Priscilla: Belly shirt in a blackout. That seems super real.
In the next episode, Aaron insults Monroe's "stupid on the nose Civil War uniforms!"
Monroe: I... I like the Civil War.
Aaron:Yeah we get that!
Semper Fi: Both Miles and Bass were Marines prior to the blackout.
Shirtless Scene: Neville gets one in "Soul Train," as he and his men are in the Noblesville bar boxing. Predictably, he takes the opportunity to vent his frustrations on Danny.
The second half of the episode "The Plague Dogs." Miles and the gang spend the entire time trying to save Maggie after she was stabbed in the leg. Even after Aaron manages to suture the wound, Maggie informs everyone that she's already lost too much blood and she dies.
The first half of Season 1 was all about Charlie and Miles rescuing Danny after he was captured by the militia. After ten long episodes, Danny is finally reunited with his family...and then abruptly gunned down by a helicopter in the eleventh episode.
Season 1 was this in a nutshell. After losing Danny, Nora, and dozens and dozens of other innocent friends and civilians, and having gone clear across the country to get the power back on, the protagonists finally succeed in their mission. And then they have to turn the power right back off in a desperate attempt to stop nukes from killing millions. They fail, and the power ends up going back off anyway.
Shown Their Work: Danny's asthma attack is treated with ephedrine, a pre-modern asthma medication that can be extracted from a weed indigenous to the greater Chicago area.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: Danny has given this to Captain Tom Neville a few times, and Neville is not happy about it. At all. Fortunately, Neville is under orders to keep Danny alive, so Danny is not worried about being harmed or killed as a result.
Sigil Spam: Is there anything Bass Monroe doesn't like putting his logo on?
Significant Reference Date: Season 2, Episode 4 ("Patriot Games") can be dated to October 31, 2028, based upon the passage of time over the course of the series and the presence of children wearing Halloween costumes and going trick-or-treating in Willoughby. This does not however count as a Halloween Episode despite airing about two weeks before Halloween; other than the trick-or-treating, no other thematic elements of the holiday are present.
Slow Electricity: The power goes out so slowly that characters can go outside and watch as each house goes out - and room-by-room, oddly enough. We don't know enough about the source of the blackout to know if this is justified or not (the source could be slow-moving).
Seems to be justified, according to the episode "The Song Remains the Same" the blackout was caused by the rapid replication of Nanomachines which are probably coming from The Tower.
In "Sex and Drugs" and "The Children's Crusade", Aaron takes up the role of Only Sane ManDeadpan Snarker after Miles decides to agree with Charlie rather than argue with her anymore. However, not only is he then the target of Charlie's Character Shilling via Nora, but he drops it after those episodes.
He kind of picks it back up again in "Kashmir". He recognizes the symptoms of oxygen deprivation and this is what makes the rebel group realize they have to leave the tunnel network, and quickly.
Stealth Pun: One of the first things Mia talks about is how she was Missing In Action.
Steam Punk: The Georgia Federation has reverted to this full-stop, converting buses and agricultural machinery to steam power in response to the loss of electricity. Miles notes that their standard of living is substantially higher than that of the Monroe Republic at least partly as a result.
Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: After a hiatus of several months, Danny, the person the protagonists were trying to rescue for the first half of the season, gets gunned down.
Sufficiently Advanced ...: The nanites. Scientists who know why the world turned off can perform some amazing feats. They can bring about miraculous cures, or burn people alive from the inside out. They dance around this trope, with one scientist shutting down the word "magic" and replacing it with technology.
Aaron's resurrection has been seen by some as an act of God. Later his friend Peter uses them to heal the sick and blind and even after being told the real cause still thinks it's just God working through the nanites.
Tattered Flag: A Monroe attack on a rebel stronghold, using a helicopter he manages to re-power, leaves everyone dead and their flag full of bullet holes.
Taking You with Me: Subverted in "Children of Men". Rachel walks into Monroe's tent with a grenade and pulls the pin, only for a militia soldier to tackle her and toss it outside, where it explodes without hurting anyone.
Television Geography: The protagonists have been traveling from Chicago to Philadelphia. There is the occasional mention of places and landmarks, but as far as the universe of Revolution is concerned the entire route from Chicago to Philadelphia is rolling hills and trees - despite the fact that there are many flat, treeless stretches across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio and the area is largely urbanized. While the depopulation of major cities after the blackout let the greenery return with a vengeance, flat open plains wouldn't just magically fill up with trees because there's no electricity.
Tempting Fate: The guy that steals the Mathesons' food in the second-episode flashback is threatened by Ben with a gun. Double-subverted as it initially appears that Ben won't do it, but then the flashback resumes again just in time for Rachel to pull the trigger.
The commercials for the fourth episode made it seem like one of the protagonists would get killed. They weren't kidding.
The commercial for "Sex and Drugs" made it seem like Nora would succumb to her stab wound. She didn't.
Rumors were widespread about the likely death of one of the main characters. As it turns out, in "Austin City Limits", Jason dies.
Too Dumb to Live: The "well-trained" militia has just stepped out of a fatal battle where they got their ass handed to them by a lone sniper and tripwires and they proceed to walk right up to a choke point (a bridge) in a two-column formation with no scouting party, rear guard,or dedicated prisoner guard. Surprise surprise when they get waylaid by a tripwire right next to the exploding bridge and lose the prisoner.
Danny appears to be trying this. He's developing talent as an escape artist, freeing himself from handcuffs twice (and eluding the militia for several hours the first time) and faking an asthma attack to lure a militia soldier who was taunting him into a near-fatal beating. He even manages to land a good punch on Neville during the impromptu boxing match. Neville, for his part, seems to be encouraging this in an offhand way either out of sentiment as a father or possibly to recruit Danny to the Monroe side.
Aaron took a level when he was forced by Drexler to duel with Nora—Aaron turned the gun on himself, shot himself in the chest (actually, where he kept his flask, which absorbed the shot)—and then shot Drexler when Drexler came to check the body. He's been leveling up in almost every episode since then, to the point where even Miles no longer intimidates him. As of Season 2 he's returned from the dead, has rapid self-healing ability and can set people on fire thanks to the nanites, making him easily the most formidable character in the series if he could only control himself.
Charlie. She killed a militia lieutenant in episode 7 and didn't even blink, and this was after she agreed to kill other militia soldiers in cold blood. She can kill without needing her crossbow, and has become fairly proficient with actual firearms. It's almost like she's Miles's kid, not Ben's.
Rachel (to Miles): "How is it that you are better for Charlie than I am?"
The Rebellion collectively looks like it's about to, courtesy of aid and advisors from Georgia.
Mexico seems to have taken a few levels relative to what's left of the United States, although that may be a case of the former US losing enough levels to make Mexico seem more badass in comparison. While it's not exactly doing great either, Mexico is stated to be wealthier than any of the republics north of the border, and appears not to have Balkanized to the extent the US did (it's still called 'Mexico' and the Mexican army appears to still be a coherent fighting force). It's noteworthy that citizens of Texas are trying to sneak into Mexico for work, and that Mexico can maintain armed border checkpoints.
The Tower: Played straight, and name-checked. We honestly don't know what it actually is called; it has been and may actually *be called* The Tower.
New conscripts into the Monroe Militia are confined aboard an old ship anchored in the middle of a river and subjected to beatings and psychological pressure until they are molded into proper Mooks. After that, presumably something resembling actual military training begins, although given the performance of the militia in the field one wonders if this regimen is strictly For the Evulz.
The Patriots manage to outdo the Monroe Republic for the level of For the Evulz training methods.
Miles and Nora have quite a bit, especially considering they apparently were together once. Increased considerably after they finally kiss.
Miles and Rachel, apparently.
Unreveal Angle: Episode "The Love Boat" ends with Mr. Austin killed in the Tower's elevator on his way down to level 12. We only hear the sounds of his death. Then the elevator comes back up and opens. The angle reveals that there's a lot of blood, but we don't actually see what's in the elevator. "Children of Men" strongly implies that it's a Dweller with a coil gun.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Charlie and Connor rip off a casino's diamonds; a series of flashbacks reveals how they did it successfully.
Tom Neville in the Season 2 premiere. He went from being the backstabbingManipulative Bastard who excelled through Monroe's ranks, to a homeless refugee on the verge of suicide, overcome by his grief of his presumed dead wife.
Monroe as well. He goes from being the general of the country's militia, and the Big Bad for all of Season 1, to some guy living at some festival who spends his free time beating the crap out of people for money, and then promptly gambling it all away.
The normally flat, emotionless Captain Neville eventually resorts to slapping Danny upside the head to keep him quiet. No telling if he'll get worse as the series progresses.
Averted with the preternaturally calm Monroe so far...not that it makes the viewers any less keen to see him get his Bass kicked.
Played straight for Monroe in "Nobody's Fault But Mine." When Miles and Monroe finally confront each other, Monroe has the opportunity to kill Miles. Instead, he drops his gun and literally begs Miles to come back into the Militia, saying that he needs him. Miles just gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, at which point Monroe loses it completely.
Villainous Demotivator: Monroe. He keeps losing good commanding officers. His habit of killing anyone (including families) who might have possibly betrayed him tends to leave people... uncomfortable. And dead.
War Is Hell: Episode 11 has this trope as the premise, with the air strikes systemically wiping out entire rebel camps.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: In "Ghosts," it turns out that Randall lost his son in Afghanistan a year before the blackout, leading him to convince the rest of the DoD to go forth and use the Mathesons' power-suppressing invention to put an end to the war.
He wanted the power back on so that with electrical power reinstated and access to the satellite network, he could launch nukes at Philadelphia and Atlanta, crippling the Monroe Republic and Georgia Federation and opening them for invasion (and he commits suicide afterwards). He was working for the United States Government in Exile in Cuba.
The season 1 finale. And how! Nora dies, Monroe is on the run from Neville's coup, and the power is restored... at which point Randall launches nukes at Philadelphia and Atlanta, then shoots himself. And it's revealed he was working for the American Government in Exile.
"Fear and Loathing": The ending of the episode seems to imply that the entire series up to this point has been Aaron's long dream of a Crapsack World.
Subverted when the following episode reveals that that is in fact an illusion that the nanotech created in order to trick him into fixing it.
The season 2 (and series) finale. The nano is stepping up its drive to bring all of humanity under control and has retasked the escaped "Patriots" to converge on a town in the Wasteland (former Idaho) where the power has been turned back on. In happier news, The Patriots that haven't been "captured" by the nano are dead or are on the run, and Texas has managed to back off from a destructive war with California. This also means the East Coast can rebuild without the spectre of a fascist US government overshadowing them.
Wham Line: A lackey comes in to tell Monroe that he has a visitor. When Monroe tells him he is busy and doesn't want to be disturbed, the lackey says:
Lackey: "Oh, I think you'll want to see this one, sir. He drove here. In a Cutlass Sierra."
The last line of the season finale, as the power is restored and Randall's superiors are revealed:
Mook: It's time to go home, Mr. President.
In the series finale, Priscilla reveals the nano's agenda.
Priscilla:The nano are gonna make the Patriots look like boy scouts. And there's nothing we can do to stop it, Aaron. And it all starts with this... this grinning man. (scene cut to a disturbing neon clown face lighting up over a small restaurant)
Addressed during episode 3. To him, the guy who Danny killed was just the Militia member who killed his dad. To a fellow Militia soldier, he was a friend, with a loving family, and a name: Templeton.
And then completely ignored as Charlie and company slaughter entire squads of militiamen at a time.
The rebel side comes in for this as several people are introduced for one whole episode, and then are all slaughtered by Wheatley.
Who's Laughing Now?: In "Nobody's Fault But Mine", Neville launches into this sort of speech with Aaron. He practically accuses Aaron of being a rich boy who bullied workers huddled in their cubicles. It's not clear if Aaron really was that type of person or if Neville simply equates every rich CEO with the Jerkass boss who fired Neville shortly before the blackout.
Neville - sort of. Danny technically is not a child anymore, but most characters treat him as such, because of his age, and probably also because he has demonstrated impulsiveness and rudeness and other negative traits common to teenage boys. And hisasthma.
Also, the Militia soldier mentioned above. He really wants revenge on Danny.
What the Patriots are doing to their child conscripts makes Slotnick's training ship look like a Cub Scout campout in comparison.
Randall incinerates several thousand children in the season one finale.
Wretched Hive: New Vegas. What we saw of Chicago wasn't that pretty either.
Xanatos Gambit: Everything Randall was doing. One way or another, all he needed was someone to get him access to the 12th level in the Tower; it didn't matter how.
You Can't Go Home Again: Rachel has to point this to Aaron more or less at the beginning of episode 11. In that same episode, Jason Neville is told to not even bother going home again by his own father.
Neville tells his wife this after his mission to obtain the nuke for Monroe fails and he realizes that thanks to Randall's influence his days in the Republic are numbered.