In the series premiere, an American family (consisting of father Ben Matheson, children Charlie and Danny, who is asthmatic, and Ben's girlfriend Maggie, a doctor) struggles in a rural farming village in a world devoid of electricity for fifteen years. Ben's wife and the children's mother, Rachel, disappeared years before while hunting and is believed by all to be dead. Unexpectedly, troops from the Monroe Militia commanded by Captain Neville arrive while Charlie is out hunting, intending to take Ben Matheson prisoner, because General Monroe believes that Ben may know something about restoring the power. Before Ben is arrested, he secretly gives Aaron a mysterious pendant with directions to meet someone and instructions to keep it safe. However, a militia soldier fatally shoots Ben, who was protecting Danny. The soldiers take Danny prisoner and leave. Ben requests that Charlie go to Chicago and find Ben's brother Miles, whom Charlie has never heard of, to help rescue Danny. Aaron and Maggie accompany Charlie. Along the way they meet Nate, who helps them out of trouble. Upon reaching Chicago they find that The Grand has been converted to a tavern owned by Miles — and Miles immediately identifies Nate as a soldier in the Monroe Militia. After the militia unsuccessfully tries to arrest Miles, who slaughters the troops trying to capture him with Charlie's help, the group sets off to find Danny. Meanwhile, Danny escapes and meets a woman named Grace, but the militia come to her house and recapture Danny. Grace is then shown using another pendant to power a computer and communicate with an unknown party.
Flashbacks: Ben rushes home to warn his family that "It's happening." He urgently downloads something onto a USB pendant and tries to warn his brother Miles. Miles, who is in the Marines in South Carolina, is on his way back to base with his friend (and fellow Marine) "Bass" when he is contacted by Ben, but the blackout happens and interrupts the call. Miles and his friend return to base, and it is revealed that his friend "Bass" is Sebastian Monroe, later General and President of the Monroe Republic.
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