‘Revolution’: Elizabeth Mitchell on Rachel’s state of mind and that awkward mother-daughter reunion
(October 30, 2013)
Season 2 of “Revolution” has brought Rachel Matheson (Elizabeth Mitchell) with her daughter, Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), back together, but their reunion wasn’t all that heart-warming.
“That was sad, right?” Mitchell tells Zap2it of the awkward mother-daughter moment in the Oct. 23 episode. “… There’s almost something about Rachel in that moment of watching [Charlie] and Aaron [Zak Orth] hug where she’s like, in her head, ‘Go hug her! Oh my God, just go hug her!’ [laughs] But she can’t. For whatever reason — like in all her relationships, there’s something keeping her from being the person she wants to be, from being the mother she wants to be. I think it’s really heartbreaking and it’s very human. We all do it in our lives.”
Mitchell also talked with us about Rachel’s current state of mind and where she might be headed in the coming episodes.
Zap2it: Rachel has been a little bit all over the place this season. Where do you think her head is now?
Elizabeth Mitchell: I think she’s obviously in a transition. She’s alive — she tried to kill herself, which they reveal in one of the episodes. So she did indeed reach that place. She’s kind of, especially with the things we’re shooting now [the show is on episode 11], coming out of it, which is really fun. A breakdown is lovely, but staying in a breakdown for too long isn’t fun anymore [laughs]. It’s not terribly proactive. Then you get to the point where it’s like, “I’m so, blecch. Pick yourself up, lady!” So that’s kind of where we are now — she is indeed picking herself back up. I get little flashes of dialogue, little things that show her on her path and regaining strength. I think it’s kind of a brave story for them — you take this character and you deconstruct her and then put her back together. I’m fascinated by that. As far as what she’s thinking, it’s Rachel, so probably “survival, love, I’m a terrible parent, guilt, survival”. She’s a very, very intelligent rat in a maze, I think.
Where does her relationship with Charlie go in the coming episodes?
We have some sweet moments coming up that I’m really excited about, little moments of peace between them. I think the most important thing [is] Rachel is starting to realize how capable Charlie is, if not even more capable than Rachel herself. She’s going through that odd shift where you realize your child has kind of surpassed you in some ways. She’s more brutal, she’s more lethal, she’s more skilled as a fighter. It’s where the worry slightly goes away, because yes, she’s going to put herself in trouble, but she’s also going to be able to handle it. That little shift, even though it’s a seemingly small shift, is actually quite big.
Yet you also had a line in the last episode where you call her stupid for teaming up with Monroe [David Lyons].
I mean, trusting Monroe is always stupid. But I think she’s more talking to herself. In all those years of incarceration, she probably trusted him a hundred times and was let down a hundred times and heard everything she said — “He’s a saint. He’s an angel. He just wants to help” — I think that was more talking to herself, her own past experiences, than anything else. And she’s just amazed that other people could be brought into it when she finally sees exactly who he is. But all of that may take a shift as well. It’s been a fun — the redemption of Monroe has actually been one of my favorite things to watch.
Does Rachel think Miles’ [Billy Burke] plan for resistance against the Patriots is a good idea?
I don’t think she thinks it’s a good idea. I don’t think she thinks it will work. I think it’s in this episode where [she says], “Oh look — Patriots and Rangers, together, not killing each other.” [laughs]. No — she thinks anything involving Monroe is a terrible idea. But it’s one of those things where, I always see Rachel as this terrifyingly great brain. She almost has this quality sometimes — it’s certainly not mine, but it is interesting in her — of watching those around her and being like, “Well, you’re going to fall down. Oh yeah, look, you fell down. I probably could have told you that, but you wouldn’t listen anyway.” … I don’t know that she has another idea, so she’s like, “All right, let’s try it. Oh, oops, that didn’t work.”
Creator Eric Kripke has talked about wanting to change the structure of this season to allow more time to explore the characters. Have you felt that?
I have. It’s certainly grittier, and because it’s grittier, it’s fun. It’s fun to go into these characters and have it all have a little more depth. Because of that, the humor is higher, because whenever you do that, whenever you go in a little deeper, you can have that wonderful gallows humor, of “Look at us, we’re so very human” because he’s made us so much more human. I like that — I think it’s fun to play.
As I said before, I’m always looking for how a character can be more proactive simply because it’s more fun for me to play, but going into the depths of depression and coming back out again has been a lovely gift. It’s been really fun and interesting, and I see it in all the other characters. I’ve really enjoyed watching Tracy. She’s probably one of my favorite character shifts. And also I really liked druggie Monroe and Monroe on a mission. I think he’s playing it so beautifully. I’ve really enjoyed the evolution of those two characters in this new season.
Will we ever find out how or why Rachel and the others woke up in a field after the nukes were launched?
That’s an awesome question. Maybe Eric will answer that for you — sometimes he gets very talky. … I don’t know. I hope so. I think it’s kind of in the cards. Every once in a while they give little glimpses of it, but they don’t seem to make it on the screen. In my way of thinking, and this is just me thinking about what I would do, they probably have very much of a want to reveal that. But who knows?
Do you have your own ideas?
About what happened? Of course, yeah — I’m a geek, I always have ideas about everything that happens. I think everything they created and everything they’ve been through has kind of reached its own conclusions about what should be. That’s my theory. I always go into the fact that we’re all energy and we can be easily manipulated. It would be very, very interesting to see what could happen if that were possible. What I don’t know is how it all figures in with the patriots and the powers that be and that sort of thing. That’s very fascinating to me.