Billy Burke and Tracy Spiridakos Billy Burke and Tracy Spiridakos

It's a lot easier to keep your secrets when the world has been plunged into darkness. But, sooner or later, they get out anyway. NBC's post-doomsday adventure series Revolution — about the fight to reestablish America in the years after a worldwide blackout — continues tonight with startling revelations about Miles Matheson, the moody, Han Solo-esque swordsman played by Billy Burke.

"This is the episode where the audience will finally understand why we're calling our show Revolution," creator Eric Kripke says. "We've set up our chessboard and are about to have the first battle in the ongoing war between the Monroe militia and the rebel freedom fighters. With that comes a big bombshell. So far, all we know about Miles is that he's a real badass. Now we find out why."

So far, viewers seem to love Revolution — it debuted with the highest ratings for a new drama in three years — but will they still love Miles? "Once you know his backstory, you'll either empathize with him or hate him," says Burke. "There won't be any middle ground." 

Yes, what Miles did after the blackout is that bad, confirms Tracy Spiridakos, who plays his tough-chick niece Charlie. "Miles is living with guilt every day of his life," she says. "But when his past is revealed, there's this new level of honesty that puts him and Charlie on even ground. It strengthens their relationship. They're a lot more similar than you might think."

In the horrific setup to the series, Charlie's father, Ben (Tim Guinee), who held the key to why the world lost power, was murdered by the militia led by Capt. Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito). Neville then captured Charlie's asthmatic brother Danny (Graham Rogers), and Charlie and Miles have gone in search of the kid, tracking the militia as it makes its way from Chicago to the eastern seaboard. "And even that's not what it seems," says Burke. "As the season unfolds, you see that Miles' decision to go rescue his nephew isn't quite that simple. There are other motives in play."

Kripke's dueling factions hit the East Coast by Episode 10, but first they'll "encounter everything from massive packs of wild dogs to an intriguing drug dealer growing vast fields of poppies because heroin is no longer illegal," he says. "The bad guys even manage to get an old steam train operating."

We'll also get some clarity on Charlie's mom, Rachel, played by Lost vet Elizabeth Mitchell, who isn't as dead as her family thinks. "I asked [Kripke] if my character is some sort of sociopath, because I couldn't see any other way a woman would leave her children like that — especially in a national crisis," says Mitchell. "But I keep getting told she's a good person, really strong and a true survivor.  You'll just have to cut her some slack."

Though not as much as we would have if Kripke stuck to his original plan! We now know Rachel is being held prisoner by Monroe Republic leader Bass Monroe (David Lyons) but, in the Revolution pilot sent to the media last spring, she appeared to be his coconspirator and lover.

"In retrospect, that made no damn sense at all, so I threw it out," admits Kripke with a laugh. "I don't know what I was thinking. It was straight out of Falcon Crest!"

What about Captain Neville, who blithely kills civilians if they possess firearms and turns non-taxpayers into chain-gang slaves? Esposito claims that by Episode 5 his character won't seem as nasty as we think. Really!    

"This is a spiritual guy who's married and has a kid and wears a cross and wedding ring hidden on a chain around his neck," Esposito says. "He's a humanist who has very strong ideas about how to protect people from themselves." And that could mean there's already a crack in the new Monroe Republic. "Right now Neville is in service to his master," says
Esposito. "But — hint, hint — he thinks maybe he could do a better job."

Revolution airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.

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