Top 5 Revolution Season 2 Nanite Facts and Musings


Nanites, nanobots, tom-ay-toes, tom-ah-toes, however you slice them, these little – and I do mean little – robots are all the rage in science fiction! On the program Revolution, they play a pivotal role – the seminal event of the show, the blackout, was caused by them. The teaser at the end of the Nov. 13 episode said that in the next episode, “The Mystery behind the power will be revealed…” One can only assume they are talking about Aaron’s power courtesy of the nanites, right?

Being a science fiction fan, it would be remiss of me if I did not point out that other TV shows, not to mention movies and books, have explored the use of these microscopic robots in their stories. On Stargate SG-1, a Goa’uld System Lord used nanotech to speed up the life cycle of human subjects. On Stargate Atlantis, a nanovirus killed several members of the Atlantis Expedition before being neutralized. On Star Trek: The Next Generation, nanites wreaked havoc when they interacted with each other and formed a hive mind. On Star Trek: Voyager, nanoprobes from the Borg were used to heal, assimilate new technology and perform other tasks when the story called for it! Then there was the memorable The Outer Limits episode, The New Breed, where nanobots were used to heal a serious illness, but then developed minds of their own and started “improving” on the human body by adding features not part of our normal bodies. Eureka, Andromeda, Fringe, even Firefly fan theories made use of nanites. The list goes on!

So, for Revolution, what are these little buggers up to? What exactly do we know so far about them?

Two Commands Only – Absorb Electricity and Replicate

Ben and Rachel Matheson - Revolution

According to Rachel, the nanites only have two commands – absorb energy and replicate. However, it appears that they might be evolving and possibly adding some other commands independent of their original programming. What started out as a way to create clean energy had an unexpected spin-off which was quickly latched onto by the military – the ability to take the power away! The nanites then became part of a government project to be able to selectively turn off the power to troubled areas – a way to neutralize bad guys from a distance.

Of course, as always happens in science fiction, things do not go as planned. The government lost control of the nanites, or they developed a mind of their own, but the bottom line is, the power went off worldwide, not just in selected areas, and it stayed off.

The Capsule and Healing

The Capsule - Revolution

There appear to be two different methods of healing, but both seem to involve the nanites. One method is by using a capsule one example of which had been implanted in Danny when he was young. It healed his lungs. After his death, Rachel removed it from his body. It was later used to heal her broken leg during her journey to the Tower. This capsule, according to Rachel, is first generation nanotechnology.

But, there must be a relationship between the capsule and the rest of the nanites, because when Rachel went to see Jane Warren, they discussed the fact that turning off the nanites would kill both Danny and Jane’s spouse Beth, who has cancer. Does Beth also have a capsule? Either there are nanites inside the capsule that would also be turned off if the rest of them were neutralized, or there is some kind of interaction going on with the other nanites.

Aaron’s Resurrection and Healing

Fireflys and Aaron - Revolution

So far, resurrection has only happened to one person, Aaron. Why only Aaron? What is about him that the nanites seem to want to protect? Is it because his computer code was what was used as the operating system for the tower? And, what about the strange behavior of the fireflies, particularly relating to Aaron? We saw a swarm of fireflies just before he was resurrected. Are those actually nanites? And what is their attraction to Aaron?

Then we also have the nanites’ apparent power to heal his smaller wounds, most recently seen when Horn experimented on Aaron by cutting his arm. Every time horn made an incision, it was quickly healed by the nanites.

Spontaneous Combustion


Aaron caused the death of Cynthia’s abusive husband by causing him to spontaneously combust when Aaron got very angry. He has also been the source of rescue for Miles and the gang on more than one occasion via the same method. The problem is that Aaron cannot control this super power he has acquired. Is this power somehow related to the warning given when they attempted to restore the power while in the tower? When the gang tried to turn the power back on by neutralizing the nanites, they were warned that it could cause the planet’s atmosphere to be set on fire.

In addition, just before Aaron placed the capsule in Rachel’s leg to fix her bone, she warned him that there were serious risks when using the nanites. Specifically it was possible it could kill her, or it could cause the air to heat to the point of combustion. To me, this is the most likely explanation for Aaron’s power of being able to burn people alive. It does not answer the question of why only Aaron is able to do this, unless we go back to the strange attraction the nanites seem to have for him.

Almost Anything

The Pendant - Revolution

Rachel has stated that the nanites are almost capable of anything. Originally the nanites were receiving commands from the Tower. The computers in the tower crashed just as Aaron was trying to redirect the nuclear missiles from destroying Philadelphia and Atlanta. Does that mean they are now beyond controlling? It does appear that there are other devices capable of controlling the nanites, such as the pendants. Whether the pendants also rely on the tower is unknown. And, what about the orbiting satellites that help control the nanites, and are likely still functional?


That is the best I can do to try and summarize the mysteries surrounding the nanites. What do you think about the nanites and the questions about them? Please let me know in the comments section below!