Three years before the blackout, Rachel was pregnant with Danny, but he had a heart defect that probably would have killed him. At the same time, Ben was working on finding a clean, cheap energy source with his colleagues Grace and Brad, but instead they found a way to cancel out all electricity. This makes their contact at the Department of Defense, Mr. Flynn-or-is-his-name-Randall, very happy, and in exchange for the invention he gets Rachel into an experimental medical trial that (apparently) saves Danny's life.
But now Monroe is using Danny's life as a lever to get Rachel to tell him what she knows about Ben's electricity-killing invention. He also tracks down Brad and Brad's daughter, and continues being just like the worst host ever by threatening to torture everyone to death if they don't make him Zeus.
Out in the wilderness, Charlie and Miles and Co. stumble upon a rat's nest of orphans, whose leader, Peter, has been kidnapped by the militia. Charlie gets the bright idea to try and rescue Peter from the militia's soldier-making ship, which Miles points out is basically suicide. Charlie never met a lost cause she didn't want to bundle up and hold close to her heart, so she hurls herself into the breach and gets a nice fresh Monroe brand on her wrist for her trouble.
While Charlie, Nora, and Miles are trying to save Peter, Aaron stays behind with the kids and his pendant accidentally turns on the lighthouse they're hiding in. Which reveals the existence of some remaining power to Miles, who is super freaked out, and Charlie, who's just distracted by the giant shiny thing.
Previously: The lights went out in New York. It was scary. Actually, on the show, Miles's old buddy Jeremy showed up and blew his cover as the former co-leader of the militia. Our gang located Danny, but couldn't rescue him from Neville's train, so they headed for Philadelphia where he's being held with Rachel, who told Monroe about the pendants. Grace Beaumont also had a pendant, but we haven't seen her since some unseen force broke into her house.
Remember those brands all of Monroe's guys have? Well, now some of his guys are trying to give Charlie her own M brand. She does not appear particularly happy about it. So of course we flash back to two days earlier, because the time on this show isn't warped enough already.
A militia wagon train is coming through the forest, and Miles, Nora, Charlie and Aaron watch it jealously. There's a prisoner on a wagon who looks like Jamie Bell and Michael Phelps's extremely unlikely love child. He turns his head ands spots Charlie among the foliage. She reaches down to unstrap her knife, but Miles stops her.
The fab four walk and talk, and Miles tells Charlie it would have been too risky to save that kid, that they can't save everyone and saving Danny is the mission. Ahead of them, there's a body lying in the road. It's a child. Charlie runs up and crouches next to the boy and says he's still breathing and of course the kid sits up and runs off, because it's a trap and Charlie's a dimwit. A bunch of wild-eyed Lord of the Flies types come out of the bushes with spears and ask our heroes where they took "him." Charlie wants to know who "him" is and Miles looks only a little perturbed that an eight-year-old is pointing a pitchfork at him.
The ragamuffin gang is looking for someone named Peter. Their leader tells the other kids to check the newcomers' arms for brands, which of course they don't have (yet). Charlie gives a description of the Phelps-Bell kid from the wagon train and tells the leader, named Michael, that they saw Peter being carried away. Miles just wants to know where everyone's parents are, because surely in a post-apocalyptic wasteland parents still have the good booze. Michael says they don't have parents and then whistles, which draws his whole squadron of armed-and-grubby anklebiters out of hiding. Aaron looks distinctly worried about the integrity of his Achilles tendons.
The grown-ups survey the child army's accommodations. They live in the bones of a wrecked building and it's not pretty. Aaron asks Nora what the kids did with their parents and says kids skeeve him out. Nora recalls that Aaron was the village teacher back in Ben Matheson Country, and Aaron points out that there isn't a lot of call for software engineers in a world without electricity. Also, I know a fair few teachers who are skeeved out by kids. Seventh graders are truly awful representatives of humanity.