In the second episode, Ben and Rachel Matheson are shown a week after the blackout. Rachel says to their daughter that they came to get something from their work. They are at the Univerity of Chicago Department of Computer science. In the frist episode, Grace said she was a teacher when the militia came to find the boy. The Google guy (don't remember his name) said he was supposed to take the necklace to Grace.
My theory is that teachers at the school created the means for a blackout. But, I don't think they intended for it to happen. I believe that they, through research of their own, found a way to create the blackout and one or more of them put the plan in motion (Randall?). Of course if I am right, the question is why they didn't try to reverse the blackout right away and what the end game of the blackout was in the first place.
Monroe is the main "bad guy" right now, but I have a feeling that Randall or one Randall's associates hold the real power. If someone with the intention of taking over the United States, or the world for that matter, caused the blackout and has one of those power necklaces, Monroe's power will fall. Monroe is pulling at strings. When the power first went out, Miles was on the phone with Ben and asked him "What do you mean its all going to turn off". My estimation is that Monroe was curious as to how Ben knew the power was going out. He formed a milita with Miles without telling Miles his end game; to find Ben and get some answers. The real power is in the hands of the people who already have the answers. At this point, we know that Ben, his wife, Grace, and Randall know more than anyone else we have seen. Grace was obviously scared of Randall, and his intentions didn't look good when they faced eachother.
This list is shown on Grace's computer in the second episode. The first three names are characters that have been introduced. It is interesting that Ben Matheson is not listed among them but his wife is.
Since the general population doesn't think there is power anywhere, it would be fairly easy to have 2, 3, 10, maybe more people who were involved with the blackout working together in one area or building. No one would be looking for them, and with the only electricity in the world they would be free to work on their plan. A blackout without a cause doesn't make any sense. If a bunch of like-minded people with the means to create the blackout got together and made it happen, they must have a reason.
I think Monroe and the malitia men are the evil because there has to be evil. The writers want to show the caring, compassion and family values of the other characters. To show the good, they must have the bad to compare it to. For this show to succeed, Monroe will either have to fall or turn to the good side. I believe they have already foreshadowed the latter when he is talking to Ben's wife and says he liked himself more before the blackout. He still has a good side, and when his power is eliminated by those with electric power he will die or redeem himself.
Overall, I think this show has some real potenial. So far, there is to much character development and not enough storyline. I hope the writers have finished trying to make sure we know that the girl has great character and values... we get it. It is almost annoying. The only really big hole I have found in the plot, is that they haven't shown any more of the world. If the power comes back on at some point, there is going to be way too much to cover with other countries and other parts of the U.S.. I just can't believe that Monroe is the only power in the entire United States. Some parts of the show are very slow because they focus on the characters. I've figured out that the girl has great values, the Google guy is a hopeful nerd, the british chick is resourceful and caring, Miles is trying to change from a lone wolf to a family man, and Monroe loves his rule and wants to get the power on so he can rule more. Setting up a story for a few characters in England, Germany, Russia or Califonia would be nice. Maybe they stumble onto something about the blackout. The show should also focus more on how people have adapted to a blackout 15 years from now. Steam trains? Water and wind mills? Schools? Trades? Guns may be outlawed, but I don't see why the militia is using black powder rifles. My friends have suggested a lack of ammo. With the power Monroe is supposed to have, he could have ammo mass produced. I refil my own bullet casings for goodness sake.
I have some problems with this show, but I do find it very intriguing and will continue to watch. As I said before, I am hopeful that the story starts to take the front seat from the characters.