ABC pushed the episode with these words: “Emily is back. No more distractions.” The network must’ve heard the complaints about the second season and decided to push the show like it is season one again; however, Revenge needs to get out of a few storylines before it ceases being a convoluted mess. Revenge won’t really reset until the third season. Until then, the writers have to wriggle free of The Initiative, and, uh, yeah, just The Initiative.
Fake Amanda’s death, at least, adds much needed urgency and drama into the show. TV writers usually share a similar modus operandi when killing off a character: make the death matter. Don’t kill off characters willy-nilly. Make it matter for the other characters, and for the audience, and the story choice will pay off. Fake Amanda’s death matters for the major characters, and her death has great implications for the narrative. Jack is torn up about her death, but he’s also dealing with the truth of why she came to the Hamptons. Indeed, he’ll react badly when he learns the real truth. Charlotte’s devastated to lose a sister she just discovered. The loss motivates her to find other people who cared about her.
The thought of Fake Amanda’s funeral being empty is unsettling and upsetting to Charlotte, so she uses the interweb (fake search engine GoquestGo) to track down her foster family. Conrad’s guilted out because he ordered her death a mere day ago. Conrad pays for Jack’s medical care and swears to assist him whenever necessary. The computer’s out there like a big old ticking time bomb.
Emily experiences the most significant change. The other characters are mourning a woman they didn’t know. Emily’s partly responsible for Fake Amanda’s death. Conrad targeted her because the name Clarke is a threat. Nate wouldn’t have killed her without the promise of a cash reward. Fake Amanda used Emily’s computer after Conrad threatened Jack and the Stowaway. Daniel tells his mother that all of their money is tainted with blood. Many of Emily’s choices are tainted with blood.
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Revenge showed the sailboat Amanda at the bottom of the ocean way back in its September season premiere. The series did this in season one and the payoff in February was worth the wait. I insulted the show way more than I complimented it during season one, but the payoff to the shooting on the beach during the Fire and Ice party was impressive. It felt planned whereas every story in season two feels unplanned.
Conrad’s going to run for governor? Of course he is. I may need to stop writing about the show when that storyline begins. The mystery about the sunken boat was the only plot thread I wanted untangled. The sunken boat story has been the only element of season two that had suspense and mystery. It took nearly six months and was not worth the wait.
I think Revenge is caught between two weird things in its second season. Whatever made a show work in its first season isn’t necessarily what the show’s writers want to repeat in its second season. Everwood and LOST had all-time great first seasons. I will tear up thinking about both, if I’m thinking about both for a long time. That’s how much those seasons mean to me. Revenge’s first season is far from a classic, but my opinion isn’t shared by the people who loved the first season of the show; so, naturally, they want what made the first season what it was.
I’m still convinced half of the story choices in LOST’s second season were made to piss off fans. Anyway, Revenge is trying to stretch its narrative legs with the conspiracy Initiative plot, which isn’t going well at all, and it’s fleshing out the secondary characters more. I feel I can count on one hand the number of stories that were about Emily. Revenge is Emily’s show, but it has felt so much less her show through fourteen episodes. So, the show should return to what worked in season one. I didn’t like the show anyway in season one, but at least it had purpose.
“They say the best-laid plans often go awry, because no matter how detailed the preparation, a plan will always have a weak point and there will always be those looking to exploit it,” Emily voiced as Aiden and a well-heeled woman ran past a masked body in a pool of blood.
Then the action cut back to two days earlier. Aiden was moping about Em’s kiss with Daniel. She told him to trust her and reprimanded him for disappearing. He revealed he’d met with Helen, who didn’t know about their connection to Takeda and claimed his sister Coleen was alive. He knew it could be a lie, but at the very least, they had an in with The Initiative and could forego the Daniel nonsense.
Em wanted to draw Helen out, so she visited Daniel. He greeted her with a hot kiss, but she told him to slow his roll and started talking up a charity wine auction. When Helen called, Emily eavesdropped. The Initiative rep told Daniel to buy a company called Stonehaven, which was set to triple its revenues. Daniel’s interest was peaked, especially since Helen’s earlier advice had led him to gaps in NolCorp’s early R&D.
Among those gaps was Carrion. When Daniel asked Nolan about it, he shrugged it off, explaining not all R&D yields result. Carrion was, of course, the program Marco had recently plopped on Nolan’s desk. Nolan was suspicious of the timing, but Marco insisted he was looking to rebuild trust. He jealously added that Padma’s recent return to NolCorp had come just after Daniel’s visit. Nolan countered that Marco had returned the day Daniel had stolen his company.
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The winter hiatus is officially over as Emily Thorne marked her return in the Hamptons with a big red X. In “Power” Emily steered back to her original path of trying to find justice for her father David Clarke.
It seems like the sudsy drama took some time off from the Revenge Season One formula of a new victim every week. While it was good to shake things up in order to establish some background and answer some questions, it also deviated from Emily’s original path. For awhile it felt like she wasn’t trying to find justice for what was done to her family anymore. In this latest installment, the red sharpie was back in all its glory as was Emily’s original format and boy was it Powerful.
Interestingly enough, the most moving lines didn’t even come from any of the main characters. Guest star Patricia Barnes blew my mind as she publicly declared something that Emily has been waiting to hear for a very long time. (I will get to the Nolan Ross laugh factory quotes later.)
Boom that was a powerful statement. The only question now is whether or not her statement will stand and the case will be reopened. Clearly the woman has had an emotional journey heading up a foundation called “The Liberty Project” which was all about righting the wrongs of the justice system. How ironic? For once Emily’s investment in a philanthropic cause seemed to truly make sense and not just on the basis of her getting closer to some of her enemies.
Revenge, it’s fair to say, has had something of an inconsistent season. But while the show has had some lows, it’s also had some highs, and ‘Revelations’ was a particularly enjoyable hour of television which made up for some of the less accomplished moments we’ve seen recently.
For one thing, ‘Revelations‘ captured the pure soapiness that makes Revenge so enjoyable. The show’s been missing a bit of the melodramatic nonsense that makes it fun, recently – this episode brought it back hugely, with ridiculously enjoyable scenes throughout.
You can’t get much more absurd than the insane Initiative, with the purring frontwoman’s threats (“Your son will be removed from the equation permanently”, she murmurs at one point as if she’s trying to whisper but can’t quite manage it.) And the ending – after Daniel’s successfully dethroned his father and gained control of Grayson Global – is suitably absurd, as we see a group of shadowy figures in a military-style room watching the new CEO on a secret webcam and muttering in a sinister manner about putting a plan to a vote.
Obviously, this is all complete nonsense, but somehow Revenge manages to pull it off – perhaps because it’s wildly enjoyable to watch complete soapy ludicrousness from time to time (and it helps that it’s at least not boring, as parts of this season have veered dangerously close to being.)
“Revenge” season 2 flashed back to Thanksgiving 2006 with episode 8, “Lineage,” giving some crucial insight into what’s going on in the present for Emily, Aiden, Nolan, the Graysons, and the Porters.
“Lineage” Photo Credit: Colleen Hayes/ABCVictoria found out that her Thanksgiving wasn’t going to just be her, Conrad, and Daniel. Instead, her mother, Marion, and her latest flame were joining them. A flashback showed Victoria at 15 and Marion hoping Thomas would ask her to marry him because they were nearly out of money. Marion claimed she wasn’t doing the same thing in 2006. Once he arrived and Marion talked of meeting him on a cruise, Victoria commented that it sounded pre-planned, but once alone, Marion told her daughter she genuinely had fallen for him and it was different from Maxwell. She wouldn’t change anything about their past. Over dinner, Victoria brought up Marion throwing her out and revealed that after Thomas and Marion fought and he was going to leave, Marion called her in.
She was cleaning off a gun and told her to shoot him and claim he attacked them. Victoria did, and once she returned from a six-month psych evaluation, Marion had met Maxwell. After she caught him sneaking into Victoria’s room one night, she threw Victoria out. Marion told Victoria she should’ve gotten rid of her before she was born, and her latest flame walked out of Thanksgiving dinner. As Marion was leaving, she told Victoria she had nothing, but Victoria just showed her the open door. And then it was revealed that Victoria had orchestrated the whole thing, going back to the run-in on the cruise.
Meanwhile, Daniel had told Conrad he was thinking of majoring in something other than business: creative writing, specifically poetry. His professor thought he should pursue it, and though Conrad told him he agreed after reading his work, he burned the poems and planned to have publishers send rejections. That way Daniel would end up right where he belonged: at the head of Grayson Global.
How’s that for an episode that will make your head spin? After a slow-building first few acts, Revenge kicked into gear with a fast-paced, intricate series of events that led to the demise of a key Emily adversary.
Mason Treadwell may have a hard time finding “Penance” in the true sense of the word, but the slimy author has no choice but to work on it. After Emily’s elaborate scheme, he has little else to do … indefinitely.
The closer he got to the truth, the more obvious it became that Mason had to be dealt with. Amanda almost finished the job, Frank/Beaver Dam style, until Emily took over and did it her way. Probably for the best.
Not a lot of shows can generate so many rapid-fire twists while having them somehow fit the overall narrative and keeping you invested in the characters, based on what you know of their respective endgames.
The final 15 minutes of tonight’s installment in a nutshell:
Emily came clean to Mason! Mason came clean to Kara! Kara went rogue! Nolan framed Mason! Aiden stopped Kara with seconds to spare and convinced her to leave town! Emily coerced Mason into falsely confessing!
As Nolan Algernon Ross would say, it feels like old times.
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Tonight on ABC a whole-new episode of REVENGE airs called “Illusion.” On tonight’s show The ties that bind Victoria and Conrad are tested. Did you watch last week’s episode? We did and we recapped it here for you!
On last week’s show faces from the past were reemerging all around the Hamptons, and for Victoria and Emily it brought on different kinds of trouble and significance. Meanwhile Jack’s sense of duty grew exponentially, and Padma made a move that could have major ramifications for Nolcorp.
On tonight’s show the ties that bind Victoria and Conrad are tested as they reaffirm their loyalties and commitment to each other. Meanwhile the all-too-knowing Mason Treadwell digs deeper as Emily and Amanda struggle to keep their pasts a secret.
Most of the episode is going to be about the wedding of Conrad and Victoria. They decide to marry so they wouldn’t have to testify against each other, but they make it look like they’re doing it for love. Charlotte won’t be at her parents’ fake wedding because she doesn’t want to be a part of it.
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Sunday, Revenge did its best to reach new heights in deceitful entertainment. “Forgiveness” proves that ending old drama just makes room for a new one. Unexpected revelations played a major part in last night’s phenomenal show. So what made this episode so splendid?
Last night we welcomed the newest of several new cast members to the “Hamptons,” young Carl. Emily’s reaction to Carl sincerely cracked me up “He’s somethin’” is maybe the most heartless reaction to a newborn baby I’ve ever heard. Poor Carl! Carl. Isn’t Carl the funniest name in the world? Maybe I’m just associating it with Karl Pilkington. Well, at least Carl was born to an alert and alive mom, who despite ping-pong-balling her way down two stories of marble and oak seemed completely okay. The attempted-child-murdering arms of his grandma were also waiting for him, as the Hamptons’ most lovable psychopath to date had invited herself over to Victoria’s mansion for a goofy and confusing tete-a-tete.
Meanwhile, Victoria Grayson—she of the full luscious lips and riveting cat eyes that deliver pure evil, gets a visit from Kara Clarke (real Amanda’s psychotic mom). Surprise, surprise—since Victoria was Kara’s deceased husband’s mistress—they exchange a warm hug and cordial greeting—even though Victoria thought Kara was long dead. But Victoria can handle any situation with grace and icy charm. By the way, I wouldn’t mind cultivating her killer look to deal with annoying people who sometimes cross my path. Her expressions are cool and deadly, pure bitch! I love it!
Safe to say this wasn’t in Vicky’s master plan. Under the impression that the white-haired man remains alive and that Kara is feeding him information, she and Conrad hatched a plan to remarry … for legal reasons. By tying the knot, they can’t be forced to testify against each other if and when the Initiative (or the FBI) comes calling. After Conrad’s romantic proposal, there couldn’t have been a dry eye in the house. So touching.
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Revenge season 2 continues with episode 4, “Intuition.” Victoria watches a maid clean blood from the floor and burns a blood-covered check to Amanda. Twenty-four hours earlier, Emily plays Kara’s voicemail for Aiden. He tells her the Initiative is going to be all over Kara and she needs to be prepared for what she’ll find.
I loved this episode so much, you guys. Did Emily pull her act together? No, not really. But so much happened! The show seemed to be treading the same path for the past few episodes, but with the return of Kara Clarke — and that juicy reveal at the end — I see potential for Revenge to become a whole new show. But enough about me! Let’s get to the recap, then talk theories at the end.
In this week’s episode, Emily is forced to acknowledge the consequesnces of her obsession with getting even. Sure, Emily’s every fiber is devoted to revenge, but at what cost? We get a hint: someone’s blood will be spilled on the Graysons’ floor before the episode’s end.
Cut to: 24 hours earlier: Emily confronts Aidan on the beach about having gone to see her mother. He doesn’t exactly admit to it, but he warns Emily to be prepared for what she might find should she continue her search.
Revenge hasn’t had a truly shocking and sufficiently soapy moment like Amanda tumbling to her photogenic coma in quite some time, so it was fantastic to finally have something to cheer for again. Evil shadow corporations and elaborate conspiracies are nice, but sometimes a good, old-fashioned pregnancy-in-peril plot is exactly what a show needs. The best thing about this plot is that it brought together many of the main threads that have been running parallel for the first few episodes. This is especially true of Emily’s mother Kara, whose plot is still very murky. Now that Amanda’s injury has brought her out of the woodwork to grieve, it forces her out into the open and hopefully into charged interactions with both Emily and Victoria. The emotional complexity of this is smart as well, as the more Emily remembers about her mother, the more she realizes there is to the story of her disappearance.
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