And thus Revenge continues its splendid course correction of an arguably uneven sophomore season. There were times when I felt the show lost its way this year, but Mike Kelley is thankfully showing us that he was merely reorganizing the chess pieces for an ever wackier year of vengeance.
I’m most pleased by the fact that pretty much everyone on the show now has a purpose. The first half of the year really struggled with all kinds of useless side-plots that had nothing to do with the main arc. However, with this episode, the writers managed to integrate Padma as well as the Stowaway plot (thanks to Conrad’s involvement) into the show’s core narrative in a satisfying manner.
First off, I continue to be quite pleased by Helen Crowley as the driving antagonist of the season. As I mentioned last week, Revenge really needed a tangible face for The Initiative and she’s quite effective at it. Emily and Aiden’s intricate kidnap plot proved to be extremely compelling and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this will affect Crowley’s dynamic with Aiden. The biggest compliment I can give The Initiative arc now is that it doesn’t feel cheesy anymore, and that’s really something special after the cringe-worthiness of the first half of the year.
Thankfully, almost everyone on the show seems to be orbiting around the same arc at this point. From Amanda bringing Charlotte and Conrad into play, to Padma being revealed as an Initiative mole, everything feels much more cohesive now. Suffice to say the latter development while not exactly shocking, was a sorely needed twist. Now I’ll actually care the next time Padma has something to say.
In addition, Victoria proved more than adept at holding her own (as always) with all the machinations going on around her. I enjoyed her chemistry with Dylan Walsh as Grayson Global’s competitor Jason, and particularly the fact that she subtly nudged him towards the Stonehaven investment. Let’s see if the romantic sparks between them will carry on as well.
And finally, I can’t believe how much I’m rooting for Emily and Aiden as a couple particularly with the latter’s heartbreak at Emily’s current status quo. They actually feel like the show’s endgame couple now which is quite the achievement as I was sure the writers were going to position Ems with either Jack or Daniel. Well done writers.
– Can I just say that I have just about had it with in media res openings? If I see “two days earlier” one more time I just might snap. It was fine the first time Alias did it but now it’s just overkill. Why is it so hard to use this narrative device properly?
– Loved Emily listening in on Daniel’s conversation with Helen from outside his office. I miss sneaky Ems.
– Epic Madeleine Stowe line-delivery of the week: Sabotaaaaageeee (cue evil grin).
– Loved Nolan playing Tetris as Daniel rambled on and on. He’s such a kid that one.
– What’s up with Conrad’s shorts? This is the second week in a row and I’m getting nauseous.
– Very cool twisty scene with Helen Crowley watching Ems and Daniel on the phone while simultaneously spying on them through her hidden camera.
– Aiden, Nolan and Emily (Team Takeda) playing Bond characters: hilarious.
– Helen and Emily being all nice and touchy with one another was pretty crazy and awesome. I always love it when full-on enemies act so deceitful. It’s the show’s charm.
– I can’t wait for Amanda to go nuts again soon. Her obtaining a firearm in this episode was the first step on that path I’m sure.
– Even Ashley’s in on everything now. And for once, she didn’t annoy me as I was amused by her urging on Conrad’s political career.
Conrad: Jason brought by a box of Cubans to commemorate my retirement.
Jason: Is that what they call corporate exile these days?
Victoria: If you’re not going to do anything to thwart these devils, I will.
Conrad: And how do you intend to do that?
Conrad: (To Ashely) Blackmail, of course. Is there anything that isn’t beneath you?
Nolan: (To Emily) Oh wow, looks like Fauxmance Part Deux is a runaway success.
Intricately constructed and highly-engaging, this was an all-around outstanding hour of Revenge.