There’s a lot riding on the third season of Revenge. The show’s debut year was universally hailed as the ultimate guilty pleasure, but season two was a notorious flop. Thankfully, everyone associated with the show has acknowledged the show’s missteps. So how did the third season premiere fare in righting those wrongs? (Emily-pun intended).
Honestly it’s too soon to tell. It’s going to take a lot more than one episode to salvage last year’s debacle, but season two’s finale was admittedly fantastic, and this opener was a step in the right direction. I was hoping for something more explosive, but I think that’s because the show’s opening hook was ruined by all the promos leading up to it. Because really, it doesn’t get crazier than Emily getting shot on a boat in her wedding dress. It’s an epic development and just the kind of hook the show needs this year. Obviously we know our heroine won’t die, but who’s the shooter? Let’s hope the answer to this mystery is a good one (apparently we’ll know by the fall finale).
So what worked? The show’s undergone a kind of reboot, with the weekly takedown formula back in full-swing. We had a lot of nifty callbacks to season one with Emily poisoning Conrad (again) and hatching an intricate plot that made use of Nolan’s parachuting skills and her sneaky flash-drive uploads (hello Huntington’s disease). The dynamic between these two BFFS continues to entertain, and I absolutely loved their scene at the beach with the mission flashbacks (not to mention Emily burning Ashley’s red-sharpied face). Yes, this was also Ashley’s final episode and I can’t say I’ll miss her. Madekwe was terribly cast, and she was one of the show’s weakest links by far. Adios chika.
Victoria was also a highlight. Madeleine Stowe continues to be a godsend, and it was fascinating to watch her slightly-incestuous dynamic with long-lost son Patrick. Justin Hartley seems fine so far, but I’ll reserve judgement until he something meaty to work with. Less successful was Charlotte’s transformation into mini-Victoria. I still think the girl should have been killed off with her boyfriend (and it’s interesting how they brushed aside her pregnancy with a throwaway line alluding to a miscarriage). Not that I believe any of us wanted to watch this hellspawn raise a baby this year. Just lose the bangs and don’t take up too much screen-time okay?
I’ve never been Jack’s biggest fan, but now that he knows Emily’s secret, he’ll hopefully become a more intriguing part of the show. All signs point to a more interesting take on the character, as he had a downright incredible scene with Emily in The Stowaway. First he broke down her defenses by appealing to her daddy love, then after a heated kiss, he coldly pushed her aside and said he wants nothing to with her. Has the little peasant-boy finally become a master manipulator? Not bad at all.
Thankfully, the ending was quite unexpected with Aiden appearing on Victoria’s balcony, ready to take down Emily. I’m not totally sure what beef he could possibly have with our heroine (the last time we saw him he was fighting Daniel to the death) but I’m willing to see where this goes. Perhaps it’s part of a plot he’s hatched with Emms? Time will tell…
– There’s a real nice symmetry with Emily picking up Nolan from prison. Oh, she also buys him a house (she owes him one).
– Madeleine Stowe sure looked gorgeous playing that piano huh?
-Ashely threatening to expose Emily really pissed me off. I was ecstatic when Thorne rushed to Victoria and put her plan in motion.
– Another callback: Patrick at the South Fork Inn, which is where Conrad was poisoned by Emily in the pilot.
– I found the scene with Charlotte threatening Patrick really awkward. I’m sorry but Christa Allen is not the most talented actress around.
– I actually felt really bad for Victoria when Patrick kissed her goodbye. Does that mean Stowe and Justin Hartley actually have good chemistry?
– I’m not quite certain what to make of Margo yet, though I did love Emms describing her “job” to her.
– Conrad slowly beginning to faint during his speech made me giddy with delicious delight.
– Fake diagnosing Conrad with Huntington’s (through a USB upload no less) feel like very flimsy plotting. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Emily to have been working with the doctor, especially since she introduced him to her target (Ashely) at the party? Part of me thought Victoria orchestrated the Huntington’s lie to keep Grayson Manor. Hey I wouldn’t put it past her.
– Seriously Jack, now YOU’RE giving Emily an ultimatum? I do hope she red-sharpies you next.
– It was great to see Victoria and Emily double-teaming Ashely. There’s a particularly stunning shot with the ladies retreating in opposite directions under the moonlight.
– Very cool touch: the date of the wedding, August 8, is double infinity.
– I hate to say it, but Emily’s voiceovers are still much too pompous and over-written.
Emily: Let’s never say the words Carrion or Initiative ever again.
Nolan: Amen to that.
Nolan: I guess sometimes payback’s not a bitch. Although I imagine it will be for New York’s first, worst family. What do you have on tap?
Emily: A long summer of fun.
Victoria: Emily, it’s a shame you still feel the need to drop by unannounced. Had you called beforehand I would have invited you to dinner. I had the most marvelous salad of asparagus I picked fresh from the garden this morning.
Emily: Well I’m sorry I missed it.
Victoria: Well I should box some for you – along with any animosity you and I may have shown each other.
Emily: I need you to hack this x-ray machine.
Nolan: Cyber-revenging has brought me nothing but trouble. I am Nolan 2.No.
Ashley: You two are evil.
Victoria: What we are, like it or not, is family.
Nolan: So Ashley’s been Daven-deported? Guess that’s what happens when you get two takedowns for the price of one.
Victoria: What are you doing here?
Aiden: Same thing as you: looking to destroy the girl next door.
Hey Now by London Grammar
Although its impact was lessened with all the hype, Fear is still a promising season premiere from Revenge.