It’s a fresh start for Revenge and I absolutely love it.
I can’t stress how thrilling it is to see Victoria assume a vendetta against Emily. That turn completely flips the show’s premise on its head and brings everything full circle (particularly with Vicky’s arrival at the Hamptons in the episode’s final moments). As far as I’m concerned, Emily should have successfully completed her mission at the end of season one, and we would have switched to Vicky’s avenger-status in season two. Still, better late than ever, and this development has thoroughly breathed new life into the show. And for the first time, I can actually see Revenge going on for a long time if it keeps reinventing itself in a similar manner. Realistically, this is probably the final season, so let’s see the show go out on top with an impactful story arc.
Renaissance was a surprisingly insightful hour because it explored Emily Thorne’s tremendously damaged psyche. The phone-call at the end between her and Nolan was especially enlightening, as it conveyed just how lost and aimless Emily has become. What will the little girl who lost so much do after all the destruction she’s left in her wake? How can she let go of Emily Thorne when she has nothing left? The premiere answered that question in a very unexpected manner by showing Emily orchestrating a revenge plot for a wronged woman she “empathized” with. I was fascinated by the powerful notion that our heroine is now a revenge “addict”. How twisted a character journey is that? Well done writers, well done.
And can I just say that Vicky’s escape was perfect in every way? While I enjoyed the snippets we got of the Queen in the mental asylum with a colorful array of characters (apparently her roommate, Louise, is a woman we’ll be seeing more of in the future), her escape was still a cartoonish and over-the-top affair that was so very fitting of the character. Everything from the sprinkler system plot to her stealing “Poppet”‘s dress and strutting out of the asylum in slow motion (with the umbrella-in-hand) was just spectacular. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a crazier sequence of events befitting of Queen Grayson.
Even Charlotte was handled in a more effective manner in the premiere. I’ve always found the character tedious to watch, but seeing her turn into a mini-Victoria is infinitely more amusing. I actually found myself enjoying her mistreatment of Jack, and was practically cheering when she almost got arrested for snorting coke. However, I do hope we don’t spend too much time watching her spiral into drugs (been there, done that). I think we can all agree that it’s about time she learns the truth about Emily so she can catch up to the rest of the show. Writers, please don’t screw this up any longer.
As for the rest of the cast, I actually bought Jack’s new cop-status, and the script found a tangible way to sell this change by positioning it as a desire to protect Emily. Of course the irony here is that he thinks our little revenger has moved on. As for Brian Hallisay’s turn as Jack’s cop buddy, I’ll reserve judgement until I see more although the actor did a good job on The Client List. The less said about useless Gideon and annoying Margaux, the better.
And now the elephant in the room: David Clarke is indeed back and creepier than ever! I honestly got chills with that haunting pulse-pounding music when it was revealed that he was right there besides Emily in her previous home as she flashed back to Aiden’s gruesome death. I honestly can’t wait to see the two’s explosive reunion, but the writers obviously have something different in mind. The ending of Renaissance with David revealing himself to Victoria and kidnapping her was a riveting bookend to the hour. Is it next week yet?
– Victoria’s opening voiceover (although spoiled in the promo) was a great kickoff to the year. The cinematography was particularly gorgeous as we traveled through Grayson Manor leading to the reveal of its new owner (Emily) on the iconic balcony. Wow.
– Funny how I don’t miss Conrad. The show feels really fresh without him.
– Emily in that Bentley? Hot! And naturally she purposely crashes it. God I love this woman.
– Victoria orchestrating the fight to get the cellphone was brilliant.
– Loved the continuity nod to Emily knowing what it feels like to have her name on a boat.
– Did Vicky actually apologize to Emily on the phone? Impressive.
– So the Grayson spawn think Victoria is off on holiday? That’s priceless.
– Nolan and Emily’s relationship continues to be the show’s beating heart.
– Hysterical touch: crazy Olga’s umbrella proving useful for Vicky’s escape in more ways than one.
– Hilarious moment: Nolan pronouncing Emily as the new queen of Grayson Manor and presenting her with a new chair (that fits him as well).
– I loved watching Daniel sell his Aston Martin. Poor little rich psycho-killer. At least he still cares about Charlotte which makes him somewhat sympathetic.
– How will Margaux handle Gideon staging the overdose? Do I care?
Nolan: So there won’t be any poisonings?
Emily: ‘Fraid not.
Nolan: No arrests or blackmailings.
Nolan: No takedowns whatsoever?
Nolan: I had this little minx custom-made for our summer of fun, but there is only one blonde allowed behind the wheel.
Emily:(after purposely crashing Nolan’s car) I’ll buy you a new one.
Nolan: (to Emily) Look at you! Solving conflict without a red sharpie!
Nolan: Hey Ems, you know what they said about the girl who gave up revenge? She lived happily ever after.
Patient: How did you know the orderly would have it on him?
Victoria: Because his wife is due in two weeks, which is when men think they’re suddenly vital to the process.
Emily: She was never like me.
Nolan: No one is. You’re a snowflake. A unique, bloodthirsty snowflake.
Emily: And that’s just it, isn’t it? Like you said, I’m an addict. That thirst has become a part of me. I don’t know who I am without it. Maybe I don’t want to.
Victoria: I just want to end this cycle please.
Emily: And I want my childhood.
Emily: (to Jack) Nolan was wrong, you don’t look anything like a stripper.
Patient: (about Conrad) I’m sorry for your loss.
Victoria: I’m not.
Victoria: (to Emily) You have earned your pain.
Emily: (to Victoria) As for everything that I did, I would do it all again.
A wickedly effective and ambitious season opener that masterfully reshuffles the status quo and sets the stage for a brand new chapter of Revenge.