Revenge: Masquerade

"You're right, it's just a seasonal trifle. Not unlike yourself."

I've always defended Revenge when critics were quick to call it a soap opera. Sadly, I feel I can no longer denounce that claim.

I don't think the writers could have made this episode more melodramatic if they tried. The masquerade ball, the over-the-top music, unwanted pregnancies, the nun! That's not to say the hour wasn't entertaining - it was amusing in the disposable manner Revenge has grown so accustomed to this year. I'm just disappointed the show isn't the epic (and extremely focused) concoction it was last year. It was such a breakout hit with a masterful debut season that it truly feels like the show's in a sophomore slump (although the year has had some incredible moments and episodes).

Let's start with Victoria's baby. I don't think anyone believed for a second that her son wasn't alive. Thankfully the writers made the long-lost son arc sort of intriguing with the notion that the child was a product of rape thanks to Momma Vicky's boyfriend. That's an icky development to be sure, but it should prove compelling when Victoria eventually comes face-to-face with the bastard. Let's hope they do a better job casting him than they did with Emily's mom (what ever happened to that whackjob anyways?)

Emily was thankfully focused on her quest this week as she slowly unraveled Victoria's mental state with the creepy RSVP and black roses. I admittedly enjoyed the final scene with Victoria visiting the nun followed by Emily arriving with her fake pregnancy proclamation. It's such a soapy turn of events but it's undeniably fun in a batshit crazy sort of way.

So Padma's dead. I want to say I was ecstatic but she's such a non-presence that the reveal barely registered a reaction from me. I did like the effect it had on Nolan though. Although it would have been infinitely more powerful if we were actually invested in his relationship with the mole (?), I enjoyed his scene with Emily as he broke down and she lovingly held him. Their dynamic frequently feels like the true heart of the show.

Ashley has always been useless, but it finally looks like the writers are going to give her something to juicy to chew on. I'm actually kind of excited to see her partner up with Jack! They could both stand to get more involved so things really implode by the time the finale rolls around. Speaking of Jack, I liked the parallels this week as he unsettled Conrad (just like Emily was doing with Victoria) by playing the blackmail audio into his ear during the debate.

Vengeful Bits

- I seriously cringed when Emily begged Victoria for an invite to the ball. Pathetic much Ems?

- Epic little moment with Aiden strangling Trask to death. But how will The Initiative threaten people now? Don't they need a lackey we can latch on to? Hmm...

- How random and misplaced was the scene with Charlotte hitting the random girl at the party for badmouthing Amanda? Ugh this show.

- I almost laughed out loud when Victoria fainted. It was so darn cheesy and dramatic. I did love Emily's victorious smile though.

- I felt bad for Emily when Aiden told her he was disgusted by her.

- So what's up with Aiden's dad?

- Is it wrong that I kind of wondered for a second if Emily was actually pregnant? She's been sleeping with so many people lately, that it seemed kind of fitting of this nutso hour to pull out that card.

Devious Delights

Conrad: (to Victoria) I thought I knew all the skeletons in your closet by name.

Victoria: I try to keep the ghosts out but they always force their way back in.

Daniel: (to Victoria) I believe these are yours. Feel free to use one for each of your two faces.

- I'm still watching, but I need Revenge to rock again. This was a mediocre hour.

3 out of 5 dead Padmas.

Previously posted on Nad's Reviews.


Anonymous said...

Very soapy as you acting stars to Gabriel Mann for this episode..he made Nolan's suffering so real. I almost feel bad for being relieved Padma's gone now. But they really didn't handle her well.
So that's the end of Trask? I'll miss loving to hate his guts.
Loved the masquerade scene. Queen V rocked her outfit.

Suzanne said...

Your wonderful commentary is more entertaining than the show these days. It began so well, but it has been falling into Ringer territory lately. I doubt I will be watching next season. What a shame since it seemed to have so much potential. I guess it was all an illusion like everything on this show is.

Yane said...

I haven't been commenting for quite some time as there were few things on the show to comment on... (yet you manage to keep your reviews insightful and interesting - well done, Nadim)

I have a couple of disordered thoughts about what's been going on lately, such as:
1. 'Soapy' was my thought last week when it appeared that Victoria had another son; it was so the-bold-and-the-beautiful-y...
2. About Padma... Last week, when Aiden and Nolan found that box, I didn't believe even for a while that there would be Padma's head inside. Her death this week took me by surprise and although I never disliked her (hey, Nolan deserves to have his significant other, doesn't he?), I found myself completely unmoved. I just wonder if they killed her because of what Aiden did in Grayson Global. That makes sense, why else would they kill Padma on that exact day? I don't think Aiden and Emily are aware of that yet though...
3. Is it just me or is the show becoming more and more repetitive? Emily's get-together with Daniel, seeking a lost relative, Ashley's treachery - last year she conspired with Tyler, now with Jack (and I wouldn't be surprised if she double-crossed him)... Yawn.
4. The infamous Falcon... I'll be disappointed if it appears to be someone we *don't* know. But if it is someone we do know, then who could that be? I have no idea. I've been having some suspicious thoughts about Takeda, though. What do we really know about him? He's very rich and he runs some school of revenge. Why? What's in it for him? Was he harmed by The Initiative in some way too? How did Emily and Aiden get to know about him? There's so much we don't know about that guy that for me it's enough not to trust him...
5. That ballroom scene was really grotesque but also very enjoyable to watch.
6. I liked when Emily said to Nolan while comforting him: 'I'm not leaving you alone, Nolan' and he responded 'I love you too'. It felt so natural. We don't get to hear the L-word on that show often, do we? Especially now that Amanda's gone. I've been hoping for some time that Emily will say these to Aiden but I can't help but see that opportunity drifting away. They had a passionate one-to-one scene at the beginning of the episode though, so maybe everything's not lost yet.
7. One more observation concerning Nolan: now that vendetta against The Initiative became personal for him, too.
8. '[Emily]'s been sleeping with so many people lately' - who do you mean by that, Nadim? I don't recall Emily sleeping with anyone but Aiden for the last few months; I don't think I would miss something like that ;-) (well, there was that sequence at the beginning of 'Collusion' but I don't make of it anything more than a dream (as you wrote, too), especially given that she's been with Daniel for a short time and they decided to take things slowly - we barely could see them kiss). Poor Aiden, anyway.

Do we know if there's going to be season 3? The title of two last episodes of season 2 ('Truth' part 1 and 2) suggests that it could be the end, but these titles sometimes prove to be very misleading... What do you guys think?

Anonymous said...

I also thought Emily only had been with Aiden lately..She's only kissed Daniel so far, right?
I haven't seen the numbers for Revenge..I'm not sure if I'm hoping for a third season yet..
And Nolan deserves a guy/gal who won't lie to him..which probably wont happen on this show.
Anyway-great review, it's almost all that keeps me watching now.

ChrisB said...

There are more than a few sophomore shows that are failing to live up to last year's potential and this is certainly one of them.

While I love a good soap as much as anyone, this one has taken it to a whole new level. The whole bit at the ball, with the black/white mask, soaring music and Victoria pulling down the red cloth as she fainted made me laugh out loud. I'm sure that's not the reaction the producers were hoping for.

Nadim said...

Guys I just saw all of your comments on this review. Thank you for your kind words and I'm glad you're all enjoying my reviews (more than this boring season at least).

I'm trying to have faith that somehow the show will rock again so let's wait until the season is over. Still, I can't get over what a pity it is that season two was such a disappointment compared to the masterful debut year.

And Suzanne, I hate to say it...but SO.VERY. RINGER! Aaaaaaah!

nick said...

So this episode took place 6 weeks after the previous episode right?