Revenge: Identity

“Then marry the son of a bitch, and take them down once and for all.”

It’s no secret that this show has floundered in its sophomore year. Instead of staying with what worked, Emily taking down everyone in sight and then red X-ing him or her from a photo, it has evolved into a bit of convoluted mess. Filled with conspiracies, hidden agendas, lost children and secret hackers, the story has become so unreal it can be difficult to watch without rolling one’s eyes and groaning over the convoluted machinations of its characters.

The other mistake it has been making is that, instead of concentrating on one story and resolving it, layers and characters are added, all of which make any kind of clear resolution problematic. Yet, this episode seems to be moving the pieces around the board to finish up the season with some answers, if not all. I remain hopeful.

Does anyone believe that Edith Lee is truly the Falcon? For one thing, she would have been far too young for the Graysons to trust her when the whole David Clarke debacle was unfolding and Nolan was, finally, able to take her down too easily. She has someone pulling her strings, and her parting shot of “You’ve messed with the wrong person” was ominous.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Falcon is someone we know and, if I had to guess, it is Takeda. Because, Takeda is now back in the game, giving Aiden quite a bit of unwanted and unsolicited advice. Aiden, who has now exacted payback for his sister, has found no peace from it. “Vengeance isn’t the answer,” he tells Takeda, vowing that he will end all of this quickly so that he and Emily can ride off into the sunset together. That is so not going to happen.

We’ve got a two pronged revenge story going. On the one hand, we have the amateurs Jack and Ashley who have bitten off way more than they can chew. Jack says that he is using Ashley; Ashley only joins forces with those who can further her own agenda. Working against each other, there is no way they can take down any one of the Grayson family.

On the other hand, we have the professionals -- Emily and her cadre. The problem, however, is all of them are making the mistake Takeda accused Aiden of making, allowing their emotions to interfere. Aiden is jealous; Nolan is heartbroken over the loss of his company and Padma; Emily’s life is a mess. She tells herself that she is with Aiden; she is playing Daniel; she pines after Jack. No wonder she’s losing focus.

What was well done in this episode is that each prong has different information. Jack and Ashley know that Conrad and Alison Stoddard have been secretly meeting and are working to bring down Conrad. Emily and Nolan have brought down Falcon, or at least they believe they have, and they are concentrating on bringing down Victoria.

Likewise, each of the Grayson children is caught up in one of the prongs. Charlotte, thanks to her ridiculous behavior, is now going to alienate Declan who will join forces with his brother. Daniel, poor soul, is cannon fodder for Emily. I love the way that Aiden and Nolan laugh at him behind his back. He kind of deserves it.

Although Victoria’s lost son is a classic soap opera trope, I did like the way it evolved this episode. The story coming to light on live national television was classic Revenge and I loved it. The reactions were even better. Daniel is bemused; Emily is smug; Conrad is furious.

My favorite relationship on this show has always been Emily and Nolan. The fraternal/BFF dynamic feels more real to me than any of the romantic encounters either of them has had in the past two years. I simply loved the moment when Emily sent Nolan the photo so that he could draw the red X. There was more love in that thirty seconds than I think we have ever seen. It’s moments like this that keep me coming back every week.

Two and a half out of four games of “Street Fighter.”

Vengeful Bits:

-- “Nightline's reporters are among the most thorough” and the fact that the interview was on Nightline were a nice plug for an ABC news show. JuJu Chang is a correspondent for the show.

-- Emily sneaking into the house and eavesdropping on Conrad and Victoria was a perfect example of how the writers are struggling to make the things that happen seem realistic. This was one of those times when my eyes rolled.

-- Ashley buying a “skinny, nonfat” latte and a hot chocolate for a baby made me smile. Not the brightest bulb in the box, is she?

-- The whole Declan/Charlotte story is over, especially now that Charlotte has gone off the rails again. I would care more if we knew why she was easily swayed to the dark side. Now, it just feels like a time waste.

-- I don’t like Emily’s engagement ring. Too gaudy for my taste.

-- The news is out. Sunil Nayar is taking over for Mike Kelley as the showrunner at the end of this season. If I had to guess, this news is tantamount to the show being renewed.

Devious Delights:

Conrad: “Well, if you’ve been suffering with your choices all these years, my dear, I’m only happy I was able to provide you with a comfortable place in which to agonize in style.”

Victoria: “Charlotte, you’ve been avoiding me.”
Charlotte: “No, Mother, I’ve just been busy.”
Victoria: “Punching classmates in the face?”
Charlotte: “Would you have approved if I slapped her instead?”

Takeda: “More emotions, more mistakes.”

Conrad: “If you’re thinking of jumping, allow me to assist you.”

Conrad: “Yeah, well, hindsight is always 20/20.”
Ashley: “Or, Nightline in this case.”

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

She can't have been the Falcon..that would be too lame. Loved Ems and Nolan bonding. Didn't love the rest. Will a new showrunner save this show or ruin it further?
Lol at the Ashley comment.
Anna

Billie Doux said...

I liked your review better than the episode, Chris! Totally agree that my favorite relationship is Emily and Nolan.

This show was so good last season but it's definitely jumped the rails. I decided that I'd hang on to the end of the season. Here's hoping the new showrunner can get it back on track.