Revenge: “Retribution” (Season 2 Episode 15)

emily-vancamp-revenge-season-2Broadcast date:  Sunday, Mar. 10th, 2013

Three weeks after the explosive episode “Sacrifice”, Revenge returns with what you would hope would be, well, revenge, against those who perpetrated the demise of the Amanda (and one of it’s passengers, so Retribution should have been an appropriate title. Unfortunately it refers to making plans rather than actual action sequences. C’mon writers, you gave us 3 weeks to catch our breath…no need to slow the story down! So Jack pretty much hates on everyone while he’s in the hospital recovering, which is understandable, and eventually focuses his hate on . Later in the episode he’s walking around (!) and recovers the laptop. Fortunately Emily gets it back, then chucks it in the water? Shouldn’t have done that, babe. Nolan gives the Carrion program to Padma to exchange for her father. An during the funeral scene at the end, Emily’s foster brother Eli James shows up. What’s his agenda? Lots of intrigue, but not enough action this week – that’s not director Helen Hunt’s fault, that’s the writing…

Revenge: “Sacrifice” (Season 2 Episode 14)

emily-vancamp-revenge-season-2Broadcast date:  Sunday, Feb. 17th, 2013

If last week’s episode was jam-packed full of action, this week offered some clarity in the death of two characters and one story line. While Daniel struggles with the twisted legacy of his family, Jack and Amanda are halfway to Nantucket before Nate Ryan makes his presence felt. Meanwhile, Emily, Nolan, and Aiden hatch a plan to flip Padma. The Graysons host their annual labor day party and are confronted by Helen Crowley’s replacement (I told you so!), played by Burn Gorman of Torchwood. The Graysons point the finger at Amanda, since Victoria planted evidence under her bed. As Ashley tips off Emily that Amanda has made a play against the Graysons, Emily realizes the danger Jack and Amanda are in, and she and Nolan hop a speedboat to Nantucket. Aiden and Padma demand proof Padma’s father is alive, and receive his finger for their trouble. Silly people, haven’t you learned not to make demands upon the Initiative? The show ends with an explosive (literally) sequence that leaves the Amanda on the bottom of the ocean, two people dead, and one shot in the gut. We finally get some tears and heavy emotion from Emily, who’s had to hide her true feelings constantly. A pretty enjoyable episode…

Revenge: “Union” (Season 2 Episode 13)

emily-vancamp-revenge-season-2Broadcast date:  Sunday, Feb. 10th, 2013

There’s so much jam-packed into this episode of Revenge that it’s hard to sort things out. Aiden demands Nolan check his sister’s video to give him clues about where it was taken. Nolan comes through, revealing the video was six years old. Turns out Emily was right! Then Nolan uncovers her coroner’s report and grave site. Distraught, Aiden pushes Emily away. To help out Jack and Amanda, Emily writes a check to buy back Jack’s bar, but Conrad refuses to bite. Amanda betrays Emily by stealing her computer and forcing Conrad to watch video, extorting him to take the check and dissolve interest in the bar. This doesn’t sit well with Nate Ryan, who offers to remove the point of leverage. Of course Conrad doesn’t know it’s Emily that possesses the true leverage, so did Amanda seal her fate at Nate’s hand?

Nolan confronts Padma, but is she sincere or just playing along?

Amanda and Jack are married by the ocean, with Emily’s heart in tatters, until Aiden shows up again. It is the moment when Emily realizes that it’s time to forget the childhood infatuation and focus on what she has now.

The true shocker of the evening belongs to Victoria. When the union between Daniel and the initiative reaches the point where Daniel will be culpable, Victoria presents Daniel with evidence of the bombing. But what Victoria really does is set up super villain Helen Crowley to get iced in an awesome moment. Daniel looks shocked, realizing he’s in way over his head. And Nate Ryan is onboard the Amanda, as the boat, Jack, and Amanda head out to sea. Next week someone on the boat is going to die, plus you know that the Initiative is bigger than just Helen Crowley, so some other villain will surface. A very busy episode with far-reaching implications…

Revenge: “Collusion” (Season 2 Episode 12)

emily-vancamp-revenge-season-2Broadcast Date: Sunday, Jan. 20th, 2013

This episode is a positive step forward, as the show felt like it was beginning to spin its wheels a little bit. Emily and Daniel jet off to California to seal a business deal, while Victoria makes a play to oppose Daniel, and Aidan also arrives in L.A. on a mission from the Initiative. Meanwhile, Nolan discovers Padma’s secret agenda. And while Conrad appears to step in and save the Stowaway by buying out the Ryan brothers, it seems the brothers aren’t done yet. The explosive ending involves Emily and Aidan’s relationship coming to a head.

There are several things to like about this episode: Emily’s conflicted emotions between Aidan and Daniel; Nolan turning the tables on Padma; and Emily saving Victoria’s life (without Victoria knowing) then smirking at Victoria’s inability to control her son. Also, the Initiative’s master plan is revealed for the first time, and the implications are frightening. It feels like the plot is starting to accelerate; unfortunately, there won’t be any new episodes until mid-February, killing a little of the momentum the show is starting to build. Still, this is a very watchable episode.

Revenge: “Sabotage” (Season 2 Episode 11)

emily-vancamp-revenge-season-2Broadcast Date: Sunday, Jan. 13th, 2013

The episode opens with a scene showing a a dead masked figure. But as is true of the world of Revenge, nothing is as it seems. Emily keeps putting the moves on Daniel, attempting to ensnare him in her web once more. As they get closer, Aiden gets more jealous, but he still tries to help Emily set up the Initiative when she holds a charity auction. An old rival of Conrad’s enters the picture, as does Ashley, who seems to have her sights set on Conrad’s new political aspirations. Nolan continues to be blindsighted by the Initiative, while Amanda tries a couple of different ways to get rid of the ex-cons that set Jack up. All the while we wonder if the Initiative really knows who Emily is…

While it seems like there’s a lot going on here, the plot doesn’t advance much, and the ending 5 minutes were easily predictable. I was not really impressed with this episode, and I hope next week advances the plot a little further along than this week did.

TV Shows: Revenge

emily-vancamp-revenge-season-2As I mentioned in my recent Person of Interest post, Revenge emerged in 2013 as one of my favorite shows. Part demented soap opera, part thriller, and full of twists and turns, Revenge is a story about a woman named Amanda Clark (Emily Van Kamp), whose father was framed by his company to take the fall as a terrorist who brought down an airliner. While in prison, Amanda’s father was murdered, and Amanda spent time in foster homes and juvenile prison. Upon release she was approached by Nolan Ross, a young multi-millionaire techie who owed Amanda’s father for his financial success. It turns out Nolan promised Amanda’s father that the young millionaire would take care of Amanda and had a sizable check for her to start a new life. However, Amanda is consumed by revenge and vows to bring down those responsible for her father’s death. Amanda assumes the alias Emily Thorne, and after training with a ninja-like figure named Takada, she has the resources to begin plotting her revenge. She immediately sets her sights on the Greysons, a powerful family in the Hamptons that she believes is responsible. The first season was a roller coaster ride of plotting, obsticles, and twists and turns; each week, Emily would target a person close to the Greysons that helped put her father away, and though the Greysons took it on the chin, they were down but not out. The second season picked up where the first left off and introduced several new characters, including a new love interest for Emily.

The big name in the show is Madeline Stowe (Last of the Mohicans, and strangely enough, the Kevin Costner flick “Revenge”). I never thought much of Stowe as an actress until her turn as Victoria Greyson – scheming, conniving, and deceitful, sometimes throwing her own children under the bus to get out of a situation, Stowe does a masterful job with this character. In fact, every character in the show does a wonderful job, portraying dark and complex characters. That’s one of the appealing features of Revenge – there are no innocents here, and every character contains dark secrets and makes questionable decisions to survive.

Victoria’s son Daniel is targeted by Emily early on as sshe is able to earn his affections while posing as a beautiful philanthropist. Daniel has forced his father out at Greyson Global but has no idea he is on the radar of The Initiative, the shadowy organization behind the frame-up of Emily’s father. Complicating matters is that Emily and Daniel split at the end of Season 1, when they were to be married. Daniel still has feelings for Emily, but she now has a boyfriend in the picture – fellow ninja Aiden, who shares romantic history with Emily but spurned her to look for his kidnapped sister a few years ago. As if that love triangle didn’t complicate things enough, Emily also still has feelings for childhood friend Jack Porter. Jack is now married to Emily’s fellow juvie cellmate, who has assumed the “Amanda Clark” identity. You can begin to get a feeling for how intricate and twisted the plot has become, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I highly recommend this series.