This week on Revenge,
Eli is still around causing problems for Emily, Nolan's plan to help Padma goes sideways and there's yet another shocking Grayson revelation.ABC Announces Season Finale Dates for Spring 2013 >>>
Plus, Jack continues his own quest for revenge, but his poker face isn't quite as good as Emily's. The ability to go from sweetly sincere to evil glare in under five seconds is a skill it takes a lifetime to achieve. Nice try Jack, but not quite.
To say this season of Revenge
has been a bit of a mixed bag would be generous. While there have been some really good episodes, too much of the season has been bogged down in a needlessly complicated conspiracy theory involving shadowy underground organizations and Aiden's unnaturally square head.
The reason people liked Revenge so much last year was because it was a fun guilty pleasure that didn't feel the need to deploy any irony to cover its soapy roots. No one was winking at the camera in Revenge or trying to go meta. There were a lot of dramatic pauses, behind-the-back glaring and fake smiling as the characters plotted each other's demise.
Frankly, I have no idea why the creative team felt the need to over-complicated their winning formula with a conspiracy so complicated I often feel like I need a flow chart to keep up. But we're stuck with the Initiative this season, I guess, so I should probably move through the stages of boredom towards acceptance.
At least this week the show gives us a few alternatives to the Initiative nonsense, delving into Emily's past and following as Jack descends into the revenge rabbit hole.
Since it's turned out Padma was being blackmailed by the Initiative, even poor Nolan has been sucked into the black hole that is this storyline. Which is a real shame, because Nolan is usually a solidly dependable source of fun on this show.
As new characters this season, neither Padma nor Aiden have done much for me. Padma is at least sidelined enough that she doesn't get in the way much, while Aiden is everywhere and therefore gets on my nerves a lot more. I'd much rather see the Emily and Nolan dream team reunited and scheming than watch the two with these interlopers.
The scene between Emily and Nolan after Padma is kidnapped is emotional, because we care about these characters and their connection to each other. These are the kind of scenes we've been missing this season as Emily and Nolan have been sequestered off into their own mostly separate storylines. Hopefully, the two will share more screentime in the episodes to come, but I'm not sure I hold out much hope. These two have some of the best chemistry out of the whole cast, and keeping them apart so much this season has been a real mistake.
The Initiative wants Carrion, which is a program that does something terrible, but I still can't really motivate myself to care. Padma is going to hand over the drive, get her father back and then sail off into the sunset until it's safe again. Both she and Nolan are super sad because this means they won't be together anymore.
Unsurprisingly, their genius plan of shooting everyone as soon as Padma gets her father back doesn't work even remotely at all. Shocking! I'm on Nolan's side on this one, because for a dude who got an A in revenge school, Aiden is just shockingly incompetent Has even a single one of his plans worked out so far?
I wish I liked Padma more, but I found myself pretty ambivalent even towards her kidnap. I'm assuming she's alive and Nolan will find a way to break Falcon's encryption and save her by the end of the season. Or he won't. Again, I'm finding it hard to connect with this storyline even remotely. I was way more upset by the fact that poor Turtle USB drive lost his head. Remember the whale cam? I'm probably forgetting, but whatever happened to good 'ol Shamu?
I wonder if Falcon will be a character we know. Wouldn't it be great if it turned out a minor character like Ashley was secretly a hacker genius? At least it would give her something to do besides plan parties and huffily walk out of rooms after being dismissed.
Emily, of course, is still trying to deal with Eli, her foster brother. Eli seems to be occupying the same narrative space Amanda did in the first season. A figure from Emily's past to help us learn a bit more about her and bring new secrets to light, while being enough of a wildcard to threaten her identity.
Back in the first season, I didn't think I'd ever really miss Amanda. But man, do I miss Amanda. If Amanda was still around everyone in the Initiative would have gotten a pipe to the back of the head. She knew how to take care of business, and it usually involved cranial damage.
We learn more about Emily's past in Meredith Hayward's foster home, where the "loving" foster mother used to lock the children in a dark room as torture. It's just like what happened in Harry Potter, only more horrifying because basements are a lot scarier than cupboards. Since there's no invitation to Hogwarts forthcoming, lil' Amanda decides to burn down the house instead. Solid plan.
Eli tells Emily that Hayward kept a bunch of her father's letters. So Emily throws in with Eli's plan to embarrass Hayward by outing her child abuse at the Grayson fundraiser meant to give her money to keep the house afloat. Victoria and Conrad, obviously, are less than pleased.
But Hayward's horrible ways aren't the only secrets uncovered. It turns out Eli was actually the one that started the fire all that long time ago. "Sorry for sending you to juvie, where you went through a weird goth phase," Eli tells Emily. "But here's a confession saying Meredith sold your father's letters so ... even?" Emily's just like, "Get out, please, I can't handle another crazy person from my past marrying into the Hamptons and getting blown up on a boat."
As the episode ends, Emily goes to see Mason Treadwell in prison Because who else would have bought the letters? Mason offers her some tips on how to make a really well-aged toilet wine, but Emily wants to get right down to brass tacks. How rude.
She wants to know what was in the letters and Mason says the contents would shock even Emily. Emily is like, "I have about two shocked facial expressions and I try to save them for something big, so I doubt it." Then Mason tells Emily that her father was worried about her safety in the foster home because Victoria once had a son she gave up for adoption. Emily's evil smile at this little nugget of information is a beauty to behold.
Elsewhere in the Hamptons...
- Declan, using the skills he acquired from his brief criminal stint breaking and entering, lifts a phone to Kenny's number. Jack then meets up with Kenny, who confides his brother recorded all his conversations with Conrad for blackmail.
- Jack is getting really good at that unique Revenge phenomena where you're smiling insincerely one moment and scowling as soon as the person's back is turned. Right now, he's playing Conrad while trying to get enough evidence to take him down. Also, he's still really pissed at Emily for holding out information, and being super creepy while stroking his baby's head like a super villain with a pet cat. In summary: Jack is going insane.
- Everyone is playing Daniel and, because he's Daniel, he is just too dumb to know it. Poor Daniel is just so jumpy and freaked out and sad, like a golden retriever during a thunderstorm.
Next week, everyone goes to a masquerade ball. Judging by my extensive experience of the genre from Gossip Girl, I can guarantee mistaken identities, stolen kisses and at least one roofie. Also, someone is going to punch Victoria.
What did you think of this week's episode of Revenge? Do you like the Initiative storyline or are you as tired of it as I am? What will happen with Padma? And just who is Victoria's son? Sound off in the comments!