Revenge S1E19: Absolution
Call it “Thorne’s rose,” the Revenge version of Checkhov’s gun. If you place a rose on your parent’s snow-covered grave in Act 1, then Victoria Grayson will find it and look off into the distance with her nostrils flared in Act 3. It was an inevitability, and with so much renewed attention in the life and death of David Clarke, it struck us as just a teeny bit unlikely that Hamptons Batman would make such a rookie mistake as to arrive at his grave in full day light and place a rose on it. Come on, girl. Gotham Batman only does that shit at night, when no one can see him.
But this was an episode in with the Revenge-verse needed to expand outward if the show is planning on having a viable season 2, and things needed to be shaken up considerably. So we got several narrative left turns, an introduction of a major-league important character that we never heard of before but who happens to be firmly entrenched both in the backstory and in the life of one of the main characters, and smart people acting somewhat stupidly. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong about this episode – in fact, it was the same level of soapy, campy fun it always is – but we kinda got a glimpse of what the long term arc of this show is gonna look like and, well, it’s gonna wind up looking like pretty much all nighttime soaps do after awhile. We predict byzantine plots, at least a dozen new and extraneous characters, side arcs that go nowhere, and schemes upon schemes upon schemes until the whole thing collapses in a Moldavian Massacre of a mess.
Geez, we’re all kinds of doom and gloom this morning, aren’t we? Imagine if it had been a bad episode. Look, we’re not predicting anything about the show’s future, but night time soaps tend to follow that arc of getting more complicated the longer they’re on the air and last night’s episode gave us our first hint of it with this show. See, Revenge has benefited from being a soap opera but with a laser-like focus; meaning, if it stops being about Amanda Clarke’s revenge upon the Grayson family then the whole raison d’etre collapses. On the flipside of that, if Amanda Clarke ever manages to enact her full righteous revenge on the Graysons, then the show has no reason to continue. The writers are going to have to walk a very fine line of moving forward the revenge plot that drives everything while at the same time introducing all sorts of subplots, side arcs and new characters in order to keep it fresh and prevent it from becoming formulaic. Thus: Charlotte’s drug addiction, Victoria’s shirtless artist, and Nolan’s long lost aunt who just happened to be Conrad Grayson’s secretary. Also: incredibly information-filled pictures hidden away in jewelry boxes. Also, also: for the story to move forward, Emily has to become less than perfect.
It’s hard to watch Emily lose even the tiniest bit of control because she’s a character that’s simply all about control; she’s composed of it. But perfectly realized characters are boring to watch, which means even Hamptons Batman routinely does stupid things like leaving an evidence bomb under her floorboards, visiting her father’s grave in broad daylight, and flashing around her face and a fake Homeland Security badge. Ems, honey; you couldn’t put another one of those fabulous wigs on? In addition, we’re getting to see just how dysfunctional she is underneath that cool, teflon veneer of hers. She was ready to literally throttle poor Nolan for keeping info from her, and as much as we love H. Batman, we sometimes wish her Robin, the Boy Wonder would slap her away and tell her to knock it off when she gets all imperious and threatening with him. He is literally the only friend she has in the world and she treats him like shit constantly.
But Nolan has a secret and it could be an extremely valuable one to Emily. Then again, his aunt wasn’t nearly the font of information that one photograph was, which led to a heretofore-unknown journal, which led to Emily somehow stumbling upon the one second of video footage that allowed her to look directly at the face of the man who killed her father. In a show brimming with unlikely sequences of events, this one may just have taken the cake.
Also, Ashley is shit at managing her career, for all the eyebrow-raising and lip-pursing she tends to do. Her career plan thus far seems to have been something like this:
- Become party planner to wealthy family, wait for family member to become embroiled in scandal
- Become family press spokesperson, wait for someone to make a job offer
- Inform the most scheming, vindictive person on the east coast that you plan on leaving her for something better
- Pack up your things, hope someone offers you a Lexus on the way out.
But we have to admit, having the little schemer working for Grayson Global makes a lot more sense, story-wise.
What didn’t make sense to us was Daniel’s complete 180. He was pissed at his parents when he knew about their relatively minor crimes of jury tampering and murder, but when he found out the full array of Grayson sins, he’s suddenly on board? Still, we needed a reminder that Emily doesn’t actually love Daniel and this will do nicely. They’ve been flirting with it for a while, but the story gets much more interesting when you know that Emily will destroy Daniel along with his parents and not give it a moment’s thought.
Oh, and Victoria Grayson may not be as important in the grand scheme of things as her husband, but the bitch knows how to pull the levers when she wants to and Conrad’s going to find out she’s worse than even he thought. Watching these two blow up each other’s lives in anger is almost as much fun as watching Emily draw big red X’s over the faces of her enemies. The story’s eventually going to collapse; we know that. But hopefully we’ll have plenty more hours of delicious, vindictive fun ahead of us.
[Photo Credit: ABC]