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OPINION: Emily Van Camp and Madeline Stow Make REVENGE Delicious But Some Others May Need to be Evicted From The Hamptons

REVENGE and I are still very much in love, so any criticism I offer, constructively of course,  is all for the greater good.  I want REVENGE to be around for a very long time;  plus, no show is perfect when it first starts.
Having said that, the biggest problem I'm noticing is that Emily doesn't seem to face any challenges as she  implements her plan.

She has endless resources, and they enable her to do anything and everything.  But in order for this to remain interesting, we need to see some more obstacles thrown in her path, or even, maybe, have one of her revenge plots fail. At three episodes in, we have learned the formula, so now is the time to twist it on its head, and throw us something unexpected. Also, the threads of the story that revolve around Emily, Victoria, Daniel, and Jack are all edge-of-your-seat viewing, but it seems most of the secondary characters and story lines don't add a whole lot, and may need to be rethought.


So anyways, Declan and Jack's father died.  Declan is having lots of issues with his father's death that I don't care about at all. Yeah, I said it.  Declan is painful to watch. I'd like to write that it has nothing to do with Connor Paolo--but I think that it has everything to do with him. I also found him to be painful as Eric on GOSSIP GIRL as well. Maybe he is a black hole that makes anyone he interacts with uninteresting?Thankfully, any stick-nails-in-my-eyes scenes we are forced to endure with Jack and Declan tend to give way to a scene between Emily and Jack. Speaking of which, that damn dog Sammy can't seem to get it through his head that Emily is no longer Amanda.  He needs to stay with Jack.  When Emily brings Sammy back to Jack, the amazing chemistry that only seems to get stronger every week continues to crackle between these two.

Their screen time together is limited for the moment, but they make the most of every minute. I wanted Emily to run and embrace Jack when he told her that his dad was dead. That isn't going to happen anytime soon, so onward we go.

With the exception of the above, brief, interesting blip, the trajectory of this story line remains a dud. Nolan is dragged into this sinking ship of a subplot later on in the episode. When he is with Emily, there is a smarmy kind of intensity between the two of them. They almost seem to hate each other, and I don't actually think they are going to make out, but if it did happen, I wouldn't be surprised. Unfortunately, Nolan is also finding himself in Declan's orbit. He wants to help Declan get even with the guys that beat him up, so he gives Declan access to Adam's webcam. Golly, there seems to be no limit to what these people can do.

The first glimpse they get has Charlotte in the frame as well, so Declan won't record anything.  Because he is a gentleman?  It's unclear.  Charlotte is the child that the Graysons don't need. Ever think to yourself: "Would there be anything missing from this show if these characters didn't exist?"  Me too. The answer is no. Eventually Declan does get the goods on Adam (he is cheating on Charlotte) but instead of sending her the incriminating clip, heemails her a video of him asking her out. I hope that they go out on that boat together, never to return.

Amidst all of that clutter, we have the weekly Clash of The Titans face off: Victoria vs. Emily. While Emily continues her plan to get even with every person that did her father wrong, Victoria continues her quest to find out everything that she can about Emily. Her latest obsession is Emily's participation in the Landmark Preservation Committee, a group she belonged to with Michael Davis, ex-husband of Lydia Davis. In case you forgot, Lydia was the first victim that Emily took down.

This week's victim is Senator Kingsley. He was the federal prosecutor who tried her father's case. This did wonders for his career, and it's obvious that he is deeply involved with the Graysons' as Victoria is reluctant to plan the fundraiser for him, but she does it anyway. That, and the million shady references to what they've all done for each other.  Thanks.

Emily sets in motion a dual chain of events before the BBQ. At dinner with the Graysons, Senator Kingsley is emailed a video with instructions to open it in private. It show shows him going into a building. Kingsley then gets a second video, of him and his mistress, Erin, having some adult fun. Conrad and Frank are clued into the situation, and it gets worse.

Erin had  become pregnant, and Kingsley had been sending her money to "take care" of the situation.  They manage to never say the word, "abortion."  This is the Hamptons!  But maybe they should have, since Erin keeps the baby.  All of this goes against everything that his platform stands for.

Meanwhile, on her date with Daniel, Emily orchestrates a confrontation with Patrick, the brother of the girl who Daniel paralyzed in the accident that everyone likes to pretend never happened. Daniel tries to apologize, but Patrick understandably looses his shit and tells Daniel to apologize to Sara, his sister. Daniel later tells Emily that his mother had made it very publicly known how she felt about Daniel and Sara. He had grown drunk and mad that night, and took off, leading to the accident that left Sara injured. Sara was left with no permanent damage but a rough road of recovery. They paid off her family, and Daniel was told to never see Sara again.

Emily encourages him to own up to his mistakes. At first glance it seemed like Emily may have been out to get Daniel as well. But is getting to know him changing the trajectory of her plan for Daniel? Perhaps she is trying to save him from becoming the worst parts of his parents?  Obviously she set Daniel up to see Patrick, but is it all a means to an end, to discern that Daniel is nothing like his parents? These are the kinds of cracks that we need to see in her facade. Maybe she is playing him and this is all a part of her plan to take down every member of the Grayson family, but it's nice to wonder. Plus, they are really dreamy together.

The day of the BBQ finally arrives! Victoria is practically floating on air, she is so pleased with herself. Victoria thinks that she has deduced that Emily was the reason that Michael and Lydia's marriage ended. Victoria's lust for Emily's head on a stake is only further fueled by Frank's revelation that Emily had driven Daniel to see Sarah at the rehab center. When Michael finally arrives, Victoria warmly greets him and brings him straight to Emily. . . who barely recognizes him.

Or at least that is how Emily plays it. Whatever Michael did, it was not with Emily, since he soon introduces Victoria to his date, Cameron, a girl about the same age as Emily. Turns out Emily is the one that had introduced the two of them. Victoria must have been so mad, she probably went to the yard to sacrifice heirloom, locally sourced, rare woodland creatures as a means of quenching her anger. For the moment, Emily seems to be one step ahead of Victoria. At some point, Victoria is going to get one over on Emily, and I eagerly anticipate the delicious laugh that will rise from deep within her shriveled soul when she does.

The evening quickly shifts focus to the downfall of Senator Kingsely. Before he can begin his presentation, he receives an email with a replacement speech that directs him to resign. When he looks up, he sees a very pregnant Erin in the audience. There seems to be no stone that Emily has left unturned! The senator announces his resignation, and we learn that Erin had been convinced that she had been in contact with the senator via text and email. Didn't she wonder why he never called?

She thought that he had said that he was going to leave his wife and be with her, and yet this was done all over text. I'd be suspicious.  Plus, why in the world would he send you a plane ticket to come to a benefit for his campaign and announce it so publicly? That mistress wasn't very interested in a little thing called common sense.

Emily later tells Nolan that she got the video of the Senator and Erin after she bought the building that Erin lives in, and then had cameras installed as a part of the renovation. This is absurd. This is about as far as I'm willing to go before we start to introduce some bumps in the road for Emily's revenge plans.

Frank later discovers that the emails to Senator Kingsely came from Conrad's computer. But who would have motive to do that? Victoria of course. Earlier, we learned that Victoria had once gone to Kingsley with evidence to clear Daniel but didn't use it--at the urging of Conrad.

The twists and turns of the inner workings of the Grayson marriage, and their part in the downfall of Daniel Clark, as well as the epic battle we are gearing up for between Victoria and Emily, is what this show should focus on. Add to that the burgeoning love triangle between Daniel, Emily, and Jack, and you have everything that you need for a hit show. Declan and Charlotte are two of the most uninteresting characters on television today, and the introduction of Daniel's college roommate, Tyler, as an all-around troublemaker and love interest for Ashley, the party planner, is not necessary. Well thought-out secondary characters who prop up the main story need to be introduced. . . STAT.

Thankfully, the episode ended well, with another electric moment between Jack and Emily. She brought Sammy back to him once again, and they talked about his dad. As she turned to leave, she saw that the name of his boat was "Amanda." She is so affected by this it looks like she was punched in the stomach. That's the kind of emotional resonance I'm looking for! And after only the third episode! REVENGE, all in all, despite a few sour patches, I think you're really very sweet.


Brian Hewson contributes primetime reviews for We Love Soaps. Along with Greg Turner, Brian is the creator, writer, and producer of the web soap, EMPIRE, which can be found atwww.empiretheseries.com. Brian loves soaps.

2 comments:

  1. Totally agree that the whole Emily-buying-the-building-and-installing-cameras explanation was ABSURD. I can suspend, but not that much! Addictive show, though!

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  2. I agree with you that so far things have been way too easy for Emily in her quest to get revenge. Each plot should take more than an episode, and she should either fail on her first attempt or have things go wrong so that the audience is occasionally in suspense as to whether or not she's going to succeed. I am, however, enjoying the interplay between Emily/Amanda and Victoria. I also like the reveal that Victoria tried to save Emily's father and that they were really in love. I'm not sure though that Sammy would still remember Emily/Amanda over 15 years later. Agree that Declan is a waste but that's only because of Conor Paolo. He's too much of a lightweight to make the character work.

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