M: Ahh, Revenge is back, and so are we. The show, after taking a few weeks off around Christmas and New Year’s, and us, after missing (well, not reviewing) the last couple episodes. Instead of tracking back to those, we’ll assume you’ve seen and dissected them on your own, and head right into the new year’s fodder.
E: Eeeek! Holy cow, was that a last minute twist or what?
M: That’s not where I was expecting to start, but holy cow I did NOT see that coming. That was a great bit of Shyamalan-ing on their part, well done!
E: Right. I suppose we shouldn’t start with the ending, but sometimes, it’s really hard not to.
M: Let’s go back to the start and work our way there, shall we?
E: After quite a lengthy break from the show’s original format of one-victim-per-episode, Emily takes down another person in the long list of those who wronged her.
C: And can I just note that the list of people the Graysons suborned is ridiculously long? A sensibly contained conspiracy this was not.
M: They changed things up a bit this time though, starting with having her draw the red X on his picture FAR too prematurely, and then moving on to a different kind of take-down.
E: Very true – I got quite nervous on her behalf with the premature x-ing. Generally, though, I found this one intriguing. Most of her other victims were deprived of their livelihood, which wasn’t the case here. In fact, I was so sure she was going to ruin Mason utterly that I couldn’t imagine how she was going to smash his credibility in the last ten minutes of the show. Instead, she did something completely different. She took away what he loved most – not his success, not his money, but the trappings that went with it. Hemingway’s cottage, his first editions, his memoir, all the expensive trinkets which proclaimed him to be successful, which place him in the literary scene. She took away his pretensions.
C: For shame, E! I can’t believe you didn’t see that coming. “Look, here’s my typed manuscript of my unpublished memoirs, I don’t make copies.” “Here are all my records of all my sources ever.” Say that to anyone, let alone Emily Thorne, and by the end of the episode your stuff is guaranteed to be toast.
E: Well of course I knew the manuscript was toast. I just expected a more elaborate take down.
M: I found Mason Treadwell to be a horrible concoction, frankly. He was such a caricature that he never felt real, and felt completely disconnected from the Leo Treadwell of the flashbacks, much more so than he should have. The trappings were cliche, and the idiotic “only copy of my manuscript” thing was just a waaaaaay to convenient plot point. I liked the way they had her ruin him, since you knew that he had too much invested in his trappings to turn on the Graysons.
E: The flashback where he promises young Emily that he’ll help her rescue his father? What a sucker punch to the gut that was.
C: Seriously. What kind of person says that to a small child, and then goes back on his word?
M: Especially since Leo, up until his last flashback, came across as earnestly believing David Clark was innocent and needed defending. That last flashback, with him confronting the Graysons, threatening them, and then wickedly smiling when they offered to bribe him, made it feel like that’d been his angle the whole time. Up until that moment he seemed genuine, which made the Mason character so less believable.
C: I agree, the character was played inconsistently. Either you’re an earnest investigative journalist who lives to take down people like the Graysons – which, by the way, would for sure have made his reputation! he may not have gotten so rich, but he would have probably gotten a Pulitzer – or you’re an unprincipled hack looking to make an easy buck. Usually not both.
E: Well, I guess they’re playing him like the therapist and the prosecutor; weak and ripe to be tempted. Which I guess was what made it possible for the Graysons to complete the cover up. Watching that child read the book and loose faith in her father… it was horrifying.
M: That was tough to see, but I’m going to complain again. I have a couple more complaints, but I want to state now that despite the complaints I thought it was a really good episode, so don’t take my complaining the wrong way. It’s more nit picking, and I just want the show to be as good as it can be, and find these little things minorly disappointing. Anyway, back to the complaint… obviously it would have been a while before David Clark went to trial, the trial would have taken a while, and it would have been longer after that for the book to be written and published. However, because they used the same actress for young Amanda, it made it look like a nine year old was reading a dense non-fiction work.
E: Yeah, that was unfortunate. I guess they didn’t trust us to recognize another actress as the young Emily (though you’d think they could have at least, I dunno, changed her hair or given different clothes to make her look older). Annoying.
M: E, our sons are both going to be nine soon, looking from that perspective, neither of them are anywhere near being able to read that kind of a book and actually understand what it was saying. Plus, who would have let her read it? Come on!
C: I thought the exact same thing. Who gave her the book?
E: It’s not as if she was surrounded by adults who were looking out for her, guys. In fact, they were all pretty invested in seeing that she repudiated her father. But of course even a terrific 9 year old reader would have issues with that kind of book. That’s another reason they should have more actresses for Emily throughout the ages – or at least more looks.
C: And would she really have read it thinking it was going to exonerate him, and then been persuaded of his guilt by reading the same exact stuff that came out in the trial? Are we suppose to believe that young Emily had that much faith in Treadwell’s judgment and veracity?
E: Just to play devil’s advocate, how closely would she have been able to watch the trial? I’m sure there’d be more (dis)information in the book than she’d seen. Now, did anyone else find it shocking that there were interview videos, which had been seen by the public, in which David Clark blamed the Graysons? I feel like the fact that this theory has already been discredited will severely impact Emanda’s ability to rehabilitate his reputation.
C: Wait, they were shown to the public? Where do you get that?
M: There was a clip of a TV interview with some Charlie Rose/Tavis Smiley kind of guy, where they showed a bit of a clip of David Clark talking about a conspiracy, and Treadwell saying he was deranged. Now, I don’t think that the portions of the videos that were allowed to be shown would have mentioned, let alone implicated, the Graysons, since Treadwell was in the tank for them at that point. If they were, it will be hard, but I don’t think that’s where the plan is headed, at least not until they are utterly destroyed from within first.
E: I still felt like him insisting there was a conspiracy and being discredited will make proving that there was one – if that indeed is Emily’s plan – much harder, no matter whose names were named. Really, there’s trouble in all areas of paradise. We’re finally seeing how Emily and Danny’s relationship loses its bloom; he gets the idea of proposing for (mixed) self-interest. And she encourages it, with the sudden “I’m a traditional girl and I don’t want to live with someone without being married” crap. Where did that come from? She let him move in with her already! Apparently the problem is having an official place together?
M: That was another of my complaints, Emily’s sudden case of moral-itis. I’m not sure Daniel would have bought that as easily as he did.
C: What? She wants him to propose. She’s just using any weapon in her arsenal to push it. It doesn’t have to feel consistent; Daniel is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. I have no trouble believing he’d buy her nonsense reasoning. Nor do I think he’s proposing out of self-interest – I think he just sees it as a win-win. Help mom, get girl.
M: I just thought it was too sudden an about-face, even for him.
E: At the very least it’s self-interested enough to help Emanda squash some of her feelings for him. I do admire Victoria’s speedy thought process, however; that she knew immediately to send Ashley to warn Emily of Daniel’s double motive? Impressive. Also, I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised that Victoria at least initially) refusedto sacrifice Danny’s long term happiness for access to the Grayson Global shares in his trust.
M: I have no doubt that that non-self interest will be short lived.
C: Yes, but it was really impressive! I couldn’t figure out why she tipped off Ashley. When she said her son’s happiness was more important to her than her share in the business, my reaction was, “Really? Huh!” But I like that.
E: Me too. I also like seeing Francie from Alias again as Conrad’s divorce attorney. But back to the trouble: there was Declan’s realization that Charlotte won’t be around much when she goes back to prep school.
M: This was an almost-complaint. Just when we were starting to like Declan, they turned him back into whiny, annoying Declan… but only for that one scene! They revived him into likable Declan with the reading of Paradise Lost (with Cliff’s Notes) to try to be able to connect with Charlotte, and the concerned “you’re going to turn into Dad” speech to Jack that was surprisingly insightful for him.
C: That was really sweet. The reading I mean; it’s also nice he’s concerned about Jack’s happiness, though I don’t think offering Amanda as a role model is the advice I’d give him.
E: What’s not to love about reading Paradise Lost? And finally, Jack’s realizing that Fauxmanda, while certainly exciting, isn’t quite the girl next door anymore.
M: Now, that was an actual complaint. They have her go from fawning over Jack’s boy-next-door charm, to petulantly annoyed by it, and pulling a Katy Perry right in front of him. That would not have flown with him, and likely would have been the end of their relationship, if not at least a very major fight.
C: You would think it’d be a bit hard for him to accept that this was the sweet girl he’d pined for so improbably.
M: I did like, however, that Emily allowed Fauxmanda back into the fold a bit to help with the take-down, even if it was with ulterior motives.
E: How dastardly was Emily, framing Fauxmanda for torching Treadwell’s house? That seems impolitic, too, because I can’t see Fauxmanda going down for the crime without revealing Emanda’s secrets.
M: Actually, I think it’s going to be the leverage that Emily uses to get her to leave. You’re targeted by the police, Jack is going to be in that bar every day until he dies. Go on, take the money and run…
E: I think that Fauxmanda is suspect number one now for taking out Danny. You can see how it happens. She blames the Graysons for everything that happened in her past, maybe even for setting her up on an arson charge. And that would explain Jack’s presence on the beach.
M: Hmmm, interesting angle, I hadn’t thought of that. I’m not sure, though, I still think Tyler is person of interest number one, but this at least gives us another option. With Frank out of the picture, and Emily stating that hurting Daniel was never part of the plan, we were getting low on them.
E: Especially with Tyler off in California with his brother. Not that one can’t come back from California, of course..
M: I do have to say, I think that if things get really bitter between Conrad and Victoria, and Daniel is “outed” as double-crossing his father, that Conrad’s not out of the realm of possibility.
E: I’m not sure I agree, but Conrad certainly brings us to the big revelation in the final moments. No wonder Victoria had some reservations about Charlotte’s conception!
M: What, just because Charlotte’s father is the man that she was having an affair with, then stabbed in the back, implicated in a horrendous act of terrorism she and her husband were actually responsible for, and essentially hanged by withholding the evidence that would have saved him? You think that might cause reservations about having his child? Come on!
C: But think what a darling bond this will create between Emily and Daniel, knowing they share a sister!
E: Oh, yes, absolutely darling. Also: ew ew ew!