It’s becoming increasingly difficult to recap ABC’s Revenge the day after The CW’s Ringer. The two shows share a number of similarities: both feature main characters pretending to be someone they’re not (Emily VanCamp’s Emily and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Bridget), both feature the tortured lives of the impossibly rich, and both feature all sorts of narrative twists and turns. The problem, however, is not that they are similar, but that Revenge is so damned good at what it does. So even when Ringer seems to be making progress (as I felt it did with this week’s episode), along comes Revenge to remind me of everything that Ringer is missing.
Everyone’s favourite anti-heroine returned this week, but the seams in Emily Thorne’s plan are beginning to unravel as unplanned players begin making power moves. Let’s break it down…
It’s been two weeks since we’ve spent time with our favourite dysfunctional Hamptonites. The last episode ended with a doozy of a cliffhanger as stripper Amanda Clarke – aka the real Emily (Margarita Levieva), whom we will now refer to as StripperE – murdered ex-security agent Frank (Max Martini). Only moments before he had confessed to Queen Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) that our Emily was not who she said she was. Oh, and Lydia (Amber Valletta) woke up from her coma. And pretty much everyone got some.
‘Treachery’ began immediately where ‘Charade’ left off as StripperE showed up on Emily’s porch with a jacket covered in Frank-blood (too bad, cause that’s a bitch to get out of leather). Emily recognized a loose cannon, so she took steps to get rid of her juvie friend, stopping for an alibi at the fish market before dropping StripperE off with Nolan (Gabriel Mann) for babysitting. The various cast interactions with StripperE were pretty memorable: Jack (Nick Weschler) stumbled upon her swimming in a barely-there red swimsuit (in slow motion!) and found himself curiously attracted to the girl who refused to introduce herself. Nolan, on the other hand, had no time for the sexpot, especially when details of Frank’s death came out and he put two and two together (perhaps he was also reminiscing about his sexytime with Ashton Holmes’ Tyler?). As soon as he found out his ass was on the line, Nolan dumped StripperE back on Emily, who already had a get-out-of-town flight to Paris booked for her stripper doppelganger. Naturally the troubled girl never made the flight. As soon as she showed up in the Hamptons and saw what she’s been missing (drinks by the pool, rich millionaire boys, professionally dyed hair), there was no way she was going to leave. Plus Revenge – unlike other shows *coughRingercough* – knows when to retain juicy plotlines and this character is all about stirring up the drama.
StripperE’s appearance wasn’t the only wrench in Emily’s plan this week. Queen Vic, fresh from booting husband Conrad (Henry Czerny) out of the house, spent most of her time engaging him in verbal battles, especially when it came to matters concerning his lover (and her ex-bestie) Lydia. As predicted by EW.com, Lydia did indeed awaken with amnesia and had no memories of the last few weeks. In an effort to “help” Lydia – and ensure that the Graysons could shut her up if/when she regained her memories – Queen Vic moved her into the Grayson mansion.
Now I’m not a medical professional, but I don’t think reminding Lydia of her intended blackmail speech from the night of the benefit was what the nurse at the hospital meant when she asked Queen Vic to surround Lydia with personal effects. I’m sure Queen Vic will regret bringing it up now that Tyler put the speech back together after Victoria shredded it late in the episode. It wasn’t the only questionable memory-jogging attempt Victoria employed, either. After Emily raised Lydia’s suspicions, Queen Vic spent a good portion of the episode trying to find the New Year’s photo, which shows Emily catering the event when she was still Amanda. Turns out this wasn’t much of a problem, however, because Nolan had already photoshopped Emily out. Lydia really should be less concerned about Emily though, and more concerned about the Graysons now that she’s overheard a pretty candid conversation between Victoria and Conrad about Frank’s death. Good thing she’s on the ground floor. Good luck with your recovery, Lydia!
The fallout from Frank’s death also allowed Queen Vic to sic the police on Emily. She told them about Frank’s message, but unfortunately for her they came to question Emily when Daniel (Joshua Bowman) was there. So not only did Emily get to use her handy fish market alibi to quell suspicions from Detectives Gunther and West, but she manipulated Daniel into denouncing his mom and moving out of Chateau Grayson. Nicely played, Em, though your problems are only starting: not only is StripperE hanging out with hot bartender, Jack, but it appears that frenemy Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) and Tyler (Ashton Holmes) are in cahoots to bring you down.
- Best dialogue of the night: the exchange between Jack and Daniel when he quit his barjob. Daniel: This wasn’t really working out. Jack: You mean because you got drunk the first shift or because I was hitting on your girlfriend? Good times, bros!
- The drink that StripperE made Jack (which he reciprocated when she showed up at the bar) was a Black Dahlia. How much should we read into the name? The drink is named for a notorious unsolved murder of a woman named Elizabeth Short whose face and body were mutilated (Glasgow smile, severed at the waist, and drained of blood). Revenge is too pulpy to be so brutal, but if we read into StripperE’s drink choice, she probably not going to have a happy exit from the Hampton’s drama.
- GossipBore Declan (Connor Paolo) and Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) didn’t have much to do in this week. Much like Ringer’s Juliet, these teens aren’t really contributing much to the show, but I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon. They remain the exact same characters that we saw in the pilot, so we have at least 7 more episodes of this before we return to the “present” and resolve the murder at the engagement party.
- Some recappers are wondering whether Lydia really is suffering from amnesia. I’ll admit I had the same thoughts, but her disappointment at the New Years photo suggests she’s not acting.
- What are Tyler and Ashley up to? I’m excited for Ashley to play a bigger role, but the 180 on how she feels about Emily feels a bit rushed. I wish her resentment of all the rich Hamptons folks had been revealed in one of the hundred parties we saw her work on earlier in the season, instead of coming in just two episodes.