Revenge returns to address the fall-out from Fauxmanda’s (an unseen Margarita Levieva) watery death in the last episode. But there’s barely any time for grief when there’s planning and plotting to do and everyone has an agenda that they’re desperately trying to implement.
Let’s bitch it out…
There are so many people after the laptop suitcase that ‘Retribution’ occasionally feels like a screwball comedy. In this case the laptop briefcase contains all of Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) incriminating video files on the Graysons (Side Note: Isn’t it strange that Henry Cznery’s Conrad hasn’t had the house swept for cameras considering he knows that they’re being recorded?)
Jack (Nick Wechsler) barely takes time to grieve for his dead wife before he’s trying to crawl out of his hospital bed so that he can find the laptop. Emily sends Aiden (Barry Sloane) to retrieve it when she finds out that Jack has it open in plain sight at the Stowaway (seriously – I realize Jack’s in shock but you don’t just leave the damn thing out like an IDIOT). Thin-lipped Initiative handler Trask (Burn Gorman) is also after the laptop and posing as a FBI so that he can randomly appear in people’s houses. Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) and Conrad are actually the only ones who aren’t after the laptop…but that’s only because they think it went down with the Amanda (so they’re just after Jack).
If Revenge had a different tone, this could have been a hilarious comedy of errors. Instead it’s a mildly entertaining, increasingly soapy mid-season hour.
There’s a certain “getting back to basics” feel to ‘Retribution’ – almost as if the feedback from audiences has finally caught up with the writers and we’re moving back towards the narrative formula that worked so well in the first season: Emily vs the Graysons. We’ve heard Emily say that she’s been distracted and lost focus a few times (noticeably after her mother left), but it seems like she’s really ready to get back into the REVENGE business.
And herein lies my biggest issue with this episode. When Aiden hands her back the laptop, Emily has everything that she needs to take down the Graysons (Aiden literally says it aloud). So what does she do? She throws the f*cking thing in the ocean. Why? Because it was “never part of the plan.” Oh…okay. We’ve never been privy to “the plan” so that doesn’t actually mean anything to us as viewers, but in my opinion this is a narrative hurdle that the writers clearly mishandle. The laptop can effectively end the series right now, so clearly it has to go. But to have your central character – aka the one who is out to exact REVENGE – simply dispose of it because it doesn’t fit into her plan? That makes no sense.
Have someone steal it, or have it be lost in a natural disaster. Hell, you could even have someone spill a drink on it! But to simply throw it away? It’s as though the writers couldn’t come up with anything! Really, shamefully pathetic.
- FYI: Just in case you care, this episode is directed by Helen Hunt. As in Oscar winning actress Helen Hunt. As in “Helen Hunt, WTF is she doing directing Revenge?”
- Nick Wechsler is a surprisingly good crier. I’ll be interested to see whether his mourning period is drawn out or if the writers aim to avoid a The Killing situation so that he’s not crying every week for thirteen weeks
- Nolan (Gabriel Mann) foolishly hands over the Carion program to Padma (Dilshad Vadsaria) after the finger she received last episode is positively identified as her father’s. 1) Does anyone care about her dad (whom we’ve never met)? and 2) Is anyone still hoping that she turns out to be evil and this is all some kind of deep undercover ruse? She’s Just. So. Boring.
- In the grand scheme of things, the Initiative/Grayson Global stuff has always been a little dry (see: the trip to LA to buy that company) so hopefully throwing Aiden back into the mix will help. Victoria wisely recommends Daniel (Joshua Bowman) use Aiden to make the transactions that Trask demands as a test to see where Aiden’s loyalties lie.
- Also: Daniel gives his assistant the Initiative cam from his office. Kudos on getting rid of it, but now you’ve put a camera into this poor girl’s house! That’s so pervy!
- Good thing that sad Jack = angry Jack, otherwise he never would have found that marina key in the jar of blue rocks. So wait…the air conditioner really is broken? Why did we have to hear 20 references to it last episode?! Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad that the show didn’t go for the obvious reveal of where the laptop is, but it sure seemed like the broken air conditioner would be significant, no?
- Of all the interesting things that Faux could have left in the duffel bag with the laptop, she had to leave behind journal entries highlighting her time with Ems in juvie. Now we have needless drama between Jack and Emily. Le boo
- Finally, Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) accidentally brings “Amanda”s foster-brother to town for the funeral after she IMs him. Hopefully Eli James will stir things up as Revenge heads into the final third of the season
- Nolan (to Aiden): “Why do I think this isn’t what Takeda had in mind when he gave you your Revenge degrees?” Easily the funniest comment of the night.
What are your thoughts on Revenge’s return: are you ready for the show to get back to basics? Do you care about the Initiative plotline at all? What are you hoping for now that Eli James is in town? And do you think we’ll be forced to address the Ryan brothers/Stowaway plotline ever again? Comment away below
Revenge airs Sundays at 9pm EST on ABC