Mere moments after pledging her return to the REVENGE business, Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) plan is thrown into chaos when her foster brother, Eli (Collins Pennie) shows up on the scene. Drama!
Let’s bitch it out…So although it’s pretty clear that Eli is little more than a distraction who has turned up at the worst possible time for our intrepid band of revengers, it’s still pretty good, isn’t it? We’ve seen this kind of character before: both Mason Treadwell and Tyler Barrol turned up unexpectedly, stirred up the hornet’s nest and went out in spectacular fashion. If Eli can prove even half as entertaining as either of these gentlemen, then we’re in for quite a ride as Revenge heads into the last third of its second season.
There’s a lot of “good” in the episode, and that’s primarily due to the absences. There’s a notable lack of CFO, as both Padma (the insufferable Dilshad Vadsaria) and Marco (E.J. Bonilla – absent for weeks now) sit this round out. Also benched: Initiative handler Trask (thin-lipped Burn Gorman) who is mentioned only in passing. Why are these absences ‘strengths’? Because the financial stories on Revenge, even when they include murders, kidnappings and mayhem, are the least interesting plots. And the Initiative has been a terrible drag on the entire second season, like an anchor tied around Emily’s neck that she must cast off in order to refocus.
Refocusing is actually what ‘Illumination’ is all about. We’re getting back to business: Em and Nolan (Gabriel Mann) shift focus back onto Grayson Global and conspire to take them down by puncturing their golden parachute (mischievously disguised in the newly created foundation honouring Faux). Meanwhile Aiden (Barry Sloane) has inserted himself back into Daniel’s (Joshua Bowman) life, even as the latter circles the drunk-drain as he woh-woh’s about his role in Faux’s death. Admittedly I couldn’t care less how Aiden continues to play a role in the family company, so long as Barry Sloane and Joshua Bowman continue to interact in close quarters (Side Note: Excuse me as I work on my slash fiction to myself).
So who’s left: ahhh Jack (Nick Wechsler). I honestly have no idea what to make of Jack. He’s clearly playing a dangerous game, hopping into bed with the Graysons and pissing off Ems and Nolan. I know that Nolan thinks that throwing him off the scent and casting suspicion onto the remaining Ryan brother (le groan) is a good idea, but…um…isn’t that guy totally a criminal, too? So now Jack is making deals and going after all kinds of bad people? And he doesn’t have a Takeda-approved revenge degree? This could be bad folks!
- I get that we’re trying to be kind to Faux with the mind-numbingly dull name for her charity, but wouldn’t something like “The Fauxmanda school for strippers with a heart of gold and poor baby naming skills” have been better suited to her mischievous personality? Sure it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely, but you can’t have everything, can you?
- Note to Daniel: you’re orca-rich. You don’t need to be swilling cheap vino and getting into fisticuffs with the locals down at Moe’s tavern. You’re a classy dude (who loves three piece suits juuuust a little too much); why not class up your own joint and dip into your thousand dollar bottle collection (surely you’ve got more than the one vinegar-y one, right?)
- It’s tough not to smirk when Conrad (Henry Cznery) calls Aiden to discuss his promotion…from across the bar. Dude, that is so cruisey
- Declan (Connor Paolo) is totes jealous of Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) spending time with Eli and he’s not afraid to show it. By sulking. God, I hate these two
- There are so many epic facial contortions in this episode. I love it.
- Em’s “oh eff” eyebrow raise when Eli says they’ll get to know each other more.
- Eli checking out her ass with appreciation at the Stowaway. Very nice, ladies.
- Ems listens to Eli’s phoney-baloney schooling. Eye roll!
- Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) learns that Daniel has left with Ems. Eye roll! These two should offer a master class in eye roll acting down at the learning annex for bitchy assistants and out-of-work models/waitresses. It would be amazing!
- Excuse me, Miss Emily: I have a great investment property in fire-retardant children’s furniture for abusive foster homes if you’re interested in cutting another $250,000 cash. I love how Revenge doesn’t even try to be relateable when the chequebooks come out.
- Oh right, cliffhanger alert. Some hacker dude named The Falcon (forseriously?) is the one who effed over Ems’ dad and is now back protecting the Grayson accounts. This better be someone we already know. Oh wait, I’ve already checked out
Best Lines (Nolan is on fire edition):
- Nolan (when Emily wonders what Faux would say about the party): “I can think of a few things”
- Nolan refers to Eli as a “faux bro”
- Nolan (entering Aiden’s random secret house): “Hey, so this is where Aiden-sun waxes off”
What did you think of the appearance of Eli: bad for business, or delicious for drama? Is Jack headed towards a reunion with his dead wife? Do you care at all about what Aiden is doing at Grayson Global? Are you concerned about Declan and Charlotte’s relationship? (ha ha, don’t even bother answering that). And if you had $250 grand to spend on a charity, would you rather it support strippers or pyromaniac foster children? Comment away below
Revenge airs Sundays at 9pm EST on ABC