After a rocky (ie: hot mess) S2 and a change of showrunners, ABC’s sudsy Sunday drama Revenge is back for a brand new season. So how does the show handle all of these changes?
Let’s bitch it out…The answer is surprisingly well. If S2 suffered from a lack of cohesion and tossed dozens of plots and characters into the air at once (few of which really connected), this third season is off to a much more stream-lined start. For one, the flash forward is immediately 100% more interesting because Emily (Emily VanCamp) is at its centre. Even if I seriously doubt that our protagonist will die from her gunshot wounds when we eventually reach August 8 in two months (of show) time, watching a bride plummet off the top of a boat is much more engaging than the ho-hum sight of the wreckage of the Amanda in last year’s opener.
In general the idea of a “return to form” seems to be the theme of S3 thus far (I’m clearly an expert after a single episode back). Nolan (Gabriel Mann) is once again suave and snappish, Emily is refocused on taking down Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) and the Graysons. Even sad mopey Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) is much improved after a European tour following Declan’s death and the loss of her child (a wise narrative decision). Plus she’s rocking a grown-up (glossier, bitchier, sluttier) look! I already want to slap her much less than last year (though what is up with that Cleopatra look at the Memorial Party? Gurl no!)
Thankfully the few lingering remnants of the debacle that was last season are either glossed over or acknowledged and immediately dismissed (Joshua Bowman’s Daniel grouses about losing his inheritance and his job a few times, Nolan complains about losing NolCorp and being exonerated a few times and Henry Czerny’s Conrad grumbles that no one appreciates the farce that was the Initiative once). Even a walking plot device like Ashley Davenport (Ashley Madewke), whom the show never could figure out what to do with, is provided a storyline before being shown the exit. Plus the red sharpie of doom makes a cameo!
So yes, all is right in the world. We’ve returned to the Hamptons, it’s the start of the summer and Emily Thorne is talking about taking people down and throwing shade at every Grayson she can spot within a thousand mile radius. Welcome back, Revenge, you glorious mo-fo…
- This may very well mark the end of Ashley as she falls victim to one of Emily’s mis-direction plots and gets turfed off the island. I absolutely love the symbolism of her exit: a huge jet sits waiting on the tarmac, but when Ashley goes to leave, it pulls away to reveal a significantly smaller plane for her. She always was a small, insignificant fish in this drama!
- As usual Victoria appears to be courting drama by pitting her children against each other. This week it’s Charlotte vs first born son, Patrick (Justin Hartley) whom Char-char first mistakes for mom’s significantly younger lover. When she learns who he really is, Charlotte threatens to dole out the misery that accompanies the perks of being a Grayson, prompting the blonde Adonis to immediately pack his bags. He’ll be back (of course),
- Highlight of the night: Tie – Justin Hartley’s ridiculous over-the-top introduction to Charlotte vs the excessive eye-rolling between Ems and Victoria that make Revenge such a drinking-game favourite. For Hartley, it’s a new (shameless?) record for the series when the chiseled former CW star appears in a towel within ten minutes of joining the show (what is this, the McSteamy effect?!). Meanwhile, the double-dose of scenes between Emily and Victoria (first at Casa Grayson, then at the airport) feature enough eye-rolling to put those of us playing the eye-roll drinking game in a coma
- Also bringing on the fireworks/waterworks is Jack (Nick Wechsler), the resident wet blanket of Revenge. After a significant mourning period, the owner of the Stowaway returns to wax philosophically about Emily’s rationale for REVENGE! and then tell her he doesn’t want to play in her sand-box anymore (that may be a euphemism). Also, he’s not above giving ultimatums: Emily must wrap up her business before Labour Day or he’ll turn her in. PS – that passionate kiss means nothing to him! Very convincing, Jackie boy
- Em and Nolan doctor Conrad medical records to make it appear that he has Huntington’s, which forces him to resign his Governorship. In other news: zzzzzzzz
- French-Canadian actress Karine Vanasse joins the cast as publishing heir Margaux Poitier/romantic foil for Daniel’s affection. Vanasse was the best thing about Pan Am (which isn’t saying much), but I swear that she’s awesome, so yay
- Aiden (Barry Sloane) shows up to provide the not-so-gaspworthy-as-WTF cliffhanger by offering Victoria help in taking Emily down. Is this an act or have we missed something (like the lack of chemistry between Aiden and Em? Oh wait…we knew about that)
- Finally, since no Revenge post would be complete without some kind of fashion critique (ala Tom & Lorenzo): not loving Em’s weird Asian-inspired Memorial dress, but it’s miles better than Ashley’s “pluck your eyes out” cleavage monstrosity. POINTY BOOB dresses are not okay, people
- Emily (to Nolan, as he exits jail): “Let’s never say the words Carrion or the Initiative again” I think I speak for all of us when I wholeheartedly agree
- Victoria (as Emily enters): “It’s a shame you still feel the need to drop by unannounced” Cue eyerolls!
- Nolan (as Em tosses a red-sharpied photo onto the fire): “So Ashley’s been daven-ported?” Groan…
What are your thoughts on the new and improved Revenge? Happy that things seem back on track? Sad to see Ashley deported? Excited to see the red sharpie of doom back? Will Jack actually convince anyone that he no longer has feelings for Em? And who shoots our girl in two months time? My money is on baby Carl…
Revenge airs Sundays at 9pm EST on ABC.
*Be sure to follow us on Facebook and subscribe to receive updates when we post new reviews of all of your favourite shows. You can do both by clicking on the right hand side