Emily Thorne’s (Emily VanCamp) latest take-down hits a snag as Revenge revisits the revenge vs forgiveness debate. Unfortunately ‘Sin’ proves a little too interested in revisiting the glory days of S1 rather than breaking new ground.
Let’s bitch it out…The question of whether Emily is doing the right thing by doling out punishment has been a recurring theme throughout the show’s run, particularly in the middle section of the first season. Nolan (Gabriel Mann) would routinely highlight Jack’s (Nick Wechsler) status as an innocent victim suffering from the blowback effects of Emily’s take-downs. The forgiveness vs revenge drama has never been quite as explicit as it is in ‘Sin’ (when Emily may have actually made a mistake by taking down someone who really has reformed), but the idea has clearly been germinating for several seasons.
This makes the majority of ‘Sin’ feel more than a bit repetitive. After last week’s reboot-style opener, ‘Sin’ suffers because it has to do a lot of the heavy lifting of setting up the direction for the season. Last week’s premiere caught us up with all of the characters and reconfirmed that the exit of series creator Mike Kelley hasn’t diluted the show. Now new showrunner Sunil Nayar is showing us his vision of the show and it looks and feels mighty familiar…though that may not necessarily be for the best.
Consider: we’re back to take-downs of the week, discussion of red sharpies and absent or missing relatives are coming out of the woodwork. None of this feels like the series is breaking new ground, up to and including the appearance of Victoria’s (Madeleine Stowe) first born son Patrick (Justin Hartley). And if the writers are going to resurrect another Grayson child, couldn’t they have at least ensured that he’s not such a dud? Patrick is clearly meant to be an enigma (is he evil or is he actually the good son he appears to be?) and like everyone on Revenge, we’re meant to question his agenda (because everyone has an angle on this show). The thing is that so far he’s not sticking – we’re just told repeatedly that Patrick makes Victoria deliriously happy. And those are the kinds of words that can only mean heartbreak and drama, so it feels like we’re just constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Another unsuccessful storyline is Aiden’s (Barry Sloane) switch to Team Victoria. I know many fans were unhappy with the decision to bring Aiden back after sending him on the run last season because they believed that his arc had run its course. I was okay with his return because I was a fan of Sloane’s work last season (despite being at the center of many of S2 poor narrative decisions, I thought he and Ems had chemistry and it was nice to have someone other than Nolan informed of her plans). Now I’m less certain as Aiden’s plot with Victoria – again clearly meant to make us wonder whether he’s really switched sides – simply doesn’t amount to much. He’s feeding Victoria information, but their untrustworthy alliance doesn’t feel dangerous, nor does it feel fleshed-out. Clearly we’ll get a better understanding of how this fits into Emily’s plan – I would be very surprised if this isn’t part of her master plan – but for now this particular storyline isn’t doing it for me. It’s being given too little screen time to be interesting.
And then there’s the black hole of Revenge: Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) and her constant flip-flopping. I’ve never been a fan of the youngest Grayson child, but I hoped she had turned a corner last week after the trauma of last season (and her grown up make-over). Alas this all comes to nothing as this week she’s back to her usual annoying self: running around whining and yelling and disowning everyone every five seconds. Charlotte is still the pawn she’s always been, but now she’s more of a nuisance than ever, whether it’s telling off Emily for exposing Victoria’s affair (in the most out of the blue conversation of the night), confessing to Jack that she irrationally blames herself for Declan’s death or confronting Conrad (Henry Cznery) about his role in the explosion from last season’s finale. No matter what she’s doing, Charlotte is a distraction – a character who exists solely to advance the plot and make viewers groan whenever she turns up.
Last week Revenge did viewers a solid by casting off perenially underutilized Ashley. If the writers were smart, they would go back and revisit Charlotte’s unfulfilled S1 finale storyline and get rid of her once and for all.
- I love that Emily fails to learn from her misplaced revenge against Father Paul. Not only does she frame the reformed man, she then informs Nolan she needs to rescue the Father not because she did him wrong, but because she can use him in her plans for the Graysons. Umm…way to miss the point there, Ems
- The mention that Patrick is a freelance painter immediately takes me back to the dark ages of S1: 1×17 ‘Doubt’ and 1×18 ‘Justice’ when Victoria schlupped an old flame named Dominik Wright, a craptastic painter (played by James Purefoy). Ugh…don’t make us go back there, Revenge
- The B-plot about Daniel’s efforts to get a job at Voulez, Margaux’s (Karine Vanasse) “gossip and hair magazine”, feel standalone and predictable. It’s no surprise that Margaux makes a move on Daniel after all of their sexy flirting, but how awkward will it be for them to work together now? Clearly there’s more to Margaux than is being let on, so feel free to speculate on her agenda in the comments
- Although there is a lot to complain about in this episode, fun running gags like the regifting of Nolan’s muffins is still a minor pleasure
- Jack’s wet-blanket reign continues as he wonders how his life would be different (ie: better) if he hadn’t met up with Emily back in the pilot. Ugh – this misplaced anger at her is such a farce! In keeping with the revisiting of S1 storylines it seems that the Stowaway owner is contemplating picking up a new Sammy the wonder dog. Perhaps Emily should buy him the dog as a way to mend fences?
- Jack using his own red sharpie to take items off the Stowaway menu is either genius or too on-the-nose. I can’t decide which
- Good on Nolan for getting back on the horse. And by horse I mean that hot guy that we see him escorting out of his place the morning after sexytimes. Also, love the PTSD reference to Tyler. More S1 memories!
- Finally, has there ever been a Grayson family meal that doesn’t end poorly? Perhaps these people should declare a moratorium on these gatherings since someone inevitably ends up getting hurt. At least no one was held at gunpoint! On the plus side, Victoria’s “I love Patrick” speech gave everyone a chance to get in on eye-rolling fun
- Nolan (as Em drops off the infinity box): “I had a feeling you’d be uncapping that red sharpie now that Jack’s given you that deadline.”
- Victoria (describing Conrad’s religious beliefs): “He’s always viewed God as a competitor”
- Daniel (relating how his day with Margaux went): “She made an offer, I told her I’d sleep on it” I almost wish we hadn’t found Daniel didn’t sleep with Margaux so that we could ruminated on his turn of phrase until next week
What did you think of ‘Sin’? Is Revenge trying too hard to return to the glory days of S1? Does anyone care about Charlotte? What about Aiden? Any ideas on the respective agendas of Patrick and Margaux? Sound off below
Revenge airs Sundays at 9pm EST on ABC.
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