Pascal, Pascal, Pascal! It’s all about Pascal (Olivier Martinez) as Revenge continues its third season. Unfortunately last week’s problems still apply.
Let’s bitch it out…
Does anyone remember when Revenge used to be fun? Like, “I can’t wait to see what happens next” fun? It’s getting hard to remember that series, isn’t it? Episodes like ‘Addiction’ prove just how stagnant this show has become in just a few years. Despite a few peaks, it’s clear that S3 has settled into a too-comfortable rhthym; every opportunity the writers have had to do something different has been rejected in favour of sticking with the status quo. Unfortunately that status quo includes introducing characters out of the blue and turning them into “integral” elements of Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) plot.
The latest addition to this phenomenon is Pascal LeMarchal, who, as we are repeatedly reminded throughout ‘Addiction’, was once a paramour of Victoria (Madeleine Stowe). He also factors into Daniel’s (Josh Bowman) plan to attack Emily via Jack (Nick Wechsler), but we’ll discuss that later. The problem with everything Pascal is that he’s a walking, talking MacGuffin: he exists solely to orient the action, for characters to move around and try to manipulate. As a character on his own, he’s unmemorable and flat. Exhibit A: after Emily learns he likes to gamble, she orchestrates an elaborate fundraiser to “get his attention” and his reaction falls somewhere between a sneeze and a snore (which is ironically exactly how I would describe Martinez’s performance!)
Thankfully the shifting allegiances are kinda keeping things interesting: Emily is trying to decipher Pascal’s note to her father by getting close to him, but unbeknowst to her he’s already working with Conrad and Victoria (though they don’t know he’s working with/sleeping with the other). It’s a high stakes game – to borrow (terribly) from the evening’s gambling theme. Luckily Emily has her full team back on deck now that Aiden (Barry Sloane) is back in town and it’s clear that Nolan (Gabriel Mann) won’t be distracted sexually by Javier (Henri Esteve) as many of us had previously feared (hoped?). So the deck is stacked and Em has a full house etc, card metaphor, etc.
Here’s the skinny: basically everyone thinks they’re playing everyone. Except maybe Emily, who actually is playing everyone but has to pretend she’s not, lest her marks get too suspicious. It’s simultaneously everything you expect and fear from Revenge, which basically means that its treading water. As a whole, ‘Addiction’ isn’t “Declan & Charlotte” levels of terrible, but it’s not “Red Sharpie of Doom” magnificent, either. It’s average, which may just be the kiss of death for a series on a bubble. Revenge needs some buzz to goose the ratings before ABC decides its fate, and these kinds of “meh” episodes just aren’t gonna cut it…
- Night time soap trope #1: Conrad’s (Henry Czerny) silver tongue nearly prompts first wife Stevie (Gail O’Grady) to dive back into the bottle. Ain’t (ex) marriage grand?
- The other side of the Pascal affair is how his presence has been used to make Margaux (Karine Varnasse) look like a complete idiot. I can appreciate a good “rich child whose parents make them feel insecure” and there’s a certain irony in Daniel failing to see how he’s manipulating someone who so clearly suffers from the same phenomenon he does, but it makes Margaux look extremely clueless to fail for his ploys. Clearly someone failed to read their copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Revenge and Manipulation in the Hamptons.
- This prompts Night time soap trope #2: Why would Margaux listen to Daniel’s suggestion that Jack is trying to send her away to be closer to Emily? Like, maybe instead of act like a jealous, crazy lady, you could just ask Jack what’s up??? Oh, also, he’s buying a freaking house with you!
- Javier + Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) = 2getha 4eva (that’s totally how the kids are saying it these days, right?) I know that Charlotte is a bit of a moron, but I feel like even someone as dim as her would have the smarts to 1) call security and 2) get an immediate restraining order if someone you just met tried to face rape you. Emily’s barely concealed disgust when she meets him half-naked earlier is MUCH more appropriate.
- P.S. Let’s never, ever refer to the “Charvatar” as though it were something. This is totally this week’s “kill it with fire/pray it away” plot device.
- I’m completely torn on Victoria’s giant Diana Ross hair. I kinda love it because it’s such a departure, but it also looks like she might be hiding a bird’s nest or two in it. The competing cleavage plunging dresses on Vic and Em as they duke it out over cards James Bond-style, on the other hand? Amazing…
- Finally, Aiden comes back from his tropical paradise hideaway because Pascal’s note makes reference to his father. Oh great – another effing family member is in the mix? How long before somebody’s great Aunt Myrtle shows up with some kind of incriminating picture or will or (lord help us) broach? Like, seriously, Revenge writers?
- Victoria (informing Conrad that Jack is Stevie’s son): “Oh Conrad, all the morning papers you flip through and you always miss Page Six.”
- Stevie (initiating Em into the ex-Grayson club): “I’d say welcome to the club, but I don’t much care for the other member.”
- Victoria (goading Em at the poker table): “You’ve been bluffing since you set foot in the Hamptons, why stop now?”
- Victoria (correcting Pascal when he suggests she is tricking Emily): “I’m hunting her.”
Your turn: What do you think of Pascal and how he’s being used on the show? Are you secretly pleased at how Emily is manipulating everyone? Are you excited to learn more about Aiden’s dad? Do you dread seeing more of Charlotte and Javier? And should Victoria wear her hair like this more often or not? Sound off with your thoughts (and fashion tips) below.
Revenge airs Sundays at 10pm EST on ABC.