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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Revenge: “Resurrection”

Illustration for article titled Revenge: “Resurrection”
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Resurrection is a fitting theme for tonight’s Revenge, because not only do several characters come back from the (presumed) dead, the show itself returns to the status quo. Where last week’s première found the characters somewhat unmoored from their usual foundations, by the end of tonight all of the pieces are in place for things to resume as if not much has changed.

Central to the resurrection here is Victoria and her triumphant public return from the dead. Victoria’s plan all along was to pay the white-haired man to get her and Charlotte new identities and a new life far, far away from the Hamptons, before he and the Americon Initiative get impatient and kill them. This plan runs into a few snags when Conrad successfully manipulates the system in order to steal Charlotte’s inheritance—along with it stealing the money Victoria was going to use to set up their new life—and also when Emily starts manipulating Charlotte to get her to stay. With no way to get away, Victoria instead turns to the one person who she can count on to help her: Conrad himself. Instead of turning Conrad in for blowing up the plane, destroying the FBI’s evidence, and stealing Charlotte’s money, she instead does things the Hamptons way and uses this knowledge to get him to set up the white-haired man for everything, allowing Victoria to come back into the world as the brave survivor of a (fake) kidnapping and ransom plot.

This plot is diabolical perfection for Victoria, but even more so for Conrad, who can now use the ransom demands as an excuse for liquidating Charlotte’s inheritance and gain back the trust he lost from Daniel in the process. Once again, the Grayson children are simply pawns in their parents’ games, and neither of them are equipped to fully participate themselves. Instead they just bounce around like pinballs being controlled by the Grayson patriarchs’ paddles. Further fueling their position as pawns in this game is Emily, who feels for them both but does not hesitate to use either one when it suits her needs. It’s a delicate line for her to walk, especially with the legitimate desire she so obviously has to have a real relationship with Charlotte. The longer her revenge journey goes on, the more things like that will slip between her fingers.

But as Emily leaves the Grayson house at the end of the episode, the entire family under that roof with no signs of scattering, it’s easy to see the familiar beats of this story snapping back into place. As fun as Victoria’s sojourn in the woods was, Revenge shines when Victoria is on her balcony, evilly glaring at Emily’s house below. And just when it seems Emily will be able to reveal the Grayson treachery for good by giving white-haired man the videos she took of them staging the whole kidnapping, he instead decides to hint that her mother is still alive before attempting to silence her for good, only failing when he’s shot by Takeda’s mysterious Revenge Colleague. For someone who is usually very aware of the danger she puts herself in, Takeda has certainly been her personal savior more than once. Where things are going with Revenge Colleague, well, that’s a question I’m looking forward to finding out the answer to.

As for Jack and Amanda, Emily’s hint from last week that he might not be the father is central to their story tonight. Amanda agrees to have a paternity test, but knowing it might not come back in her favor (pesky one-night stands!) she goes to Emily for help making sure. Emily agrees—in an act that appears to be her letting Jack go—and the test does in fact come back to reveal it is Jack’s baby. But although she tells Amanda she fixed the results for her, Jack is truly the father. Emily rarely lies when it isn’t strategically advantageous to her, but this lie is pure emotion: she desperately wanted it to not be Jack’s, so she tells Amanda it wasn’t simply to hurt her. It is as cold as ice, and not unlike something Victoria might do.

Those were the good things; now, let’s take on the bad. Declan appears to be getting a storyline of his very own, and predictably, it’s pretty awful. From the second his prep school classmate Trey Chandler shows up and starts suspiciously acting like Declan’s friend, it’s pretty obvious things are going to take a bad turn. That they do, with Trey asking Declan to “hold onto” a ridiculously expensive bracelet he stole from his stepmother in exchange for $500. Declan agrees, because he is a moron. I’m sure nothing bad could possibly happen to him because of this, right? Poor kids who are discovered to have tens of thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise in their possession are always exonerated.


Declan continues to be a huge problem for the show, but the trouble is that he doesn’t have to be. Last season when he was mostly reduced to a background player—popping up here and there to say annoying things or be self-righteous at a Grayson dinner party—he was tolerable. But the decision to give him his very own story—one that hinges on him doing something insanely stupid—well, that’s a terrible idea. Charlotte was fairly useless for most of season one, but the show has found a way to make her a mostly integral part of the plot. It’s hard to imagine that Declan’s adventures in being some random rich kid’s pawn could possibly do the same for him.

Stray observations:

  • According to Conrad, sometimes he feels like Job. Are we sure he doesn’t mean GOB?
  • It seems the way the show is going to get out of using New Takeda in business situations is to send his Revenge Colleague instead.
  • Nolan’s new friend and CFO is a bit of a mystery. It’s nice to see that the show is recognizing that Nolan barely does any work, but what is her agenda? Everyone on the show must have one, as it’s a requirement for stepping foot in the Hamptons. (Still, it’s nice to see Greek’s Dilshad Vadsaria getting more TV work.)
  • Nolan: “What now, revenger?”
  • “I don’t think my employees have any respect for me?” “Why would they? You’re not wearing pants.”