There seems to be a blueprint for a season premiere of Revenge. Beyond the obvious flash forward scene at the start of the Season 2 opener, the entire episode played out in a familiar fashion. Of course, the game and story have completely changed, but that doesn’t mean the writers are about to toss aside a storytelling technique that’s clearly working.
Step 1: Begin with a Flash Forward
“This wasn’t an accident.” A crew is sifting through a sunken ship, which we learn is none other than Jack’s prized possession: The Amanda. We see a family photo of Declan, Carl, and Jack as well as Jack’s compass. And the shot of him holding it later is clearly a device to make it seem as if the dead man the crew finds in the boat is Jack. However, if we learned anything from last season, it’s not. The dead man face-down in a white blazer on the beach wasn’t actually Daniel, it seems safe to be that the man in the boat isn’t Jack. Who else are we going to get all googly-eyed over all season if he’s gone, anyway?
Step 2: Have Emily Remember a Parent in Sepia Tone
Emily’s sensei, Takaeda, is training her in the ocean. She’s tied to a pillar and she’s about to drown, but in the thin barrier between life and death, she sees most of a memory of visiting her mother in the hospital. Only this time, the challenge isn’t dealing with the pain of the memory, it’s figuring out the missing piece of the memory. Takaeda’s new, seemingly excessive hot British sidekick saves Emily and keeps her from unlocking the entire scene, something Emily vows to get him for. Let’s give the girl a break though. Why wouldn’t she want to push that hot guy up against a wall? And Jack turned out to have a pregnant girlfriend, someone Takaeda dropped back into his life. She’s certainly allowed to be a little miffed with this training duo.
And don’t worry. Takaeda doesn’t trust Emily, so he lets his sexy minion embark on a mission to set her straight. This could get interesting sexy.
Granted, we can’t get through an entire premiere episode without the full sepia tone memory. Emily figures out a way to unlock it when she re-teams with Nolan (who’s looking pretty shiny in that boxing ring) and discovers a psychiatric facility where her mother was being treated was shut down two days after her father was arrested. When they visit the hospital, Emily sees the bed her mother was in: it has old-fashioned looney bin leather handcuffs on the bed. The cuffs trigger the full memory: Emily (then Amanda) visiting her mother while the doctors hold her down and an unseen person rushes the little girl out of the room. Bingo. Now we can move onto the part where Nolan finds a hospital sign-in sheet that Victoria signed as one of Emily’s invalid aunts. We learn that clearly, she was just working on some way to tie up the “loose end” she was talking about on Emily’s tape (the last remaining piece of evidence against the Graysons).
Step 3: Let the Porters Get in Trouble Again
Season 1 saw the Porters facing losing their bar and Season 2 delivers a similar, yet slightly different plight: getting shut down by the health inspector. Because Jack has been too distracted by the fact that he’s not in love with Amanda at all, he’s let things at the bar slide and the pipes in the walls rust. It doesn’t get past the health inspector and he shuts them down until they can fix the pipes.
This drives Jack to get his shit together, which he thinks means he should move out of the boat and back into the apartment with Amanda. Somehow this also means Declan needs to move to the boat, which is a little odd because unless Declan’s been sharing a bed with Amanda (and unless Carl, Declan, and Jack were all sleeping in the same bed together way back when), there’s definitely room for everyone. Of course, Declan being booted isn’t done without reason: he needed to be angry enough to tell Jack to admit he doesn’t want to be with Amanda.
And while Declan is clearly right, his words aren’t enough. Jack needs his real love, Emily, to give him the right push. Of course, she tries to deal with it directly with Amanda, telling her that if Jack find out who she really is, he’ll be out. Unfortunately, Amanda’s not that stupid and fires back that (duh) Emily’s actually got more to lose by letting that secret out. Emily gets her way, however, when Jack comes to see her and she questions the paternity of Amanda’s baby. Jack wants more than anything to turn back time and be with Emily, so clearly he likes the sound of this. The problem is Amanda is more than willing to make an appointment. She’s going to be telling the whole truth and we’re going to be stuck with a mini version of her all season.
Next: Okay, seriously. Where is Victoria?Step 4: Throw a Memorial Day Party... On a Boat... With the Same Tacky Ribbons
And apparently have Hamptons elite like Nolan and Emily drink Cosmopolitans... again. For the record, these two are not the cosmo types. They’d be drinking Grey Goose and soda or maybe a dry martini. Look at those skin-tight dresses. There’s no way Emily’s wasting calories on those sugary treats. Let’s be real, folks.
Anyway, this time around, Ashley is the one throwing Victoria’s annual Memorial Day party/art auction and it’s made clear that it’s being done as a memorial to Victoria, who’s meant to have died in last season’s inescapable plane crash. The major change with this year’s party is that Ashley is planning the whole affair as Daniel’s trophy girlfriend. (Though if Conrad’s suspicious commentary on Daniel’s latest girlfriend is any indication, she might be getting a little action from both Grayson men. It seems that Conrad’s inability to be a human towards anyone he’s supposed to care about is still in tact.)
Step 5: Discover a Big Ol’ Secret
Last year, Emily discovered that Conrad was cheating on Victoria with Lydia Davis in the first episode. This season, Charlotte helps Emily to outdo her past self by leaps and bounds.
Charlotte makes a scene at the party, just like her mother did last year, but with a few more fireworks. After Ashley gives a sterile speech about Victoria’s contribution to the art world and her philanthropic efforts, Charlotte bursts forth to deliver a warm speech about her mother. When she’s finished, she gets some bad news: just in time, Charlotte’s rehab doctor, Dr.Thompson, says her blood tests show signs of hydrocodone and she’ll have to go back to rehab. Before she’s dragged away, she whispers something to Emily. Luckily, this annoying TV/movie device only keeps us in suspense for a few seconds. After a quick cut scene, we find Emily at the very-much-alive Victoria’s front door.
Step 6: Plant a Spy Camera Shaped Like an Undersea Creature
Once Emily visits Victoria, who doesn’t bother to tell her how the hell she actually survived that plane crash but rather skips right to the goods: she’s being help under protection while the government builds a case against Conrad. Charlotte is supposedly the only one who knows she’s alive. She’s been keeping in touch with Charlotte on a burner phone, but when Dr. Thompson finds that, she’s cut off from her daughter. She tells Emily that Conrad is simply trying to frame Charlotte and make her look horrible so he can get control of her inheritance. (A theory supported by Conrad’s request for Daniel to invest his inheritance in Grayson Global and the later scene in which he tells Dr. Thompson he’s paying him to make Charlotte look bad so he can take her inheritance.) Conrad may be completely predictable, but man is he a human pimple.
Naturally, Emily doesn’t trust Victoria’s word. She’s too smart for that. So she does Victoria the favor of looking into Dr. Thompson’s background, and when she delivers the files that prove he’s corrupt, she places her Season 2 spy sea creature in the house: it’s the clam cam. (Fare the well, little humpback whale cam. We shall miss thee.)
In no time Emily is spending more time staring wistfully at the ocean from her dock while Daniel stares at her from Victoria’s old balcony (though Dan has a much softer look cast her way than his mother ever did). She runs inside to watch the clam cam footage with Nolan, and happens to catch it just in time: Victoria isn’t so isolated. She’s working with the white-haired man and they’re working on tying up the latest loose end. Hint: It’s Emily.
It would seem that last season’s case for Victoria, the mostly innocent trapped woman was just another way that Revenge pulled the wool over our eyes. And we liked it.
Thank the god of all things beachy, opulent, and seersucker. Revenge is back.
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[Photo Credit: ABC]