‘Revenge’ Review: Has Emily Thorne lost her steam?

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Season 1 was gripping, exciting, a whirlwind rollercoaster ride with unpredictable loops and turns. Can the second season compete?

Season 1 was gripping, exciting, a whirlwind rollercoaster ride with unpredictable loops and turns. Can the second season compete?

Tonight’s episode, “Illusion,” marks the sixth of the second season. So far Victoria came back from the dead, Emily’s mother returned along with a former lover, Nolan met someone who just may be detrimental to his company’s financial standings, Amanda had a freak accident, gave birth, and went into a coma, and Daniel has figured out that Grayson Global is crumbling. It might seem like a lot of story has happened, but most have fallen flat.

One day Daniel Grayson is cunning and devious, the next he’s bending to his father and mother’s hand. Which is he supposed to be? Is he a bad Grayson with a dark side? Or is he the rich boy wimp? You can’t walk him finely on the line in between and expect viewers to stay interested. The only thing saving him lately is that he looks good in a suit and is wearing one every single episode. Otherwise, I’d need Josh Bowman to talk with his accent for me to pay attention. 

And what about Ashley, the social-climber extraordinaire? She’s suddenly Daniel’s doting girlfriend and ignoring Conrad’s will. Why? Because Daniel told her Conrad was awful and the company was in trouble. She chose Daniel’s side, the inevitable poor and alone side because he’ll never stand a chance against his parents, over Conrad and Victoria. Ashley is not that dumb nor does she have the kind of moral principles to choose his side either. She needs someone who will get her some place and Daniel most certainly won’t. Ashley’s as basic as they come, but she’ll stick her claws in anyone to claw out of the basic pit she threw herself in.

The sparring of Conrad and Victoria has gotten old because it doesn’t go anywhere except in a circle. These two are so entangled with one another through their backstabbing history that they’ll never be able to get untangled, which just isn’t as entertaining to watch as you’d think it would be. How many times do we need to see them barking orders at one another and getting upset because someone from the past has walked into the house? The most entertaining thing that happened with these two so far was Conrad beating the hell out of Victoria, which I probably shouldn’t have enjoyed as much as I did.

Charlotte’s done a complete 180 from the outspoken, bratty, rich girl to the subdued, soft-voiced whiner. Rehab must have really done a number on her. She doesn’t even seem like herself anymore. A Grayson doesn’t change over night, especially a pill-popping, Conrad and Victoria hating teenage girl. The writer’s seem so focused on turning her into this doting sister and aunt to Amanda that they’ve lost sight of all her other characteristics. I’d take the dating Declan, spoiled bitch over this any day. 

Revenge has all but lost its unpredictability factor. Maybe my years and years of daytime soap opera viewership are coming into too handy. Like it or not, this show is a nighttime soap, equipped with paternity secrets, affairs, and pregnant women flying over stair railings. One week Amanda is bleeding all over the Grayson floor and in a coma, the next she is awake and walking around as if she never took that tumble. No one even had the chance to try and kill her when she was in that coma. Like what?! I’m not saying she should have been in a coma for months and months, but she woke up so quickly that the fallout was basically swept under the rug. What about Victoria’s part in her falling over the railing? Or how Emily put the entire set of events into place? We should have seen more of the struggle to recover from the freak accident and their hand in it instead of it all but being swept under the rug.

Amanda doesn’t even seem that frazzled by the fact that she almost bled to death on the floor of the Grayson’s foyer. It’s probably the classiest place a former stripper like herself could die, but that’s beside the point. She’s accepted her near death, her healthy baby, and even Emily’s confession that Jack is actually the father. That secret came out entirely too fast if you ask me, but then again, I watched daytime soap operas where paternity secrets last for years.

The reemergence of her mother has sent Emily reeling in a way we’ve never seen. Combine that with Aiden being at her side and Emily is practically an emotional basketcase. I feel like season one Emily would have never forgiven her mother for trying to murder her. Who tries to drown a child? But because she apologized and got some mental help she’s forgiven? Um, hell no. All of this has been an adjustment for that badass, give no second thoughts, and take everyone as her prisoner’s attitude to crumple into tears at least once an episode. I’d also like at least one episode where David Clarke isn’t portrayed as the ultimate good guy who turned straw to gold and handed it out to poor New Yorkers. He’s the king of Mary Sue characters on TV right now. Everything he did was for Emily, to love and protect her, blah blah blah. Like never mind he ignored his wife’s mental illness, locked her away, and cheated on her. It was all for Emily, so it’s okay, guys. Let’s all worship at David Clarke’s altar just because it’s Sunday. If he doesn’t come back as some point as the ultimate badass and show Emily what revenge truly is, I’ll be forever bitter. Forever

At least there’s some potential with Aiden. If Emily doesn’t keep her on the revenge prize, he’ll obviously antagonize her into becoming her inner crazy self again. I’d just like a side of crazy sex amidst it – just once. Aiden getting tied into the Grayson Global and Norelcorp drama should anger Emily enough that she puts the tears away and starts getting vengeful. Although I feel like this angle is kind of ridiculous. Like wouldn’t Nolan keep that investment hidden so deeply that it would never be found out? Or is Padma some super secret badass? What if she has ulterior motive for pursuing Nolan and looking into Grayson Global? That might make this worthwhile. So far this girl is too nice and we all know nice people don’t come around Nolan just because they like his company.

Last week also brought Mason Treadwell back to the Hamptons, who confronted Amanda about a missing scar on her back after being badly burned in foster home. Like duh, Mason, Amanda was a stripper and made lots of dollar bills so maybe she got the scar removed? Like how many guys want that in their face when she’s gyrating on their goods? Dumbest plot point ever, especially since it’ll be fixed by 9:10 tonight.

Let’s not forget the forever plight of the poor represented by Jack and Declan. The sound of violins must play for them everywhere they go. Can Declan stop being annoying? Can Jack be more than just the duped guy in love with the wrong girl? And can someone just friggin’ realize that Amanda Clarke it not really Amanda Clarke? 

By no means am I saying the show is terrible – that is if you’ve made it this far in reading this – but it’s definitely left a lot to be desired. The characters aren’t as enjoyable as they were in the first season. The twists aren’t as wild. Maybe a summer break was too long. The stories aren’t as tight, surprising, or OMFG worthy as they used to be. Nothing’s necessarily wrong with that either. Obviously, it’s entertaining on some levels or I wouldn’t be watching. I love Nolan and the depth of his character, especially with the addition of his father’s death. I love Aiden and the angles he brings to Emily. I love Daniel Grayson’s face. I love how the women are (for the most part) take charge. I love the wardrobe. I love when Victoria stares down at the world from her tower. And I love Conrad’s delicious one liners about how stupid people are. So basically I’m hoping this is just a bit of a sophomore slump and things pick up soon.

And one last thing, the name Carl? Really, guys? This baby will never survive in the Hamptons with that name, let alone Jack as a father. Did you have to stack all the odds against him?

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