ABC’s ‘Revenge’: The Best Show On Television


With ABC’s Revenge, the elements are familiar: people seeking vengeance, messy pasts laced with secrets, complex villains, and love triangles. But it’s the way the show comes together that makes it so unique and easily the best new series of the season.

Revenge is not only the best new show this fall, but it’s easily one of the best shows on television period.

The elements are familiar: people seeking vengeance, messy pasts laced with secrets, complex villains, and love triangles. It’s the way that this show comes together that makes it so unique. The history that exists in the characters threads them together, uniting them in ways they have yet to realize. It’s simply fascinating to watch their stories unfold every week.

Emily Thorne and Victoria Grayson are the complicated female leads that have two different sides to them. They aren’t driven by selfish intentions or cruelty. Yes, they are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want. Yes, they can be evil. And yes, they have psychotic tendencies, but as a viewer, it’s impossible not to root for them. Emily’s motivation is seeking revenge for her father, a man she lost before she ever got to know him. She was brainwashed to believe he was a terrorist only to find out that he had been set up. How can anyone not see where she comes from? Everything she knew as a child was lost in a single moment, a moment contrived by the people she’s now rubbing elbows with. Is it so wrong to want to see them fall?

The problem is that one of her main targets, Victoria Grayson appears to have been forced into framing David Clarke, the man she loved to save her family. It’s no secret that she’s a callous woman. We’ve seen her in action, but those rare glimpses into her humanity, her past and love for David make you sympathize with her. And that’s what makes her a good villain. She and Emily have two very different sides to them, which goes with what was said in last Wednesday’s episode. There are “two sides to every person; one we reveal to the world, one we keep inside.” That statement alone can sum up the characters on this show.

There is Emily Thorne versus Amanda Clarke, one woman with Daniel and the other with Jack. This love triangle is complicated since Jack has no idea Emily is actually Amanda, but it works because of the glimpses we’ve been given into their pasts. I find myself rooting for both sides of this triangle. How often does that happen on a show? Jack and Daniel are cliché characters, a poor, struggling, but earnest man versus the rich, society boy who is suddenly fed up with that lifestyle.

On Wednesday’s episode (the seventh of the season), Emily dropped the L word on Daniel, and last week, Jack left her crying on the pier when he confessed his feelings to her. Like Victoria, Emily is human. Does she love Daniel? Or does she love Jack? Some part of her has a soul left and that small part must care for Daniel and Jack. If not, I’ll just keep lying to myself. The bottom line here is that no matter who Emily chooses to be with, I’ll end up disappointed. That speaks volumes about the relationships they’ve created with these men. Really, it’s the 21st century, who’s to say she can’t have both?

Emily isn’t the only character that’s found herself in a love triangle. Unfortunately, Victoria’s panned out a hell of a lot worse. Stuck in a marriage with a philandering husband who knew about her affair, she’s ended up miserable. Could this be punishment enough? Victoria basically sold her soul to the devil when she turned on David Clarke, but we’re constantly shown the remorse she has. And judging from her husband’s distraught reaction, “You’ve never looked at me the way you looked at David,” it’s safe to say she is still in love with the man she ruined. It’s sweet, in a twisted, screwed up way. And for that reason alone, I don’t want Victoria to get taken down. She was caught up in something bigger than her. Whether or not Emily will take that into consideration has yet to be seen – right now, all signs point to no.

Other notable elements are the somewhat hokey villain and sidekick, Tyler and Nolan. Is anyone else finding Tyler insanely annoying? He screams dirty in the worst possible ways and these people can’t be stupid enough not to realize this. Getting in with Emily’s best friend and Daniel’s family is way too obvious. And just what does he hope to gain by letting Ashley in on the truth about his family? There needs to be more to this to make Tyler bearable. I’m pretty much at my limit with him and look forward to the day that Emily takes him out. Although, I have to say, Nolan taking one for the team and pulling out Tyler’s gay hustling ways was a crazy twist. It’s just another reason to love Nolan. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was more committed to getting revenge than Emily. He proved there is nothing he’s not willing to do.

Another crazy twist was the real Amanda Clarke pulling out a crowbar on Frank, who was another fantastically complex character. I loved Frank. I loved his devotion to the Graysons, mainly Victoria, but he got a little ahead of himself. The craziest part about him being taken out is that I didn’t even bat an eye. Normally, I would freak out if a character I loved this much was taken out. Again, that says loads about the writing on this show. So, now we’re left with Frank on the side of the road, the real Amanda Clarke in the Hamptons, Daniel and Emily confessing love, and Nolan having a sex tape with Tyler. <

Did everyone catch that there isn’t a new episode for two weeks?! ABC will air the 45th Annual Country Music Awards this Wednesday instead of Revenge. Country music, I love you so much, but not more than Revenge. In fact, I’m raging that you’re bumping this show for a week. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive you.

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Amber Cunigan
Amber Cunigan is a sarcastic mid-twenties undergrad, extreme book hoarder, Netflix addict, and reality TV aficionado. She enjoys excessive amounts of chocolate and caffeine, tweeting, and all things Ezra Fitz and Ryan Gosling. When it comes to TV, she expects to be thoroughly entertained and when not, she will slam and mock you, but still tune in next week. She's a glutton for punishment. Basically, she's awesome.

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