‘Revenge’ Review: Running in Place to ‘Surrender’

ABC/Richard Cartwright

Someone asked me the other day if Revenge is a show I would recommend. Even though I’ve seen every episode, I love some of the characters and I cover the show each week, my answer was no. When the show is good, it’s addictive and soapy and so much fun to watch. Then there are episodes like “Surrender.”

To be fair, the episode had some great moments. Conrad and Victoria sniping at each other and then pausing in the middle so she can help him pick out the right color tie and then taking a moment to look at their son’s baby picture and reminisce about what that day was like and how they hadn’t quite thought of a name for him yet, was exactly why these two are so much fun to watch. There’s no doubt that they hate each other, but buried deep, deep down, there’s still a hint of love there.

ABC/Richard Cartwright

ABC/Richard Cartwright

Unfortunately, the episode as a whole, much like the last few, have felt like the show is treading water and wasting time until we get to next week’s big wedding episode. I’ve said this before and I hate that I have to repeat myself, but it feels like a waste of time watching these filler episodes. For every great Conrad and Victoria moment, there are five useless moments where some new obstacle pops up and it looks like Emily’s plans are going to fall apart and the wedding won’t happen.

But we know it’s going to happen because we saw the first episode of the season, which began with a married Emily getting shot on her honeymoon cruise. So when this episode ended with Victoria stopping by Emily’s house to personally deliver the news that she would not be attending the wedding, Emily’s panicked look didn’t mean much. We know Victoria is going to be there (and if we didn’t, the preview that followed the episode gave it away when she was shown attending the wedding).

Of course there was a bigger cliffhanger. Lydia’s return was a mixed bag. It was a nice twist that Victoria had gotten her off the plane. I love when they remind us that Victoria is nowhere near as heartless as Emily wants to believe that she is. But Lydia wasn’t really back because she wanted to ruin Conrad. She was bored living her life and wanted to be in the Hamptons again and returned to Conrad’s bed before the end of the episode. She noticed his nostalgia boxes and the first thing she did was find that New Year’s Eve photo that has Amanda Clarke-era Emily in the background.

That definitely spiked my curiosity. What’s she going to do with it? How’s Emily going to talk her way out of this one? She’s never quite been able to defeat Lydia, but maybe they can team up. This is the kind of thing I wish the show had been doing all along this season. Instead of finding silly ways to pretend the wedding might not happen, they should have found more obstacles like this one to throw in Emily’s path – the kind of thing that could genuinely ruin her plan because once the Amanda Clarke secret gets out, everything would change for real.

ABC/Richard Cartwright

ABC/Richard Cartwright

One thing I do want to give the writers credit for is fixing Daniel. He was insufferable last season and at the beginning of this one. But as the episodes wore on, he started to become a sympathetic character again and last night sealed the deal, at least for me. He told Charlotte how much he loved Emily and how happy he’d been until Sara showed up and then he’d ended up confused because he still had feelings for her too. But the baby and Emily were his priority and he was determined to give them, and himself, the happy family that he’d never have. That’s the Daniel I remember from season one and the guy who definitely deserves better than being a pawn.

As for Charlotte, she finally came around to Emily’s side again. She apologized, referred to her as her sister and gave her a sweet, day before the wedding present. It was nice because it made Emily happy, but all I kept thinking was, ‘what was the point of bratty Charlotte’? Like all the other wedding obstacles, it felt like a waste of time. There had to be something else Charlotte could have done leading up to the wedding that didn’t involve hating Emily for no good reason.

Two more quick notes on the episode: First, Aiden and Emily’s scenes were everything fans of the couple love. We got to see them plotting together when Emily was wearing a bracelet she’d stolen from Victoria at the firearm range so it would have gun powder residue on it and then we got to see them being super romantic. Aiden proposed, Emily said yes and then after some quality naked time, they joked about their new life. Nolan had gotten them IDs with the last name ‘Ross’ so he could come visit his distant cousins and Aiden pointed out that he’d be sleeping on their couch for a month. It was cute and sweet and happy.

Speaking of Nolan, he’s part of the second thing I wanted to talk about. Jack was worried about Margaux getting in too deep with her Conrad investigation so he asked Nolan to hack her computer. Instead, Nolan went to Margaux and suggested that she talk to Jack. She did and he told her the truth: Conrad was responsible for the deaths of his wife and brother. Margaux was shocked, but she was willing to let the story go because there would always be more stories. I’m not actively invested in this couple, but it was another really good moment and proof that sometimes, even in the Hamptons, it pays off to be honest.

But the few good moments and the fun snipes the characters take at each other are too few and far between and they get lost in all of the contrived stories about how the wedding might not happen. That’s why I can’t recommend this show. It’s inconsistent and not just from week to week, but within each hour and that’s frustrating to watch because I spent most of the hour checking the time or looking at the book that’s sitting beside me that I could be reading instead.

Next week, we finally get to watch the wedding drama unfold and find out who shot Emily. If you want spoilers, check out the final list of suspects. Here’s hoping that the payoff will be worth all of these episodes that we’ve sat through to get to it.

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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  1. i agree people need to learn how to reserve their judgements till the storyline has already played out, and you wonder why most good shows get cancelled, people just don’t give anything a chance. the whole point is people are just so impatient and it really saddens me that a majority of the comments that i’m reading all across the board such as tvline or tv guide saying that they are done with this show and or this show sucks now.

  2. Another dumb thing about the whiners is how they judge something before it airs. People are already whining about Emily getting amnesia when the episode hasn’t aired yet. Maybe she’s faking the amnesia, maybe she really has it, and maybe the writers can try to something decent with it; my point is that the whiners need to wait and see how a plot will unfold; it’s like playing Zelda Ocarina of Time and then saying “I saved the Great Deku Tree for nothing. This game totally sucks! Already an ally is dead! Ocarina of Time is the worst thing ever!!!”. When the Ryan brothers debuted, I totally thought they were pointless and filler until the Thanksgiving 2006 episode with their father and when Nate killed Fauxmanda and blew up the Amanda boat; now I see that they did have a purpose and Kenny Ryan left on a decent note.

  3. i certainly don’t think that revenge is a bad show but its not the best but its still entertaining. the midseason finale has had mixed reviews i really don’t get the negative comments i’m so just so sick of people complaining no matter how great they make this show, when the writers finally listened to people complaints from last season everyone is complaining that emily is too revengey, when emily wasn’t getting much revenge people complained that there wasn’t enough revenge. i mean sure its had its flaws but overall its still entertaining.

  4. My thoughts exactly and THANK YOU! While Revenge has had it’s flaws, that does not make it a bad show. I disliked the “Surrender” episode (save a few moments), but I was confident “Exodus” would be better and it was. The Revenge Fanbase doesn’t need whiny-ass gripers. Episode 3×01 went out of its way to clean up the Initiative and Carrion stuff on a decent note for everyone, get rid of the Governor Grayson crap, and get rid of Ashley (for the record, I hate politics with a flaming passion so I hated Conrad’s gubernatorial stuff the most in Season 2; everything else was decent and tolerable compared to that), yet people are still complaining.

  5. i agree with while this episode has had its good moments as a whole it was pretty much messy here’s to hoping next weeks show is amazing i’m hoping its goo after the last several episodes

  6. Last night was terrible. The show has become so dumb, I am beginning to laugh AT it instead of with it. Emily as some Japanese warrior drinking her sake was just so silly, it was stupid.

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