‘Revenge’ Review: Emily is not the only one unraveling in ‘Payback’

ABC/Richard Cartwright

Last night, Revenge returned from its brief winter hiatus with a messy episode called “Payback.” Maybe it’s just me, but I am not feeling this show anymore. Season three started out on a high note and then quickly went downhill. It recovered briefly around the wedding and the episodes after that were somewhat interesting, but now it just feels like we’re treading water again.

I can’t even put my finger on what the problem is with the show. It has all of the elements to be must-see soapy goodness: gorgeous people, a beautiful setting, lies, sex, murder, cheating, vengeance and everything else a person could want in a guilty pleasure drama. But it’s missing something: excitement, maybe? Things do feel awfully predictable and that would be okay if the plots were still interesting, but most of the characters are kind of just there.

When was the last time Charlotte served a purpose? She had that weird anti-Emily thing going before the wedding, but then she did a 180 and was the perfect friend/sister. Even now she doesn’t quite understand what’s happening between Emily and Daniel, but Charlotte seems to still want the best for both of time. Now that she’s going to work for Margaux, Daniel plans on using her to spy on Conrad, but frankly, that doesn’t sound all that interesting to me.

Does Daniel have a purpose besides antagonizing Emily and swearing to bring Conrad down for taking his place at the magazine? Why does that sound familiar? Maybe it’s because we already saw the Daniel versus Conrad business plot in season two and it wasn’t anything special then either? And every time Daniel (or Victoria) reminds Emily that she can’t have kids, I want to reach into my TV and beat them upside the head with a blunt object. That’s just cruel.

Then there’s Victoria’s other son, Patrick. I wanted so badly to love this character since he’s played by one of my favorite people, but even I’m ready to admit defeat on this one. It’s been 11 episodes and I’m still not sure how we’re supposed to feel about Patrick. At first, he seemed a little shady, but then it looked like he was a good guy, who just wanted to get to know his mother and had a genuine interest in Nolan. Then he went a little dark and pulled out of it for about five seconds and then he lost it when he learned the truth about his conception.

Patrick’s plan was to have his father rebuild the gallery that Patrick burned down and then kill him. Victoria wasn’t happy about it, but Patrick was going to do it anyway. Then he started to realize his father had changed, except he hadn’t. He was still a creep and the creep put the pieces together and tried to grab Victoria. Patrick kept him away, Jimmy’s head got split open and Victoria let him die. As far as payback goes, that’s a pretty good one, but now Patrick is questioning whether they’re terrible people. We know that everyone on this show is basically a terrible person so again, I’m not really sure what the point of this whole story was. I still don’t think it’s going to end well for Patrick.

Now let’s circle back to Emily. When we last saw her, she was waking up in Conrad’s bed with no memory of getting there. The thought of her having sex with Conrad was pretty horrifying, but it was also interesting. Was Emily losing her mind? What else did she do when she blacked out? This episode solved the Conrad question right away, which I found disappointing. It’s not that I wanted it to be real, but maybe drag the suspense out a little longer? Instead, it just feels like it was done for the point of a cliffhanger. Emily had some tests run, but the diagnosis wasn’t helpful, which left Nolan to question if she’s losing her mind like her mother did.

During one of Emily’s blackouts, she went and tried to get Aiden back (points for that) and during another, she called Conrad’s ex-wife Stevie and had her come to the Hamptons to be her lawyer – so she could seek an annulment from her cheating husband. Naturally, Emily doesn’t want that and attempted to backtrack. Stevie seemed pretty confused by her change of heart, especially since she said she loved someone else. Nolan showed Emily a video of herself attacking Nolan and then she realized that something was off about Aiden suddenly leaving.

It didn’t take long for Emily to put the pieces together – Nikko had taken him because Emily had left the murder weapon under his bed (no joke, this was my favorite part of the episode because I really hated the idea that Aiden had been dumb enough to store that under his bed). Emily headed out to rescue Aiden and he stopped her from killing Nikko since she was innocent (um, okay). Aiden was pretty annoyed by Emily letting the murder cat out of the bag and he was not impressed when she said she still wanted to put her revenge plan ahead of their relationship. So I guess they’re still broken up? Again, I’m not really seeing the point of this interlude if we’re just going to end up at the same conclusion.

Finally, let’s circle back to Stevie. She showed a weird interest in Jack, which might have set off warning bells for me if I’d been paying attention during their scenes, but I really wasn’t. All I know is that they talked about Conrad. Then she went to help her ex-husband with his latest divorce from Victoria. As per usual, Queen Victoria only wanted the house, but it turns out that there was a legal document actually making it Stevie’s so she ordered Victoria out and still wanted nothing to do with Conrad. Really, show? This woman is a lawyer, presumably a good one, and she’s just now finding out she owns the house that her ex-husband built for his new wife? If that’s not convenient, I don’t know what is.

Stevie went to see Jack again at the end of the episode. This time, he was suspicious of all her questions and wanted to know why she was so interested. That’s when she told him that she was his mother. What? That caught my attention for about five seconds and then I remembered that I don’t really care about Jack. I know other people do so maybe people are really excited about this upcoming story? Personally, I find it unnecessary to find a new way to tie Jack to the Grayson family drama, but if this review is anything to go by, I found the entire episode unnecessary because it barely held my attention.

Now it’s your turn. What did you guys think of “Payback?” Were you surprised by the big revelations? Are you relieved Emily didn’t sleep with Conrad? Do you think she’s turning into her mother or is something else wrong? Do you see the point of any of Victoria’s kids (besides keeping good actors employed)? Hit the comments and share your thoughts with us!

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 Comment

  1. While I definitely enjoyed the episode last night, I can tell you exactly where this show started going COMPLETELY WRONG!!!

    When Mike Kelly decided to buck the original plan and introduce Aiden as Emily’s supposed “one true love!” It was always supposed to be a Jack/Emily/Daniel triangle. When Amanda was introduced, she was just someone for Jack until Emily finally admitted she couldn’t live without him. Now, at the end of last season, they introduced Margo, yet another person to come in between Jack and Emily. They were originally supposed to introduce Conrad and Stevie’s son (or children)….. However, it seems Mike Kelly lost his mind and decided to give Victoria another kid.

    I am telling right now, what isn’t working is all the extra characters coming in between what is supposed to be the “endgame” couple of Jack and Emily. Killing Declan was stupid!!!! I mean, they had already killed Carl Porter, why was Declan’s death needed?! Now, Charlotte is just floating around….

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