Revenge Recap: Back to Basics -- For the Better

Revenge, just when I was ready to issue a strong rebuke about how you need to distance yourself from all of that Americon Initiative nonsense and get back to making me care about Emily’s plight… you do just that. You’re so tricky!

This week’s episode wasn’t the series’ best, but it was a sight better than the past few, and the cliffhanger was a Hamptons classic worthy of Season 1 love. So I’m going to break from our usual format to hit the reasons “Forgiveness” excelled and, of course, suggest a few points to consider in the coming weeks.

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR | Even though I’m not sure how I feel about him yet, I’m with Aiden on this one: Emily’s focus on finding her mom has completely distracted her from the revengenda that made Season 1 so watchable. The reason I got into this show in the first place was that it seemed like the offspring of two of my all-time favorites, Alias and Veronica Mars – a well-dressed chick with a giant chip on her shoulder who gets biznas done. As Emily red Sharpied people out of the Grayson Global picnic photo each week, it felt like we were really making progress. But Season 2 Emily… well, she drives a lot. And cries. Don’t get me wrong – she does both of those things in this week’s episode, too. But as she listens to Kara talk with Amanda, Emily realizes that her mother is just a flawed woman who’s made some epic mistakes in her time. More importantly, our heroine seems to get a little clarity – as evidenced by her telling Amanda the truth about Carl’s paternity and apologizing for being such an icy jerk in the past. And with Em’s suspicions about Padma and her all-but-declared war with Aiden on the horizon, I’m optimistic that Emily will get back to fighting form real soon — and clearing daddy’s name can’t be far behind. But in the meantime, with Emily not at 100 percent, you’ve gotta have some other kickass storylines (:cough:notKennytryingtobuyTheStowaway:cough:) going on to compensate. Which leads us to…

SECRETS AND INTRIGUE ON LINE 1 | You know why Tyler was a very utilitarian character on this show? Because he had a plan. You never quite knew what his motives were. I had thought Ashley would fill that role this season – and maybe she will eventually – but her burn has been so slow that it wouldn’t even warm a cupcake in an EZ-Bake Oven. But Padma? I’m still not sure what her game is, but her off-the-books inquiry into Grayson Global’s history with NolCorp makes me positive she’s got one — and that makes me interested in what she’s going to do. Speaking of things she’s doing, I know that certain other members of the TVLine staff remain unconvinced that Nolan would be interested in a member of lady nation, but I buy it. Is Noles the most masculine man who ever wore a candy-colored sportcoat? Hell no. But given the way he discussed his sexuality with Tyler last season – you’ll recall he said he was about a 3 on the Kinsey Scale – I’m at least giving Heterolan a chance. And, as previously mentioned, I love him. Moving on!

COMMENCE FREAKOUT IN 3… 2… | David Clarke’s wife is bunking at Grayson Manor. I repeat: David Clarke’s wife is bunking at Grayson Manor. So much awesome comes out of that simple situation: Victoria quailing at the mere sound of Kara’s voice, that awkward hug with the floral clippers, Queen Vic panicking as she tosses Kara’s room looking for dirt – basically, I love it when anyone can send Vicky into a full-out “Wha?!” attack, and Mrs. Clarke does that with some chunky jewelry and some incredibly uneasy conversation – the exchange in the cupola about Victoria being the other woman comes to mind. My theory: Kara totally knows that Emily is really Amanda and that Fauxmanda isn’t really her daughter, but she’s playing it all with Meryl Streep-like skill in order to get at whatever truth she’s pursuing. During her initial visit, she’s clearly lying to Victoria at the same time she’s pumping her for information; I posit that her love for Em is just playing possum until she can finds what she needs.  Agree? Disagree? Tell me how right/wrong I am in the comments.

WHEN IN DOUBT, RETURN TO WHAT WORKS | Mason Treadwell’s reappearance is perfection on several levels. First, Roger Bart seems to derive actual pleasure from playing the slimy author, and that’s always fun to watch. Second, he is a good way to remind the audience that this show is about finding clues and then using those clues against others. I did not know what his stare at Amanda’s bare back meant at the hospital, but I didn’t have to wait long for some excellent payoff. He knows Amanda Clarke has a scar incurred during her foster years, he knows little Carl’s mama doesn’t have that scar, ergo he knows exactly how faux little Mandy is. “You may be many things to many people, the latest, it would seem, young mother to an infant boy. But the daughter of Kara Wallace and David Clarke? That is one thing you most definitely are not,” he says with glee, tossing a file folder (clues!) on her swing and sauntering out, whistling “Strangers in the Night.” Baller! And that, folks, is how you do a Revenge cliffhanger.

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT | Revenge could send the following items to the sea floor with the soon-to-be-doomed Amanda, and I wouldn’t complain:
• The Stowaway, complete with its mold problem and Kenny’s desire to bilk the Porter brothers out of their townie bar
• Americon Initiative – remember how I said I loved Alias? I’d like to amend: I loved it until the end of Season 2, then I stayed with it out of a sense of obligation through the rest of the rambling Rimbaldi ridiculousness; all this talk of the Initiative is veering heavily into giant-floating-red-ball territory
• Charlotte and Declan, not as individual characters (well, maybe Declan), but as a couple or potential couple or whatever the heck they are these days; (side note: Christa B. Allen’s facial expression when Declan remarks that the Porters are from “a long line of gentlemen” conveys such a perfectly polite nonverbal “What the hell are you talking about, little leprechaun?”, I’m going to have to practice it and put it into use myself)

Enough of what I think – now it’s your turn. Hit the comments with your thoughts on the episode, what you loved, what you hated and how it compares with your vision for the show. Have at it!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. joe says:

    Amanda Thorne? Not quite either character’s name.

  2. Alichat says:

    Ok…..Aiden has to die. If you want Emily to trust you, don’t screw with her surrogate brother, Nolan!

    I’m so glad that Emily told Fauxmanda about the baby’s paternity. I was really worried that things would go south between Jack and Faux, and then she’d take off with the baby.

    • I’m thinking that this is what snaps Em back to her ass kicking form. She finds out that Aiden is screwing with Nolan’s company and she comes at him full tilt and takes a piece out of the Grayson’s asses in the process. I could see her giving up her secret identity to protect Nolan. She cares a lot more about him than she thinks she does. Not a romantic relationship but definitely a strong brother/sister relationship. Anyone threatening Nolan is bound to send Emily into ninja protective mother mode. I think that Mason is going to out Fauxmanda to Jack and then Jack will figure out who Emily really is. I love Mason’s character. He is such a wild card. The Graysons can’t control him and his whims point him in whatever direction and he attacks like a piranha. He doesn’t stop till he is crunching the bones of the truth.

  3. Mirjana Slavkovic says:

    agree 100%. Kara is only there to find her husband. But I do like that Emily is being honest, guess that she liked her mom’s speech about her being a good person after all.
    Is Padma the new Tyler?

    • Pearl says:

      Aiden and Daniel explained very well what Padma was after, by being on the Grayson’s Global David Clarke investing on Nolancorp makes the Grayson’s “partners” of Nolan’s company, so she was trying to go ahead of them, by reviewing the contract to find a loophole that guarantee that Nolan won’t have surprising company. She’s, actually, looking for Nolan’s interest, without him knowing, but as Emily and Nolan are on full alert for devious things, they will think otherwise.
      The problerm is that Padma, trying to prevent the company, actually woke up the dragon, with a little help from Aiden, making Grayson’s Global (read Daniel) go after their share of the company.

      Now, for the good outcome of this:
      Grayson’s are messing with her “brother” and she’ll have none of this. First she’ll go after Aiden, probably using his little sister against him (proving to Takaeda that she knows how to isolate her afections from her agenda), then she’ll go all spýing on Daniel, by sleeping with him only so she can have access to his files and be able of saving Nolan from his ambition. That done, Daniel will realize that Emilly played him, and will become her new enemy, and part of her revengenda, maybe even allying himself with the Initiative in the process.
      Curiosity fact, Aiden choose to be Emms enemy and attack Noel through Grayson’s cause he realized that, as much she cares about Noel, the only way of putting her back on the path of revenge is giving her more motives to go after the assassins of her father. And the last episode will reveal him by Takaeda’s side, being congratulated for his work, and even becoming a full time teacher on Revenge School.

  4. Fabe says:

    I just want to shout my love for Amanda (Margarita Levieva). She is my favorite character!

  5. Jon says:

    Huh Padma being the new Tyler? That could be interesting but poor Nolan if she does turn out being like this season’s version of Tyler. Also if Aiden ruins Nolan’s compant then I look forward to watching Emily destroy him. Also speaking of Aiden I think Ashley could turn out to be his sister but it kind of seems TOO obvious I mean they’re the only British characters so they have to related?!? Idk maybe Ashley’s just a red herring. Hopefully Emily gets back to exacting revenge on the Graysons and Mason before he finds out and reveals the truth about her and Amanda.

  6. Lynne says:

    I really couldnt get into this week’s episode. But of course, the last five minutes grabbed me and has me waiting for the next episode.
    I love that Mason has reappeared. He is always enjoyable to watch. But I have to wonder what they will do to him now that he knows that Fauxmanda is not Amanda. He didnt say anything about knowing about Emily though, so maybe he just thinks that she is a random complete fraud trying to get into the Hampton life.
    EMILY TOLD HER JACK WAS THE FATHER!!!! There goes my hope that the guilt of the baby not being Jack’s was going to be the end of Fauxmanda. Maybe I just need to come to terms that she is here for good. They didnt kill her when she fell and she doesnt have the guilt eating at her anymore… Unless Mason runs her out of town with the knowledge that she isnt really Amanda!!!!! Yes, I am gripping at any straw I can as a reason why they will finally get rid of Fauxmanda.
    Really dont know what to think about Padma. Like everyone else, she has to have an agenda, just not sure what it is still.
    Was hoping for a huge showdown between Victoria and Kara, but that hug and the shot of the shears was even better than a huge blowout!!
    Now we know why Conrad wants to marry Victoria again. How the hell did I not think of that being the reason before??? Makes sense. And the scene of him being taken away makes me wonder if he knew that was coming and so did all of this so she didnt have to testify against him.
    A quick peek of Emily and Daniel next week was nice. I miss those two together.

    • D says:

      I don’t know why people like Emily and Daniel together, their entire relationship is based on lies, she used and manipulated him. She doesn’t really love him. Jack is her soulmate.

      • GS says:

        Jack is so boring and they have ZERO chemistry! Now Emily and Daniel are off the charts HOT and I think she did start to love him but he chose his family over right and she couldn’t take it. But Jack is NOT her soulmate. He’s a dude she knew when she was 9. That doesn’t make him the only man for her. That’s just dumb.

      • I says:

        Thank you! A comment tht i like! And i completely agree!!!

      • I says:

        Thank you! A comment tht i like! And i completely agree!!! Jack and Emily r soulmates!

  7. N says:

    Loving FauxAmanda!

  8. June says:

    The show is unraveling so many secrets its hard to keep track of them all. What kind of town is this? Or rather was this? Emily needs to get back to her agenda. Jack and “Amanda” started her heart back now she needs to “Guts Up” & move on.

  9. Maryam says:

    Enough with Aiden. He does nothing for the show. Emily needs to get rid of him ASAP!

  10. Mike says:

    Happy Em told fauxmanda the truth, and I lived how she reacted but was understanding about why she did it, and understands all she has taken from Ems. Good to see Nolan is slowly returning to Ems side. Liking Aiden more and more every week and continuing to become more suspicious of Padma. Prediction: Mason Treadwell will die soon, he know Fauxmanda is not Amanda, and I’m guessing Aiden might kill him. Can’t wait until next week, happy to see the revenge back as the focus, though I’ve enjoyed the this season as a whole.

    • Alichat says:

      I’m wondering if what Fauxmanda said is true….that Amanda/Emily had treatment to remove the scar. Emily has worn backless dresses before….the black one she was wearing at the baby shower had a low back to it. It exposed the same area on her back that Mason was looking at on Fauxmanda’s. I’m wondering if this whole twist will be solved by Nolan editing some medical records to read Amanda instead of Emily.

  11. NBC says:

    what the hell Aiden.

  12. Beverly Berger says:

    Where can I find the necklace that Emily wore. Long with a tassle. The Oct 28th show.

  13. kali says:

    I’m sorry but I have to ask: why aren’t we getting Nikita recaps? I get that Revenge has higher ratings…I get that. But plot- and characterwise, wouldn’t it be at least as rewarding to write a recap on Nikita? Most critics rave about Nikita’s consistent storyline, its emotional development and ballsy decisions. Please help to keep this show alive – even if it is by providing recaps and thereby stating: “This show may not have amazing ratings bit it is definitely worth watching!”

    • tripoli says:

      Probably because Nikita sucks. It started off well and became utter crap in season 2. Prepare yourself, it’s getting canned sooner than later.

  14. xy77boy says:

    Love this show, been on the edge of my seat with every episode this season. I have no idea why you think it has sucked. I get that you don’t like the stowaway plot but the Porter brothers are a part of the show and there need to be subplots. I get how the Americon Initiative could end up really dull but honestly we barely found out about them, isn’t it a bit early to be making floaty red ball predictions? Plus if they did each season with the same revengy formula it would get old really fast. Your complaints are valid but also nitpicky.

  15. nikki says:

    Let’s be honest here: Victoria and Conrad are the best part of this show. The rest is just Alias 2.0. Unfortunately, Emily VanCamp can’t hold a candle to Jennifer Garner. Please, please get rid of Declan. He sucks at everything.

  16. arianeb says:

    Did anyone else see the humor in the exchange between Daniel, Aiden, and Ashley over the difference between Britain and America. What makes it funnier is that Josh Bowman is British himself. I’m sure the three actors probably have a long list of American quirkiness,

  17. airhead says:

    high five for loving Veronica Mars!!
    Also, I find it a little hard to believe that Cara didn’t recognise Emily, so I think it’s totally possible that she knows Fauxmanda isn’t her daughter (why won’t Fauxmanda just die already? Taken Declan with you, while we’re at it). I was kind of hoping she’d casually call her Amanda when they were standing on the beach at the end just to screw with us.
    And I’m a little unsure of what to think about Padma… I guess time will tell

  18. Anna says:

    The only thing that gives me comfort, knowing that Padma (and Aiden, and Daniel) are screwing with Nolan, is that Emily will probably kill them slowly and painfully if they actually do hurt him. STAY AWAY FROM NOLAN, IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU!

    • Jdaniels86 says:

      Does anyone else think Padma might actually be trying to lookout for Nolcorp?

      • Alichat says:

        It’s possible, but then why lie to him when he finds the frame in his office and asks her if she did anything with it? If she’s not up to something, then she’s as dumb as a post.

        • tripoli says:

          Yeah, she’s way too secretive and nosy for her intentions to be pure. She’s shady as hell and should be off the show post haste. Nolan could do so much better.

  19. kblah says:

    Not feeling this season at all. And when I really think about it, I think the love started waining in the second half of last season. Guess it’s tough to “drag out” The Count of Monte Cristo.

  20. greysfan says:

    I hate Mason Treadwell. I wish they would dispose of this person already. It was a good episode though. Its starting to get back to what Revenge is to me. Can’t wait to see how it unfolds even more

  21. TV Lover says:

    Could Padma & Aiden be tied… Could one or both of them had family on the “downed by David Clarke plane”… Or is Aiden setting up an attack on Nolan by Grayson Global to get Emily back on revenge track… just throwing out possibilities and hoping someone might be able to piece something together :)

  22. Frankieboy says:

    don’t get the hate for fauxmanda. I like her. she is sassy :P

  23. Sam says:

    I can’t stand Aiden, and I’m annoyed that he’s been promoted to series regular. Ugh.

  24. david says:

    this was the first week i actually liked fake Amanda. this season hasnt been good so far too much like alias, im hoping that its going to season 1 format. I also have a feeling that after next week we are going to have a little break for a while since we had 6 episodes in a row

    • iMember says:

      We won’t be going on break, are you crazy? This is November sweeps! All of the best episodes happen during this month. Expect a break sometime in December for the holidays.

  25. Ella Jasper says:

    I love Aiden. Emily needs a man that will actually stand up to her. I was getting a little disappointed that Emily didn’t have Nolan’s back, but maybe now she will. He has always been there for her. Too much time wasted on the Porter bar and Declan.

  26. Elyse says:

    I completely agree that Kara knows Emily is real Amanda. I think she knows Emily is listening outside the door and I think she knows when she’s on the beach to ask ‘do you think Amanda has really forgiven me’. WHM probably told her/showed her what was going on, b/c though it seems like people forgot – he KNEW who she was.. Why did he never tell Victoria? Probably b/c he was with Kara and was helping look out for her.

  27. Mikael says:

    They’re trying too hard to force a storyline with Jack and Declan. It’s not working. I’m betting Kenny is the one in the Amanda. I miss Season 1 Emily taking people down one by one. I think they’re gearing up for it though. Padma better watch out. And I think Kara knows more than she’s letting on. I want to see her screw with Victoria. I just have a feeling that Kara is going to go all “Irina Derevko” and show her true nature soon.

  28. your recaps are brilliant. And I am so with you on Nolan.

  29. nick1372 says:

    I agree with your theory that Kara knows about the Emily/Amanda situation. Like mother, like daughter.

  30. Laura says:

    I think Ashley’s character needs to go away or have something else happen. it seems she was being sneaky with Conrad but now that’s over and she’s just an ornament in their lives… nothing even happens romantically with her and Daniel. Also, I am torn as to who I want Emily’s romantic interest to be… Daniel, Jack or Aiden.

  31. Michael says:

    If there was ever a week I looked forward to a REVENGE review this was it; great job, as always, Kim.

    I was thinking the show has gotten better (but isn’t quite back on track yet) and Kim’s review supports that.

    I am a HUGE fan of this show, but it’s gone off the tracks this year. Last season I couldn’t wait for Weds. nights at 10 p.m . Now, on Sunday evenings it’s ,”oh, yeah. It’s on. Gotta make sure I’m also DVRing FAMILY GUY and THE GOOD WIFE.”

    Indeed, this year there is too much Emily driving and worrying and not enough Emily using her red sharpie to do away with dad’s enemies.

    The Nolan debate (is he really a Kinsey 3) is interesting. He doesn’t strike me as a ‘3’ but then again it’s Nolan’s life — not mine or anyone else’s.

    Still, the physical contact he seems to enjoy the most are those hugs with Jack. Just sayin’.

    I agree with Kim that Kara (were her parents Superman fans?) probably knows who her daughter is and who she isn’t and is waiting to play that card until the right moment.

    Kara is SO young looking I’m half-expecting there to be a twist where she’s revealed as the real Amanda. (Okay, not really, but damn she’s young looking!)

    In fact, she’s so young looking I think she’d be an age-appropriate fit in scenes with the also young-looking David. (Maybe he’s not dead either?)

    I’d love to see William DeVane back.

    The subplot with the Stowaway and Declan is boring. How can Jack and Declan not tell they are being played? Would a crime victim really want to cozy up with them and be their new BFF?

    Why doesn’t Jack just ask Nolan for a loan to bail him out; Nolan would love to do it.

    And all Jack would have to do is pay him back some with brotherly bromance hugs.

  32. Jake says:

    I want the Daniel of season 1 to return. Not sure what happened with the about shift after that closed door meeting with his father.

  33. Derek says:

    Dump Declan. Nothing character, bad actor. Fake Amanda was only interesting on her very first appearance but has done nothing for the show since. Nolan has no business being with a woman. He needs to return to serving as Emily’s sidekick where he’s most fun. And Emily needs to pull out that old list of names to ruin and continue scratching them off one by one. Like Revenge promised from the start..

  34. Kathy V. says:

    Don’t forget that Amanda has taken out threats in the past on her own. Now that she’s a mother, how much more intense are the protective instincts?

    • tee says:

      when amanda fell over the stairs and emily lied to her about the paternity of her child i actually felt a little bad for her…but then i went back to watch seaosn 1 and I remember why i hated her in the first place. she KNEW emily loved jack and she told jack that she was the REAL AMANDA and hooked up with him anyway.

  35. dude says:

    I know a lot of people haven’t been as fond of this season but I’ve been getting just as much entertainment from it. Sure if you study the season narrative so far in comparison to season one it isn’t nearly as strong but I’ve never felt myself not loving the show. That said, this was definitely a strong episode and I’d love it if we could get back to the revengey stuff.

  36. Jo! says:

    Emily’s mother SO knows about the Emily/Amanda switch! I was almost waiting for her to just say, “It’s you right?” to Emily at the beach or something that would blow the whole lie down the tide.

    • Dude, if Kara knows that Emily is her daughter then she is more evil than the Graysons. Gordon was in the process of murdering Emily when he was killed. She and Gordon would have to be seriously sick puppies to murder her daughter. Gordon was already high on my list of nut jobs because he was murdering his wife’s daughter but if Kara was on board too….. crazy.

      • tripoli says:

        Did you miss that part about her drowning Emily as a child? And that she’s already been shown to be on the crazy side?

        • I didn’t miss it but this season has been Revenge Light and I’m not sure they’d actually go that dark. When she tried to drown Emily she was having a psychotic break and she even agreed that Emily shouldn’t know she was alive to protect her. Emily’s mother not only pretending not to know her but actively working with her husband to kill her daughter. That is a whole new level of freak job.

  37. ben says:

    I guess I’m in the minority but I actually like Aiden. He reminds me more of Emily last season, where he’s going all out to accomplish a goal. Ems this season has been so… mopey. It hasn’t felt very revenge-y at all. Last year it was campy/soap revenge, this year it’s mostly just been the soap-opera stuff, and it’s boring me.

    • ChrisGa says:

      I’m with you on Aiden; he’s a far better match for Emily than boring-ass Jack or spoiled brat Daniel(though I’m more than happy to watch Emily obliterate him if he tries anything with Nolan). And I’m actually liking Fauxmanda alot better than I did. Now if they’ll just get rid of Declan and Charlotte(two tired characters played by not very good actors) and find a purpose for Ashley(who’s to this show what Vanessa was to Gossip Girl) that would solve two of this show’s admittedly few problems.

  38. Kristina says:

    I wish poor Nolan could find someone that wasn’t using him (assuming such a person exists in the Revenge world). I like Aiden, although I didn’t care much for his new direction. Since this is Revenge, though I’m sure things are not what they seem. I’m hoping both he and Amanda stick around a while.

  39. Keenan says:

    I’m thinking Mason knows she’s not Kara’s daughter because he got the blood tested when she pricked her finger. Remember how he told Victoria how he got in her house?
    Perhaps one of the maids helped out there too.

    • Me says:

      That is exactly what I thought with the blood. Mason will be able to hold this information against Victoria now & use it when he sees fit. Kara could have even given it to Mason because as others have suggested, she may think Emily is her real daughter. The show is getting ruined due the usual American TV way of having to devise more & more plots because the show was a hit & renewed. They should have stuck to their original plans – kill Daniel as they stated they were doing & continued through ruining people. The complexities are being made because they don’t have any idea who long this show will run & it’s getting dumb.