Picking up after a jaw-dropping finale featuring a pill overdose, a plane crash and a back-from-the-dead parent is no easy task, but it’s one Revenge boss Mike Kelley was more than happy to take on with this Sunday’s Season 2 premiere (ABC, 9/8c) — and beyond!
Here, the gutsy showrunner chats with TVLine about everything he has in store for the Hamptons elite, including the next big twist in Emily’s MIA mama drama, Daniel’s romantic rebound woes, Nolan’s new ladylove and much, much more.
TVLINE | Where do things pick up in Season 2?
We begin with a flash-forward to a dramatic incident… and then we’re back in the Hamptons for another summer season. We’ll dole out the drama of what transpired from the plane crash over the course of next season.
TVLINE | How quickly will we learn who died and what exactly happened on that plane?
You’ll have all of your answers about what happened the night of the plane crash and who’s dead — and why — in the first two episodes.
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TVLINE | You had such a specific list at the end of last season of what you wanted in the actress cast as Emily’s mom. Why did Jennifer Jason Leigh hit all of those notes?
She’s such an accomplished actor and capable of doing anything, but I find her to be really compelling as an emotional, dramatic actress. She’s somebody that can play damaged and frightening and frightened and unpredictable. So, we’re trying to use all of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s incredible abilities that we possibly can.
TVLINE | Is the search for Em’s mom going to be a long journey? Or will the two reunite sooner rather than later?
Both. There are a lot of unanswered questions about Emily’s mother, obviously, with Em having thought she was dead her entire life and knowing that her father was the one who led her to believe that. However, there’s a reason for that, and we’ll explore what’s what for awhile, and whether or not that means her father is not the stand-up guy that she thought he was. It really leads Emily to question everything. When we find Emily at the beginning of this Season 2 journey, she’s trying to access memories about her mother by using the training and discipline that she’s learned [so that she can] piece together the memory of a 5-year-old girl. Ultimately, she’s able to find out what the state of her mother truly was and whether or not she can find her. I don’t want to give too many answers about how we bring them together, but there’s a whole backstory that involves Victoria and The Initiative and David Clark that’s going to [impact] the way the relationship unfolds in real time.
TVLINE | How prominent can Amanda — and her baby — be featured this season with Margarita Levieva only signed to return for a handful of episodes? Are you confident in saying that she’s pretty solidly woven into the landscape of the series at this point?
She is woven into the landscape of the show and into Emily’s history. We really like the turmoil and uncertainty that she brings to Emily’s plans. We also like how her presence keeps pushing and pulling Jack around Emily. That baby is real and that baby is coming. In the first run of four episodes, we’ll know what that family is going to look like with Jack and Amanda.
TVLINE | Does their love triangle continue in the new season, regardless of the rest of the insanity going on in their respective lives?
It’s a triangle still. [Laughs] This pregnancy has really made Amanda think about a future and think about a family — things she’s never had. We’ll learn more about who the character we call Amanda Clark really was when she met Emily in prison, her home life and her parents and what she’s trying to triumph over in putting a family together with Jack. Then there’s the reality — the one Emily knows — which is that Amanda’s a murderer and is not who she says she is. So, there are feelings that Emily continues to have for Jack, but there’s a larger story going on. In terms of finding her mother, she needs to protect all sides right now, and that includes Amanda and her secrets.
TVLINE | Talk a little about the dynamic between Nolan and his new love interest Dilshad Vadsaria — and why you went with a woman as his significant other.
When we were conceiving the character, we just wanted to find somebody that felt compatible to Nolan on an intellectual and quirky level; somebody with a bit of mistrust and damage. Nolan’s thing, always, is that he wanted to fit in; he’s always wanted family — that’s what his whole thing with Emily is, a way to sort of share David Clark as a father. Anyway, it just so happened that the character that seemed to work for him was a female. We thought it would be fun for him to explore the heart and personality… of this employee at NolCorp; somebody who is as smart as he is, and who has wit and insecurity and also somebody we feel that he can play off of… So, that’s who Padma is.
TVLINE | How rough is Daniel’s journey this year?
Daniel’s struggling with the guilt he feels for what happened to his mother and the rest of those people on the plane that went down. He was instrumental in what happened with the evidence that could exonerate his father… So, he’s feeling a little lost. When we find him in Episode 1, there’s been a rebound relationship he’s been in with Ashley that really becomes a lot more complicated than he or the audience was ever expecting. As we get into the season, Daniel continues on a path away from the light. He really is a Grayson at the end of the day, and yet he will have reason to want to destroy his own family. We’ll explore how he attempts to do that.
TVLINE | Is there a timetable on introducing Victoria’s mother?
We’re calling it the Mother of All Seasons, and we will get to that in time. For now, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding what Victoria’s fate is, how she returns to the series and in what form, so we’ll have to hold onto that reveal for awhile.
TVLINE | Lastly, are the Takedowns of the Week now a thing of the past?
The Takedown of the Week is benched until we need it. Emily is firmly focused on finding her mother, and there will be takedowns along the way… As we get into the season, we will explore the vigilante side of Emily Thorne, meaning that there are some foster care stories to be told, some people that need dealing with. She’s going to be working on behalf of some other people that can’t “revenge” for themselves. There’s also going to be the broader conspiracy that we’re dipping our toe into, and there will be some targets identified in the near future that will be longer-form takedowns.
Hit the comments with your thoughts on what Revenge‘s sophomore run has in store!