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Revenge

Revenge Review: Playing With Fire

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Any Revenge fan likely sensed that Victoria welcoming Amanda into the fold, followed by Emily attempting to manipulate this unexpected connection to her advantage, would spell big trouble - even before tonight's episode began with a bloodstain, a fire and a devil in a red dress at Grayson Manor before flashing back 24 hours.

Call it "Intuition."

Yet in typical fashion, the way the events unraveled was surprisingly complex, and the fallout unexpected. The extent of the characters' ulterior motives and machinations never cease to make your head spin.

Cases in point? A pair of absolute mega-shockers involving Amanda and Kara Clarke, with Emily Thorne caught in the crossfire and numerous other side plots developing before our eyes.

Everybody stop hyperventilating yet?

Sad Ms. Thorne

After pressing the sinister Victoria for answers and pushing the envelope farther than ever before, Emily's search for the truth ended with Amanda FALLING OFF THE BALCONY AND ENDING UP IN A COMA.

That was your Revenge Audible Gasp moment of the night, and probably the season so far, but the convergence of Amanda's fall with the arrival of Emily's mysterious mom raised the stakes even higher.

Having outwitted and overpowered Aiden, Kara Clarke was on the hunt for her husband - who happened to be THE WHITE-HAIRED MAN - when news of the accident at Grayson Manor came on the radio.

As her "daughter" lay unresponsive, we saw Kara by her bedside in the episode's closing moments, with her true offspring looking on through the glass. The stunned look on Emily's face said it all.

Not only is Kara alive, and right here in the flesh, but Victoria's chilling portrayal of her was confirmed via flashback. Two decades ago, a clearly deranged Kara ALMOST DROWNED YOUNG AMANDA.

That's a lot to take in, and would probably prompt a lesser Revenger to quit the biz or at least take a sabbatical as she processed it all. Emily was overdue for a good cry, and having watched these unforeseen consequences of her agenda unfold in such devastating and stunning fashion, she finally broke down.

We know she isn't backing down, though, and will likely lean on Aiden more than ever.

How much did/does he know about Kara? How much does Kara know about the Initiative, and how connected are the Graysons to its shady dealings (as Conrad's meeting hinted, at least to a degree)?

With the introduction of the old visitor log, is Victoria on the verge of figuring out that Emily is the real Amanda, or at least that the two are linked? And what really happened between Vicki and Kara?

Speculation will run rampant I'm sure, but one thing's for certain: Kara is a force to be reckoned with. Jennifer Jason Leigh brings a terrific wild-eyed Single White Female unpredictability to the role.

Madeleine Stowe might have to step up her crazy game in the coming weeks, as this has only begun to shake out. Enemies, allies and wild cards in constant flux and harder than ever to identify.

The battle lines are not clearly drawn, and the players are still figuring out the game. Let's take a look at where some of the other Hamptons regulars and interlopers stand after this evening's events ...

Jennifer Jason Leigh on Revenge Photo

Nolan was forced to dig deep, and not just into his financial records for the IRS. The pink-suited tech wunderkind learned that his father, who has not been a presence in his life for years, had died.

Gabriel Mann is terrific and showed a new dimension of his beloved character, who we know relatively little about, although it's hard not to miss him being by Emily's side as he was throughout the night.

Aiden and Padma (and to a point, life) have driven a wedge between this dynamic duo, at least for the time being. Both new characters bring something to the table, but it's just not the same.

Will Nolan uncover more than he bargained for in that storage locker, or was that merely a diversion? Whatever the case, hopefully he and Emily reconnect soon. Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Also potentially significant: Padma stumbling across David Clarke's investor check.

Daniel is determined not to be pushed around. Someone took his former fiancee's advice and started mixing it up with the best of them. What is his endgame? Who is he lying to? Does he even know?

All TBD, but it's fun to see him come out of his shell a bit, and to see some scenes with Ashley that actually make one care a little about their relationship. Hot? Not? Who's playing who? Discuss!

Jack is totally getting played, that's for sure. The guy Dec robbed is making a play for the Stowaway, and as usual he's too naive to realize it. Not that we blame him too much in this case, considering.

He's a father now! Congratulations, Jack! And sorry, man. Only an episode this wild could make that feel like an afterthought, but it pretty much did. What the heck is the poor guy going to do now?

What a lot of us would probably like to see is for him to start putting the pieces together. How long can he be blind to everything going on around him? An enlightened Jack would be a lot more interesting.

All in all, a solid episode tonight. Part soap opera, part melodrama, part suspense thriller, part whodunit and even part comedy, Revenge has it all. It just keeps getting more addicting here in Season 2.

A few closing thoughts and stray observations before turning it over to you:

  • Emily VanCamp always has great style, but her hair and dress were amazing tonight. Also, the shorts at the beginning were an unexpected, fun surprise. Thank you, Revenge costume department!
  • When's Amanda going to wake up? Should we start a TV Fanatic pool?
  • "Twins?" "Just the one." Gotta give FauxManda props for that classic.
  • Victoria's face as she told Amanda to "OPEN IT" ... Un. Real.
  • The Beaver Dam? Best. Strip. Club. Name. Ever.
  • Aiden and Ashley ... anything there (besides great accents)?
  • That poor maid.

Here's ABC's first promo for next week's episode, "Forgiveness" ...

What did you think of this week's Revenge? Comment below!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (348 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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I am also all for Aiden being more a romantic interest than any other (hell, if for no other reason, he actually knows who and what she actually is) but I am actually vaguely seeing him as her next point of vengeance (not on him, but he is either set up for something or killed by someone which refocus our Emily into the lethal person we met last year)..I do have a feeling we are a few episodes from Emily and Nolan reconnecting and almost having a dish session over their respective love lives (speaking of, Nolan or Emily have to clear up for poor Padma that the two of them are more like brother and sister than anything else). I am not sure if Kara was drowning young Amanda to hide her from David or in a if I can't have you no one can type mentality. And to hide from David? Um, why? If somehow he was actually not a good dude, well, wouldn't that turn this whole show on its butt? Since they are now firmly in soap opera territory (putting a character who holds a secret important to our main player into a coma...), I wonder if something silly will happen that Amanda needs a blood transfusion and Kara not only doesn't match but couldn't have produced that child.

Deann

Wow, this episode nearly left me in a coma! Sheez! It was so action-packed, I am surprised the storyline survived the onslaught of revelations. But a couple of things confused me. Wasn't Nolan gay in previous episodes? Or has he claimed to be bisexual and I just missed it? (Either way, I think the man is hella sexy) Also, didn't Emily remember about her mom trying to drown her in a flashback before this?I seem to remember her having a bad dream about drowning awhile back. And though I loathe Fauxmanda, who defines cheap and sleazy, I nearly jumped out of my skin when Victoria threw her over the balcony! I swear, everyone Victoria touches ends up in some horrible situation...the woman is pure poison! Why is Jack so darned clueless, and why is Declan so niave that he continues to grind his family to ruin? Loved the ep, can't wait for another, though I do hope Nolan doesn't fall in love with his CFO

Tvgarth

Yesssss! Fauxmanda will awaken but the fall will cause her to resume a life as Emily, forgetting much of her past collusion with Amanada...er Emily, well you know what I mean! Can we handle having two "Ems" at the same time? I think not and a lot will have to unravel should that happen...or else she will up and die on us. Too bad after providing the much needed comic relief, and delivering that zinger with perfect timing! Interesting, too, that no one has mentioned Fauxmanda's entourage that showed up with her at the baby shower? That was some group and I'm curious if there may be a new character lurking in the posse' who knows a little too much? Not that we don't have enough on our plate already-it is certainly Dallas, Knotts Landing, and Falcon Crest rolled up in one great big ball o' drama...and it's a ball to watch, that's for sure. Jennifer Jason Leigh is an inspired choice to play the caring, hateful and craaaazy mother, especially after her loony romp on "Weeds." No one plays crazy better! Also, we had another one of those amazing moments from our "Ems" last night when she said more with a smile and a smirk than any dialogue could. And don't you just hate it when the sound from your spy's earpiece cuts off? Not to mention that balcony scene with the cutout look-over...could you not see that fall coming the moment you saw those two in that spot?? Still it was shocking and perhaps even more shocking that she's still alive-but for how long? And baby makes two, three or four? Oh well only time will tell, but "A" is for amazing Amanda and "E" is evil Emily and it all spells REVENGE- the act of retaliating in kind or inflicting injury to AVENGE a wrong! And this show delivers it ALL (and then some) in spades!

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....on the messed-up Graysons!! Love this show!! Great review, Steve!

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Great episode!! But I am totally confused...didn't Emily falsify the true paternity tests for faux-Amanda and Jack?? So the baby is NOT Jack's and will DNA so indicate later on? Hope faux-Amanda doesn't make it...dislike her more than clueless Declan, and hope the guy on the ocean bottom in the Amanda (boat) is the sckemer and he takes Declan's friend with him, but feel it won't be until the end of the season, long after Jack loses the bar (and apparently the boat)! Emily is totally messed up and confused right now...Nolan is off with his personal loss and new love, not monitoring the Grayson security system...neither there for each other...she finally realized her mom tried to kill her as a child...her friend Jack is messed up over faux-Amanda, 'his' son, and Declan's theft that could cause financial ruin...and, maybe old feelings for Aiden that she turns to him! Daniel is confusing, too...why take Ashley to bed when she is working with Dad against him? And don't get me started on the messed-up Graysons!! Love this show! Great review Steve!

Ale

Am I the ONLY one that feels sorry for fauxy Amanda? seriously? I know she was really irritating but she was soooo loyal to Emily, and really she was truely inlove with Jack in the end she did let go, only a person the is really inlove lets go, and she set him free, she was always protecting her friend even when she was about to die, I just felt sooo bad sooo sad.
I loved how Daniel has no clue how to scheme haha but maybe he will in the near future, he should learn from his mother heck even from his father.

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I've died and gone to heaven.

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Best episode ever, I have loved ALL the characters, even FauxAmanda and Declan. I bet the dead guy is the blond scheming against Jack, and of course the main suspects will be Dec and Jack... so probably one of the two will go to prison. Aidan grows to me episode after episode!!! And Jennifer Jason-Leigh is simply amazing, can't wait for her showdown with Victoria/Madeleine Stowe!

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First apologies for typos in last post. As far as the check is concerned, no idea why anyone is worried about the IRS doing anything, if a guys gets convicted of murder, but he gave his buddy $10k to invest in his business prior to that conviction, that means nothing. I understand this is treason (with DC) but the fact remains he invested in NoelCorp long before he was arrested for anything, the check was cashed and if there were any issues with a tax standpoint that IRS would have been after Nolan long before now. He can give Ems anything he wants in terms of the company, it is his to give, DC was just an investor like any other. I think the GF was freaked out really because of the name and as I mentioned earlier maybe a personal connection to the tragedy, I am afraid Nolan is going to have to reveal a lot of the "truth" to her in order to calm her down, "oh what a tangled web we weave...."

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Wow...so damn much going on I have to watch it again, WHM and Kara were married? What? Why was he trying to kill her daughter? How will Nolan's new GF use this check info? Is she only freaked out because of who she "thinks" David Clarke is, or was it darker? Did she lose someone on that plane that was brought down? Never saw Amanda falling off the balcony, so now I see the Grayson's taking her in while she is in a coma, and the last eps of the season, Vicky & Charlotte are walking by "Amanda's" room and Grayson Hollows and Amanda wakes up and says to "EmilY" ...."Amanda, I don't think I am going to make it, can you take care of the baby with Jack, that is how it was always means to be, you and Jack, since you were little kids.." LOL it's going to be something like that! I have such a huge love for this show, soap, whodunnit, gorgeous clothes and locations, genius writing, even better acting....is it Sunday yet?