Revenge Review: Sympathy For the Devil

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Just as her perfectly orchestrated plot unraveled before her eyes, an embattled Victoria Grayson pulled a rabbit out of her hat and successfully reascended to her throne as Queen of the Hamptons ... for now.

All it took was a convincing aura of "Confidence" and a high-wire PR act.

The resurrected Grayson matriarch still has plenty of obstacles - and enemies - in her path after Aiden and Emily forced her hand before the press conference, but this woman is darn near impossible to break.

Grayson Family

Largely relegated to the shadows in the previous two weeks, this was Madeleine Stowe's night, and she delivered in typically captivating fashion. The actress is so perfectly cast in this role, it's uncanny.

Stowe's facial expressions are priceless and make it hard not to love her, or at least love to hate her, even as you root for Emily Thorne. It takes a brilliantly complex character to achieve that.

This is a woman who framed her true love and the father of her daughter, sent his other kid to the foster care system, faked her own death and lied to everyone imaginable about ... everything.

Yet somehow her sad, depleted look still gets to you when she's under duress, and that calculating stare when she's plotting her next move makes you so glad she's alive. Props to Stowe all around.

On the cusp of losing control of the family, and more importantly the perception of solidarity she longed to keep intact, Victoria copped to her affair with David and welcomed Amanda into the fold.

Wow. The puppet master does it again. Charlotte, Amanda and especially Daniel may not buy Vicky's display of unity beyond this week, but that was an all-time save with her back to the wall.

Conrad? He's even more unabashedly evil, with no qualms about getting into bed with The Initiative - or telling the media that he and Victoria will re-marry - just to keep her under his thumb.

Diabolical, really, and one of many new twists in this increasingly tangled web. Revenge creator Mike Kelley has hinted at two weddings this season, so it looks like the Grayson Tuscan Sham is #1.

For now, the White-Haired Man (real name Gordon Murphy) still looms large over the show, which is fun in that only Emily, Aiden and Nolan know he's been dealt with. Where did they hide the body?

He may have breathed his last, but Gordon played a major role this week thanks to a pair of phone calls: 1. His proposition to Victoria before she got on the plane, and 2. Kara Clarke's voicemail.

Kara, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh and making her first present-day appearance, apparently knew WHM well. So well that he carried a pocket watch with her smiling face inside. How creepy is that?

Her run-in with Aiden was a surprise, immediately preceded by his looting of the flight recorder from the air conditioner (Dexter would be proud of WHM). Can you imagine if he knew who that was?

If Kara does go dark, it may be awhile until he and/or Emily put the pieces together. Playing her message at the end will only reinforce Emily's desire to track down her long lost mother, of course.

Also, Victoria's "if that" comment about Charlotte and Amanda's familial bond was telling, not unlike Conrad's "you're a Grayson" line in Season 1. Is there something more she's not telling us about WHM?

Emily Crushes Aiden

This week also offered us more insight into the back story of Emily and Aiden, beginning with their training under Takeda and ending with him choosing his "mission" over their romantic relationship.

Having failed to find his sister, is he back to help Emily complete her mission? To make up for breaking her heart in 2008 and win her back? He's certainly a skilled ally, but what's Aiden's endgame?

Through his machinations so far, Daniel is now distrustful of his mother, Amanda gives Emily even greater access to the Graysons (though she's always a wild card), and a certain psychopath is dead.

He can also absorb a wine bottle to the head - always a good sign in any partnership. It will be interesting to see where the producers take Barry Sloane's character in the future, considering his past.

Our protagonist fell for him and was crushed that he left her in Japan. Years later, she's still not over it, and no all-knowing Japanese mentor is going to turn Emily Thorne into an emotionless robot.

Takeda wants Emily to let go of her heart and be utterly ruthless, a precision-focused instrument of destruction in her quest for vengeance. Four years later, she's still struggling with his directive.

That hint of innocence, compassion and human decency make her one of TV's most beloved female superhero, even as she's putting people in dumpsters. If she lost it, she'd be a lot less compelling.

Elsewhere tonight ...

  • Nolan got his clock cleaned by Aiden, but was clearly more hurt emotionally by the presence of Ems' new right-hand man. Poor guy. Fear not, he'll be back. And he still got in some good lines.
  • Amanda is proving tougher to control than Emily planned. Despite constant scheming to keep her at bay, nothing quite works out the way she draws it up when it comes to FauxManda.
  • Jack no longer trusts his baby mama-to-be after the Grayson charade, and kind of broke up with her. At some point soon he's going to figure out that Emily's really Amanda, right?!
  • Dec robbed people and got caught, then was let off the hook by his mark.
  • Ashley wore a pretty green dress, but Emily's fashion was still tops.
  • The promo for next week looks even crazier than tonight!

Revenge still has more work to do in terms of weaving so many storylines together, but if you look at constructing the overall narrative as a season-long endeavor, it's off to a terrific start this fall.

Before turning it over to your comments, here's next week's Revenge promo ...

... and a quick poll: Who has the best chemistry with Emily Thorne?

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


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (323 Votes)

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


We know David Clarke is Ems and Chars dad for sure, so why would Ems mom carry WHM's pic (that really was creepy) I thought at first maybe he was her mom's bro, but then why would he intend to kill Ems. Clearly they had a long standing relationship and he cared about her and she him, and yet he was still willing to kill her long lost daughter? Something is off on that whole thing, maybe they were just in the nut house together, or he was an orderly who helped her escape, not sure, will be interesting to see where that goes. Ah Vicky, just when I think she can't get any more manipulative or just plain evil she shocks me, welcoming Amanda into the family, wow, genius! I so love this show!


I got the feeling that Victorias "if that" comment meant that Emily isn't even really David Clarks daughter. That would seriously mess Ems up! After all, this whole plot for revenge is for her beloved father.


I'm totally hooked on this show! It is just the right combination of camp, action, and craziness. That said, the main character (Emily) is wearing on me. Why is she so mean to her friends? For instance, I do not see the point of keeping Nolan at arm's length; he has always been there for her, tried and true. While I do think it is good that Nolan is toughening up, Ems could be nice to him once in awhile. And her abusive use of Fauxmanda is just plain cruel. Through "Emily's" use of her most ardent, selfless supporters, she reveals herself to be just another scheming woman who will stop at nothing to get her way. PS -- I think the actor who plays Jack is the hottest of all the cast members, but I can't see him going anywhere with "Emily" -- that little girl for whom he has such devotion does not exist any more.


Best chemistry is Emily and Daniel. There's a hint with Aiden and none with Jack. Nolan and Emily are brother and sister or friends. The WHM story confuses me in that, why didn't he go after Emily when she didn't kill him? did he know that Vicky would set him up and Em's would have a clam cam in place to record?? no he didn't! so why kill her now ???????? Or was it an Americon initiave directive? Also i loved Vicky this ep, she banished Ems and then managed to manipulate her whole family into doing what she wants. Also as damaged as Ems is, I like her, she got a raw deal and you understand and pity her for the way she's turned out. but I wouldn't have it any other way


They indeed said in the episode the Lydia died. Victoria said "he killed poor Lydia". She remained on the plane.
As for the romance...Emily maybe loves Jack more than anyone (even if I don't understand how two kids of 8 years old fall in love) but the best chemistry is between Emily& her rl bf Daniel. I don't see any romantic in Emily&Nolan relationship. They're just good friends and I hope they won't lose each other.


The person who has the best chemistry with Emily is NOLAN. He knows all her secrets and is still an unconditional ally.


Good episode its just creepy that the WHM and Kara Clarke are an item... Seriously... Yuck.
I wonder how this will affect Emily in the long run and it will be interesting if when they meet who will Emily introduce herself as...


Last season when the wicked witch requested a DNA test for fauxmanda the lawyer (who was working for Emily) got the tissue sample used in the test from Emily, because she also wanted to know if Charlotte was really her sister. So, yes, Emily and Charlotte share the same father. And it can't be the WHM. Victoria was not that desperate. LOL. As far as Nolan and his new CFO, he is not gay he is bi-sexual. This point was made during the first season of the show. Frankly, he is the only person on show who hasn't had a real relationship yet. It would be nice for him to have a life outside of Emily's machinations. I hate Victoria. I was actually hoping that she was dead. Don't get me wrong, she is entertaining to watch, but she is so unlikable. Conrad is no where near her level of evil. Look at the way she tries to control her children's personal lives so that she can control them. Conrad just wants them to be happy with whoever they chose to be with. He has his faults, but she is a narcissistic, insincere, pathological liar and sociopath. She even sabotages the success of people who work for her - like Ashley, so that she can keep them under her thumb and make sure that they never rise above her socially and financially. THAT is evil!


This is a different Emily to last season. I loathe the way she talks down to her so called friends. You can see that with more Aiden there will be less Nolan. Aiden sure is a goodlooking man and looks like one.Makes Daniel look like the spoilt mummys boy he is. Ashley dosn't care a fig about Daniel as you will find her loyaltys are with Conrad. This lady has her own agenda and it will have something to do with the first plane going down.Her parents were on that plane.

Beverly brooks

I like Jack but feel he is being unused. Ems still has feelings for Jack. I felt this week Nolan was hurt by Ems and it may show up later just when she really needs his help.

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Revenge Season 2 Episode 3 Quotes

WHM: After the ding of the seat belt sign, the next thing you hear will be 14 ounces of plastic explosives detonating. My proposition: Conrad's demise is mutually beneficial. All it requires is splitting Charlotte's inheritance. Decline and your daughter will be joining you in the Grayson family plot.
Victoria: I'm listening.

Victoria: News hounds won't stop until they get my story.
Daniel: What exactly is your story?