"The story I have to tell is far from over." - Emily
The only problem with Revenge's riveting first season was a potential one: Could the fervency of Emily Thorne's quest for payback against the Graysons be replicated over more than one year?
Based on May's game-changing season finale and tonight's premiere, the answer is an emphatic yes. "Destiny" set the stage for what looks to be another intense chapter of this uniquely high-end melodrama.
Like last season, it began with a glimpse of a shocking event hinting at the demise of a core character, then immediately flashed back three months to begin a 14-episode exploration of how we got there.
That's where the similarities end, however. Despite occasionals homage to the previous summer in the Hamptons, we're in uncharted waters after a premiere that answered some questions but posed many more.
This fall, Emily's priorities have shifted from ensuring the Graysons' ruin to uncovering the truth about her mother. For the rest of the characters, the circumstances have dramatically shifted as well. Let's recap:
Victoria lives! We all knew that was coming, but the immediacy and nature of the reveal still made for a legitimate shocker. As did her ordering the white-haired man to "eliminate the liability" 15 minutes later.
So does Charlotte! Again, not a major surprise, but her being in on Victoria's secret was a fun twist. She's been clean 60 days since OD'ing, but remains locked up as a pawn in Conrad's master plan.
As a result, she reached out with a whisper to an unlikely ally, giving us our first glimpse of "The Stare," a.k.a. Emily VanCamp's signature Revenge look, in Season 2. That was probably the highlight of the night.
Emily and Nolan reunited. And it felt so good.
Vindictive enough to credibly battle the baddest of the bad - even welcoming her adversaries to bring it on - yet still sweet and innocent enough to keep you on her side despite any devilish deeds, VanCamp sells the show as always. That's a fine line to walk, but she steals every scene with girl-next-door-gone-wild aplomb.
It helps that her enemies totally deserve it, of course.
As the breadth of the conspiracy widens, she's only become more compelling, as has Gabriel Mann's Nolan, whose quirky loyalty, lovable awkwardness and hilarious commentary are indispensable to viewers, and to Ems.
He may soon have competition in the sidekick department from Aiden, however. This mysterious new character was briefly introduced in Japan and instructed to help Emily "complete the mission" by Takeda.
All we know of him so far is that he's (presumably) aware of why Emily is in training, and that he cut her loose during her attempt to conjure up memories of her mother by coming perilously close to her death underwater.
The mission is over if he fails, apparently. Whatever that means. Emily seemed hell bent on facing off with the white-haired psychopath even before she eerily saw him conspire with Victoria. When Round 2 inevitably goes down, will Aiden have her back? And will Nolan become jealous? Things could get awkward, especially if he moves in for real.
Daniel and Ashley are together. Or so we're told. We didn't really see much of them as a couple, with the Grayson still pining for Emily (maybe), defying his father (probably) and mourning his mother (definitely).
Conrad is even more evil than we thought. From his unveiling of the "Victoria Unfinished" painting to the constantly callous comments, the family patriarch cemented his reputation as a morally bankrupt individual - and this was before his plan to institutionalize his daughter and secure her inheritance was revealed. Diabolical.
Jack is in bad shape. And totally not the father. We were all thinking it long before Emily put it out there as her latest salvo against Amanda, and her response when confronted - that she went "away" - wasn't exactly convincing.
Is there any way that baby boy is Jack's? More significantly, do you buy the chemistry between Jack and Emily? Last season it felt uneven at times; perhaps they'll build a more consistent rapport if Amanda takes a hike.
Declan is ... still on the show. Good guy, looking out for his brother. Not so good at keeping the Stowaway up to code. That's mostly on Jack, but come on guys. You had all winter and spring to fix the place up.
Overall, it was a terrific premiere that left you glued to the screen, guessing and hungry for more, with plenty of eye candy and laughs to boot. Revenge at its best. A few stray observations on the Season 2 premiere:
- Last season? Whale cam. This season? Clam cam! Love the marine theme.
- Will we get to meet Emily's mother in the present day? Or will Jennifer Jason Leigh will appear in every episode only via flashback, as James Tupper did as David Clarke last season?
- Friday, Gabriel Mann explained to me how Nolan's new haircut is emblematic of the character's new outlook. Expect to see more of NolCorp, and his personal life, in the coming weeks.
- How awkward is it when shows re-cast characters, as is the case with Takeda? Hiroyuki Sanada couldn't have been replaced on merit, so Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa has big shoes to fill.
- Victoria's "Resurrection" goes public next week. Promo below:
What do you think? Whose body will be found off Block Island? Who got Amanda pregnant? Will Emily finish off the white-haired man? How awesome is Nolan Ross? How happy are you that Revenge is back? Comment below!