After ditching show creator Mike Kelley, casting the scorching Justin Hartley and promising never to mention Carrion or the Initiative again, hopes were high for Revenge Season 3. But tonight's premiere felt a little like a hot mess instead of just hot.
"Fear" had some stellar moments, but fell just short of the awesome mark, thanks to the introduction of some storylines that just don't make sense.
Revenge Season 2 was all over the place, bogged down in the Initiative and Carrion. Emily got away from her red Sharpie and all but abandoned her Revengenda. A jealous Aiden Mathis diverted her attention. Charlotte was, well, Charlotte. Useless. Whiny. Unnecessary.
But the end of season 2 showed promise. The story was shaken up. Emily returned to her original plan to take down the Graysons. She and Aiden had an understanding about why she was with Daniel, even if neither of them liked it.
Charlotte got pregnant and then seemed mildly sympathetic. It was so like mother, like daughter.
And Emily told Jack the truth about her identity, causing him to rethink everything he knew and ultimately stopping him from murdering Conrad Grayson and leaving baby Carl fatherless.
With all of that in mind, this premiere had potential. The previews for it were gripping and exciting. And misleading. (Which is what I suppose previews are supposed to do to an extent, right?) There was a lot about tonight that didn't work at all, but also a bit that did.
So, let's meander our way through the set-up for season 3, shall we?
Daniel can't find a job. He doesn't want to use his father's connections to find one. Or Emily's connections. He doesn't have a job. But they're all living like they're still bazillionaires. Daniel doesn't have a job because Daniel doesn't need a job.
And then there's Patrick, Victoria's long-lost, heart-of-ice-melting son, played by the one, the only, Justin Hartley. Patrick has made Victoria a changed woman. He's brought love back into her life. She's happy Victoria! It's weird.
And then Charlotte walks in whining about how they don't own a house in Paris anymore and oh, well, look at that. Not pregnant. No baby. The writers dropped that story like the execs dropped Mike Kelley, probably because Charlotte being pregnant was a stupid idea in the first place. I'm not saying teen pregnancy doesn't happen. But I am saying that as a plot device and a way to try and make Charlotte relevant, it was lame.
So Charlotte gets indignant about the new brother in her mother's life and visits him at the South Fork Inn right after he's stepped out of the shower. He's wearing a towel and never so much as makes an attempt to indicate that his sister is in the room with him. It was weird. A gratuitously shirtless Justin Hartley being bullied away from the Hamptons by his half-sister Charlotte.
While Patrick was settling into the Hamptons, Jack was busy being anywhere but there. Emily's visit gave us one of the best and worst moments of the night.
He explained that he understood why she did what she'd done. He got it. Then he kissed her. And she kissed him. And it was GOOD. But Jack felt nothing. He called her out, rightfully, on the collateral damage left in her wake, and then said he felt nothing for her at all. She had cost him too much.
I was crushed, honestly, even though I know Jack and Emily can't be together right now because the show would be over. Jack Porter's been kind of a scruffy doormat for two seasons, but there's something about his salt of the earth persona that makes him hot. Emily and Jack = end game. He'll come around. But not until he's made things difficult for Emily by speeding up her timetable.
She has until the end of the summer to exact her revenge on the Graysons.
To start, she sets a date to marry Daniel: August 8th. 8-8. Double infinity. Then she enlists Nolan's help to smuggle some sort of poison into her Memorial Day celebration.
Nolan, ever one to make an entrance, smuggles her poison into the party by skydiving in to avoid the metal detectors at the perimeter. She gives that poison to Conrad forcing some sort of attack which reveals he has...wait for it...Huntington's disease.
And that's the point at which I realized this show doesn't care if it has any accurate grounding in reality at all.
Huntington's is a serious disease. If you want to see how to handle a storyline dealing with Huntington's, watch House. Conrad Grayson apparently has a terminal illness which he knew he might have because he said his father had it and it was just never a big deal until then. And because it's a genetic disease, there's a decent chance that Daniel has it, too.
Huntington's is not the kind of disease you use as a plot device on a show like Revenge. On Revenge you say "our tests are inconclusive." This isn't the kind of show that will try to educate or inform about the realities of Huntington's. It's the kind of show that will make light of it by brushing what is a serious and devastating reality for people under the expensive Persias rug.
So let's talk about what worked.
Nolan always works. That goes without saying. Hooray for being out of jail, Nolan! Thanks for the one-liners for the Revenge quotes bank!
The opening sequence with Emily on the boat being shot by an unknown assailant. It worked because it was intriguing. I'm curious about it. Was that a dream? Or was that a flash forward to something that has yet to happen?
If it was a dream, was she imagining herself as FauxManda, dying in the water? Because that would make sense. If it's real, the real Amanda dying in the same way that FauxManda did is quite poetic. And if it's real, who shot her?
Aiden popped up in the end and he appears to be teaming up with Victoria to take Emily down. I spent the entire episode wondering what had happened to him since the last we saw him, Daniel was planning to shoot him. Apparently Daniel's a bad shot which was great for Aiden.
So does Aiden really want to take Emily down? Or is he still part of Emily's plan?
Two points to Revenge for the intrigue with the opening and closing scenes. They were great bookends to the episode and made me forget about all the mud in the middle.
What did you think about tonight's Revenge season 3 premiere? Was it all over the place or a great way to kick off another summer in the Hamptons?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.