Revenge "Illumination" Review: The Book of Eli

By Drusilla Moorhouse

Mar 18, 2013

Revenge S02E16: "Illumination"

Just because the Revenge writers have killed off some characters doesn't mean they can't resurrect those characters' lifeless storylines.

Just hours after Fauxmanda was buried, a new threat from Emily's past arose to take her place: her foster brother, Eli James.

And Eli didn't take long to call Emily's bluff.

"Looking pretty good for a dead girl," he said suavely to the babe who was locked up for burning down their foster mother's house.

Now a full-time con artist with arrest warrants in three states, Eli sprinted to the Hamptons as soon as he heard about Amanda Clarke's death. Within minutes, he'd already ingratiated himself with the Graysons—especially Charlotte, who oddly lied to Declan about spending time with the dashing "rare book dealer."

So how did Emily deal with this new, um, thorn in her side? She threw money at him, of course! After all, that worked so well with Fauxmanda. (Remember when Fauxmanda took half-a-million bucks to assume Amanda's identity and disappear, only to return and steal Jack's heart?)

Emily's mishandling of Eli's threat was especially disappointing after the fun gotcha moment of his positive ID. Why would she believe that handing him a hundred grand and expunging his record would dissuade this mosquito from feasting on the Hamptons' bluebloods?

Our avenging heroine's guilt is dragging her—and the Revenge narrative—down again. Can Satoshi Takeda please get on a plane and karate this kid back into fighting shape?

(Thanks to Nolan Ross for the reminder about the avenging sensei: "So this is where Aiden-San waxes off," he quipped upon seeing Mr. Mathis's Zen-style home for the first time.)

After all the blackmail we've suffered through Fauxmanda and Tyler, it's just so depressing to have to travel down this boring old road again. (Although it was cute to see young Amanda get her Firestarter on like Drew Barrymore.)

Wouldn't it be much more fun if Emily enlisted her "faux bro" (thanks again, Nolan!) to help her take down Victoria instead of getting played by them both? Instead of taking Emily's money, Eli donated it to the Graysons' new Amanda Clarke Foundation. Even Emily's warning to Ashley regarding Eli's shady past backfired, when Victoria learned the intel came from her adversary. Pretty soon he'll be moving into the pool house!

The present occupant, Daniel (nudged Emily's way by Aiden_revealed the Graysons' true scheme to his ex-girlfriend: In case their assets are frozen, they're hiding all their money--along with the extra $5 million they scored at the inaugural fundraiser—in the foundation.

It was refreshing to see Daniel set aside his angry drunk persona and confide in Emily. Now if he could just stop bullying Nolan and find a way to destroy the Initiative without framing Aiden. (Meanwhile, Angry Jack isn't much more interesting than Sad Jack or Oblivious Jack.)

Anyway, thanks to darling Daniel, Emily realized she could ruin the Graysons financially. (And put an end to all those obnoxious parties next door. Neighbors!) With Nolan's trusty Carrion software, the dynamic duo wasted no time hacking into the Graysons' account—except they are foiled by another cyberpunk: The Falcon!

Apparently, this falcon feeds on Carrion. Nolan realized that the Graysons have rehired the computer genius who "sealed David Clarke's fate." A prison flashback revealed that Nolan was thisclose to finding the Falcon when Amanda's dad begged him to save his daughter—headed for juvie on account of her pyrotechnics display—instead of himself. It offers a neat link to the current Eli James story, and we also saw David Clarke hand over the Infinity Box to protect his daughter's future.

It's nice to see a new target turn Emily's frown upside down. If only she could have stuck to her "no distractions" promise and found a way to send Eli packing. (Or just set him on fire.)

At least she's using her trusty Sharpie again in next week's "hunting" expedition! Unfortunately, it looks like Nolan can't count sharpshooting among his many skills: The previews tease that he might accidentally fire on Padma's kidnapped father. (On the bright side, Mason Treadwell is back!)


1. What is the bombshell—"so big it will shock even Emily"—dropping at the end of next week's episode?

2. Who is the Falcon? Could it be someone we know—like Aiden?

3. I'm thinking of starting my own foundation to ban the use of the word "initiative" from all future TV scripts. You in?

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  • Samantha_101 Mar 24, 2013

    What kind of criminal is so easily traced on social media? If I had 3 outstanding warrants, I may consider using a faux-name… that’s just me.

  • Vamps Mar 23, 2013

    What if the shocking twist is that Eli is in the initiative

  • marioguev Mar 21, 2013

    Yes to this review. God! Why did they include a new character AGAIN??! (And his kid version was a very bad actor).
    I don't want to see Tredwell ever again. Why? Why?
    And yes to those wanting one of Victoria's offspring dead.
    @lhmp, he recognized the tatoo because she drew it all the time (Remember the scene?)

  • lhmp Mar 21, 2013

    am i the only one to be disturbed by the fact that if Eli hadn't seen Emily since she was a little girl, that means her FATHER had her tattooed????

  • Vamps Mar 23, 2013

    She got that tattoo after she found out her father was innocent, but as we see in the flashback Emily drew the symbol over and over, so Eli recognized the symbol not the tattoo

  • ChanX95 Mar 21, 2013

    This show has become super confusing. Can Emily get back to the actual Revenge part of this show rather than the pointless yammering about nonsense?

  • katikool Mar 21, 2013

    This may be controversial, but Revenge just got a ton better over the last couple episodes! For starters, I love that Emily's secret identity is being threatened in two different plotlines. Either Jack or Eli need to be recruited onto team Revengers- I love that Eli recognized Emily right away, but to truly make that plotline sing they have to bring him in on their schemes. And Jack doesn't believe Nolan for a second. HOW exactly is Kenny Ryan tall and sandy-haired? For all Jack's bumbling he may actually stumble across the truth.

    I'm glad Emily is focused(ish) on the Graysons again- and am I crazy or did Emily and Victoria's little graveside chat about losing one's children totally foreshadow Emily killing either Daniel or Charlotte? Please, please, please be Daniel! Or both, what the heck.

    And though it would have been nice to see the Revengers bankrupt the Graysons in one fell swoop, I'm amused by this Falcon plotline. It is sooo Hackers! And you can't go wrong with that.

  • fre_jim Aug 02, 2013

    hope is not Charlotte, after all she is Emily's half-sister

  • bleumystique Mar 21, 2013

    YES! To this review! YES!
    -For starters I was so happy someone FINALLY recognized Emily. I mean damn. That has been one of my biggest pet peeves about this show from the beginning. Her childhood sweetheart, her father's main squeeze, no one ever seemed to recognize her. They suspected something in that way that you instincts go on alert and you can't quite figure out why, but they never just knew. That has always frustrated me. But Eli waltzed in and called her right out and I loved it. It made me like him a bit. Even if he is a world class grifter. I felt the same way on how she responded to him. We've seen the blackmail thing a million times already. If anything, this should have been her best opportunity to enlist another asset to be on her side, who could bring with him his own beneficial skill set. In his case it'd be his proclivity for engaging in criminal behavior. And right there Emily could have her own team of Revengers with Nolan, Aidan, and Eli. Especially now that Fauxmanda is gone. But I guess that would have been asking for too much.
    1. Nolan says "Eff this shizz" and quits. She takes my darling Nolan for granted. She's better than she used to be with him, thank God, but still. On a serious note, I have no idea what would surprise our fembot.
    2. That would be so awesome! I hope it's someone we know!
    3. I'm in.

  • beaugardsteve Mar 20, 2013

    Yeah, I think David Clarke is still alive, especially since they said it shocked even Emily. The show has become terrible. The dialogue is really bad, Jack is a poor actor who can't seem to show Jack in any state worth watching. Emily is just stupid. I think putting the Graysons in jail would have ruined their lives yet she threw away all the computer clips. She is just an idiot.

  • shootingstar609 Mar 19, 2013

    my favorite part of this episode was when Nolan asked what Jack was doing at the Clarke foundation inaugural gathering and Jack replied "practicing lying through my teeth like you and Emily." Ouch. That was the heftiest snap ever leveled by Jack to my knowledge. I thought Nolan was going to snap some truth right back at him and tell him what he and "Emily" were really up to, but that would totally ruin everything and solve virtually nothing. So, Nolan spun yet another lie and said that Kenny Ryan saved Jack's life, which seems unlikely. Which is good because it never really happened. Which will be interesting because when Jack eventually confronts the sole surviving Ryan brother, he's going to deny that he knows anything about it which Jack will construe as more lies.

  • AndreaMcCooey Mar 19, 2013

    I have no idea whats going on in this show anymore. its almost becoming a chore to watch every week. Bring back the revenging!!

    Im not sure if anyone is with me here, but I kind of got the impression Jack wasnt buying Nolans story about Kenny Ryan buying the speedboat. 1. Kenny Ryan is short. 2. Kenny Ryan is bald(ing). 3.Are the Ryans that wealthy that they can buy off a dude and buy his boat? 4. Why hasnt Kenny Ryan come around demanding answers about his brother's death on the boat belonging to their business partner away out in the Atlantic, when said business partner was supposed to be gone on his honeymoon?

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