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Before You Set Out to Watch Revenge, Pour Two Glasses of Wine

Revenge's pilot set up a lot of great elements: Amanda Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) and Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) hate each other, someone in a white jacket got shot (they want us to think it's Daniel, but I have my theories), and Emily may have murdered her own fiance to hurt Victoria—or she may have simply been pawing through the sand. We have two rich-man/poor-man romances on the horizon and a murder to solve! Basically, the premiere hit that "Lifetime movie" tone of campy melodrama that almost begs you to open a bottle of wine and start cackling at the TV. Nothing pairs with a chardonnay like Madeleine Stowe speechifying about "primal bookends" and then clutching her skirts and shrieking to the CGI skies of the "Hamptons."

I mean, how recession-era is this whole show? I can already see clips of it being played in a film class in 2078. Its appeal is grounded in a combination of wealth porn and the total vilification of the rich, yet it is the poorest show about upper-class people I have ever seen. Part of Revenge's campy appeal is its brave attempt to portray staggering wealth with a modest budget, which I totally applaud. It's not the show's job to waste money; it's to entertain us with a soapy mystery. The pilot definitely left me with several intriguing questions, though probably not the ones the writers had in mind:


QUESTION 1: What exactly does it mean to "destroy" someone?
Emily has returned to the "Hamptons" to destroy her father's former business partners, who set him up as the fall guy for an embezzlement scheme connected to 9/11. The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center seems wildly inappropriate as a story device, but it gives enough explanation as to why her dad was driven to suicide/died of shame and why Emily had to grow up in jail (where she apparently dyed her hair black in the cell toilet). I buy Emily wanting to destroy the people responsible for her dad's ruination. But if the person she "destroyed" this episode was Lydia, the blonde lady whose face Emily x'd out at the end while surveying her photo of People To Destroy, I don't know if Lydia was "destroyed" so much as mildly inconvenienced. Yeah, Victoria announced that Lydia's house is on the market (which is in no way legally binding) and gave her a painting worth several million dollars (take that, b*tch!). I guess the idea was to knock out Victoria's support system, but Lydia was clearly shown testifying against Emily's dad, and yet she was basically up by several million at the end of the episode.


QUESTION 2: Who's the "British" lady?
Emily's sidekick, an event planner with a fake British accent, made my wine-soaked brain tingle. Maybe this is going to be a midseason reveal! Maybe her friend isn't British at all but has some ulterior motives of her own! Or she's just S.T. Rugglin' through her lines in a fake British accent? Yet to be seen!


QUESTION 3: What is your witchcraft, Madeleine Stowe?
How does this lady look so amazing? Madeleine spent the entire pilot changing into different bandage dresses, including a nude-colored one for the $10,000-a-plate yacht party (on a parked boat, obviously, did you think yachts leave the harbor during yacht parties? Not in the "Hamptons.") And she. Looked. Good.


QUESTION 4: What clown college is Revenge getting its extras from?
At the parked-yacht party, one of the extras had taken off her heels, and they were just chilling in-frame when Emily first spotted her fiance-to-be, Daniel.

They're posing as billionaires, but extras are ultimately people willing to stand around for hours in exchange for Fig Newtons, so the contrast makes for some pretty delightful scenery.


QUESTION 5: Why would Emily put Nolan/Mark Zuckerburg in a choke hold?
Isn't he her business partner and the source of all of her money? Yikes! Save that ish for the yard, girl!


QUESTION 6: How are we supposed to hate Daniel and his sister?
The actor playing Daniel is adorable. The actress playing his sister is crazy likable and cute. As notoriously maligned as rich kids are, one way to make them very lovable is to have them care about each other and to assign very appealing actors to play them. Are these two actors possibly dating?


FINAL QUESTION: Are we actually going to see Emily do any of the cool stuff?
Revenge established at the end that Emily had pulled a wig and a waitress costume out of thin air, but how did she manage to intercept the room-service tray? I want to see at least a little montage of her changing in a bathroom stall and sneakily pulling a tray out from under a heat lamp.


IN SUM:
... As I said, I don't think the murder victim in the white jacket was Daniel, and I'm honestly curious to see who it is.
... I'm also intrigued by Emily's emotional journey (hopefully she drops the revenge, embraces some form of forgiveness, and just enjoys spending her huge amounts of money).
... The repeated references to "an unforgettable summer" make me wonder if Revenge was originally a summer series that was bumped up to primetime status because of good testing or strong writing. As long as I don't have to take a drink every time the show works in that silly double infinity symbol, I plan on staying for the whole season in the "Hamptons."


Questions:

… Did you like the pilot?

… Was Daniel the person who got shot in the beginning?

… Have you ever worked as an extra? Wasn’t it horrible/fun?

… If you had piles of money, would you even care for five minutes about anything besides renting out water parks and naming your island?

Comments (52)
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Only started watching now, and I wonder why I didn't start sooner. I'm hooked! I even liked the green-screen cheesiness.
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It is also worth noting that the date of Amanda's father's trial is April 5 1995, and so pre-dates 9/11 by almost 6.5 years.
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This year has been an awesome year for juicy soap fans. Ringer and Revenge are making my Pretty Little Liar withdrawal a breeze.
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Plus can we please give a big had to Emily Vankamp. She's playing the 2 sided viciousness of Amanda so well. Its almost scintillating how good she is.
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Ummm....I think you need to keep an eye on the salient details, Lily. First of all, her waitress outfit from another waitress(who she killed/knocked out/stole from). We know this cos the waitress who served Emily at the Forks Inn had the same name-tag.



There can be a question as to who Emily wants to destroy. Is it just Victoria or is it everyone who was in on it? If its everyone, then this was a nice opening play. If its Victoria, this was a big score. nIts clear that Conrad cheats a lot and Lydia was a big part of Victoria's support network. I predict this will be the first of many links in Victoria's support network to fall.



Also, you're missing the point of the Van Gogh. Its supposed to be a slap in the face. I'm pretty sure Lydia has buckets of money so another few million won't mean much. Societal status is what Lydia really craves and, as we can see from the she-wolves, Victoria took every bit of that away from her in one fell swoop. PLus when you consider that Lydia said "If you put up the Van Gogh for auction, I'll kill myself", it does add another layer to Victoria's actions.



I think its perfectly reasonable for Emily to attack the one person who could expose her.



Isn't Emily quest made that much more interesting if we don't hate the people she's after? You're not sure who to root for.



Yes Madeline Stowe looks nice, for someone who looks like they've just been hired from the set of Real Housewives.



Plus, another big question is, if Jack didn't kill Daniel, who did he kill(I'm pretty sure that was Jack under the hoodie at the start)?



Have to say, I kind of knew I'd like this show. Been waiting for an opportunity to get into it. Insomnia after a night shift at work has been a good friend to me in this respect xD
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ditto chanadler 14 - ashley madekwe is british. she sounds british, in fact she even sounds like she is, as she says, from croydon.
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Wtf. The British sidekick with the "fake" British accent is actually British, and doesn't sound fake at all! She's from Secret Diary of a Call Girl...
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I don't think Lydia got the painting for free. I think she had to pay for it, that's why she had to put her beachhouse on the market.
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Wow, there really seem to be zero qualifications for writing for TV.com. Watching the show one is reviewing seems to be a complete afterthought as well. Absolutely no mentions of 9/11 in the pilot & the "fake" British chick is actually British.



Personally, my reason for watching this program can be summed up in three words: Madeleine F*&#@ing Stowe!
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So many new shows, is this the one with an hot chick??



Wait, there are "n" new shows with hot chicks... Hmmm Is this the twins thing??



AHH, wait this one is all about revenge. Wait, and the others?? i believe theres revenge too...



hmmmm
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I think this is the best new show that i've seen so far. As i loved the Count of Monte Christo which this is inspired by, i hope it can deliver a good storyline and interesting characters. Because i can see alot of potential after the pilot atleast.
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I liked the pilot episode! I think this show was intriguing and different than any other show now showing on TV. I'm totally hooked and I felt bad for what seemed to have happened to Emily and her father but we'll see if she is as innocent and mistreated as it seems now :) So all in all, I'm definitely going to keep watching! :)
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I really enjoyed this new show, and am looking forward to next week's episode. There are

lots of angles to cover in just an hour, but it will all level out, I'm sure. We must just be patient. Love it!!
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The actress playing the friend IS british. She played Bambi on "Secret Diary of a Call Girl". And Madeleine Stowe is soooo flawless, I hope I look that good at 53!
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A little research goes a long way Lily!



Got to the part where Blonde-Revenge-Seeking-Girl spilt wine on Future-Fiance-Possibly-Dead-Guy on the boat. Gave up, won't be watching any more. It's poorly made, badly writen and the acting sucks. I admit that I like the who is it/done it premise but it's just not enough. I guess I just no longer have any patience for this kind of campy crap. With so much to watch I just can't be bothered to find the time for it, especially since I already squeeze Pretty Little Liers in there (which has nothing to do with Lucy Hale... erm, honest).
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I have to say I went into this show expecting very little and was kinda impressed by the end of the pilot. I'm not sure I'm in for the long haul but the pilot was good enough to make me want to watch it again next week.
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I believe the actress playing the event planner is Ashley Medekwe - who is a British actress. She was excellent in the second and third seasons of "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" playing the prostitute Belle befriended and who became her friend; "Bambi". Bambi was awesome and was one of the few characters who actually had a happy ending (choice of words..) when she married her client.



I thought this show was good, I'll stick with until ABC unjustifiably cancels it. Does Madeleine Stowe age? She still looks as stunning as ever and it appears she may have the best part.



Is anyone wondering when these folks are going to have to call on Hank-Med?
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Sorry Sparky, gave it a chance and just couldn't get there. Even WITH my full box of wine. Way too Days of our bold and beautiful world turns lives. Revenge may be best served cold, but wait too long here and it will be cold, stiff, and canceled!!
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I just want to reinforce that the British Girl, Ashley Madekwe, actually IS British. She's a half-nigerian half british actress. She was on Secret Diary of a call girl.



Please try research before you throw an accusation. It's not becoming. Other than that, great recap!
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Thanks, you've saved me from having to write that.
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haha "my couch is made out of the constitution".
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i loved it ...

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First, the British girl, Ashley Madekwe, if you've ever seen British shows like Bedlam and Secret Diary of a Call Girl (ROSE!) season 3, among others, then you've seen her, so she isn't "fake."



a friend of mine refered to this as an ABC Family show but good, and I agree. Very dramatic, but it's not stupid like everything on ABC Family (Melissa & Joey and the two shows they recently canceled are the only good things that ABC Family has). It even has Josh Bowman, the guy who dated Amy Winehouse and Miley Cyrus and is now on Make It Or Break It.. who also is British.. lol. The pilot was interesting enough for me to keep watching, atleast for now.



and I don't think dead guy is Daniel, during Emily VanCamp's recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live she said her character doesn't believe in killing people, she just wants to screw with their lives.
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It was somewhat cheesy and puzzling, e.g. why did Amanda grew up in a prison? But overall I enjoyed it quite a lot and definitely will tune in for at least next week's episode. From there on I'll see. My only concern is that the show has this feeling it should've been made as some sort of mini series instead of a regular show. Remember TV show titled Crusoe? But, well, we'll see
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Prison: That's the whole point of the series. They tell us how it started, they tell us how it ends and they tell us how the revenge started. The season will tell us what happened to her during the last 17 years. They just recently cast someone to play a female prison guard for several episodes. I think every episode will continue where this one left ... tell us more about the events leading to her father's arrest, the events leading to her imprisonment, the planning and execution of the revenge.



Also: Lydia wasn't several million up. She is having a divorce right now. And she loves that van Gogh. Giving it back to her means she is richer than her husband, forcing her to give up everything. Maybe even having to sell the van Gogh to split the value between them, so she loses her husband, her houses, her friends, her reputation and her van Gogh.



There's one thing I didn't quite get: It was said in the beginning that Amandas father left his wife for a much younger woman. With the camera showing Lydia and then Lydia testifying against him. So was she the one that destroyed Amandas family and subsequently killed her father?
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I have no idea why Amanda grew up in jail. I can see why her dad was taken away since he was setup as the fall guy, but why Amanda? What the heck did she do? Please explain.
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I liked it a lot. I do wonder how long it can last on her wanting revenge though? but I do think it was a very good pilot compared to most that are bad. I hope it will continue to be this good or even better, get good ratings and so abc will keep it around.
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liked it
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Oh and it's actually EMILY Throne. Amanda is her real name. Not sure what her real last name is.
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I loved it! I thought it looked good but I was surprised at how good it was! Can't wait for next week.
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1st, I liked it, a lot! Second, the British chick is actually British, Ashley Madekwe is a Nigerian-British actress who was in the UK hit the Secret Diaries of a Call Girl. Oh and she was born in London, I'm all for snark, I adore your snark usually Lily, but please do your research 1st. :)
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Dude first of all the show is based on the count of monte cristo and in that edmond didn't as far as I remember actually kill any of his targets but ruined them instead.



Revenge doesn't need the target to die they just have to be crippled in the way you want them to be.
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Ummm her accent is real, she is a British actress. I know like 7 people on this show from their other roles and she is 1 of them. The recap was good though other than that.
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Thank you! It''s not hard t sniff out a fake Brit. I'll be checking out this show more, because I want to see if it can hold together. Telling a revenge story is just s hard as actual revenge.



I also find it odd that Amanda now hates the guy who looked cool with her in the flashback. They must've had a horrible falling out.



I also think the brother and sister are meant to be sympathetic, or at least less unlikable. I think that's how this can continue for more than one season. If the whole family is evil, then it's too easy to destroy their lives.
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Firstly, this plot summary was hilarious! Nice job Lily.



I DVR'd this show so have yet to see it, but will certainly take note to a) pour two glasses of wine prior to watching and b) be on the look out for random shoe placement and grimy faux billionaires...
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They need to work on the execution a bit more before it can be considered worth watching.
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I really like the start of this series. The only new fall show, that seems to have potential. (Ringer, disappointment much?) Hope they keep up the good work.
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You know I like Emily VanCamp ever since Everwood so I'm hoping this works out for her. I wish TV.com staff writers would stop copying Price Peterson.
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Lydia "up by several million?" Opportunity cost. She had the Hamptons, prestige and a whale. It's like burning down someone's house and giving them a vespa.



And yeah, it's not Daniel. No way.



Cheesy CGI and extras aside, I liked this show a hell of a lot more than I expected. I haven't seen such smooth cameraphone surveillance since Alias. If they pace it well and intelligently, this could work for years to come.
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Ashley (British girl) was also Belle's escort friend in Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
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I didn't enjoy the pilot, but I will give it another chance next week to see where it goes (something I didn't even considered with shows such as Up All Night or New Girl).



I dont agree with u about the actor playing Daniel, I thought his character was boring and seen thousands of time before even more his acting was soooo bad.

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I liked the pilot, and the "British" person is actually british she recently did a series on Sky called Bedlam.
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Nuts! Maybe she is affecting an American undertone to her accent as part of a plot twist? Or maybe she's just been hanging out in SoCal for a while and that's rubbed off on her. The season will reveal more!
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I didn't get any Lifetime vibes either. (Though I agree with the CGI.) More importantly, Ashley Madekwe is actually British...
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Pilot was soapy but watchable on a lazy evening. Picking on the extras, however, was pretty low and not particularly funny.
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Hey, I've done extra work, so I can speak from experience, its a tough job and its not conducive to dressing like a millionaire. I'm not picking on them, I'm picking on the wranglers who couldn't get it together to pass out a few costumes/ask people to put their shoes back on.
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Well, singling a guy out and making fun of... actually, I'm not even sure what was sooo wrong with the guy in the picture... looks much more like picking on that particular guy than on the those responsible for making sure there are no shoeless people. And billionaires aren't a different species, they sorta look like us... It's just that I've always found making fun of the way people look to be in rather bad taste.
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thats kinda what i thought whenever i saw promos for this show. it looks like it;d make a good (well not good, but you know what i mean) movie but it;d such a constricted plot i dont see how they can stretch out over a whole show
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They can make the first two seasons about Amanda going after her revenge and then the next seasons it's about Victoria wanting revenge from Amanda.
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I really liked the pilot. I didn't get any "Lifetime" vibes from it.



It was probably not Daniel. I think they would have shown his face if it was. I'm always skeptical in situations where there is no clear shot of the victims face.
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Seriously? Maybe you should start listening to what the characters say before going on a wild bashing spree? They even say that the father is guilty of financing terrorism which lead to an attack in 1994. Which is when he gets arrested. Nobody even mentions 9/11 because there is no connection whatsoever to it in this series. Or you could go read the script and see that she returns to the Hamptons 17 years after her father was arrested.



And of course Daniel is the one being killed in the beginning. That's the whole point of the series and it has been confirmed many times by the producers.
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Hey Mike, thanks for the fact checking, I honestly do appreciate it. You seem really worked up about this show already, so I'm glad they're attracting passionate fans/you and Emily Van DeCamp are secretly dating. However, I think you missed my larger point, which is that this is an entertaining series, I'm already excited about the rest of the series, and people should watch it, which is hardly a bashing spree.
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