Revenge "Forgiveness" Review: New Arrivals

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Revenge S02E05: "Forgiveness"

How many of you went/are going as Victoria Grayson for Halloween? Any Nolans?! Can we do pictures? I’d love to see pictures (email them to mailbag at tv dot com or tweet them to us: @tvdotcom). It’s kind of a no-brainer Halloween costume, because comparing notes on Revenge is the best thing to happen to parties since body shots! (Correction, body shots are the worst thing to happen to parties ever, I just remembered a party a couple years back where a guy with waist-length hair insisted on participating in body shots and I had to watch him mop some poor girl’s midsection with dirty hair and liquor. Needless to say I stealthily pitched myself backward out the nearest window and ran home crying.)

Last night we welcomed the newest of several new cast members to the “Hamptons,” young Carl. Emily’s reaction to Carl sincerely cracked me up “He’s somethin’” is maybe the most heartless reaction to a newborn baby I’ve ever heard. Poor Carl! Carl. Isn’t Carl the funniest name in the world? Maybe I'm just associating it with Karl Pilkington. Well, at least Carl was born to an alert and alive mom, who despite ping-pong-balling her way down two stories of marble and oak seemed completely okay. The attempted-child-murdering arms of his grandma were also waiting for him, as the Hamptons’ most lovable psychopath to date had invited herself over to Victoria’s mansion for a goofy and confusing tete-a-tete.

Like, who picks a rose out of a vase and plays with it while talking? And then bloodies her hands? I’m sure she needed to get in there to plant a bug or a whale cam or a soap cam or ClamCam (TM), but still, the level of subtlety was zero. Her appearance had already alarmed Victoria so greatly that their first bout of eye contact took place in luxurious slow motion. At least Kara is distracting Victoria from her increasing fixation on Emily and is standing in as the possible source for Fauxmanda’s access to David Clarke’s diaries.

The episode was positively riddled with Emily and her mom talking to each other through Fauxmanda in a way that was both poignant and frustrating. Emily was clearly a little upset that her mom didn’t recognize her, and it would seem as if my hopes that Kara didn’t actually try to kill her daughter have been dashed—she was “very sick” at the time. So David Clarke is just that much more perfect. He brought his daughter back to life after she was drowned. Folks, how many of you are certain that David Clarke is coming back as some ultimate big bad? Like, the Head of the Initiative after all? Maybe not. Maybe this just is the sweetest gig ever for actor James Tupper, whose weekly schedule consists of playing in the shore with a 5-year-old girl and not memorizing lines.

In all this heartbreaking drama that Emily is inflicting on herself, I kind of feel the worst for Fauxmanda (and hello, actress Margarita Levieva is KNOCKING IT OUT OF THE PARK. Her reaction to her baby, to Emily’s confession—she’s seriously great). As a teen she traded identities with Emily for a fat check, now she’s been drawn into constant smalltalk (and occasional very very big talk) with a psychopathic fake mom for the rest of her life.

And she almost got her neck snapped. Thankfully Emily revealed that Jack was actually the father in a conversation that could have been taken word for word from a telenovela, complete with tears. “Jack deserves happiness, if you tell him the truth now it will only break his heart all over again” is just TORN from soap opera language.

Still, it was a necessary moment to reaffirm Emily as our hero—of all the morally dubious moves she’s made, lying to Fauxmanda about Jack’s baby was far and away the worst. 

The second worst was her reaction to Nolan telling her his dad died. NOT EVEN A HUG. It didn’t throw Nolan, who went right back to getting caught up in Emily’s ever more vague revenge plans, masking his hurt with what sounded like a pop culture slam poem. What was that he was saying? “No place like home, ruby shoes so let's fly away, winged monkey because I got a banana on a branch hi-up hi-top apple cider with a cinnamon stick to stir it girl.” Keep doing you,Nolan, keep doing you and stop doing Padma because girl is nosin’ around where she doesn’t belong, financially.

I am no longer on the fence about Padma, I sincerely think she should not be a romantic interest for Nolan. Frankly, while in real life nerd-on-nerd relationships are long and strong, they make for terrible TV. There’s a reason Chuck was a runaway success, it's because nerdy guys do best crushing on badass girls. Nolan sitting across from Liz Lemon is like a bowl of soup with a side of soup. He’d be better secretly loving Emily romantically or even Aidan than nerdy Padma. Not that I see either of those two options unfolding (sorry Nolem shippers, I know you suffer), but those specific types set him off to more advantage. Also she’s opened the door for the Graysons to nab a controlling interest in Norelcorp, so, dealbreaker.

A similar lackluster couple is Ashley and Daniel, for much the same reason.They’re both gorgeous, kind-of-conniving, ultimately-benevolent characters in desperate need of conflict. (Her spying for Conrad fizzled out last week, so now they’re just a pair of steady-freddies—which again, bad TV.) This week’s promo hinted Daniel might make a pass at Emily; I’d almost rather Ashley made a pass at Aidan, drawing her into actual conflict with Emily, because we all know Emily couldn't care less about Daniel. All it would take is a few more nights out on the company card for it to happen. (What was that place, Big Wang's? They kind of cheaped out. Let’s show him the power of the corporate card: two-for-one Choco-Chilladas at Chili’s.)

Or am I just pairing everyone up with Aidan? I’m smitten guys, he is just so over the top and Kiefer Sutherland-intense. He’s also survived a dumpster, a neck-tasing, and a chair flop in two weeks—fully committing to wacky facial expressions throughout, like a streamlined Stephen Baldwin. He’s slipping into center-stage as he maneuvers within Grayson Global, and the idea of him being becoming an antagonist to Emily has given him edge.

Mr. Veneers, however, I am completely unexcited about. It could be that his storyline is hopelessly mired in Declan, or it could be that his endgame appears to be buying the Stowaway, possibly the saddest endgame ever for a villain on this show or any other.  Poor Declan spent another week isolated from all the other characters, spraying vat after vat of vinegar to kill the mold that is apparently riddling the peanut-shell-strewn planks of the Stowaway. Why would anyone want to take this thing on? Hopefully Mr. Veneers' real goal is to put Declan in a position where he’s forced to become a boy hustler. Fingers crossed this dude is actually the foremost Man Madam of the Hamptons, waiting to turn a himbo out!  I would love if Declan started showing up to wealthy clients with a tux over his shirtless, tiny torso and a single rose in hand. Please, Revenge, please.

And finalllllly, everyone’s favorite ludicrous-line-dispensing device is back! Mason Treadwell is already prying into whether or not Fauxmanda is actually David Clarke’s daughter and playing the dozens with Victoria. His line about her face being an elegant mix of fact and fiction was a winky joke by the writers that needs to STOP. Granted it's also true—whatever work she’s had done, Madeleine Stowe looks mind-blowingly gorgeous, I bow before her, would that we could all be so lucky to have the genes or doctors it takes to be as perennially 29. But despite that snap, I’m sooo glad Mason’s back and on the case. Seriously just so many nice developments last night! Padma pissed off Nolan; Nolcorp and therefore Nolan might get pulled into serious drama; Emily came clean to Fauxmanda; Emily and her mom got lots of weird alone time. Revenge is still pitching a winning season as far as I’m concerned. 


QUESTIONS:

1. Why would Mason Treadwell leave a folder full of evidence with Fauxmanda if he suspects her? Hopefully he made a copy of his work this time?

2. What do you think Kara planted in Victoria’s bathroom/house?

3. Aidan: Are you smitten yet or do you not trust him?

4. Would you forgive your mom for attempting to kill you and then faking her own death?