Revenge "Illumination" Review: The Book of Eli

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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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