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Revenge: Panic at the Tea Party

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I suppose we are just going to have to assume that Emily can do anything. She can kidnap someone from a scandalized bruncheon, she knows how the DVD label will look for a presentation without seeing it, she can stream and then record video files from the desktops of other people's offline computers like Salander from Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. Apparently you learn a lot in baby girl jail: how to shiv, how to mad-dog a child psychiatrist, and how to create real-time mirror links to desktops. Kind of wish I'd gone!

Revenge simply does not hold up if you put it under a microscope or think of Emily as anything other than a superhero whose power is comeuppance. But if you can blank out the resounding chorus of "BUT, HOW?! WHAT? WHO?" there's nothing left to keep you from enjoying the show, and it's starting to seriously pay off. Last night's episode contained a ton of great developments:

1. We finally have an opponent! Daniel's college chum Tilda Swinton has been busily deleting Emily's calls and plying Daniel with booze. I welcome an obstacle for the heretofore omniscient Emily.

2. The love triangles are heating up. While Jack showing up with flowers was fun and Daniel's smoldering drunken hurt is enticing, it's always the moments with Nolan that get to me. It's partly his impish banter with Emily and partly my suspicion that the actor would be very cute with different hair. Revenge's hairstylist has saddled him for whatever reason with the blonde moptop of a Swedish shepherd boy. With a few careful snips he could be a bargain-bin Jude Law.

3. The consequences of Emily's various revenges are starting to snowball. I loved all the accusations swirling about the senator from last week and our peek at Lydia's New York apartment. I cannot wait to see Lydia and Victoria rolling around on the burnished cement floor of that loft, clawing at one another's daytime evening gowns.

4. Victoria is complicated. There's been at least one moment in every episode where I felt bad for her, but last night established her as irretrievably awful. She bribed a psychiatrist to imprison a child! The next step up from that is building a candy house in the woods so you can snatch up Hansel and Gretel. Yet how can you not love a character who stands up at a tea party and shouts "I WILL RUIN YOU"?

5. This episode introduced some complications for other characters: Charlotte and Victoria's rocky relationship got dealt a shuddering blow. Daniel saw Emily talking with another man and was driven to drink by talented Academy Award-winner, Tilda Swinton. Things got sad!

The whole tone of this Revenge was a little edgier than the series has been, and: AWESOME. Now I want to see gritty flashbacks of child Emily/Amanda having to hot-tar the roof of a prison, or how about the financier who she destroyed trying to break into her beach house to confront her about her bad tip. There's a lot of potential for the series going forward, but it will definitely require the audience to be diligently disinterested in details. If we can accept that Emily has a wizardly ability to manipulate logistics off-camera, and if we can kindly ignore some of the worst green screen shots 21st century television has ever seen, Revenge could achieve the same levels of greatness as The O.C. back in 2005 or Melrose Place circa 1996 in its very first season.


… What's worse, losing all your money or finding out your mom talks trash about you in therapy?

… Is HamptonsExposed your new favorite site? Wish I had registered that domain when I had the chance. Kind of impressed by how still the psychiatrist sits in the videos.

… Nolan: Is the show's hair stylist angry at him or is that look in style now?

… Who was that getting crunched in the preview for next week's episode?!

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