What’s wrong with ‘Revenge’? 5 problems, 5 solutions
Gabriel Mann mulls the issues with S2 "Revenge"
WARNING: This article contains plot points from the October 14 "Revenge" episode. Don't continue reading if you don't want to know what happened!
So, Emily's mother, Kara, isn't just still alive -- she's running a motel right in the Hamptons, and she was romantically involved with the White-Haired Man, who actually warned Victoria to get off the plane last year because the bomb on it was meant for Conrad. WHM also had the flight recorder from Flight 666 stashed in his AC unit, where it's recovered by Foxy Aiden, who hands it over to Emily in exchange for WHM's belongings, but of course he gets decoys, because Emily is still mad that Foxy ditched her at Revenge School to go find his sister -- even though they were romantically involved. (Foxy and Emily, not Foxy and his sister. Yuck.)
Last night's "Revenge" episode, "Confidence," featured a few other plot twists -- Emily manipulates Daniel some more; Victoria uses a press event to announce that Charlotte is David Clarke's daughter, and to introduce Amanda as a member of the family; Declan gets caught stealing; Jack gives Amanda an ultimatum about getting close to the Graysons. But despite the usual furious plotting, and continued good ratings, something's not right. The show isn't fun to watch anymore. We've lost confidence. What's wrong with "Revenge"? And can it be fixed?
Problem #1: The bad guys have gotten too bad…
This isn't to say that you can't dig villains, and/or enjoy their élan, and "Revenge" has some of the most dastardly Snidely Whiplashes in the business -- but it's no longer believable that any of the other characters would continue to associate with Victoria or Conrad, whose interpersonal skills top out at "unpleasantly gelid."
In the first season, the senior Graysons seemed to have other qualities and interests besides scheming and hating each other so intensely that random props threatened to burst into flames nearby. Not many… but some. They appeared to like their children a little bit. Occasionally they played tennis. Now, the entire character brief is "glaring." Daniel and Charlotte's willingness to let themselves get herded back into that toxic fold strains credulity.
Pull back on the "War of the Roses" loathing for a few episodes, and find at least one of them a semi-sympathetic motivation for all the double-crossing. Or a hobby.
Problem #2: …and the good guys aren't any great shakes either
It's hard to root for the Grayson kids when they don't root for themselves. Even Daniel, not the sharpest knife in the block, has to realize that his parents' only use for him or his sister is as chess pieces. It makes no sense that the kids continue the charade.
Jack Porter presents a similar problem; why hasn't he either figured out that Amanda is not "his" Amanda, or just told her he doesn't love her instead of moping into a highball glass? The show wants us to want him and Emily together in the end, but if he's this clueless and ineffectual, she could do better. (And on that same tip, stop showing flashbacks to David Clarke, who is more easily led, cheaty, and unworthy of vengeance in each one.)
Declan has no relationship to the main plots at this point (and wasn't very interesting when he did), and Nolan is sidelined in a glacial subplot with his teenage CFO.