Sunday, December 2, 2012

'Revenge' Review - 2.09 Revelations

        On the fall finale of ABC's Revenge, Nolan is confronted with a skeleton from his past; Daniel's leading role is challenged as Emily and Aidan weave their way through Grayson Global; and the christening of baby Carl brings new concerns to light for Jack and Declan.

        No other show currently on television revels in its own soapiness as much as Revenge does. One need not look past the opening sequence in this episode to see why. From the way that it was shot, edited and how every person plotted their actions for the hour very clearly, it was very clear that we were about to witness a very ambitious and yet satisfying episode. The hour delivered in the aspects where the prior eight episodes of the season haven't. Everything built to enthralling tension and, for the first time this season, every plot happening felt tense and actually vital to the narrative.
        The story of Revenge was largely been about what Emily Thorne wants and what Conrad and Victoria Grayson want are at polar ends of the spectrum and thusly always putting them in conflict. The tale of these two opposing forces was out in full force in this hour and best utilized for the second season to date. Emily and Aidan want Daniel to take over Grayson Global so they can get better connected to the Initiative. Conrad and Victoria desperately want Daniel to stay away and avoid being corrupted and used by the Initiative. In both of their crosshairs is Ashley who truly gets her turn as a tragic figure and puppet being manipulated by both sides of the struggle. Seeing her succumb to the one thing she desperately avoided in last week's flashback episode was a powerful beat for this character and now I'm hoping her exile from Grayson Manor won't be a long one. In the final moments, Daniel succeeds in taking over the company but not without first proving himself as a conniving and necessary piece to the overall puzzle. Season one Daniel was a pushover and very naive to how the show's world works but now he has a firm grasp on these struggles and is thriving at being a force to be reckoned with.
        The Jack and his bar subplot has been absolutely terrible for this entire season mostly because there was no stakes or no palpable tension. That got completely turned on its head this week as both Kenny and Nate Ryan finally were able to become the true one-note antagonists they were born to be in this story. Jack seeing them as villainous helps add dimensional to this story and his appearance in it. It still will never be as good and as entertaining as the main power plays and revenge going on at the Hamptons but, at least in this episode, it was a somewhat watchable distraction.
        Much like the Jack story, the plotting of Nolan and his company's demise finally makes a lot more sense and has the biggest potential to be fully realized in the back half of this season. A big plot and character concern from the first episodes this season was why would Nolan so willingly decide to part ways with his company that he has spent his entire life building? His love for Emily and her father made for a reasonable excuse in the beginning but now it is pleasing and exciting to see that he has a larger plan for getting into bed with Grayson Global. It may be just coy teases and hush-hush dialog now but it is definitely one of the parts I'm most excited for moving forward.

So what did everyone think of the episode? Are you hoping that Ashley returns more motivated and revenge-y than ever? How laughable was the Initiative's generic surveillance room? Share your thoughts in the comments.