Last night’s Revenge continued to prove why it’s America’s favorite prime time drama. “Penance” focused on several characters past indiscretions. For them, it meant wrestling with demons and owning the truth. For fans it meant another hour of devious entertainment.  

The Players:

  • Director: Colin Bucksey
  • Writers: Elle Triedman
  • Cast: Emily Van Camp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Nick Wechsler, Henry Czerny, Josh Bowman, Christa B. Allen, Ashley Madekwe, Connor Paolo, Margarita Levieva, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barry Sloane, Dilshad Vadsaria, Roger Bart, JR Bourne, Wendy Crewson, Cassius Willis, Michael Trucco

Episode Title: “Penance”

Mason digs deeper into Emily’s past, while Kara starts to become unraveled.

The Good:

  • Revelations: Two characters aired out their truth with different results. Conrad’s justification for framing David Clarke for terrorism was his adultery with Victoria. It in no way clears Conrad of any wrongdoing, but it was an raw moment that shed light on his feelings for Victoria. From the look of it, his passionate anger moved her. But of course, any kind of reconciliation just makes it possible for a bigger betrayal in the future.
  • False Trust: Emily told Mason the whole truth: she’s the real Amanda Clarke and will stop at nothing to make the Graysons pay. It feels like a gross oversight in judgment, but Emily took the time to frame Mason for the murder of Gordon Murphy to cover her tracks. Hooking him for a book about her journey to retribution wasn’t a bad move either. But in the crazy mixed up world of Hampton’s treachery, no one’s venom is stifled for long.
  • The Family Way: Daniel’s sticking to his plan to overthrow his father, and it’s his most interesting plot to date. Now that he has a backbone, his interactions with Victoria are actually entertaining. Maybe Charlotte’s on the way to becoming a little more interesting too.
  • Falling Apart: Watching Mason push Kara into a breakdown was so devious it was almost unbearable to watch. Key word– almost. She had the Graysons in complete terror. Emily and Aiden’s flimsy excuse for her involvement with “Agent Mathis” was beneath Emily’s prowess. The cold look of resigned sorrow Kara had as she headed elsewhere ensures we’ll see her again.  That expression is all too familiar for fans; it’s the same look Emily constantly has.
  • A Mother’s Love: Was Amanda’s plan to get Mason alone and beat him with a golf club the most elegant or effective? Not at all. It was the desperate act of a mother trying to protect her family. Making Amanda so endearing is really making it hard for us to hold on to our hatred.
  • Ignite the Fire: Emily finally kissed Aiden. This in no way guarantees they’ll restart their relationship. But it’s sure to create the kind of drama the showrunners promised for season two.

The So-So:

  • Stalled Stowaway: Thankfully, we were only forced to endure a snippet of the Porters bar debacle. This week, Michael Trucco began his run as Ryan’s cutthroat brother. Do whispers of former dirty dealings with Jack’s dad mean this story might get a tad more interesting? It’s doubtful, but here’s hoping.
  • Nolan Interrupted: Nolan gave up his life’s work for the greater good—Emily’s, that is. Watching him question his greatness in the face of struggle was difficult to wrap our minds around. A certain amount of hubris is necessary to form three dimensional characters. But this is Nolan. He should know that any problem with his company means it’s time to conquer a new facet of the professional world. Hopefully, his confidence will return.

The Quotable:

  • “You and I are already doomed. Let me think we’re laying down. And when the time comes I say we drag them to hell with us.”
  • “Great. Now go home to Jack and the baby. And be grateful for what you have.”
  • “What makes you think I would fork over my life’s work for the axis of evil?”

Overall:

Sweeping the lesser loved plots under the rug might be the reason last night’s episode was such a hit. Seeing less Padma and the Stowaway gave room for the better stories. Pitting Nolan against Aiden and pairing him up with Emily let him do what he does best: shine.  If the writers find a way to weave some excitement into the Stowaway, they could continue their winning streak.

Rating: 8/10

Revenge airs Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. on ABC,

What did you think of this episode?