Revenge-Retribution-Emily VanCamp

On Revenge when it comes to trouble the Graysons are always at the root of it. “Retribution” focused on the fallout from the tragedy on The Amanda. The episode’s director Helen Hunt perfected the night by drawing out powerful performances from actors who usually go unnoticed. 

The Players:

  • Director: Helen Hunt
  • Writers: Nikki Toscano and Elle Triedman
  • Cast: Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Nick Wechsler, Henry Czerny, Josh Bowman, Christa B. Allen, Ashley Madekwe, Connor Paolo, Barry Sloane, Dilshad Vadsaria, Burn Gorman, Collins Pennie, Maggie Mae Reid, Michael Nardelli

Episode Title: “Retribution”

As the Hamptons mourn the loss of one of their own, Emily’s commitment to her plot is strengthened by the pain of Amanda’s death.

The Good:

  • The Surprise: Ashley opened the floodgates with an accurate accusation against Conrad. The confrontation was one of her strongest scenes to date. It did little to raise Ashley’s level of importance or involvement in crucial content.  However, for a character as overlooked and underutilized as her, any example of strength can’t hurt.
  • Life’s Pawn: As he clings to his relationship with Padma, watching Nolan was a pleasure. We’ve often taken issue with the content and tone of his solo journey this season. But watching him grapple with the responsibility for whatever The Initiative is planning was almost worth the grief. 
  •  Porter Renewed: After a season and a half as a gullible pawn, Jack’s finally in the game. The steely resolve in his eyes when he was forced to confront Conrad the second after he learned of his wife’s death was palpable. Playing Conrad so easily was unexpected; especially considering this is his first foray into deception. Jack’s swift thinking—blaming Nate’s wrath on his father’s past indiscretions —saves and distinguished him in the same moment. And to take it even further by serving him a slice of truth really raised his esteem. 
  • The Crutch: While some might see Emily’s tossing of the surveillance stronghold as a major loss in the fight for vengeance, we saw it as a step forward. We first fell in love with Revenge while Emily was systematically destroying all the peons involved in framing her father. As they faded into a sea of desecration, all that was left were the Graysons and The Initiative. That meant a lot of waiting and watching for Emily and for us. The disposing of the laptop was a release from that vicious cycle. 

The So-So:

  • A Growing Grayson: At this point, Victoria and Conrad’s attempts to distract The Initiative are as ineffective as they are pointless. We had to look to the returning conscience of a former paragon of truth, Daniel, to see any progress.  Though all he accomplished was removing The Initiative’s surveillance clock from his office, it’s far more than anyone else. We’re willing to acknowledge that this is stealth in its paltriest form.  ut waiting around for someone, anyone, to pull one over on The Initiative gives cause to celebrate the tiniest of victories.

The Bad:

  • Ignored: Even when Charlotte’s “sister” meets her demise, she’s still a third class citizen on the show. At most, all her character did was create an opportunity for a beautifully tense scene between Emily and Victoria. Not to mention make it possible for a new character—Emily’s foster brother—to enter the drama. With her into obscurity goes her devoted boyfriend Declan. As both struggled with family issues this week, they could have been given a real scene or two.  Whining to others isn’t enough to bring them back to relevance.

Overall:

“Retribution” echoed a different sentiment than any other episode this season. While it had its faults, the emotional tone of the evening made the night a success. We’re particularly interested in seeing how long Jack will harbor his hatred for Emily and her lies. Although we’re intrigued by the arrival of Emily’s foster brother, the last thing she needs is another distraction.

Rating: 8.5/10

Revenge airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of this episode?