Revenge-Illumination-Collins Pennie

On Revenge they’re playing with a loaded deck. “Illumination” features the arrival of Emily’s foster brother, who fits right in with the dwellers of Grayson Manor. Although one of the Porters is improving in our eyes, the other is woefully forgotten.

The Players:

  • Director: Bobby Roth
  • Writers: Michael Foley and Sallie Patrick
  • Cast: Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Nick Wechsler, Henry Czerny, Josh Bowman, Christa B. Allen, Ashley Madekwe, Connor Paolo, Barry Sloane, James Tupper, Emily Ayln Lind, Collins Pennie, Kendall Clement, Jamila Jones, Akinsola Aribo, Michael Tennant, Bruno Amato, Lindsey Haun

Episode Title: “Illumination”

Just as Emily starts on the right track, her past tries to distract her. Meanwhile, Victoria and Conrad’s charity in Amanda’s name does nothing to dispel Jack’s suspicions.

The Good:

  • The Achilles Heel: Just when we thought we were accustomed to the Graysons brand of atrocities, their charity turns out to be a backup bank account for the Initiative’s terror plot. While attempting to dismantle the Grayson’s emergency fund, Nolan and Emily discover that the “charity” database is protected by the same hacker that sealed David Clarke’s fate.
  • The Prodigal Brother: Having Eli appear and immediately realize Emily’s true identity was the best thing the writers could do for him. Making yet another person fall for the name switcheroo would have been boring. His presence at the Hamptons provides infinite possibilities for drama since he’s the new co-chair of the charity. The Graysons could discover Eli’s collegiate and rare book fallacy; love of subterfuge has never stopped Victoria from taking every precaution to ensure her family’s safety. He could get in Emily’s way or attempt to scam one of the sharks in sheep’s clothing in Montauk. Whatever happens his charm will aid him; since when are Emily and Nolan daft enough to wipe someone’s record and pay them off before they comply?
  • Dusty Rose: Nothing is more attractive than confidence. Fueled by grief and the tiniest inkling of truth Jack is still striving to connect the dots after his wife’s demise. When Eli’s memory of Amada contradicted the little Jack knows, he questioned and dismissed Emily with a coldness his character’s never known. His candor warranted a cover-up from Nolan when his digging brought him too close to the truth that his best friend saved him from his honeymoon. It’s doubtful that the Kenny Ryan story will hold; would anyone believe he traveled all that way and didn’t bother to help his brother?  We don’t want anything derailing the new Jack because now he has a backbone we might be in love.
  • Safe Haven:  It’s always refreshing to get new scenery, and Aiden’s hideaway is every bit the serene retreat. While the trio of avengers has somewhere to meet, the security of the past is missing. Emily did away with her stronghold of surveillance videos, but surely they still have a working camera or two at Grayson Manor? They seemed rather confident with Daniel trusting Aiden, but it’s hard to recall a moment where Nolan, Emily, and Aiden acknowledged that Aiden is being set up as the Graysons new fall guy. It would be a shame for Emily to be blindsided right as she gets back on track.

The Bad:

  • The Weak Card: Just when we realized they don’t know what to do with Charlotte and Declan anymore, they make it more apparent by playing the weakest card in the deck: jealousy. Charlotte’s squiring of Eli prevented her from meeting Declan at The Stowaway. His unnecessary and flaccid outburst was the writers’ attempt at creating drama for the teenagers. Last season’s relationship snafu was a little entertaining, but they can’t expect us to travel down the same road again. 

Overall:

“Illumination” proved the writers know when to play a new hand.  Instead of allowing Emily’s sort-of-criminal brother to impede progress, they made him semi-interesting. Now, if they could only figure out what to do with Charlotte and Declan, we could be in for a strong finish for season two.

Rating: 9/10

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

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