Revenge-Fear-Madeleine Stowe and Justin Hartley

Revenge has returned, and oh what a bleak summer it’s been. The best dressed cast on TV is back to spice up the airwaves. “Fear” shines a light on the terrors ahead for Emily in the present and very near future. As usual, the season begins with a cliffhanger, but this one might mean the end for our favorite heroine.

The Players:

  • Director: Ken Fink
  • Writer: Sunil Nayar
  • Cast: Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Nick Wechsler, Henry Czerny, Josh Bowman, Christa B. Allen, Ashley Madekwe, Barry Sloane, Justin Hartley, Karine Vanasse, Diogo Morgado

Episode Title: “Fear”

Emily manipulates the Graysons from a different angle, while Victoria works on her relationship with her first born.

The Good:

  • The Usual Bet: Emily’s opening monologues always have a ringing sense of foreboding. “The greatest fear of all is that the truth is absolute,” echoed harshly as she was shot twice in the abdomen during a post-wedding yacht ride. Whether it will be another amazing feat for her to overcome or have lasting consequences is the kind of open-ended uncertainty Revenge’s opening was meant to create. It’s too soon to finger the shooter but considering the attack occurs months into the future we have time to guess the wrong trigger person.
  • The Novice: No one’s heard from Victoria in six months, but of course Emily accurately guessed her happy distraction: Patrick. The change he brought about in Victoria was evident by her constant smile and beautiful piano number. Patrick is completely naïve when it comes to the game of deception everyone in the Grayson household plays. he was put-off by Charlotte’s unwarranted attack and balked shockingly at Victoria’s accusation that he only got close to her to break her heart. If he’s going to come back he’s got to learn how to play. Otherwise, Patrick will go the way of every other clueless cast member. Boring.
  • The Revengers: After picking up Nolan from jail, Emily and his first few moments together buried the previous drama of Carrion and The Initiative thanks to the failsafe Nolan built that exonerated him. Soon after, Emily presented him with keys to a bungalow close to her own hideaway. This ensures a season filled with beach bonfires and the inner circle meetings fans salivate for. Nolan proved successful when his airdrop smuggled in the necessary poison to fabricate Conrad’s governorship ending Huntington’s disease. The effort made it clear that Nolan will be back in the thick of bringing down the Grayson’s, which is where he belongs.
  • The Sneak No More: Ashley’s best side was always the one with two faces and a relentless appetite for blackmail.  Unfortunately, the second she attempted to blackmail Emily about her feelings for Jack it was obvious she wasn’t long for the show. Well, that and the reports that she would be quickly written out. Setting her up was child’s play. First, Emily told Victoria Ashley tried to use Victoria’s “affair” for blackmail. Next, she fingered the sneak for the release of Conrad’s fabricated condition to the media. Watching Victoria and Emily banish Ashley with a powerful unifying sentiment (“What we are, like it or not, is family.”) highlighted the two’s powerful similarities. Together they are formidable but separated they are terrifying.
  • The Prodigal Son: After the loss of his brother and nephew, and the revelation that his childhood sweetheart has been near all along, Jack disappeared. Returning with Karl, Jack kisses Emily just long and passionate enough to make us believe our wildest dreams were coming true, only to bitterly cast her aside. The potential will-they-won’t-they drama is too good for the writers to get rid of just yet. It’s clear Jack will get involved in the intrigue though; after telling Emily he would keep her secret if she kept her distance. He seeks her out to question Conrad’s fall from grace and give her an end-of-summer deadline for her vengeance. It’s only a matter of time before he’s exacting his own payback on the Graysons he can’t help but hate.
  • The Unknown: Emily’s final monologue echoed the same warning as the first: “But the one thing we all fear the most is the unknown.” The danger lies with three characters, first with the newly riled Charlotte. Robbed of her love and her baby, the previews show a new veracity in the youngest Clarke who may or may not be defending her real father soon. Her attack on Patrick proves she’s definitely entering the fray as a troublemaker. Margaux’s future looks scandalous, though Emily’s past with Jack and Aiden opens up the playing field for the one that seems to be on the horizon for Daniel. The real danger lies with Emily’s former partner Aiden and his new collaborator, Victoria. No matter what he does, it’s sure to be damaging.

The Quotable:

  • “The greatest fear of all is that the truth is absolute.”—Emily
  • “I didn’t know how I felt about you until right now, and I’m sorry I don’t feel anything.”—Jack
  • “What we are, like it or not, is family.”—Victoria
  • “But the one thing we all fear the most is the unknown.”—Emily

Overall:

“Fear” was the start Revenge is always good for. The trick is whether they can keep up the intriguing premise. The mystery surrounding Emily’s future shooting has us in its grips. However, now that the writers have cleaned house—killing off Declan and writing off Ashley—they have fewer excuses for mediocrity.

Rating: 10/10

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

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