Revenge-Payback-Brett Cullen, Justin Hartley, and Madeleine Stowe

Every time Revenge returns hope renews.  In “Payback” Victoria and Conrad’s divorce makes life interesting for more than just their family. Murder, surprise family members, and an unexpected power play is par for the course in the Hamptons.

The Players:

  • Director: Romeo Tirone
  • Writers: Sunil Nayar and Christopher Fife
  • Cast: Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Henry Czerny, Josh Bowman, Nick Wechsler, Gabriel Mann, Christa B. Allen, Barry Sloane, Karine Vanasse, Justin Hartley, Stephanie Jacobsen, Brett Cullen, Gail O’Grady, Holly Hawkins, Rosemary Dominguez, Tina Casciani

Episode Title: “Payback”

Emily’s blackouts worsen as Victoria battles two old foes.

The Good:

  • Mother Mayhem: It’s possible Emily would have helped Conrad draw the first Mrs. Grayson to town, while in her right mind.  Emily can’t afford to divorce Daniel now, but Stevie Grayson was meant for more. The final moments of the episode saw her claim the rights to Victoria’s house and tell Jack that she’s his mother. It’s hard to imagine that Grayson manor will be out of Victoria’s grasp for long though. As for Stevie’s maternity, we’ve been wondering when Jack’s mother would be dropping by. Having been told absolutely nothing about her allows for Stevie’s blank canvas past. So does going to the great lengths to make her Conrad’s ex-wife and Jack’s absentee mother make it seem like they’re making this up as they go along? Absolutely! How is it that no one has ever mentioned this to Jack?
  • Daddy Dearest: What truly bonds a mother and son: Love or murder? Patrick wasn’t raised in secrecy and lies like Daniel, so he may not bear the burden as well. After killing Jimmy in defense of his mother, Patrick was overcome with remorse. Whether he continues to regret his actions will show if he’s different from the rest of his family. Jimmy was an aggressive sleaze-ball for sure, but Victoria’s history of half-truths did make us doubt her a little. We still air on the side of believing her, it’s tough to say if Patrick will continue to as well.
  • The Anomaly: From the moment the ‘T’ word was dropped, it became obvious that Emily’s blackouts would be sending her to a therapist. It took the rest of the episode to get there, but the vulnerable position it leaves her in makes it gold.  Discussing the inner workings of her complicated, secret-filled brain leaves Emily in danger of blackmail, sabotage or worse. It’s possible there’s someone from Emily’s past she can talk to, you know besides the therapist she booted out of town. This must end though. Nolan won’t always be able to check the South Fork Inn’s security cameras to prove Emily didn’t sleep with Conrad. Since Blackout Emily insists on throwing herself at Aiden, colluding with Conrad and lashing out at Nolan, who knows what else she has to be put down. At the very least so poor Nolan won’t worry to death.
  • Happy Family: Margaux and Jack look absolutely blissful together, which can only mean their happiness is on track for a derailing. Conrad is the snake in their garden, though Jack’s maternity suddenly explains why the Porter family has always been an outpost for Conrad’s evil. Whatever help Margaux’s father can give could be as harmful as it is helpful, if he even bothers to get involved. Watching Jack and Margaux prepare to play house was so cute we almost wish the impending disaster wasn’t coming.

The So-So:

  • Light Work: We expected Niko to be a much more formidable opponent for Emily than this. Abducting Aiden and leaving a clue for Emily was a good start. Of course, leaving Takeda’s sword bag was kind of obvious. Then after finding Niko and Aiden, it only took a few minutes for Emily to have Takeda’s daughter under the knife. Even though she slunk away, we doubt Niko properly quenched her thirst for vengeance, no matter how misguided. It’s interesting to see Aiden so ready to walk away from Emily. Considering Blackout Emily planted the murder weapon in his bedroom to be discovered in the first place, it’s easy to see why that is.
  • Finally: Someone in the Grayson family is finally trying to involve Charlotte in some drama. Charlotte’s snooping around Voulez for Daniel will either immediately fail or induct her into the family fold. Daniel’s doing it the right way too—since he’s yet to admit to Charlotte that he shot Emily – she’s liable to hear it from anyone and change allegiances. However, there’s always a slim to large chance that the show will disappoint where Charlotte’s concerned. What’s the point in giving a series regular decent plots right?

Overall:

“Payback” saw Victoria struggling against past problems, neither of which brought to light by Emily. Right now Stevie Grayson looks like the blond with an axe to grind. As usual there seemed to be a lot of potential in the mid-season premiere. However, with next week’s previews cut to look like a battle between Emily and Victoria, we’re losing confidence fast. Especially since it’s obvious they’re really battling Aiden and Stevie respectively.

Rating: 7.5/10

Revenge airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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