TV Review - Revenge: Season 2

Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne,
who is not all smiles inside in "Revenge"
I wrote a review of Revenge last year after it debuted. I think that review addresses the themes and the issues, which the series going into year two is still addressing. The show has not been advanced much. There were a lot of soap opera twists and turns, but the narrative has moved forward one, maybe two, baby steps. Emily Thorne, played by Emily VanCamp, is out for revenge against the Grayson family for falsely convicting and ultimately killing her father. For all that Emily accomplished last season, digging up dirt, building evidence, threatening their livelihood, she's essentially back to square one for Season 2. She basically has to start all over again. This time around, the possibility that Emily's mother is alive sends her on a new mission, but Emily never really mentioned her mother at all last season. Introducing her mom now feels like giving us a puzzle piece to a puzzle we weren't working. The series could have made the bold choice to kill off Victoria Grayson, the scheming matriarch, played by Madeleine Stowe, but they didn't. With the help of rich and tech-savy Nolan Ross, played by Gabriel Mann, who has become the Robin to Emily's Batman, Emily uses all kinds of gadgets to spy on the Graysons, she could just sit back and bide her time until she gathers enough intelligence to help in the government investigation already underway, but I guess that would make for a boring show. The truth is the Graysons like most soap opera families is going to destroy itself. Emily doesn't have to do much of anything now.

The writers of Revenge can always tease the star-crossed romance between Emily and Jack Porter, played by Nick Wechsler. The two of them do have chemistry and it's VanCamp's scenes with Wechsler that allow her to show some range beyond her usual stoic or bourgeois personae. There is a scene of Emily being held under water as part of her Japanese martial arts training. At the end of the first season, Emily uses martial arts. When given the opportunity to kill, she doesn't, which already establishes how far she won't go.

The question of whether she'll ever go for true revenge in that moment is answered. The best she can hope for is Victoria and her husband Conrad, played by Henry Czerny, going to prison, or Conrad who is shaping up to be the most evil getting killed. The real fun will be when the Graysons learn Emily's real identity and what she's been doing all along. Sadly, the show isn't ready to kick it into that high a gear yet. Hopefully, it can come up with just as interesting antagonists for Emily in the meantime like last season's Tyler, played by Ashton Holmes, or, Frank, played by the awesome Max Martini, but I'm weary.

Four Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-PG-L.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Airs Sundays at 9PM on ABC.


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