When ABC’s Revenge premiered in 2011, it became a must-watch, a deliciously overwrought throwback to the primetime soaps of yesteryear. When Season One ended with steely bitch Victoria presumably blown to bits from an airplane bomb, we waited with high expectations for Season Two to begin and Amanda/Emily’s campaign of vengeance to resume.
Unfortunately, Season Two started out muddled, and by the end it had become increasingly convoluted, confusing, and just plain ridiculous (and not fun ridiculous like Season One, but cartoonish ridiculous). Ratings dropped, reviews were merciless and we stopped recapping the show 2/3 of the way through the season … and few people noticed.
So it was with trepidation that I sat down to watch the Season Three Premiere. Would the show be able to rebound? Would it get back to what made us fall in love with it in the first place? Well, the jury’s still out, but based on the premiere, it’s definitely on the right track. Here are five welcome developments.
The Bobby Ewing Moment
It wasn’t exactly “It was all a dream,” but within the first five minutes, two major plot points from the end of Season Two were dispatched in throwaway lines. Charlotte returns from abroad, and Victoria provides this helpful exposition:
“I know the past few months have been very difficult for you, losing Declan and the baby, but I was hoping graduating early and going to Europe would prove restorative.”
So Charlotte lost the baby, instantly saving us from months of teary speeches about the legacy of Declan (which is basically a frightful accent and bad ticker ).
Meanwhile, Emily arrives at the prison to pick up a just-released Nolan, who’s spent this time polishing his narrator skills:
“It took a lot longer than I expected for the failsafe I embedded in Carrion to ferret out all The Initiative numbers and exonerate me.”
Oh! Okay then. Sure, why not. The important thing is, he’s out (although I’d be lying If I said I wasn’t a little intrigued about Nolan’s life in the slammer.)
To prove that TPTB are serious about acknowledging Season Two’s biggest misstep, Emily delivers this corker:
“Now let’s never say the words Initiative or Carrion ever again
I second Nolan’s response, “Amen to that.”
The Beefcake Is Back
Revenge is filled with hot guys, something Season Two seemed to have forgotten. Luckily, the debut of Justin Hartley appears to have kickstarted the beefcake machine back to life. Josh Bowman seems to have spent the off-season bench-pressing Buicks, and has his hottest shirtless scene since Season One. As for Justin, it’s too early to tell what he’ll bring to the show dramatically, but he’s off to a good start on the eye-candy meter. He has a hilariously gratuitous confrontation with Charlotte, clad only in a towel. That’s enough for now.
Charlotte Has Bang(s)
Charlotte has been one of the weak links on the show since the beginning, as various versions of “poor little rich girl,” “Hampton Lindsay Lohan,” and of course, she fell in love with the boy from the wrong side of the wharf. With Declan gone, they appear to be attempting to give her a harder edge, as evidenced by her Amanda Peet (who will cut a bitch) bangs. When she threatens her new-found brother with “If you think you’re just going to enjoy the perks without the misery, you’re wrong. My mother will draw you in and destroy you. It’s what she does. And if she doesn’t, I will,” it’s certainly startling, but I’m not sure Christa Allen has the gravitas to pull off this new direction. We’ll see.
Removing The Deadweight
They got off to a good start by sending Declan to the angels (and excising Amanda’s mother, all of The Initiative, Padma, and the Ryan brothers), and now they’ve sent the always superfluous Ashley away, hopefully for good. And her dismissal proved to be part of a classic Emily scheme, finished off with the triumphant return of our old pal Red Sharpie (and the return of Nolanisms with “So Ashley has been … Davenported”).
Back To Basics
After the schism of Season Two, the show is hopefully returning to “Emily vs. The Graysons,” without all of the other distractions. Her takedown of Governor Grayson (making him believe he has a degenerative and fatal disease) is something that could have worked in Season One, and is a reminder of how much fun those episodes were. It also gave Nolan the opportunity to work his old magic as well, and the sight of him parachuting into Conrad’s party almost erased the memories of his Season Two lost opportunities with Marco.
There are a few causes for concern, though. Jack returned, but with Declan gone, and the fact that he now knows Emily’s secret, he’s not the gruffly sensitive Jack we knew. With no connection to the Graysons anymore, is his only role going to be standing in the shadows, threatening to expose Emily?
Speaking of standing in the shadows, Aiden is back, and tells Victoria he’s “looking to destroy the girl next door.” I’m not prepared to call Aiden deadweight yet, but we already have Jack to provide the Hate Stud.
Okay, your turn. What did you think about the premiere? And what do you hope to see (or not see) in Season Three. I’m looking forward to seeing the return of the always entertaining Mason Treadwell , and Ugly Betty’s faboo Ana Ortiz is joining the cast later this season. And I know it’s unlikely, but I would love to see another appearance by Adrienne Barbeau as Victoria’s mother (a rare highlight of Season Two).