You guys! There is one more day until we get new episodes of Revenge! I feel like I’ve been waiting forever!
(Even though I actually marathoned though the entire first season last week, so I’ve really only been waiting for a couple of days. Whatever, that is a long time when you’ve overdosed on ascots and bitchy cut-downs and LIFE RUINING. I am suffering through some serious withdrawal here.)
WHAT IS THIS EVEN… ZOMBIE HOTTIES INVADE A DANCE STUDIO?
Revenge — in case you’ve somehow missed ABC’s subtle advertising campaign — is the completely plausible story of one girl’s epic quest to wreak bloody vengeance against the host of evil one percenters who once ruined her father’s life. You would think that premise might be difficult to sustain, but the list of people who once did the Clarke family wrong is both long and full of really deserving candidates, and the pleasure of watching them get taken down one by one doesn’t really get old.
The finale opened up what looks like a wealth of new possibilities for revengey shenanigans and the new season already looks like it will probably be amazeballs:
(Underwater ninja action! Mysterious cross hairs! Nolan’s haircut!)
Anyway, since every episode of Revenge ends with me flailing wildly, we’ll be doing regular episode reaction posts this year. I do not promise they will be coherent. In the mean time, let’s kick off with the first season:
1. IT’S THE PERFECT STORM OF SOAPINESS.
I’ve seen this comparison numerous places, but this show is such a delightful and unholy mashup of The Count of Monte Cristo, Veronica Mars, and The OC/Gossip Girl. Plucky blonde heroine who is smarter than everyone and bent on taking down the powerful elite who work the system to their advantage? CHECK. Every episode, a different ridiculous excuse to have a party where everyone dresses fancy and there’s a strong possibility someone will end up pushed into the pool in their formal wear? CHECK. Rich divas smiling in public while cutting each other with verbal knives? CHECK, CHECK, CHECK.
(Seriously: “Every time I hug you, that warmth you feel is my hatred burning through”? One of the most amazing burns ever. I ♥ Victoria Grayson so much. She’s like my hero of meanness. I refuse to believe that she’s dead. JE REFUSE.)
2. EMILY THORNE IS MY HERO OF EVERYTHING
I adore that the show does not try to soften Emily/Amanda up too much. She’s focused, emotionally detached, cold, calculating — like a tiny cyborg ninja of vengeance. I mean, look at her! Girlfriend is just as at home at a polo match as she is while trying to literally axe murder a man. She is competence porn incarnate.
Which is awesome, because there a distinct shortage of female anti-heroes on tv, you know? But there are also just enough hints of her having actual human emotions somewhere underneath (when Sammy died? ALL MY TEARS FOREVER) that she remains rootable instead of coming across as a total sociopath. She’s basically Veronica Mars if the Kanes had somehow framed Keith Mars and had him killed (and just that thought alone makes me want to smash things — LEAVE KEITH MARS ALONE).
I also like that, while the show sometimes places her in sexual situations, it never sexualizes her in the way you might expect from someone who spent a large chunk of the season seducing a man to ruin his family. I guess some people really cared a lot about the Jack/Emily/Daniel triangle last year? Obviously Jack > Daniel as a human being, but the romance between him and Emily doesn’t really do much for me.
(Jack/Nolan/Emily, on the other hand… look, Nolan needs non-psycho love, you guys! And that means his options in the this show are limited.)
No, what I want for Emily is much more simple than any love triangle: friendship, companionship, a relationship of any sort with another human being that isn’t built on a mountain of lies… you know, the little things. Which brings me too…
3. NOLAN ROSS IS MY SOUL TWIN.
NOOOOLAAAAAAAN! I love him, y’all. A lot. Chuck Bass except nicer! Logan Echolls without the daddy baggage! Seth Cohan without me wanting to punch him constantly!
He’s snarky, scary smart and filthy rich, openly and unashamedly bi-sexual. (He referenced the Kinsey scale! On Network tv!) I love everything about him, his awful hair, bitchy one-liners, and sad puppy eyes. Also, he’s in possession of one of the only working consciences on the show and wears bow ties with panache:
Nolan’s got this weird combination of cynical mixed with an almost childlike hopeful naivete at times (see his fruitless yet persistent attempts to play matchmaker for Jack and Emily). Like, at the beginning of the show, he’s blatantly attempting to buy Jack’s friendship for the summer, and you think he’s being another rich asshole who thinks anything’s for sale, including poor people’s affections… and then you realize he’s both sincere and very, very lonely and really truly just likes Jack and wants to be his friend.
(And then you want to be his friend and braid each other’s hair and have revenge sleepovers where you pop popcorn and watch all his various spy feeds, gossiping about all the terrible people in town and how Declan is approximately 95% more likeable when he’s not fawning over Charlotte.)
(Or maybe that’s just me.)
ANYWAY. Nolan is clearly perfection, and his prickly and endearing relationship with Emily/Amanda is my number one reason for watching. Jack may be her last tie to humanity, but Nolan is the one that keeps her from going completely darkside. And his blatant admiration for her bad-assery fills me with joy. Nolan’s not only not ashamed to be relegated to the side-kick role in this scheme, he revels in it. Emily is his hero. That’s so awesome to me.
(Also, apparently Gabriel Mann is 40? So he’s clearly stolen the portrait from Johhny Depp’s attic and put it to his own use.)
4. THREE-DIMENSIONAL VILLAINY
The Graysons are all terrible. (Especially you, Daniel, you spineless little daddy’s boy!) But the show’s been very careful to give them all points of view and moments of vulnerability and humanity — even Conrad — so they don’t descend into pure, mustache-twirling caricatures. Victoria, of course, is the Queen of not only the Hamptons, but also my heart. And I’m assuming she’ll either survive somehow or we’ll see her in flashbacks still, because I can’t imagine anyone on this show would be stupid enough to lose a character that fun. She’s the only one who might possibly be able to out-death stare Emily!
(J/K, no one can out-death stare Emily.)
But the best part of the Graysons is the way they so easily turn their bile on each other. They make hatred a work of art. Bless.
5. MOAR SOAPINESS!
So, down to the specifics. Emily’s (or more accurately, Amanda’s) mother is alive! I can only assume she’s also going to be a bad ass, but I’m confused about how this could possibly tie into the choice of David Clarke as patsy for the money laundering scheme. And, actually, the whole terrorist thing has been quite vague until now. What are their goals? Why did they blow up that plane? What have they been doing in the mean time?
Also, real!Emily is preggers! WHAT. And has she just been hanging out with Emily’s revenge Sensei this whole time? HAS HE BEEN TEACHING HER THE ART OF REVENGE? Oh, God, I hope so. I kind of love real!Emily and her murderous crush on fake!Emily. But I need her to be less dumb. Revenge school for everyone!
In conclusion: REVEEEEEEEEEENGE! (I like to whisper/hiss this while making jazz hands. It helps create the proper mood.)