REVENGE “Trust” Season 1 Episode 2- Emily Thorne’s grand scheme to avenge her father continues and, surprisingly, the second episode is just as good, if not better, than the pilot. This is often the case.
Pilots are retooled and reshot so many times by a network that they can often feel overcooked when the time they reach the television screens. Second, third and fourth episodes are often where the creative people can have a lot of fun: they’re setting up a lot of things without worrying about maintaining pace, rhythm, believability (problems which arise in the midpoint of a television season) or without worrying over cancellation, continuation, cliffhangers, execution of the setup payoffs, as happens with the last handful of episodes. The fact that Mike Kelley (creator of the show and co-writer of this episode) and his team are able to execute the second episode as well as they did bodes well for the rest of the show.
Last week I complained that Emily VanCamp’s performance was so grim and serious that she turned into a major energy suck. This week, whether it’s because they’ve mostly dropped the painful voiceovers or, I’d rather like to think, because she loosened up and was able to get deeper into her character than the pilot allowed, her performance was not just good: it was central to this episode’s appeal.
Revenge is definitely a soapy procedural, but like the best procedurals, it’s one with an interesting angle: Emily isn’t trying to save the streets and put away these bad guys. She’s out for their livelihood. This week she took down a big shot banker by conning him into investing two billion dollars into a nosedive company. Sure, she cost a load of people their jobs and investments, but they were all the innocent bystanders to her real target. Revenge spent no time dealing with the effects her determination for revenge had on the periphery, but it doesn’t need to, not now, so early on in the game.
One other thing: who knows if they’re really bad guys? This whole show is very one sided. Oh yes, we have Victoria getting security to tag Emily, but it’s still all about Emily. Whatever business her father was in, whether he was indeed involved in terrorist activities which brought down an airplane or not, Emily’s determination to avenge him is going to cause a lot more grief than it will satisfaction.
The other thing I like about the show is that it’s filled with little mysteries. What did Emily do when she was sixteen and sent to a juvenile detention facility? Was Emily’s father really impressed with Nolan’s gadget wizardry, or is their bond much deeper than that? Likewise, is Nolan really looking for friends, or does he feel a certain kinship for the Porter clan?
It was a risk, last week, beginning the show off as a flashback so that we see major plot developments: Charlotte and Declan are fast and steady, Emily and Daniel are engaged (or were engaged). It takes away from the drab cliché traps of will-they-won’t-they scenarios and instead allows the audience to relish some of the more flamboyantly executed plots, like Emily and Victoria’s snippy tea time chat or Lydia’s return to blackmail Conrad.
It’s pulpy and enjoyable with a ruthless streak, it’s stylish and filled with gorgeous people and twists and turns. What’s not to love about this new show?
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