‘Revenge’ Recap: Amanda’s Death Pushes A Few To Their Limits

An Evening With 'Revenge'
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Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) has had a rough few days on ABC’s Revenge. First, she had to watch her childhood love Jack (Nick Wechsler) marry her best friend who also happened to be posing as her, Amanda (Margarita Levieva), and then she had to bury said best friend at sea. That should be enough for the poor girl, right? She should be able to curl up under a cashmere blanket with Aiden (Barry Sloane) and sleep it off until next year’s Hamptons white party.

Unfortunately, there’s no time for that in this world, but that’s actually better than okay because Emily has been newly reinvigorated with her Revengenda. And when Emily has new energy for the same old purpose, so does the show.

Note: Spoilers ahead if you have yet to see Sunday night’s “Retribution.”

The first fifteen minutes of “Retribution” let Amanda’s family think she was merely missing, not dead. Thoughts could have been racing with what could have happened to her — if she ran away or befell a horrible fate. Emily knew the truth, but kept it to herself. Unfortunately, she couldn’t do so for too long, though, having to break the news to Jack in his hospital bed (where he was recovering from being shot).

While Emily had time to get her anger under control, Jack was a ball of emotion at the definitive answer on her fate. It allowed the usually cool, calm, and collected character to ride out almost all stages of grief. Jack went from being a hysterically sobbing mess to a wild-eyed revenge monster himself, convinced Conrad (Henry Czerny) was responsible for Amanda’s death — which, actually, so was Emily — and he wanted to take the elder Grayson down. The two are going to team up now, right!? Well, hopefully by the end of the season, but certainly not by the end of the episode.

For now, it’s not looking likely that he’ll have much luck in getting to the bottom of things. Emily relies on Nolan (Gabriel Mann) for that — he even figured out the Graysons killed Helen and were planning to set up Amanda like they did David years earlier. Dry crying Jack– sobbing so hard it almost sounded like laughing — is not hot. But, give it a week for his grief to settle and anger to set in and Dark Jack should be very nice.

Conrad and Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) had bigger problems than Jack Porter, though. The Initiative has sent someone new after them, and though Victoria did everything possible to point fingers at Amanda, the untimely death left her scrambling without a scapegoat. Jack and his barely idle threats were barely a blip on Conrad’s press conference.

Unfortunately with Emily and Jack so preoccupied, it left Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) to have to ID Amanda’s body at the morgue. Charlotte hit the pills pretty hard before, and this was reason enough to start again, but instead she leaned on something worse: Victoria. She barely knew Amanda as her sister — she certainly didn’t have any fun, sisterly bonding type times with her — and yet she was responsible for the heavy stuff. It’s no wonder she, too, looked like she wanted revenge (but on whom!?) for the murder and immediately started researching those in Amanda’s young life to feel more of a connection to her.

Daniel (Josh Bowman) seemed to have gotten over the fact that he was involved in covering up a murder pretty well. Maybe, he is better at the Grayson life than could be expected. Instead of needing to talk things out — or better yet, write things out in a new poem— he first threatened his parents over their potential involvement in Jack’s shooting. But then, he focused on Nolan, specifically trying to keep his computer program that could wipe out Manhattan’s power out of the Initiative’s hands. Nolan was working feverishly to finish it, so Padma’s dad wouldn’t lose any more limbs. But, he was panicking in his own way about being involved with the Initiative, so he ended up leaning on Aiden. The two are a fun new bromance from which I want to see more, expositional outbursts aside.

I have to be honest, I completely blocked that program from my mind, though — much the way I block the entire NBC series of Revolution from my mind. Revengeis never going to go post-apocalyptic, full dark — it’s not a genre show — so I feel like this is unnecessary filler.

However, Amanda’s funeral, which wasn’t as big a part of the episode as I hoped or expected, managed to be both an emotional character moment for Emily but also one of pushing the plot along as along showed up Emily’s old foster brother (Collins Pennie). Assuming he is who he claims, will he derail her plans or prove to be in on them from years ago? If it’s not the latter, I’m going to throw something at my TV because she hasn’t made any real progress on her mission this season. And just when it looked like she finally would get back on track, here he was to challenge that. Emily promised she would make the Graysons pay so many times during this episode alone it could have been its own drinking game. The show better deliver on this promises or risk her credibility.

In the aftermath of the funeral, Jack stumbled across the key to Emily’s hiding place, found her computer, and learned she was in Juvie with Amanda. But, of course, Aiden came to the rescue and stole his proof. Jack won’t assume he imagined it all in his grief, but his assumption that Conrad was behind the destruction of evidence at least keeps the finger pointing at the Graysons. They may not be taken down for terrible things they actually did, but hey, as long as they get what’s coming to them in general, right?

Buzz Moments

OMG!: Another new character!? How about servicing all the ones you have with solid stories first?

Thank you, TV gods.: Jack got closer than ever about learning the truth about Amanda and Emily, so hopefully he won’t be deterred by his evidence going into the sea (along with his dead wife … too soon?). Keep digging, Jacky boy; I believe in you!

Awk-ward: Charlotte visiting Amanda in the morgue was the longest time the two ever spent together, wasn’t it?

Hotness: Jack confronting Emily about the lies she kept added an intensity to him that actually matched hers, proving why they would not only work together but be hot together. Did you see a little flash of excitement in Emily’s eyes at seeing him like that or was it just me?

Fab-u-lous: Emily looked classically stylish in her little black dress at the cemetary.

Can. Not. Wait.: Will Team Emily soon be five strong, expanding to include Eli, or will he just be another casualty in this war?

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 7 — This episode was a bit uneven with its deeply grounded mourning and Emily’s returned intensity, peppered with almost cartoonish Initiative and mustache-twirly Grayson moments. The fact that it showed potential for both Jack and Charlotte to want their own revenge was a big deal, though. Those characters have been doormats, pushed to the back burner, and mostly just underused. Hopefully no more!

What did you think of “Retribution?” Let us know your review in the comments below.

Danielle Turchiano

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Tags: ABC, Revenge, TV Recap