Revenge S1E8: Treachery

Posted on November 17, 2011

Darlings, when Amber Valetta opened her crystal-clear eyes and expressed puzzlement on her perfectly intact face after falling 5 stories in an evening gown and then revealed that she … dun dun DUN!!!! … has amnesia, we giggled and settled in for a perfectly delicious hour of classic soap opera tropes. Whether it’s amnesia or stolen identities or even a little bit of the ol’ Single White Female action, what makes this show so fun is not just that it dives right into the soap opera waters, but that it doesn’t attempt to do anything too clever with them or reveal itself to be too aware of the very conventions it’s using. In other words, there are no post-modern, deconstructive twists on these hoary old plot devices; it’s just straight-up soap opera standards, being given new life by some fun performances and sharp writing.

Although maybe they had a little fun with the whole “Single White Female” thing since it’s not about Real-Emily wanting Real-Amanda’s life. It’s about Real-Amanda paying Real-Emily off so she could take over her identity then having real-Emily show up years later wanting the life that Real-Amanda built for herself using Real-Emily’s name.

Okay, maybe that’s just a teeny bit post-modern and twisty.

But really, a huge part of the appeal of this show is that they’re not trying to be cute about it. They could have easily played all of the Lydia scenes as high camp (they could play almost ANY of Victoria’s scenes that way) and yet they mostly play it straight. It’s clear that the actors and writers are having a lot of fun with the plotting, but there’s never that feeling that we’re being winked at by the creators. In fact, if the show ever does get to that jokey, self-aware point, it’s going to lose a lot of its charm for us.

So, Real-Emily actually did kill Frank, it seems. Sure, we have yet to see a body and we’re a bit surprised that such a strong character has been removed from the cast (especially since Amber Valetta’s not going to be winning any Emmys any time soon), but the police are all acting like he’s dead and we can’t imagine how Frank would manage to fool them, so for now, we choose to believe it. But look! Real-Emily isn’t just a tough girl looking out for Real-Amanda, she’s a full-blown psycho who’s practically got “DANGEROUS” as her tramp stamp. Nolan, whatever other faults he might have, is a good judge of character and he had her pegged from the very second he saw her and knew that he didn’t want anything to do with her. Real-Amanda couldn’t be so naive as to think that a plane ticket and some extra money was going to solve this problem, could she? She bought out Real-Emily for a half-million little more than 6 or 7 years ago and somehow the girl wound up penniless and stripping. This is not someone who’s going to quietly cash the check and build a life for herself. Crazy girl wants more than that.

And it seems that one of the things she wants is Jack. She can have him, as far as we’re concerned, but we suspect Real-Amanda isn’t going to see it the same way. Not that we’re big fans of Daniel, who’s cute but the biggest wuss on the planet, but Jack’s whiny and annoying, so he’s not much better in our eyes. At least he’s not as bad as Declan, who makes us want to throw things at the TV every time he speaks. The point is, Real-Amanda’s man problems just got more complicated. Daniel quit the bar (thereby proving to Jack that he was never anything but a rich boy playing at working class), told dear old dad he wanted in on the family business (thereby prompting steam to shoot out of Tyler’s ears), flipped out on mom for spying on his girlfriend, and then moved out. The boy’s a mess. And to top it off, now he’s suspicious of Real-Amanda, because slipping out in the middle of the night to plant a dead guy’s phone on their property is not the kind of thing she can do freely anymore with him sleeping over.

But what’s up with Ashley? We like her turn towards grasping schemer (because perky party planner was only so interesting), but what’s with her sudden resentment of Emily? Then again, if Tyler’s your boyfriend, then it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself disliking Emily, we suppose.

And finally, Victoria Grayson continues to be the second-most fascinating character on the show. Emily/Amanda still takes the prize for being scarily cold and competent while managing the sweetest and blandest of facades, but what makes Victoria so interesting is that her facade, the one that she’s been maintaining for decades, is showing serious cracking and straining. Emily is a woman in total control, even when things around her are spiraling out of control, and that’s what makes her so much fun. But Victoria is a woman losing control after maintaining such a strict version of it for so long. Her friendships, marriage, and family relationships are all collapsing and the man she most loved and relied upon is dead. Right now she seems to be wracked with emotional pain (it’s evident in the way she walks and carries herself, as well as the perpetually strained look on her face), but never count an old bitch out of the game. We have no doubt she will soon rise up and smite whomever’s pissing her off the most at the moment. In fact, if we were Lydia, we’d get the hell out of that house as soon as it was physically possible because we wouldn’t want to be anywhere near Victoria when it all gets to be too much for her.

[Photo Credit: ABC]

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TKDXVTMLWCQFP7SXTE6KN5J55Q Jennifer Bunker

      Agreeee! Love this show although I think both Jack and Declan need to be recast due to hair issues. The nerd in me loves Nolan and hope he stays central to things. Victoria Grayson is an amazing study, simoultaneously beautiful and terryfying. This show is delish.

      • Sobaika Mirza

        Noooo! Jack is my favorite love interest on the show. Granted, they don’t give him anything to do but YUM.

        He could use a trim though.

    • Sobaika Mirza

      This show is delicious. No other word for it!

    • Sobaika Mirza

      Noooo! Jack is my favorite love interest on the show. Granted, they don’t give him anything to do but YUM.

      He could use a trim though.

      • Anonymous

        But Tyler is the Talented Mr. Ripley – soooo different.  LOLOLOLOLOLOL

    • MilaXX

      AHS may not be interesting but I am loving this show. I hope single white female brings the crazy.

    • Mary McClelland

      Oh – no Real Emily is making me nervous. ANd how much do you want to bet ol’ Frank makes a comeback and offs her? OR gets her arrested. Then Fake-Emily destroys Frank!  PS – I love Nolan. Is that bizarre? And Declan needs to go and take Charlotte with him.

      • Anonymous

        I too LOVE Nolan. I was glad he and Jack decided to be quasi-real friends because everyone’s so mean to Nolan for no reason, really. In fact, Emily is such a bitch to him that I’m just waiting for him to turn on her. Although now that I think about it, maybe that’s how Daniel ends up dead in the end, dot dot dot …

        • Anonymous

          Nolan’s my favorite, too. A quirky mix of sharp/savvy/competent and naive/childish/needy. And Mary Mc, Real Emily makes me super nervous as well. I’m glad they added her to the mix, though. Earlier on I was afraid they didn’t have enough story to sustain even a single season. Now I’m feeling more reassured.

          And back to T and Lo, yes a big thank you for recapping. This is now the only show I am watching so it’s my one pleasure — decidedly not guilty. I jumped in front of our one large TV while the males in my house clamored to watch a hockey game. I didn’t give an inch, no guilt whatsoever!

        • Anonymous

          Everyone being so mean to Nolan is the one aspect of the show that I don’t buy as realistic ( I know, I know). He’s rich-rich-rich.  Even if those Hampton peeps thought he was weird, IRL they’d be all over him and pretending they love him. 

    • taodon

      Thank you for deciding to cover this show.  It is simply too delicious for words.

      Though, I have to admit that when Daniel finally went off on Victoria, I cheered – is that bad?

    • Anonymous

      Having never watched a night-time soap (well, I did watch Falcon Crest back in the day with my daughter) I don’t know what I’m doing watching Revenge (it’s your fault T-Lo!) but I’m eating it up. I think it’s the extra added attraction of computer surveilance/snooping, and cell phone shenanigans. Who is the jail matron? She looks so familiar in an otherwise unfamiliar cast.

      • taodon

        Her name is CCH Pounder – she’s a character actress who has been absolutely everywhere – but most recently Warehouse 13 and The Shield.

    • Anonymous

      Didn’t we see a shot of Frank’s body lying in a ditch at the very end of the last episode?  Maybe I’m misremembering.

      • Anonymous

        But the police said they found him in a ditch.

    • Anonymous

      There is virtually no chemistry between Emily and Jack so I don’t buy the whole requited love story. 

      • Anonymous

        I disagree. In my opinion Jack and Emily have great chemistry. But, to each their own : )

    • Anonymous

      Victoria’s face was twitching so much last night on her right side that I thought her Botox had worn off.

    • Anonymous

      I too am in love with this show – thanks TLo for blogging about it.  I believe Frank is truly dead, otherwise why would Conrad (Victoria’s husband – brain fart makes me second-guess his name) be asked to identify his body?  Am also very nervous about real-Emily; if all she’s out for is money, what is she doing going after Jack?  Oooh, to get back at real-Amanda for trying to get rid of her!  The incredibly thick plot is thickening even more.  Can’t wait till next week.  Oh, and I love Nolan and hate Declan too.  Declan is such a total little shit.  And would someone please off Tyler.

    • Anonymous

      I just remembered something…is it just me or did the doctored photo look pretty much the same as the original? The lurking server still looked like Emanda to me. 

      Also, with the way Emanda was pondering Real Emily’s mugshot, I thought she was going to Photoshop Real Emily into the photo. Minor points, I know.

      • Anonymous

        THIS. Worst PhotoShop job ever!

    • http://twitter.com/ILikeShiny Cindi Williams

      I am having too much fun with this show. I am even getting a kick out of the shitty characters (Declan, Charlotte, Lydia). The 1000 Wintery Smiles of Victoria Grayson could be its own series.

    • Anonymous

      so…black dahlia is a mysterious, unsolved murder. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Dahlia Or am I reading too much into it?

      Also it sounded kind of good…I jotted it down when she told Jack how to make it. She said 3oz vodka, 1 oz creme de cassis, blackberry liquor, ice, shake, garnish with orange peel. Is it a real drink? I might try to make it to drink during the next episode.

      • Anonymous

        Also according to Entertainment Weekly, there are references in this episode to a heroine with a dead father (From Gears of War – Nolan makes the reference) , who’s not dead after all!   Also the Black Dahlia case also has a woman in the center of it who’s father is presumed dead but is really alive.)  Could it be that Emily/Amanda’s father is really alive?

        THIS is why I watch TV….Pam Am is so sad.

        • http://profiles.google.com/minxie1418 Audrey Blaschke

          Oooooh, that would be awesome. :D I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens too because they need to keep upping the drama to keep the show going, and a great way to do that would be to ‘resurrect’ her dad.

        • Helen C

          it seems they took that story straight from “Dirty Sexy Money”, down to the “dead guy and the rich woman were in love and possibly had a kid together”. 

      • Anonymous

        I caught myself doing the same, wondering if I was reading too much into the black dahlia thing. And it does sound like an interesting drink. :D

      • http://iamthelizardqueen.wordpress.com Lizzie

        Oh, wow–it hadn’t crossed my mind that the writers *didn’t* put in the Black Dahlia reference on purpose!

    • Anonymous

      It is so obvious judging from the looks on her face that RealAmanda has no real liking for RealEmily.  She(R-Amanda) is using her (R-Emily).  She is still taking the warden’s advice and keeping her close for her identity.  I have no doubt that the minute R-Emily becomes a true liability, R-Amanda will bury her.  Chick better tread lightly.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for ruining this for me! I thought I had given up Soap Operas! But now I’m hooked!

      Clearly I ought to give up exclamation points though!

    • Patricia McMahon

      Sad that Frank might really be dead. But Real Emily more than fills the crazy, obsessed slot he leaves behind. 

      And I’m thrilled someone mentioned the Black Dahlia connection. I really hope the writers did put it in on purpose.

    • Anonymous

      I missed Daniel becoming suspicious of Emily.  

      What IS up with Ashley?  That turnabout regarding Emily was so sudden.  I thought their friendship was more sincere than that.

      I am wondering how Lydia will reveal the information she learned regarding Frank and Victoria.  Will it involve Emily?

    • Anonymous

      I love Revenge so much! It’s the best new show of the season hands down, and one of the best shows on tv period. I’m excited to see what the real Amanda is going to get up to. I love Jack, and I’m very curious about what’s going to happen now that he thinks he’s found his long lost love Amanda. I’m also scared for him too because “Amanda” is cray cray.

    • Anonymous

      From Entertainment Weekly’s recap:  “…Connor Paolo is continuing his brave exploration of the outer frontier
      of linguistic pronunciation. (Last night, when Declan tried to explain
      that his dear departed father was a more conservative Christian than the
      Bishop of Rome, the line that came out sounded like “Ou-ah dad was
      mo-ah Catt-o-lick den da Poop.”)”  Bwahahaha!

    • Anonymous

      Here are some great pictures of the Revenge Cast:

       http://www.tylershields.com/2011/11/08/revenge-3/

      My personal favorite:

      http://www.tylershields.com/images/revenge/nick-wechsler-emily-vancamp-joshua-bowman.jpg

      Enjoy!

    • http://twitter.com/cre8iveforte Robin

      I love how the endings of the episodes leave you wanting more. I will be sad when this show ends. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T35HMSKKAKENAUTFI7YHOBDONE Bibiana Beardsley

      The look of disgust that Victoria gave Conrad as she slammed the door on his face was priceless. You can’t teach that kind of acting. Madeleine Stowe is awesome.

    • oohsparkley!

      This show is so fun.  Thanks Tlo for the recaps and I like to read the commentaries for others’ opinions and insights.  I also dig the Nolan character – I hope he doesn’t turn out to be a bad seed.  I like the Jack character too, and the romantic in me would like a happily ever after.

    • Anonymous

      I has a sad about the show now that my favorite character, Frank, is gone. I really hoped it would be a “he’s dead… not really!” thing, but it sounds like he’s most sincerely gone. Sexy ginger handler, indeed.

    • http://twitter.com/mellafe natalia h

      I love that the most amazing characters in this show are the women. Most of them, anyway. And I do like Jack, although it might be my everlasting love for Kyle Valenti sneaking in. I just really adore this show, it’s so much fun to watch.

    • http://twitter.com/mellafe natalia h

      I love that the most amazing characters in this show are the women. Most of them, anyway. And I do like Jack, although it might be my everlasting love for Kyle Valenti sneaking in. I just really adore this show, it’s so much fun to watch.

    • Anonymous

      I LOVE Real Amanda. Bitch brings it with during her devious interactions with Victoria and Lydia. This show is delicious.

    • Anonymous

      Please, please post your thoughts on the last episode.  I’m checking almost hourly.